Tourist Tip #341 / How Much Should Bottled Water Cost?

You want to drink a lot while touring Israel - but watch out for the price. The smaller the bottle the more you'll pay per cup.

When touring Israel, water is your friend. Even when the weather doesn't seem to be all that hot, you should always have water with you. Clearly, the hotter and drier the weather, the more you need to drink. But it's a mistake to think that you can't dehydrate in relatively mild weather.

Keep in mind that September and October can still be very hot months in Israel, even when a cool breeze is blowing.

How much you actually need to drink is a personal thing. There is no one answer. There's the chestnut that one must drink eight cups of water a day but there's no actual evidence to back that up. The best answer is to keep sipping at that bottle throughout your touring day. Dehydration can sneak up on you very unexpectedly; by the time you feel the symptoms, such as headache and nausea, it has progressed quite far.

As to how much you should pay for a bottle of water in Israel, the best deal is for 6-packs of 1.5-liter bottles – or 2-liter bottles, if you can find them.

Groceries, kiosks and food stands generally sell water in half-liter or 1.5-liter bottles. Some stores and kiosks also stock tiny 0.25-liter bottles for kiddies and 2-liter family bottles.

The cheapest option is to buy six-packs of the biggest bottles at a local grocery. The most expensive option is buying the bottles anywhere else, from movie theaters to kiosks, whether in the city or at some remote tourism site.

You may not feel like lugging a 1.5-liter bottle around, but the price difference is quite astonishing. Take a local grocery near Haaretz, which charges the following:

Half-liter (500ml) bottle: NIS 5.19.

Three-quarter liter (750ml) bottle: NIS 6.29.

1-liter bottle: NIS 5.09.

Six-pack of 1.5-liter bottles: NIS 11.

In other words, for the price of two half-liter bottles, you can get a six-pack of bottles containing three times the volume. Put otherwise, that small and convenient bottle is the most expensive per cup of water by a huge margin.

Kiosks tend to charge only slightly more for the 1.5-liter bottle than for the half-liter bottle and there you have it. The half-liter will usually set you back anywhere from NIS 7 to NIS 10 at a kiosk.

Three more tips to sum up:

The different brands cost different prices. Locally-produced water is cheaper than imported.

If you take a chilled bottle from the grocery fridge, rather than an unrefrigerated one, it will cost extra.

Tap water in Israel is perfectly potable. You can always buy one bottle at the start of your trip and keep it filled from the tap.

Ofer Vaknin