Tourist Tip #24 / Rental Apartments

You can save a pretty penny by renting an apartment during your stay instead of a hotel room, but before you sign the dotted line, make sure you know what you're getting.

Savvy Israeli tourists who are spending a week or more in the country can rent furnished apartments instead of hotel rooms, saving on shekels while also gaining extra space. But before you scan the local listings or scope out a flat, make sure you know the lingo.

In Israel, apartments are described by the number of bedrooms plus the living room, so expect a three-room pad (known in America as a two-bedroom) to have two rooms for sleeping and one for watching the tube. Many Israeli dwellings are also built with a smaller room, good for a baby's nursery or a home office, referred to as a "half room." A two-and-a half room apartment, then, only has one real bedroom, so if you're visiting with gramps and the kids in tow, you might want to look for something bigger.

And for those who hate the stairs, take note: An apartment on the second floor is actually three stories above the street, because in Israel, a building's ground floor is known as floor 0, rather than floor 1. You may also hear it referred to as "karka," and its corresponding symbol in the elevator can be either the number 0 or the Hebrew letter "kuf."

Most rental apartments are available for a minimum of one week, and some offer hotel-like amenities including housekeeping and delivered breakfast at an extra charge.