Ron Sandison shares his Tips on Traveling with Autism

 

This month we had the opportunity to interview Ron Sandison, a professor of theology, motivational speaker, and writer about his tips on traveling with autism. Ron, who works full time in the medical field is an advisory board member of Autism Society Faith Initiative of Autism Society of American and The Art of Autism.

Sandison has a Master of Divinity from Oral Roberts University and is the author of A Parent’s Guide to Autism: Practical Advice. Biblical Wisdom published by Charisma House. Also, Ron has published articles in Autism Speaks, Autism Society of America, Autism File Magazine, Autism Parenting Magazine, Not Alone, the Mighty, the Detroit News, the Oakland Press, and many others.

 Ron resides in Rochester Hills MI  with his wife, Kristen, and his baby daughter Makayla Marie.


How I started traveling

While in college at Oral Roberts University every summer I would travel to a different country for a one or two-month mission trip. When I went with ORU mission trips to Cameroon and Madagascar—I lived in the jungles for two weeks. I was able to see amazing wildlife like monkeys/apes and taste exotic foods like spicy Toucan. For our second honeymoon, my wife Kristen and I traveled to Israel for two weeks. I was able to swim in the Jordan River, ride a fishing boat on the Sea of Galilee and see the birthplace of Jesus.

Twelve and counting

I had the pleasure of traveling to twelve different countries—Madagascar, Cameroon, France, Germany, Belgium, Israel, Bulgaria, England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales, and Canada. 

Ron Sandison shares his Tips on Traveling with Autism menorah

How I handle airports and flights

The only thing I don’t like about traveling is airports. Boarding on airplanes gives me extreme anxiety. I hate being surrounded by strange people while battling for an overhead compartment to place my luggage. I avoid this scenario by pre-boarding. I tell the check-in flight attendant, “I have autism, and due to anxiety and sensory issues, I need to pre-board.”

If a flight attendant tells me, “You don’t look like you have autism or act like it.” I put on my funny beach hat with palm trees.
Then the flight attendant says, “Oh, I see! We will pre-board you right away.”

Sometimes I wear my funny hat just so the check-in flight attendant won’t question my autism diagnosis.

Ron Sandison shares his Tips on Traveling with Autism statueOn associating Travel with  smells

Some of my favorite travel smells include Belgium—the chocolate shops and Cameroon with its fresh bananas and mangos. In France & Bulgaria the smell of freshly brewed coffee and in Madagascar the seafood and fruit in the market!
Just thinking about these smells fills me with joy and makes me want to travel there again.

Ways to deal with less pleasant smells

Some travel scents I detest include pygmies’ bad breath—strong enough to kill a horse or mule. In Cameroon and Madagascar the odor of buses filled with locals who don’t use deodorant, bath, and are dripping with sweat from the heat.

I have learned coping skills to handle offensive odors placing candies near my nose when the scent becomes too much for me to bear. One of the best candies is Cracker Barrel’s old fashion candy sticks. I also try to set next to an open window when riding a bus or taxi cab overseas.

Ron’s tips for bouncing back from a trip

Two tricks I learned to recuperate from long trips are getting sufficient sleep and enjoying a favorite meal. When I came back from my two week trip to Israel—I slept for two straight days to regain my strength. When I travel overseas for a longer period; I like to go to one of my favorite restaurants and eat a meal I was unable to get in that country. When I returned after a two-month mission trip from Cameroon—I had pizza.

Preparing for the trip

I prepare mentally for traveling overseas by reading a travel guide and also checking out DVDs from the library on the countries I will be visiting. Two weeks before my trip I begin to daydream what it will be like to travel to that country.

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My favorite spots to visit

Four of my favorite places so far have been Masada, Foumban, London, and Loch Ness.

I love the rich history behind Masada—Herod’s Palace was the final stronghold from the Jewish Revolt to fall to the Roman Empire in 70 A.D. The view from the top of Herod’s Palace is incredible and seeing Ibex wild goats was cool.

Foumban has some of the best woodcarvings in Africa. When I visited this city, I got a woodcarving of a lion—one of my favorite souvenirs. London has excellent sightseeing and shopping spots. I liked Loch Ness because of the mystery of the “Loch Ness Monster” dating back to the 4th century.

My travel bucket list

The next three places I hope to visit are Greece, Turkey, and Australia.
I hope to travel to Greece because I teach Koine Greek and have translated 2/3 of the New Testament from Greek into English. I’d love Turkey so I could tour the seven churches of Revelation. I have memorized the complete book of Revelation. And as an animal lover, I would enjoy seeing kangaroos and koalas in their natural environment in Australia.

 

Ron Sandison shares his Tips on Traveling with Autism israel

My personal travel tips

My favorite electronic device to travel with is GPS, so I don’t ever get lost. Furthermore, I always bring lots of books to read while on the airplane or during down time.
Luggage wise-I pack clothes I feel comfortable wearing. I try not to over pack since I hate carrying heavy luggage.
One of my autistic special interests is animals. In fact, from age seven to fifteen I carried a stuffed animal of a prairie dog. Hence, I buy some animal as a souvenir in every country, I visit. I also collect woodcarvings and religious icons.

 I believe People with autism should be encouraged to travel

The biggest misconception individuals with autism have about traveling is that it is dangerous. Many people with autism tell me, “I am afraid to go overseas. You are endangering your life.” I  say I feel safer abroad than in many U.S cities since the crime rate is lower in many countries.

Travel has been a big part of my life. I speak and travel to over seventy events a year. I firmly believe that travel has contributed to my life by enabling me to see amazing sights and experience different cultures. I have eaten many different foods overseas—the only food I don’t like is cassava- a root vegetable.

People with autism need to travel to better understand the world and to experience life. As more people with autism travel, they will learn new social skills and also better coping skills for handling sensory issues.

 

 

 

Fifteen Must Do Activities with Kids in Tel Aviv

 

Fifteen Must Do Activities with Kids in Tel Aviv pin

About an hour’s drive away from the ancient capital city Jerusalem is Tel Aviv, the second most populated town in Israel. Situated on the Mediterranean coast, tourists come for the white, sandy beaches and surfing. However, there is far more to this fast-paced city than meets the eye. Here is our list of fifteen must do things for kids in Tel Aviv.

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Zapari in Ganei Yehoshua

In the heart of Tel Aviv is Ganei Yehoshua. It is basically to Tel Aviv what Central Park is to New York, but on a much smaller scale. A peaceful oasis of grass and trees, children’s playgrounds, picnic spots, paddle-boat hire, climbing walls and much more, it is a fantastic place to take the kids.

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There is also the Zapari, the biggest bird park in the Middle East. This park features an interactive parrot show and avian nursery where they teach visitors how to look after and hatch eggs. Also, they have a petting zoo, animal feedings, reptiles, and other small animals.
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Autism Travel Tips:

  • Parents should allow a few hours to enjoy this location thoroughly.Packing sunscreen , insect repellent and hand wipes is a good idea.
  • This place is the perfect location for antsy and active kids to get out some energy.
    Fifteen Must Do Activities with Kids in Tel Aviv beach

 

Tel Aviv Old Port

Built between 1936 and 1938, the old port of Tel Aviv is now far more famous for its restaurants, pier, and water sports among other things. The Yarkon River estuary empties into the Mediterranean here and offers spectacular scenery making it a popular place for walking. Travelers will see joggers passing by at all hours of the day from sunrise to midnight.

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Autism Travel Tips:

  • Bring the kids here for some delicious ice cream or gelato while you watch a magnificent sunset over the sea.
  • There are bikers and skaters everywhere so parents should be attentive.Fifteen Must Do Activities with Kids in Tel Aviv red

Carmel market

For those wanting to give their children a real cultural experience, the Carmel Market is the place to go.
It is the largest open-air market in Tel Aviv and the sights, smells and sounds should not be missed! What both tourists and locals alike enjoy most about the “Shuk HaCarmel” is that everything is fresh.

Travelers can walk through the alleyways seeing the spices, dried fruit, and yellow and white cheeses. They have other ready-to-eat meals with Druze, Yemenite, Iraqi and Eastern European influences, as well as traditional Middle Eastern street food.

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Autism Travel Tips:

  • Don’t miss out on the freshly squeezed and pressed fruit and vegetable juices.
  • Parents with kids with smell sensitivities might want to avoid the smelly alleyways where fresh fish, meat, and chicken is prepared and sold.
  • Like most markets, this one can be noisy which may be challenging for noise sensitive kids.
  • The market tends to be crowded on Fridays.
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Nachlat Binyamin

Keeping with the open-air theme, another great place to take children is the Nahlat Binyamin Pedestrian Mall. During the week, it is a favorite place to buy fabrics and art materials. However, twice a week, there is the Arts and Crafts Fair where local artists sell their extremely well made and unique wares. Street performers wow the crowds and there are all sorts of delicious foods to purchase to satisfy all palates.

 

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Autism Travel Tips:

  • This area is a great place to introduce kids with autism to street performances.Fifteen Must Do Activities with Kids in Tel Aviv car

Neve Tzedek

This neighborhood, dated back to the 1880’s, started out as a prosperous little suburb of Tel Aviv where artisans lived. One hundred years later, it had become a neglected slum full of ruins and a bad reputation. If some of the houses had not been on the preservation list, the whole area would have been demolished. Plans were made instead to renovate and beautify Neve Tzedek with an attempt to restore it to its former glory.Nowadays, Neve Tzedek is also known for its winding alleyways, charming restaurants, and beautiful architecture.
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One of the places to take your child to see is the Nahum Gutman Museum of Art which is named for a very well-known Israeli author, painter, sculptor, illustrator and all-round artist who was born just before the turn of the 20th century and spent a good portion of his early childhood in Neve Tzedek. The museum exhibits much of the late Nahum Gutman’s work in all sorts of mediums.

Autism Travel Tips:

  • This area is the perfect location to take art and history buffs.
  • The sidewalks aren’t well kept so close toe shoes are advised.Fifteen Must Do Activities with Kids in Tel Aviv pond

Sarona

Sarona is a newly renovated neighborhood in Tel Aviv. Children might like to see houses that were moved whole from one place to another in the preservation project. Virtually each house in the neighborhood serves as a museum with a story to tell.

Sarona was originally a German colony established in the 1870’s, and as the residents got older and moved away, the population dwindled. Now, visitors will find a  bustling market, a vast grassy area with the best outdoor gym and a popular place for community events and performances.

Fifteen Must Do Activities with Kids in Tel Aviv play

Autism Travel Tips:

  • This location is a great place to relax outside between events.
  • The indoor market can be noisy at rush hour.17104889215_89ea63552e_k

Beit Hatfutsot

No matter how old they are, something every child would enjoy is Beit Hatfutsot. Located at the Tel Aviv University, this is the Museum of the Jewish People and their culture. Many displays and exhibits depict over four millennia of Jewish history in permanent displays. There are also temporary exhibitions during the summer or other times of the year. Children and adults alike enjoy seeing the incredibly colorful dioramas and other audio-visual displays. It is an excellent introduction to Jewish history and life both local and international.

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Autism Travel Tips:

  • Best time to visit is in the early afternoon after the school groups leave.

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Azrieli Mall and mini theme park

The Azrieli Mall is the place to go for a unique theme park experience. Made up of three geometrically shaped buildings, the Azrieli Towers are a landmark in central Tel Aviv and currently include the largest shopping center in this city.
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On the third floor, there is a roof section with a mini theme park called The Island. It is a water-based park and has a pirate ship with slides. There is even a little train ride around the ‘island.’Throughout the area, there are trampolines, climbing walls and rope sky-walks all with supervised lifeguards.

Autism Travel Tips:

  • Budget a few hours at this place and have lunch in one of the restaurants in the Mall’s food halls.

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Old Jaffa

The most southern and coastal part of the Tel Aviv municipality is Jaffa. With its ancient port and its ancient winding alleyways and arched walkways, it is quite an adventure to explore. There are little museums and even the remains of a second-century house.In the newer section of Jaffa, there is a flea market as well as lovely little cafes and restaurants with excellent menus.

Old Jaffa is an artist colony with amazing galleries and workshops, and the weekly craft market should not be missed. One can visit St Peter’s, a centuries-old church, an old lighthouse, and a wishing bridge with a beautiful view of the Mediterranean Sea.

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Autism Travel Tips:

  • Parents should be aware the Old Jaffa area ground is uneven, and there are steps to navigate.

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White City Tour

A little-known fact about Tel Aviv is that this city was a recognized UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2003. This is because of a unique architectural style of residences, the largest collection in the world, called Bauhaus. It became very popular from the late 1920’s and into the 1930’s because it combined practicality, design functionality and the ability to use less expensive building materials; perfect for that time in Tel Aviv’s history.The city’s municipality offers Bauhaus tours and even free guided tours for visitors.

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Autism Travel Tips:

  • Parents should try the free tours since they can leave at any time.

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Gordon Pool

This Olympic sized pool was first built in 1954 and has undergone much reconstruction. There is an entrance fee, but it in worth it to be able to experience the refreshingly cold water in the summer and also make use of the heated indoor pool in winter.

 

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Autism Travel Tips:

  • For kids who are afraid of swimming in the sea, this is an excellent introduction to swimming in salt water.

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Tel Aviv Marina

With beautiful views of the Mediterranean Sea and the piers, the stretch of white beaches, and a variety of hotels and restaurants, the Tel Aviv Marina should not be missed. The area is well known for its surfing, sailing and canoeing activities and other outdoor sports.A popular past-time among locals in this area is a bat and ball game that has the locals call Matkot. The trick is to break the record and not lose the rhythm by dropping the ball.

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Autism Travel Tips:

  • There are a lot of great physical activities here for energetic children with autism.16484685583_9d97695246_k

Buffet Israeli breakfast

There is no shortage of good places to partake of this delightful culinary experience. Children would enjoy having an Israeli breakfast buffet style.

Each establishment has their atmosphere, style and signature dishes. Start off with a selection liquid refreshments both hot and cold. Move on to cereals, porridges, yogurts, eggs: boiled, fried, scrambled or prepared by the chef in a design-your-own-omelet variety.
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There is also Shakshuka, an egg poached in a spicy tomato based sauce or the creamed spinach white version. One can try savory and sweet pastries,  freshly prepared local or international salads and the option to build your own with seeds, dried fruit, and dressings.

There are cheeses, both yellow and white that come with added olives or garlic and herbs. Also, there are different fish options like smoked salmon, herring, mackerel, tuna, and sardines. Continue with the Israeli version of pies called bourekas and end the meal with fresh fruit, either whole or in a fruit salad There is no way to leave a Tel Aviv breakfast buffet hungry!

Autism Travel Tips:

  • Parents of children with food sensitivities should always ask servers if they are unsure about what ingredients make up a dish.
  • These breakfasts are an excellent way to introduce kids with autism to new tastes and textures.

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Hotel Sabbath Dinner

Many hotels offer this experience, like the Hilton Tel Aviv for example. This activity is a cultural experience that requires much preparation in advance on the part of the staff to get everything served before the sun sets on a Friday night, so as to comply with the kosher laws of Judaism. The dinner is a wonderful way to start the Shabbat, the holy and commanded day of rest.

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There are hot and cold dishes including various meats and poultry, vegetables, side dishes, and pastries. The desserts catch the eye of those who have a sweet tooth. Some hotels have an allocated room for a synagogue especially for conducting religious services. It is very special even to be on the outside hearing prayers and singing.

Autism Travel Tips:

  • Parents should make sure their children are respectful of the customs they witness.8573265967_5b2f113c48_k

Holon Comics Museum

To the South East of Tel Aviv and under a different municipality is the Holon Comics Museum. It is a unique institution in Israel and specializes in cartoons and caricatures, humorous and artistic in nature. They have exhibits and displays as well as workshops for children and adults of all ages. There are life-sized cartoon cutouts dotted about the museum grounds and massive sculptures based on pictures that are interactive and children can climb on them. It is an excellent experience and a great way to introduce children to this form of art.
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Autism Travel Tips:

  • This area is the perfect location for any comic collector. Parents should be advised most signage is in Hebrew.
  • Children interested in art may be interested in the workshops offered at this site.

 

 

 

 

Ten Must Try Israeli Snacks for Families

 

 

Ten Must Try Israeli Snacks for Families pin

When traveling to a new country, there is so much to see and take in, not to mention taste!
Israel with its different cuisines and cultures is a Hodge podge of sensory culinary experiences waiting to be discovered. However, families who aren’t planning a visit in the near future to the Middle East can still enjoy some of the iconic snacks by exploring their local Israeli markets and try out some of the following snacks.

Chocolate Halva

Made with sesame seeds and ground into a paste, traditional halva adds sugar, honey, or a combination of both to make a sweet, nutty treat. Add chocolate for a delicious snack full of flavor and the mix becomes irresistible. It comes packaged in bars, fingers or snack-sized blocks but samplers can even have wedges cut off a wheel.

Ten Must Try Israeli Snacks for Families halva

White Cheeses

Once tagged as the Land of Milk and Honey, it is no surprise that Israel has a large variety of dairy products from goats, sheep, and cows. Not to be confused with the Philadelphia-like cheeses boasting 28% fat or higher, the Isreali kinds are spreadable white cheeses that come in 3%, 5%, and  9% making much healthier The cheeses feature flavors like olive, garlic, dill, and onion. A kids’ favorite is the smooth cottage cheese that can be eaten directly from the little tubs with a spoon.

10 Must-try Israeli foods:Vanilla Like Yogurt

Cold Chocolate

Colloquially known as “Choco,” from the Hebrew word for chocolate, this liquid goodness is a cup measurement of chocolate milk in a sealed plastic bag or bottle that is comfortable to hold. After shopping with children in the neighborhood market, it is customary to buy them a Choco. Traditionally kids used to bite through the corner of the plastic bag and drink in the flavor that is just the right sweetness. But nowadays they can sip it with a straw from the bottle.

Ten Must Try Israeli Snacks for Families drinks

Bissli

Back in the day, the first Bissli looked like deep-fried pasta corkscrews.
However, this wheat-based snack now comes in all shapes, sizes and flavors from square-shaped pizza to onion hoops and BBQ tubes. There are even falafel, taco, and hamburger flavors! Bissli gets its name from a Yiddish word meaning “bite” and a Hebrew word meaning “for me.” It has been on the Israeli market since 1970 and is the 2nd most popular junk-food snack.

 

10 Must-try Israeli foods:Bissli

Bamba

Like Bissli, Bamba is unique to Israel and makes up a quarter of the Israeli snack food market.
Maize-based, it is almost like the American equivalent of Cheez Doodles, but peanut flavored. It is the most popular meal served at children’s parties, taken on road trips and picnics! Since the first Bamba was made in the early 1960’s, a few other flavors and shapes have been added – like halva filled or strawberry coated. It is said that peanut allergies in Israel are far less common because of the early exposure to peanuts in the form of the Bamba snack.

 

10 Must-try Israeli foods:Bamba Peanut Snack

Cocoa Spread

Since the early 1950’s this has been a customary snack for child and adults alike.
Served spread on bread, inside pita pockets, on crackers and matzo, it fills the gap when someone wants a pseudo-chocolate, sweet treat or a filling for a layer cake. The dark chocolate spread was convenient to travel with, did not need refrigeration, and was dairy-free and therefore suitable for vegans and vegetarians. It soon became part of modern Israel’s history. Today it has nostalgic value with older generation Israelis who remember having it for breakfast or dessert. The ingredients are kept secret. However, the original company HaShachar Ha’ole – translated Rising Dawn – maintain that even the newer white chocolate spread and milk chocolate spreads are nuts and trans-fat free.

 

10 Must-try Israeli foods:Cocoa Spread

Milki

One of our favorites and a popular dessert-snack in Israel since 1980 is this dairy pudding topped with a gelatin-based whipped cream. The original is a decadent the chocolate one, but there are now other flavors like vanilla, banana and even one with sprinkles.

10 Must-try Israeli foods:Chocolate Dessert milki

Dried Fruit

With perfect weather conditions almost all year round, it is no surprise that the dried fruit selection in this desert Mediterranean country is varied and of high quality. Once a year at the Tu b’Shevat celebration in February, it is traditional to eat, cook, and gift dried fruits. During the rest of the year, whether it is dates, apricots, figs, or the more exotic papaya, these easily portable treats make a great healthy snack.

10 Must-try Israeli foods:Light and Dried fruit

Green Olives

From far back in history, there is evidence that olives have played a vital role in the lives of the locals.
Dotted all over the Israeli landscape are groves of olive trees. There is even a mountain in Jerusalem named for them. The most common cultivar of this little green fruit is the Manzanillo, introduced to Israel in 1930 from the United States.

One cannot eat olives directly from the tree. Therefore, after harvesting, they are preserved in many ways before they are fit for consumption. Served alongside pickles, one can buy green olives from vats in open-air markets. One can also purchase olives in cans from almost any and every grocery store and vendor. They come in different brines and an assortment of pickling herbs and spices. They often accompany cucumbers and white cheeses in a lunch box or to a picnic.

 

 

 

Ten Must Try Israeli Snacks for Families olives

Krembo

Translated as ‘Cream inside, this snack treat created back in the early 1800s is loved by the locals The confectionery traditionally found in the stores during the late fall and winter months consists of a biscuit base topped with marshmallow-like foam coated in dark chocolate. The most popular flavors are vanilla and mocha.How to eat is has been quite the debate though most eat the top first a few prefer to start with the biscuit.

 

 

10 Must-try Israeli foods:Israeli krembo

Have you tried any Isreali snacks? Which one is your favorite?

Exploring Jerusalem with Kids

 

 

Exploring Jerusalem with Kids pin
Jerusalem
, Israel, is a Middle Eastern city holy to three religions – Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. A unique city filled with diverse neighborhoods and ethnicities, it has been the subject of political disputes and wars throughout the centuries. A fascinating destination to explore, the city offers exciting educational and fun opportunities for families to discover. For families wishing to introduce their kids to a city rich in history, culture, and art here are our top five places to visit.

 

Exploring Jerusalem with Kids pin wall

The Western Wall

Known as the Kotel and situated in the Old City of Jerusalem, this is the holiest site in Judaism. It is also the most popular tourist attraction in Israel with over a million visitors yearly of all religions and cultures. Jewish pilgrims have come here since the fourth century to pray and place handwritten prayers into cracks between stones. These pilgrims weep because of the destruction of the Temple – giving it the other name of the Wailing Wall.

Exploring Jerusalem with Kids pillar

 

This wall is all that is left of a building erected by King Herod 37 years before the Common Era. It is a popular place for boys to have their Bar Mitzva – Judaism’s coming-of-age ceremony. In more recent years girls have their Bat Mitzva celebrations there too. Furthermore, it has become customary for soldiers who are in the Israeli armed forces to have their swearing-in ceremonies there too.

Autism Travel Tips:

  • This location can get crowded. Parents should keep this in mind for children who might have a problem with groups.
  • The Kotel is a religious location. Parents need to teach their child to be respectful of those on pilgrimage here.
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Yad Vashem

Situated on the Mt Herzl, this is the second most visited tourist attraction in Israel. Nine underground galleries display photos, artifacts, and testimonies as well as show videos relating to the Holocaust. Visitors walk through the galleries depicting life before this dark period of history, during the atrocity, and stories of survival.

Exploring Jerusalem with Kids garden

At the Children’s Memorial, one can hear the names of about 1.5 million children read out in the background, so their existence is never forgotten. The memorial candles flicker and give the impression of a million stars in the darkness providing a somber and moving experience.

 

Autism Travel Tips:

  • Due to the sensitive nature of the subject matter, Yad Vashem is not open to children ten and younger.
  • It is also not recommended for children under thirteen. Parents should use discretion to make sure their child can handle the mature content of this national memorial.
  • It is advisable to give children an overview of what to expect because of how graphic the material is at this location.
  • Parents should make sure their children are respectful as they move through the exhibits.

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City of David

Likely the oldest section of ancient Jerusalem, the City of David is where travelers can take their children to see history come alive. It is now an archaeological site that relays the story of battles and victories, revealing how people lived thousands of years ago. Travelers can walk the Shiloh tunnel, carved from each end through almost 583 yards of solid rock – an incredible scientific feat, especially for that period.

Exploring Jerusalem with Kids tunnel

Autism Travel Tips:

  • Kids interested in history will enjoy exploring this location.
  • The Shiloh tunnel is dark and incredibly small in some places. Children who have problems with tight spaces or darkness might not want to walk through this tunnel.
    Exploring Jerusalem with Kids greek church

Israel Museum

Travelers who want to see everything that the country’s national museum has to offer should budget at least one full day for this unusual and fascinating place. Covering a distance of 31 square miles, it houses various collections, displays, and findings.

There is the archaeology wing arranged in a chronological journey with pottery, glass, jewelry, and ancient writings. Visitors can see a scale model of the city of Jerusalem from before the year 66 in the Common Era. This model gives visitors a good idea of what Jerusalem looked like before its destruction by the Romans.
Exploring Jerusalem with Kids views

The museum has a whole building called the Shrine of the Book dedicated to housing and preserving the oldest Biblical manuscripts ever found, including the Dead Sea Scrolls. There is another wing for Fine Art and an Art Garden. The museum features a Youth Wing dedicated to promoting education and coexistence between Arab and Jewish children and they offer workshops throughout the year which attract locals and tourists alike.

Autism Travel Tips:

  • This place is a mostly non-interactive museum. Parents should make sure kids know what they can and can’t touch.

The Shuk

The Machane Yehuda market is an old and famous landmark dating back to the Ottoman Empire. It used to be exclusively open-air but after undergoing renovations and upgrading over the past few decades, it now also has covered stalls and restaurants.

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Apart from all the vendors selling their fresh produce, amazing fruit and vegetables with all colors and fragrances, there are also ready-to-eat pastries, shawarma, falafel and other street food stalls. One can even buy freshly barbecued meats served with salads and pita bread with hummus and tahini to take home.
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Autism Travel Tips:

  • This location is a great place for children with autism to practice haggling.
  • The market is usually crowded. The crowds can overwhelm kids with noise sensitivities or those who are claustrophobic.
  • The Shuk offers self-guided tours, including the option of a tasting tour.

 

2theloo Helps Families with Autism

2theloo Helps Families with Autism pin

Contrary to popular belief, sometimes, one can reinvent the wheel. In this case, we are talking about a trending alternative in public lavatories!

When out and about, especially when traveling, parents often worry about dirty facilities or begging stores to use their restrooms. Introducing 2theloo, a relatively new concept birthed in the Netherlands in 2011 by Eric Treurniet and his friend Almar Holtz. Their goal: to provide a clean place to go in even the busiest of places.

2theloo Helps Families with Autism when Nature Calls toilet

What’s 2theloo?

2theloo is a regular store where customers, for a nominal fee, can purchase the use of a clean toilet. Travelers can find these facilities in high traffic areas like shopping malls, train and gas stations, and pedestrian street malls. Each location sells toiletry-related products, gifts, and gadgets in a store setting. Some even have a coffee corner in the front of their store like the one we went to in Tel Aviv.

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There are several 2theloo shops in Israel. The one that we saw, which used to be located on King George Street, is now just around the corner on Dizengoff Street, diagonally opposite the Embassy of Cyprus. It is a modernized, clean, and safe environment for families and individuals to enjoy when nature calls.

The Experience

There are over 200 2theloo ‘stores’ around the world. Each store has its unique décor, some humorous, others blending in with the surroundings. Some offer the use of the restroom with the purchase of coffee. Many have music and lights, and one can totally forget that this is a public lavatory facility. The location we visited featured seven stalls and two urinals and offered toiletries, wipes, diapers, hand soaps, toys lotions and even sodas for sale.

2theloo Helps Families with Autism when Nature Calls toilet

When we visited, the adult booths featured large poster murals on each wall that provided for an enjoyable ambiance.

The first stall, which we nicknamed the ‘national geographic’  stall, had a wrap-around photo of a polar bear swimming in clear blue waters. The second, boasting a hip city vibe, depicted a blown-up nighttime photo of the Azrieli towers. Meanwhile, the third stall, covered with a giant picture of the Tel Aviv beachfront, catered to sea lovers.

2theloo Helps Families with Autism when Nature Calls red

But it was 2theloo’s kids’ facilities that interested our kids. As we entered, we saw the first room on the left was dedicated to children. The room featured two spotless commodes, cleanliness that any family can appreciate. The first thing we noticed was that everything, from the toilets to the sinks, was lower than average. These lowered facilities made for a fun and accessible experience for our kids. On the other side of the room, we found a giraffe motif baby changing table with two stuffed animals for parents or caretakers to use while changing their infant’s diapers. A spinning disco mirrored ball and colored lights completed the room’s entertaining look.

2theloo Helps Families with Autism when Nature Calls giraffe

Since it is a store and not a regular public toilet facility, there are hours of operation. Except for Fridays, when the store is open from 8 am to 5 pm, patrons can go and use the facilities any day between 10 am and 10 pm.

Autism Travel Tips

  • 2theloo is a great option for parents of children with autism, particularly if their kids are not potty trained.
  • Unlike public facilities that separate the different sexes, here, parent’s can accompany kids at any age should they require help.
  • Parents should bookmark the company’s web page. This way, they will be able to find the nearest facility when they need it.
  • The decor of the various rooms can fascinate kids, and they might wish to see the others. Therefore, it is pertinent for parents to explain to them ahead of time that exploring other stalls may not be a possibility when the rooms are occupied.
  • The lower to the ground facilities in the children’s stalls might upset some kids.

 

Exploring Tel Aviv’s New Sarona Market with Family

 

Exploring Tel Aviv's New Sarona Market with Family pin

Centrally located on the north-south axis in Tel Aviv is the neighborhood of Sarona. German Lutherans under the Ottoman Empire first established Sarona 140 years ago. The settlement declined over time, and the buildings were all but in ruins. Then, in the mid-2000’s, a project began to restore the old suburb entirely. Today, Sarona is a thriving and highly sought after piece of real-estate with many great activities for families.

Exploring Tel Aviv's New Food Market Sarona with Family meat

The Shopping Area

Not more than ten minutes by car from the beach and Azrieli Mall, this shopping venue was an excellent place to spend the afternoon. Surrounded by restored buildings of yesteryear, we saw plenty of family-friendly eateries, clothing, and toy stores.

Exploring Tel Aviv's New Food Market Sarona with Family play

In front of the entrance to the luxurious food market, there was a shaded playground with equipment geared for all ages and abilities. The area featured climbing walls, gyroscopes, twirling roundabouts, and other accessories that are perfect for children, especially those with sensory issues. Also, the whole playground was constructed on rubberized soft-play flooring under shading. While children played with little supervision needed, adults could keep an eye on them while resting.

The Food Market

The Sarona Market, which opened in August 2015, is the largest indoor food market in Israel. It is open every day of the week including the Sabbath which adds to its uniqueness.

Exploring Tel Aviv's New Food Market Sarona with Family cheese

There were almost 100 different stalls and stores in the vast space, a feast for eyes and taste buds! Visitors could enjoy purchases on the premises, buy food to take home or eat at a picnic spot nearby. The market covered an area of nearly 30,000 square feet and was a sea of colors, fragrances, and aromas.

Meats, Pastas, and Lunch Items

We toured the market on a Friday afternoon soon after it opened. We saw many new vendors and excited crowds enjoying the culinary delights offered. Many vendors, like the popular falafel stall staff, handed out free samples.

Exploring Tel Aviv's New Food Market Sarona with Family rainbow

As we walked around, we saw specialty artisan pasta, pastries, jams, spreads, and sauces. We counted at least two delis where visitors could build their own sandwiches while enjoying freshly squeezed fruit and vegetable juices. We even tried a tarragon soda!

Exploring Tel Aviv's New Food Market Sarona with Family buy

There were long lunchtime lines with shoppers, some with their dogs on leashes, ordering sandwiches and other delicious treats. We noted Tapas, German sausages and pretzels, and a station for Druze cuisine from which to choose.

Exploring Tel Aviv's New Food Market Sarona with Family gelato

Next, we stopped to gawk at the fish and seafood bar. We also saw the kosher butchery, which displayed beautifully presented meat, and the shop selling family recipe stuffed vegetables.

For Coffee lovers seeking libations, there were plenty of options offering specialty cappuccinos and lattes.

Exploring Tel Aviv's New Food Market Sarona with Family bread

Wine, Cheeses, and Sweets

We enjoyed the wine shop with a unique tasting room which worked on a swipe-card method. The venue featured soft cups that looked like glass but were made out of plastic so they couldn’t break.

Exploring Tel Aviv's New Food Market Sarona with Family color

The sight of many colored olives in different marinades and cheeses such as white, yellow, soft, hard, smelly, imported and local grabbed our attention while we passed by the store. Nearby we noticed a stall selling kitchen supplies, olive oils, and whiskeys where buyers could even mix their own liqueurs.

Exploring Tel Aviv's New Food Market Sarona with Family white

The massive selection of pick and mix sweets, candies, chocolates, and dried fruit available in the market could cause patrons to mull over options for hours. The market offered a fantastic selection of desserts from which to choose. These included natural fruit sorbets, ice-creams, a fill-your-bucket with cookies option and our son’s personal favorite – the crêperie offering several fillings for crêpes.

Exploring Tel Aviv's New Food Market Sarona with Family wine

Noteworthy was the Halva Kingdom, featuring an incredible variety of the sesame treat in custom flavors like banana, cashew, pecan, and dates produced right on the premises. The store offered unlimited tastings of the treats that had our son with autism wishing he could move in and live there.

Exploring Tel Aviv's New Food Market Sarona with Family gear

Overall we found the market complex was a fantastic ending to our brief Tel Aviv visit and we highly recommend it for families. With something for everyone’s taste and palate, what’s not to love?

Exploring Tel Aviv's New Food Market Sarona with Family fish

Autism Travel Tips:

  • For children who are noise-sensitive, this needs to be a significant consideration. There is no time in the market when it is less noisy or less crowded so parents should make sure they have secured a quiet retreat to allow their child to decompress if necessary.
  • With the crowds, it can be difficult to move freely, and if there are long lines, patience will be required. Parents should prepare their child in advance.
  • The market is well ventilated and temperature controlled. However, parents wishing to visit in the hotter months should bring a handheld fan if their child is temperature-sensitive.
  • Security guards patrol the market, and one can feel safe and secure while shopping.
  • The market as well as the neighborhood caters to wheelchairs and strollers.
  • Public toilets are provided and well serviced.
  • The market is very visual and interactive and a beautiful place to explore. Anyone could spend as little or as short a time as they would like. Parents should take care to monitor how their child is enjoying it or if it is overwhelming.
  • Parents should prepare their child by planning in advance what everyone would like to see, taste and experience. There is a list on the Market’s website.

 

Staying with Family at the Vital Hotel Tel Aviv

 

Staying with Family VITAL TEL AVIV PIN

 

Tel Aviv is one of Israel’s major cities, sitting along the Mediterranean coastline. Families traveling through Israel have many hotel options when staying in one of the country’s most famous cities. We stayed at the Vital Hotel during one of our visits to Tel Aviv. The hotel is unusual as it shares a building with medical and office suites, and it doesn’t look like any other hotel we’ve seen during our travels. However, the Vital Hotel is still a valid option for some families planning a visit to Tel Aviv.

Staying with Family at the Vital Hotel Tel Aviv room

What Makes it Family Worthy?

The Vital Hotel on 14 Weizman Street is a small and unique boutique hotel in the commercial center of the city. The hotel is in a safe area close to the beach, Weizman Mall, Rabin Square, and several restaurants, galleries, and museums. It is a budget-friendly establishment that caters to families, business and leisure guests, as well as patients from the Ichilov Hospital which specializes in medical tourism.

Families will appreciate the large rooms with opening sofas that can easily accommodate a party of five. The only “issue” is that the hotel doesn’t have the atmosphere of a normal hotel, which some might find lacking, especially since they do not have specific services at all hours.

Our Welcome

We called ahead to request our usual accommodations of a feather-free quiet room. The room was ready by the time we got there, and the staff even left us a  complimentary bottle of wine.

Staying with Family at the Vital Hotel Tel Aviv phone

Hotel Decor

This hotel was clean, modern, and stylish. The decor included parquet flooring throughout and solid, dark wood furnishings. Using hues of creams and browns with accents of black and white, it was functional and pleasing to the eye with views of Tel Aviv skyline. However, it lacked curb appeal and looked more like an office building than a hotel from the outside. Inside, the hotel felt incredibly disjointed, with seemingly no planning to the rooms on each of the floors.

Our Room

We stayed in room 512. The room was quiet and well-lit with clean, no-frills décor in a generous and functional size.
The rooms colors were simple browns, whites, and creams. The flooring was wood, a great feature for those with allergies. It pretty much looked like an average apartment.

Staying with Family at the Vital Hotel Tel Aviv wine

Our closet had basic shelving and a safe to store valuables. The hotel provided us with slippers, which is a nice personal touch in a budget friendly hotel.

Our room had a king sized bed with a nightstand. We were pleasantly surprised to find a full-sized pullout sleeper sofa that could accommodate two additional people. There were ample power sockets, ideal for families with numerous handheld devices. The hotel strives to be eco-friendly, and we found several energy-saving gadgets. We enjoyed complimentary cable TV and WiFi.

The room also had a nice desk next to the TV which was hung on the wall. Under the desk, we found the mini fridge full of purchasable snacks and drinks.

Staying with Family at the Vital Hotel Tel Aviv bed

Our Bathroom

The bathroom was also a good size with no frills. It was almost entirely white tiled, with a small pot of red flowers on the gray countertop.
We had a basic shower with a glass door enclosure. We did appreciate the fact the room had practical amenities like a handheld shower attachment and a non-slip floor surface. However, there was no grab bar.

There was ample place for toiletries and cosmetics on the vanity sink countertop, and the property provided a nice amenity kit.

Staying with Family at the Vital Hotel Tel Aviv kit

Business Lounge

We enjoyed their small business lounge, which had modest offerings and was open between 11 AM and 10 PM. Apart from being convenient for printing and Internet access, they also provided a few refreshments, snacks, and a light dinner.

Dining

The dining room served a typical but modest Israeli breakfast buffet. There was a selection of hot and cold vegetable dishes and salads, a variety of yellow and white cheeses, hot and cold cereals, boiled or scrambled eggs, a smoked and pickled fish selection, bread, and pastries, fresh fruit and liquid refreshments in the form of fruit juices, coffees or teas.

Staying with Family at the Vital Hotel Tel Aviv food

The hotel did offer room service for those who couldn’t or didn’t want to leave their rooms.

Amenities

Guests at the Vital Hotel can enjoy free access to the nearby mall’s health club. The on-site fitness center is equipped with both conventional and advanced fitness machines. Those flying in can use the hotel’s airport transfer service.

Staying with Family at the Vital Hotel Tel Aviv nutella

We found that the Vital staff made an effort to make our stay memorable. They showed us personalized attention and did their best to attend to the guests personally. When we arrived, they asked if we were hungry and they went out of their way to provide something for us to eat and drink. We asked for chamomile tea in the room. Not only did they send four tea bags, but they also gave us crackers and a bottle of water. They were very attentive.

Cost

Pricing starts at $180 per night and includes free WiFi in all rooms and public areas.

Staying with Family at the Vital Hotel Tel Aviv flower

Autism Travel Tips:

  • It is important to communicate your child’s individual needs with the hotel staff.
  • If you have a child who is noise-sensitive, do ask for a quiet room.
  • One of the many benefits of having parquet flooring is that it cuts down on allergies, but if your child is feather-sensitive for example, it is critical that you explain this to the hotel so that they can provide feather-free pillows and linen.
  • For those with asthma and other allergies, make sure that you inform the staff not to spray cans of air freshener or bug spray in the room for 48 hours before your arrival. Unfortunately, we had a bad experience with their air freshener and ended up getting sick,
  • The hotel takes safety seriously which is good, but there is no grab bar in the bathroom, so you need to make sure you are there to help your child at all times.
  • If your child is temperature-sensitive, there is a/c in the room which can be adjusted.
  • If your child is light-sensitive, there are double curtains to block out the early-morning sun.

 

 

Dan Tel Aviv Hotel Welcomes Families

Dan Tel Aviv Hotel Welcomes Families pin

Located at 99 Hayarkon Street, Tel Aviv, travelers will find the beautiful Dan Hotel. This hotel’s multicolored painted front facing the Mediterranean offers magnificent ocean views while the other side shows off the magnificent cityscapes of the White City.

Dan Tel Aviv Hotel Welcomes Families building

When it opened in 1953, The Dan Tel Aviv Hotel was the first luxury hotel in Israel and paved the way for the Israeli hospitality industry. Its proximity to the beach, restaurants, museums, art galleries, boutiques, the open-air Carmel market to the north, the unique neighborhood of Neve Tzedek, and the ancient port city of Jaffa to the south makes the Dan Hotel a prime location for all.
Dan Tel Aviv Hotel Welcomes Families lobby

 

What Makes it Family Worthy?

There are 280 rooms available as well as 41 luxury suites, 84 Executive Sea View rooms, one Royal Suite and one Presidential Suite. Therefore, the hotel is perfect for serving an extensive range of guests. While staying, we saw everyone from vacationing families to business travelers.

The Dan Tel Aviv is part of a small fourteen property chain in Israel that prides itself on luxury and family friendliness. The location of the hotel itself is a central part of Tel Aviv, allowing families to get to the attractions and landmarks easily. The hotel is also right across from the beach.

Families will appreciate the size of the rooms as well as the well-planned layout. Moreover, the chain a prides itself on having an on-site Kids Club called DanyLand.

Dan Tel Aviv Hotel Welcomes Families beach

Our Welcome

We did let the front desk staff know of our special needs for a feather-free quiet room a week before arrival.
The hotel surprised us by giving us a room on the first floor, facing the street, which we thought would be noisy. However, after staying there, during the Tel Aviv marathon, we can say that we didn’t hear a thing1  The hotel had dual pane windows and fantastic insulation making our room unbelievably quiet.

Dan Tel Aviv Hotel Welcomes Families light

Hotel Decor

The colors on the exterior of this flagship building change hues according to the movements of the sun. The interior décor portrays pure elegance and class with its creams and blacks with gold accents. This theme is continued with statues and artwork throughout the establishment.

Our Room

The room had beautiful wooden paneling and lots of lighting. Soothing muted tones of whites and creams decorated the room, and the area was well designed and comfortable. Housekeeping left our room well kept, sticking to the high standards that gave the Dan Hotel its stellar reputation.

Our room was divided into two sections, a rather large sitting/dining area and sleeping area.
The sitting area was roomy, and the artwork on the walls stood out against the painted walls and the thick, plush carpet. They provided armchairs, an opening sofa, a table, television desk and chair which were all very practical and functional. There was even a phone on the desk for guests’ convenience.
Dan Tel Aviv Hotel Welcomes Families bed

The sleeping area had a King-sized bed and yet another flat-screened TV. The two TVs allowed those in the sitting area to watch something different from those in the bedroom. Another practical touch was that each nightstand has its own phone as well as light controls. For lighting , fixtures ,the room boasted over twenty recesfixtures,as well as standing lamps and nightlights next to the beds.

Our bedroom had a giant closet with full-length mirrors. The closet had four sections of shelving with double hanging space, many hangers, and a room safe placed at eye-level.

Housekeeping and room service were at our disposal. There was a handy feature at the door which allowed us to communicate with the staff through the electronic “Do not disturb” and “Please make up the room” buttons.
Dan Tel Aviv Hotel Welcomes Families tub

Our Bathroom

The bathroom had tan marble flooring and granite countertops. It was one of the largest bathrooms we’ve seen throughout our hotel stays. A door divided the bathroom into two sections, perfect for several family members needing to use the facilities at the same time.A door separated a tub-sink-bidet area and a sink-toilet area. The tub had an overhead shower as well as a handheld showerhead. There were grab bars in the bath, and it had an anti-slip surface. The hotel provided a lovely amenity kit, towels, bathrobes, and slippers.
Dan Tel Aviv Hotel Welcomes Families food

Our Breakfast

We enjoyed our breakfast in the Yam Breakfast Hall. The vast dining area was two interlinking halls with elegant décor in black and creams and a magnificent view of the Mediterranean promenade.The drink station of the buffet had cider, freshly squeezed fruit, and vegetable juices as well as mineral water, luxury teas and coffees.

The food buffet was a feast for the eyes. We enjoyed a selection of white cheeses like ricotta, different fat percentage cream cheeses, cottage, aged, French cheeses, goat’s milk cheeses, mozzarella and Bulgarian. There were stuffed grape leaves, a huge variety of fish in different preparation styles: pickled, smoked and marinated like sardines, smoked salmon, herring, and Ikra which is a fish-egg spread.

Dan Tel Aviv Hotel Welcomes Families buffet

There were capers, grains, dressings, freshly cut up vegetables in brilliant reds, greens and oranges as well as leaves, mushrooms and seed sprouts in the ‘make your own salad’ area.

The ‘sweet’ station was a favorite of ours, filled with croissants and other baked delicacies; orange and chocolate cakes, cut up fresh and whole fruits, and an assortment of the Sesame Halva.
For those with particular dietary needs, there was even a sugar-free section alongside yogurts, cereals, granolas and muesli.

The bread station had a good selection of sliced and whole loaves in an assortment of flours and grains as well as crackers, tapenades, spreads, jams.
Dan Tel Aviv Hotel Welcomes Families dish

Shabbat Dinner

We had the opportunity to experience the Dan Hotel’s spectacular Shabbat Dinner which followed a moving and special ceremony. The amount of time and effort that went into the preparation of this meal by the staff was noteworthy.

We started at the soup station with its excellent vegetable and meat soups followed by the salad station in which each salad was more appealing than the next. The colors and flavors were a sight to behold.

Dan Tel Aviv Hotel Welcomes Families meat

The staff prepared the meats so well, and there was something for every taste whether it was chicken, rack of lamb, beef, tongue or vegetarian dishes. There was a whole table of bread slices with sesame and poppy seed challahs, the traditional bread served on this special day of the week. There was a range of appetizers and side dishes including couscous, rice, pasta, potatoes, Gefilte fish, relishes, olives and cold cuts.

The buffet staff went the extra mile by providing a Kids station that served chicken nuggets, hot dogs, and kid-appropriate sides.
Last but not least was the dessert station with individual bowls that served a variety of jellies, crème brûlées and other pastries and baked goods. Travelers who are not planning to stay in the hotel but wish to sample the dinner can still do so by booking their spot in advance with the front desk.

Executive Lounge

We got to enjoy the Executive Lounge during our stay. This hotel’s lounge was a large, elegant, and upscale room facing the Mediterranean Sea. It was open throughout the day and offered guests many appetizers, snacks, and drinks.

Dan Tel Aviv Hotel Welcomes Families wrap

Dining

The Dan Hotel offers two main restaurants – the Hayarkon 99 and the D-Restaurant.The Hayarkon 99 is the hotel’s flagship restaurant. Here, guests could dine on foods made with local ingredients in a comfortable atmosphere.We enjoyed  a fish entree with a glass of local wine for dinner.The D-Restaurant famous for its kosher dairy products also boasted  lovely views of the beach.

Amenities

The hotel had the option of both an indoor and outdoor swimming pool as well as a gym which is for the use of the guests. There was a spa but both guests and non-residents needed to pay for this service.

Dan Tel Aviv Hotel Welcomes Families dessert

The Dan Hotel Kids Club

The Dan Hotel chain has a signature entertainment club for children of all ages called Danyland. It is available during the summer months and various holidays and it is a really beneficial amenity that is ideal for parents who need a safe place for their children to play and be cared for. Over the age of three, children do not require parental supervision to participate in the Danyland program. They cater to youth of all ages with soft play facilities and play-stations and great murals for artwork on the walls.

Cost

Pricing starts at $300 and includes free WiFi in all the rooms, lobby, and public areas.

Dan Tel Aviv Hotel Welcomes Families bread

Autism Travel Tips:

  • All facilities are wheelchair accessible.
  • For those who are noise-sensitive, the rooms have excellent sound insulation.
  • For those who are heat-sensitive, the room air-conditioning can be controlled by the guests.
  • In the same vein, the vents for the air-conditioning are well placed, so they do not blow directly on the beds.
  • For those who are sensitive to light, there is a double curtain which keeps out the morning sun.
  • There is a great safety feature in all of the rooms. To open the windows, one has to follow very specific instructions. Therefore, children cannot open the windows, so there is no danger of them falling.
  • The hotel does offer loaner tablets for guests who wish to borrow them.

 

 

Family Stay at the Intercontinental David Tel Aviv

Family Stay at the Intercontinental David Tel Aviv pin

Ideally situated within walking distance of the Mediterranean beach at 12 Kaufman Street, Tel Aviv, the David Intercontinental Tel Aviv is hands down one of our favorite places to stay. It is close to museums and cafes, restaurants, galleries, open-air markets, bars and clubs, designer boutiques as well as the ancient port city of Jaffa and the ever so quaint Neve Tzedek which reminds people of Manhattan’s SoHo neighborhood.

Family Stay at the Intercontinental David Tel Aviv mosque

 

What Makes it Family Worthy?

This hotel attracts tourists and locals alike, for those coming to the city for business or a getaway. During the months of August and the week of Passover, the hotel caters especially to children with their very own Kids Club. The establishment also provides babysitting services.

Family Stay at the Intercontinental David Tel Aviv spa

Families will also enjoy the hotel’s proximity to shopping areas, attractions, the Carmel market, and the old city Jaffa. Finally, the hotel is literally across the street from the beach, which is always a plus for kids.

Our Welcome

We always call ahead to request a feather-free quiet room. Since this was not our first time staying at this hotel the room, we asked whether the room could be ready early in the morning. After our 30 hour flight, we greatly appreciated we could check-in early and take a much-needed nap.

Family Stay at the Intercontinental David Tel Aviv views

Hotel Decor

Apart from the natural views, the hotel is very tastefully designed with modern tones and classic lines and beautiful wooden furnishings. The lobby is spacious and done in light colors of natural stone. Huge windows throughout the lobby let in natural light and offer a welcoming seating area for guests.

Family Stay at the Intercontinental David Tel Aviv bed

Our Room

Our room on the 18th floor was luxurious and comfortable. The room featured subdued colors of creams, light browns, and reds with brown striped carpet flooring.The closet had great hanging space and deep drawers with a large safe that could fit a laptop. We especially liked the fact most things in the closet were at eye level.

We had a king sized bed in the room. Along with the many lamps around the room, we had tiny nightlights attached to each side of the headboard, which we thought was a nice touch. Across from the bed, we saw a 40 inch sized TV and a surcharge mini bar with a selection of cold beverages. However, the cooler fridge under the TV that held the mini bar was computerized to register anyone lifting items out of it. Once a guest raised the drink out of its place, the cost would be charged to their bill.

For travelers needing to work during their stay,  the room had a large working desk with an ergonomic chair next to a relaxing sitting area.  Though the room had adequate electric sockets, we felt more were needed for larger families.

Family Stay at the Intercontinental David Tel Aviv bath

Our Bathroom

The brightly lit bathroom featured creams and whites. The countertop was a copper color, and quite large. Over the countertop, we found a hairdryer and magnifying mirror.

The bathroom featured a combination shower/tub with a hand-held showerhead and a grab bar which made it safer to use. The tub/shower had a short side panel glass door that we found didn’t pose much of a risk to smaller kids. There was also a retractable clothes line useful to hang wet swimsuits.

Family Stay at the Intercontinental David Tel Aviv bath

The property provided a comprehensive amenities kit which included shampoo, conditioner, sewing kit, other toiletries and slippers, all great reminders of the service that this chain provided for its guests.

Our Breakfast

Served in Jaffa Court, our Breakfast Buffet was a feast for the eyes. It was ample, prepared with only the freshest ingredients and guests could choose from fruits and vegetables, muffins and cereals, white and yellow cheeses and spreads like tapenades that went well with a varied assortment of bread.

Family Stay at the Intercontinental David Tel Aviv salads

Guests could build their salad from the salad bar, let the chef help them make their own omelet, or enjoy traditional Shakshuka – eggs poached in a spicy tomato dish. There were even lasagnas for those who wanted something more filling for breakfast.

Family Stay at the Intercontinental David Tel Aviv fruit

There were packaged puddings and jellies for children, chilled champagne for adults as well as cheesecakes, pancakes, and other sweet pastries.

Another excellent example of the attention to detail – we saw miso soup and congee catering to those who have a hankering for the Asian cuisine.

Family Stay at the Intercontinental David Tel Aviv plate

Executive Lounge

On the 24th floor of this establishment was their luxurious Executive Lounge. It had a spectacular view over the Mediterranean Sea and the greater Tel Aviv coastal area. The executive lounge was open most of the day, and they had a lot to offer.

The breakfast menu was a smaller version of the hotel’s extensive Buffet Breakfast with white cheeses, shakshuka, freshly prepared vegetables beautifully presented in Armenian pottery dishes. They also have an extensive selection of coffees.

Family Stay at the Intercontinental David Tel Aviv sweet

The lounge’s Happy Hour was also elaborate with multiple appetizers, hot dishes, and desserts, along with a fantastic selection of alcoholic drinks, sodas, and juices. Equipped with one of the best-trained staff in the city,t the service was impeccable.

Family Stay at the Intercontinental David Tel Aviv drinks

Dining

We had breakfast in the Jaffa Court as mentioned above, which was a lovely experience. The hotel also offers two other family-friendly onsite eateries. Aubergine was the hotel’s signature restaurant, where they served kosher gourmet cuisine.

 

Family Stay at the Intercontinental David Tel Aviv snack

The Atrium Lobby Lounge was a small place overlooking the Mediterranean where guests could grab light meals while socializing.

 

Family Stay at the Intercontinental David Tel Aviv eggs

Amenities

The 5-star rating for this hotel was quite well earned with its outdoor pool and bar, its fitness center on the 2nd floor , and the wellness spa where guests could get a variety of treatments.

Family Stay at the Intercontinental David Tel Aviv gym

Cost

Pricing started at $270 a night and included free access to the gym.

Autism Travel Tips:

  • Be aware that as it is an older hotel, the heating or A/C is set according to the season. Travelers won’t be able to adjust the settings differently.
  • The outdoor pool does not have lifeguards on duty, so parents should be sure to watch their kids.
  • They do have quiet rooms. Ask for top floor, because the hotel is situated on a busy street.
  • Bring own bath mat/nightlight.
  • Elevators can get busy, so parents to noise sensitive kids should ask for a room away from elevators

 

Luxury Family Stay at the Hilton Tel Aviv

Luxury Family Stay at the Hilton Tel Aviv pin

Exquisitely situated 150 feet from the Mediterranean at 205 Hayarkon St. Independence Park, the Hilton Tel Aviv is in a prime spot to take advantage of everything Tel Aviv has to offer including beaches, museums, restaurants, cafes, and designer clothing boutiques. Guests can enjoy a short drive to the ancient port city of Jaffa with its ruins and reconstructions and the Carmel Shuk – the well-known cultural treat of an open-air market.

Luxury Family Stay at the Hilton Tel Aviv steel

What Makes it Family Worthy?

The Hilton Tel Aviv caters to everyone from tourists to travelers and families, even offering babysitting services. However, what is most impressive is how they go out of their way to welcome guests who have special needs.
Families will feel welcome at this establishment, especially since the hotel is centrally located, right next to the iconic Tel Aviv beachfront and not far from the eateries in the old port of Tel Aviv.

Our Welcome

We called ahead for a feather-free quiet room, which was ready upon our arrival. We were warmly welcomed and upgraded to a larger room as Hilton Gold members, which we appreciated.

Luxury Family Stay at the Hilton Tel Aviv sky

Hotel Decor

The architecture and design made use of the natural light. Together with the modern interior, the decor gave this “grand dame of Tel Aviv” a luxurious feel. In all the areas of the hotel, the clean lines, and vibrant colors contributed to the well-earned five-star feeling.

The public areas were decorated in stone and marble of light tans and dark browns with splashes of color, giving the spaces an opulent, luxurious feel.

Luxury Family Stay at the Hilton Tel Aviv hall

Our Room

We stayed in room 745. The room was well lit and beautifully decorated in hues of whites, creams, browns, and yellows. We saw the colorful art on the walls and square brown carpeting. The lighting in the room included several side lamps, adjustable reading lamps on the headboard, and a section of lighting above the bed.

The door had three locks for excellent security. For further security, as we always do, we checked the emergency exit map on the back of the door.

Luxury Family Stay at the Hilton Tel Aviv bed

We had ample storage space in the closet and broad chest of drawers as well as a safe. The safe ,neatly tucked in the desk drawer ,was large and could easily store a laptop.

To the left of the entrance hall, we found the mini bar. Below the mini bar was a refrigerator with sodas, snacks, and alcohol.

Our room had a modern king-sized bed. Near the bed was the sitting area with a chair and sofa, which we liked as it contributed to the relaxed atmosphere. We loved the in-room glass desk with an ergonomic chair and access to lots of outlets.

Luxury Family Stay at the Hilton Tel Aviv desk

We enjoyed a lovely view of the old port of Tel Aviv from the balcony. In keeping with this hotel’s attention to detail and special needs, we did see a disclaimer on the balcony requesting parents watch their children at all times.

From the complimentary bottled water in the bar area to the fresh roses in the bathroom, this hotel set a very high bar when it comes to service!

Luxury Family Stay at the Hilton Tel Aviv seating

Our Bathroom

The bathroom had beautifully crafted light tan stone tiles and lovely mosaics to complement its Jacuzzi tub. Dark browns complimenting the white floors continued the decor throughout the bathroom.

Luxury Family Stay at the Hilton Tel Aviv sink

We saw a shower head attachment and grab bar in the tub and separate shower, which we appreciated. With a hairdryer, magnifying mirror, bathroom scale and toiletries provided, there was no lack of anything and this room was a pleasure to stay in.Luxury Family Stay at the Hilton Tel Aviv kit

Executive Lounge

The executive lounge at this property was moderately sized and overlooked  the old port of Jaffa. The lounge was open most of the day, offering ample breakfast choices and happy hour appetizers as well as snacks during the day.

Our Breakfast

We enjoyed breakfast at the Cafe Med. This airy dining room served this sumptuous buffet with magnificent views of the hotel pool and the Mediterranean Sea.

The Cafe featured multiple stations .We saw loaves of bread, pastries, hot and cold cereals, a build-your-own salad bar complete with seeds and nuts and a choice of dressings; and a dairy station with flavored butter, yogurts, international cheeses and local yellow and white cheeses which were a favorite!

Luxury Family Stay at the Hilton Tel Aviv treat

The fish station had mackerel and herring in smoked, pickled and brined form, as well as salmon and even sardines.

At the cooked food station one could find Shakshuka, a traditional dish of eggs poached in a spicy tomato sauce. At the same location, guests could get prepared eggs, steamed and roasted vegetables, quiches, latkes which are the Jewish equivalent of hash browns, pancakes and an order-a-waffle stand with all the toppings that typically go with fresh waffles!

Luxury Family Stay at the Hilton Tel Aviv food

There was a dessert station with an assortment of cakes, fresh fruit and even fresh honey dripping from the comb, which our son with autism thought to be very cool! Also, there was a large selection of liquid beverages both hot and cold.

Completing the ample selection there was a station with various  liquid beverages to choose from; both hot and cold.

Shabbat Dinner

It was an honor to spend the weekend at the Hilton Tel Aviv and experience a traditional Shabbat dinner. This meal was an enjoyable cultural experience. During the event, we watched guests observing the first lighting of the candles. We also heard praying and singing from the in-house synagogue. Then we moved on to the lavish meal prepared  before sundown in keeping with the kosher laws of Judaism.

The Friday night feast was served buffet style, but extra care was taken to make the dining area feel ultra special. The meal of the week was the American equivalent of a traditional Sunday lunch where the best of the best was served.

Luxury Family Stay at the Hilton Tel Aviv buffet

The hot meals included poultry and beef in a variety of sauces as well as vegetarian and vegan options. There were vegetables, pasta, rice, potatoes and side dishes. Not to be outdone, the cold meats and their accompaniments, as well as all the salad options, were beautifully presented and tasty. The desserts ranged from individual parfaits, tartlets, fruit bars and cobblers to fresh fruit salad and whole fruit. We were grateful to have had this opportunity.

Not to be outdone, the cold meats and their accompaniments, as well as all the salad options, were beautifully presented and tasty. The desserts ranged from individual parfaits, tartlets, fruit bars and cobblers to fresh fruit salad and whole fruit. We were grateful to have had this opportunity to share with our sons and help them understand Jewish customs.

Amenities

There was a fully equipped gym available to guests who want to work out while they vacation. Also, this establishment boasted a saltwater pool along with a regular pool, one of their unique amenities. Visitors shouldn’t miss the spa where they can have treatments that suit their budget.

Luxury Family Stay at the Hilton Tel Aviv chair

Cost

Room prices start at $400 a night and include free WiFi in the room and public areas. Hilton Honors points can be used to stay at this hotel. Both self and valet parking on-site are $15 a day.

Autism Travel Tips:

  • For those who are light sensitive, the rooms have a double curtain for keeping out the light.
  • For those who are temperature sensitive, the Hilton Hotel is one of the very few hotels that have both A/C and heating options available at the same time
  • The room did come with a balcony, so it is pertinent to ask the hotel if they can lock it or bring a portable alarm.
  • Parents should consider paacking a bathmat and nightlight.
  • Service animals are allowed at this hotel, but pets are not.

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