The vast majority of people who go on a gap year program will be on a fairly limited budget and those who choose to spend their gap year in Israel will very quickly realise that it not a particularly cheap country. Whether you are in Jerusalem or Tel Aviv it is easy to spend more than you intended.
However, this does not mean that you can’t have a fantastic time in both cities while living within your means and managing your budget.
One of the biggest costs you’ll experience is food. Many people will be used to doing all their shopping in one large supermarket without the need to shop around for better prices. However, in Israel supermarkets tend to be amongst the most expensive places to buy food. Instead, you should turn to your local markets.
Those living in Jerusalem will very quickly come across the Machane Yehuda Market. The market is located in-between Jaffa Street and Agrippas and it is the perfect place to do all your food shopping. You will find a huge number of stalls selling every type of food you could need, from bread and cheese to meat, fish, fruit, spices and more. In Tel Aviv you will find the Carmel Market which offers a similar range of produce.
Be sure to take the time to explore these markets as they can help you save a huge amount of money and they are also great fun. Both markets have lively atmospheres and exploring them with your roommates as you do your shopping is sure to be a great experience.
On a related food note, you will also find that eating out in Israel can be quite expensive. However, this doesn’t mean that you will have to spend your gap year preparing all your food. Israel offers a fantastic range of street food to suit every taste, from falafel and shawarma to more international foods such as pizza. These foods are often fairly affordable and you should be able to treat yourself a few times during your gap year in Israel.
If you are looking for entertainment then you will soon discover that Jerusalem and Tel Aviv both offer plenty of low cost or even free options. Tel Aviv has the advantage of being on the coast so you can always head down to the beach, soak up the sun, and enjoy the atmosphere. While Jerusalem doesn’t have the sea, there are plenty of beautiful parks in which you can relax.
You will also find that there are regular street shows in both cities. For instance, in Tel Aviv you will find shows at the Nahalat Binyamin market every Tuesday and Friday and in Jerusalem you can visit the centre of town where there is always something going on. Furthermore, throughout the year the cities put on various events that are free to attend.
In short, you don’t need to spend a huge amount of money on your gap year to eat well and have an all-round fantastic time.