Top Bar Menu

3 Cheap Ways to Backpack Across Israel

Kibbutz

Miriam Berger in Southern Israel

If you are looking for an inexpensive but satisfying backpacking adventure, you should look no further than the land of milk and honey.  Israel is a backpackers dream.  Not only is there so much to see without having to travel a far distance, you can do it quite cheaply in ways unique to this glorious country.

Throughout the course of my life, Israel has been a place I’ve come back to a number of times.  The saying, “when there’s a will there’s a way” can actually be realized here.  It always amazes me that such a small country, one that you can drive across in less than 12 hours, attracts so many visitors all year round.

For backpackers, Israel offers many ways to see the sites and experience the environment.  You can always stay in one of Israel’s amazing hostels, donate your time or do something unique to Israel by volunteering on a kibbutz.  The options truly are endless.

Hostel It!

Hostels and backpacking go hand-in-hand but I bring this up because I’ve stayed at some of the nicest and most unique hostels in this great land.  On one of my first trips to Israel, I have fond memories of touring around the country and hopping from hostel to hostel.  No dingy and uncomfortable accommodation for me here – it was sea views and great Israeli breakfasts.

For the backpacker, you are spoiled for choice when it comes to hostels in this country and all are safe and you’re welcomed with great hospitality.

Donate Your Time

There are so many unique opportunities in Israel to donate your time in exchange for accommodation and/or food.  Israel is a country wealthy in agriculture and tourism.  I’ve heard stories of many of my fellow travelers finding opportunities to help out on farms, homes and even wineries.

The best part of this is that you don’t just get a place to lay your head; you also get to meet some new people who can tell you what living in Israel is all about.  Priceless.

Israel

Kibbutz Ketura in Southern Israel

Go Communal in a Kibbutz

Kibbutz living is the ultimate backpacking experience in my opinion.  I was fortunate enough to volunteer on a kibbutz (Kibbutz Ketura in Southern Israel) for nearly three months.  Basically a kibbutz is a communal way of living and is unique to Israel.  The first kibbutz started in Israel in the early 1900s and there are over 250 kibbutzim across the country.

Every year these communal areas open their arms to volunteers, allowing them to get a taste of the communal life for a minimum two month commitment.  Volunteers work for their room and board and jobs typically include working in the kitchen (which is what I did), in the field or dining hall.  For a backpacker, you get to see a different side of Israel that gets you close to nature and experience a different way of life.

As backpackers, we want to see the world on a shoestring and Israel is just the place to do that.  All the sights and sounds of the Middle East are at your fingertips whether you choose to go down the hostel route, donate your time or have a kibbutz experience.

Head to the Holy Land and you’ll never look back – trust me!

, ,

Hi Rehanna,
I’ve stayed in a few hostels in Israel. Here are some of the ones I’ve either stayed in or heard good things about –
1) Hayarkon Hostel – Tel Aviv – I’ve heard this is fairly decent and its in a great location. Minutes away from the beach and right near everything you need in central TLV.
2) Ein Gedi Hostel – I stayed there and info is on my blog. Just look under the Dead SEa category (I was there in June). It is fairly cheap and really nice. We had a lovely balcony and it cost me USD30 but well worth it.
3) Mugraby Hostel – Tel Aviv – I’ve been told not to stay there. Its on Allenby but I heard its very loud and not so well priced.
4) Tiberias hostel – this is in Tiberias (obviously) and my friends stayed there and said it was quite nice and reasonably priced.

I hope that helps. I will post more in the next few days. Most importantly, enjoy your time over there – its an incredible country.
Miriam

Hi, Ian thanks for your comments – especially sharing your kibbutz experience. I agree that it is an incredible place for almost everyone. I love Israel! Miriam

Rehanna says:

Hi thanks for this post, I’m going to explore your posts a bit more. But I am going to heading there alone soon. Can you tell me the name of some of the Hostels you stayed at please?

Ian C. says:

Yeah, I as well would recommend volunteering on a kibbutz. Depending on what you’re looking for, it’s awesome. I spent about 6 months on one in the north called Geva. Very well cool thing to do. The best time to go to Israel imo is spring, especially for the north. All the flowers are in bloom and it’s very green. Astounding experience and Israelis are very hospitable. It’s a very doable place to hike/back pack.

It isn’t so cheap, though. Some things are, while others are give or take close to what you’d spend in America or even some parts of Europe. But, seriously, backpack the north in the spring if you go. Totally worth it. I walked from Tzfat to Tiberias once, very cool. Just walked in the general direction of it through farms and pasture land and random trails, very scenic. Israel is well worth the travel. Especially if you’re Jewish, religious or not. You’ll find a lot out here.

Hi, Yes there is a lot of hitchhiking in Israel – especially once you get out of the cities. I haven’t spent too much time in Northern Israel but in the south there was a lot of people (including volunteers from my kibbutz) who hitchhiked. I don’t want to say its completely safe as there are always risks but I have done it. I would recommend going with a couple of people if you can and also for shorter distances. Volunteering on a kibbutz is a really great experience in my opinion. I would recommend it and its a great option for a backpacker. Bear in mind that most ask for a 2 month minimum commitment but it will be a great 2 months for you.

Enjoy Miriam 🙂

Sabina says:

I love Israel, although I’ve never backpacked through it. I’ve seen tons of people hitchhiking in northern Israel – I think a lot of them were backpackers – and figured it must be a safe thing to do because…there they were. Do you know if it’s safe? Also, I’ve stayed on kibuttzim but never worked on one. I think next time I travel to Israel, I will.

Hello – Yes, the idea of the “land of milk and honey” is a biblical reference. It describes the idea of Israel’s agricultural abundance. Also the idea of the milk showed the whole idea of Israel being the Promised Land. It drew a comparison to the time of when Moses led the Israelites from Egypt (desert) to Israel (land of abundance). You can find out more about this reference in wikipedia if you search Milk and Honey.
Israel is an amazing place – and abundant in so many things. The food here is lovely and all of the produce is grown locally.
On my site I provide a lot of information on other parts of the country too. Take care, Miriam

Briana says:

I didn’t know that Israel is the land of milk and honey, I wonder why? Can you explain to me further? Oh well, I love to travel and as much as possible I always make my travels as cheap as possible. Thank you for sharing your experience. Another travel that is worth copying.

I love that you stayed in a Kibbutz! I can’t think of a more wonderful and authentic Israel experience than that! Hope to hear more about that adventure in detail! 🙂

I was sure that Israel is expensive for travel) Thanks for new ideas)

Hi Jaime D,
Yes – these responses are quite common when it comes to visiting the Middle East. Like in most places in the world in this day-and-age, security is something you need to be concsious of. I’ve been to Israel a number of times and I think it’s an amazing country – one that you shouldn’t cut out of an itinerary especially on a RTW trip. My travel blog also has a ton of posts on my adventures there so feel free to read away or ask me any questions on this comment area on Two Backpackers.
Enjoy, Miriam 🙂

Jaime D says:

This is a great an awesome post! It has gotten me even more excited to visit Israel. Everytime I tell people I will be visiting “The Middle East” while on y RTw trip they just go crazy and think I am going to get killed. I hate that people really don’t know much about that region but what the hear on the news.

Ive done my research but am so glad to read this. I am so excited and I am most def going to be giving back.

Castellani Media LLC.