Map. Before you leave, we recommend downloading a map of Jerusalem to your Google Maps app on your phone. That way, you will not need a data connection to download the map.
Visa. Be sure to obtain a visa if you need one. You can find out if you need a visa at https://www.gov.il/BlobFolder/reports/examption_visa-israeli-heb/en/English_Documents_Foreign_Visa_to_Israel.pdf.
Most likely, you will fly into Ben Gurion Airport (TLV). Getting through the airport is relatively painless compared to many international airports. You can see details at https://www.iaa.gov.il/en/airports/ben-gurion/terminal3sevices/. You have free Internet at the airport to use your WhatsApp, Skype, or such to contact others for free. You don't need to rush because your bags will likely take time to get to the carousel.
Ben Gurion Airport (TLV) is Israel's main international airport, with three terminals plus trains & buses to regional cities. It is between Tel Aviv (the biggest city) and Jerusalem (where we are holding the conference). Jerusalem is just a 35-minute drive from Ben Gurion International Airport. Terminal 1 handles low-cost European airlines, like easyJet, Ryanair, and Wizz Air) as well as domestic flights. As of this writing, baggage collection and passport control for all International flights arrive in Terminal 3, but this is scheduled to change.
Terminal 3 serves most passengers entering and leaving Israel. All long-haul and full-service international airlines use Terminal 3.
Here is what to expect:
There are several ways to get to Jerusalem from the airport:
High-Speed Train to near downtown (Yitzhak Navon Station). Israel offers a high-speed train that travels directly from the airport to a stop near the Central Bus Station (Yitzhak Navon station). The train takes just 24 minutes. It is inexpensive (18 NIS as of this writing). Check the schedule at https://rail.co.il/?page=routePlan&step=when&fromStation=8600&toStation=680. The train does NOT run on the Jewish Sabbath (Friday evening until Saturday night.) VisitIsrael.com says, "The train runs from just outside the arrivals terminal. I suggest obtaining a RavKav at the Public Transportation desk and putting at least ₪36 (about 8 USD) on it (You need to buy a different card for each person). The train runs once every 30 minutes, and the hour is written on the board at the station. You can purchase tickets with your RavKav at the machine or from the person in the booth. The train ends at the Yitzhak Navon Station next to the Central Bus Station. "Once you get off at the final station, take the light rail toward City Center and get off where the hotel told you." When you enter the bus or train, validate the ride by touching the card on the validation box.
See https://www.touristisrael.com/using-the-bus-and-light-rail-in-jerusalem/7130/ for more about the bus and light rail.
Taxi. You can taxi directly to your hotel from the airport or Navon Station. There are two types of taxis, private and shared. The shared taxi to Jerusalem is less expensive but slower. It doesn't leave until the taxi bus is full, and it will stop at the locations other passengers requested.
If your flight lands on Friday night or Saturday day and you need to get to Jerusalem, you can book a shuttle from the airport to Jerusalem here. If you are arriving with a group, you can reserve a transfer at https://www.touristisrael.com/your-booking/?pid=TO004038#/tour/checkout, but it costs USD 139 and up per group. Or, you can choose how fancy a car you want at https://www.jetalimo.com/
Meet and Greet. If you have lots of money and want to avoid many airport hassles, consider hiring a meet-and-greet VIP service. Meet and Greet by a private driver is the easiest and most expensive. Reserve it at https://israelwelcome.com/vip-service. It will cost about US $279. Reserve a meet and greet at https://israelwelcome.com/vip-service-reservation
Once again, if you arrive on the Sabbath (Friday night to Saturday night), you will need to take a taxi or a shared taxi to Jerusalem. This will provide you with a glorious view of the Jerusalem hills. Depending on where you are staying, the taxi may need to let you offer near but not at your hotel. Cars and taxis are not allowed on the pedestrian walkway by the Ibis Styles Hotel.
Getting to campus from your hotel.
The conference takes place at the Jerusalem College of Technology. The college, also known as Machon Lev, Lev Academic Center, or JCT, is west and south of the city center in the neighborhood known as Givat Mordecai.
No hotels are near the campus, so you must get there by walking, public transportation, or taxi.
Public transportation. If you arrive before the conference or stay after, you may be in Jerusalem during the Sabbath (sundown Friday until sundown Saturday). In Jerusalem, buses and light rail operate from Saturday night to Friday night but not from Friday night to Saturday night. They offer a great way to view the different neighborhoods of the city. Jerusalem has frequent, modern buses and a light rail train that runs frequently. (Taxis are available at all times; see below.)
You must purchase a ticket or fare card in advance to use the bus or light rail since you can't pay on the bus or train. The simplest way to do this is by purchasing and loading with money a "Rav Kav" stored value card. See https://www.touristisrael.com/using-the-bus-and-light-rail-in-jerusalem/7130/ for details. You can learn more about the card at https://israelbylocals.com/rav-kav-jerusalem/?expand_article=1. You can plan your bus or light rail trips using the app Moovit or Google Maps.
Public transportation in Jerusalem consists of a network of buses and a light rail system that connects one end of the city to the other. A single fare on the light rail is about 2 EUR, and a 10-ride pass (a smart card known as a Rav Kav) is about 12 EUR. Tickets must be purchased at the light rail stops before you board and cannot be purchased on the trams themselves. Trams arrive every 7 minutes at peak hours and every 15 minutes off-peak.
Walking in Jerusalem is safe and picturesque. The city is built on hills, so expect to encounter inclines. If you are walking, when you get near, look for the "JCT" building and walk down the hill:
. At the bottom, walk through the door of the security hut:
Taxis. Don't want to walk? Take a taxi. (Taxis are available on all days and at all times.) You can hail a taxi, have your hotel call one, or use the app "Gett" or "Uber" to book a taxi trip from your mobile phone. These apps, even Uber, call regular taxis to your location, and you pay based on the meter. You pay in local currency, the New Israeli Shekel (NIS). Tipping of taxi drivers is not expected, but rounding up is common. Getting to the campus by taxi (for 1-3 people) will cost less than USD 15. The conference chairs are looking into having a taxi company charge the fare directly to the conference.