Tourist tip #202 / Renting a car? Make it a mini
While it is tempting to go for a familiarly big car, Israel's narrow streets and limiting parking mean the smaller the better.
Israel prides itself on being a modern country with all the modern amenities. While expats had long importuned visitors to bring them favorite items and foods from home that they missed, pretty much everything from pure vanilla extract to Levi's jeans can now be had, at least in Israel's big cities.
What can't be had, especially in Israel's big cities, is parking, which brings us to the point.
Tourists renting a car may be tempted to choose something familiar, which has its upsides. It helps to know how to use the thing, rendering the act of driving itself effortless. But American tourists: you might want to avoid leasing a model reminiscent of the relatively large car sizes you know from home.
There are several reasons, from gasoline consumption (environmental consideration) to cost – but most prosaically, the smaller the car, the easier you'll find parking in Israel's crowded cities. Israelis are masters of parallel parking with an inch to spare in either direction.
Also, the cities may be modern but the streets tend to be narrow, even very narrow. Israeli drivers are comfortable zooming down a street that accommodates a row of cars parked left and right and not that much space for other cars to pass through. Tourists may find it rather more daunting.