Come on! You’re flying thousands of miles, going to a country you have little experience with, why not stay a little longer and explore a little on your own? Even if you have a job waiting, try like the dickens to get at least a couple of days more and spend some time getting to know Jerusalem or Tel Aviv a little better.
If you have a more flexible schedule, you can visit the rest of the country, or find an inexpensive program for a week or two, like say Livnot that costs as little as $100 a week for full room and board and a program that includes hiking, learning and service projects in the always fascinating city of Safed. That’s just one (very good) example of the many options available to you. You’re definitely not going to have many more opportunities to fly to Israel for free so for goodness sake, take advantage!!!
Taglit-Birthright trip is great taste of what Israel has to offer, but if you want to explore more on your own this is your chance.
Your ten days are mostly spent flying around the country on a bus full of 20-somethings, waking up at sunrise and almost never sleeping or sleeping well, and running from one activity to the next. That’s is why you should definitely extend your stay in Israel after the Birthright trip.
You will give yourself the chance to explore the country at your own pace and in your own way – and you might actually get to sleep at night! Although waking up at sunrise on Birthright sometimes has its perks.
Here’s what you need to do to make this happen:
We know you’re gonna fall in love with Israel — and when you fall in love you want to spend as much time together as possible. I have collected a few extension programs to fit your interests and your schedule. Many programs are eligible for extension reimbursement (which will make extending your trip FREE)!
SHORT TERM EXTENSION PROGRAMS (1 – 3 weeks)
So here is what you need to do in order to extend your trip. Firstly, after you’ve been accepted on a trip and your flight assigned, you can fill out an extension request with official trip organizer. Also check out Birthrights FAQ page as well as http://mayanotisrael.com/post-trip-options/, http://israelonthehouse.com/briplus-extensions/
These sites offer you a variety of extension programs that you can tailor to fit your unique desires.
It also may be a good idea to get the flight extension taken care of as soon as you can. But what if you’re not sure about your dates or don’t realize you want to spend more time abroad until you get to Israel? That’s okay too! Once you’re on the ground, you can extend your ticket by calling your airline directly. Open ended return dates are not allowed. To extend, you need to have an actual date in mind to change your ticket to. If you change again, you pay again.
Okay, now for your adventure. As far as what to do during your extra time, it depends on how much time you have and what you’re into.
You could also just spend a few days backpacking solo or with a Birthright friend, staying in hostels, meeting other travelers, etc.
If you have a longer period of time, you could also go the pre-arranged route.
Though Israel isn’t known for its snow, it does exist. During winter, droves of Israelis head to Mount Hermon. This is the place for having a snowball fight, sledding, skating and skiing. Apart from engaging in winter sports, you should definitely book a weekend at the famous ‘Moving Castles’ hotel. Located in Nimrod, it’s a three-hour drive from the center of the country. The Southern edge of Mount Hermon guarantees spectacular views on mountain slopes from your hotel room. For more details and other great winter ideas check out: https://www.talknsave.net/blog/can-make-israels-winter-wonderland/
The Judean Desert is dry and arid and a major draw for hiking enthusiasts. Ein Prat and Ein Gedi are oases in the middle of the desert, featuring surprising amounts of water in between the rocks. Wadi Qelt is an excellent hike for the more adventurous, while Har Sedom offers an unforgettable lookout over the Dead Sea. For more ideas check out: https://www.talknsave.net/blog/top-must-see-sites-sea-galilee/
Ever wanted to float around and read a newspaper? I mean without a floatation device. You know, like those famous images…For an insider’s guide to the must knows for planning your trip to the Dead Sea check out: https://www.talknsave.net/blog/welcome-dead-sea/.
Do you love pampering and indulging yourself? Hamat Gader, located on the site of an ancient Roman city Gadara, is home to Israel’s largest and oldest spa complex. Thanks to its many medicinal qualities, the water temperature is a constant 420C throughout the year, and bathing in them is soothing and relaxing. For more info check out: https://www.talknsave.net/blog/top-must-see-sites-sea-galilee/. 🙂
For more survival skills for your trip check out “Top Hebrew ‘Slang’ That You Can’t Live Without” and of course being the phone addicts that we are check out “the essential apps that you really should have when you start thinking about that trip to Israel”.
Hope this post has given you the confidence you need to get yourself out there and embrace true Israeli culture. I would love to hear your feedback, so, please don’t be shy, and share your stories with us.