Wondering how much does it cost to do the Israel National Trail? This is a breakdown of every penny I spent while doing Shvil Israel. I kept myself on a fairly tight budget, although splashed out occasionally on ice cream, drinks and expensive snacks. Everyone’s spending habits are different, but I hope it will give a rough idea of the costs involved.
It is worth noting that I have family in Israel which meant I could cut costs as I was able to get a lift from the airport and stayed with them before and after the hike. If you don’t have this luxury, you will want to budget for transport costs (buses and trains are relatively cheap – an hour train ride from Tel Aviv to Zichron costs around 30 shekels) and also accommodation, which can be pricey. For cheaper alternatives, look into couch surfing or you may be able to stay with a trail Angel (people who help hikers – often by hosting them for a night) for a couple of days before you start your trek.
There were other ways that I was able to reduce costs. Travelling with another person meant we could share toiletries and food. Occasionally friends or family would visit us on the trail and bring food with them (although you will find a lot of strangers offering you food and snacks).
All the costs below are per person for the entire trip.
Cost of the Israel National Trail?
UK – Israel (EasyJet): 580 NIS
Food is very expensive in Israel (considerably higher than Europe). Heading to a falafel shop is a cheap and tasty way to fill up, otherwise you should stick to supermarkets if you are on a budget.
Food (including eating out): 1051 NIS
It is worth bringing toiletries and sunscreen with you as these are pricey in Israel.
Laundry: 25 NIS
Taxi: 75 NIS
Gas canisters (used 2 large between the 2 of us – lots of options to have fires): 49 NIS
Toiletries (2 sunscreens and Ibruprophen): 30 NIS
3 bus trips: 27 NIS
As I was raising money for charity and blogging about the experience, I was able to get some accommodation free of charge (6 nights in total). In all these instances though, there were free alternatives near by, either by camping or staying with trail angels. In Eilat there is a hostel called the Shelter which allows trail hikers to stay 1 night free of charge. As we mostly camped and used trail angels, we only paid for 2 nights the entire trip.
Bedouin accommodation (2 nights): 80 NIS
For the desert stretch of the hike, you will need to arrange dropping water in advance at the areas you plan to camp. Some people hire a car and do this themselves, but the easiest and cheapest option is using Yanir (firstname.lastname@example.org, +972 54-2461066) as we did. He loves helping hikers so offers the water caching at a very reasonable price. He also has a guarantee, so if there are any problems, he will drive to you to sort it out.
Water caching (10 drops in total, 6 litres at each): 700 NIS
Overall, the 2 month trip came to 2617 NIS (roughly $700).
There are other costs that you will need to consider such as insurance, equipment and, for some nationalities, visas.
An honest review of the Israel National Trail
A guide to the Israel National Trail
22 tips for thru hiking
Israel National Trail: budget breakdown
24 pictures that will make you want to walk the Israel Nationals Trail
Israel National Trail: Kit List
My Israel National Trail Itinerary