Israel is a small country and is very easy to navigate and you should definitely take advantage of its great bus and train systems. It is easy to go to the central train and bus station in Tel Aviv to buy tickets to basically any destination within the country.
There are hostels and hotels to stay in everywhere as well as kibbutzim and families willing to host foreigners. Go online to make these arrangements. The website anywhereinisrael.com allows travelers to locate families or communities who offer their homes for Shabbat. If you would like to have a place to stay for any of the holidays, tell the NYU in Tel Aviv staff.
Renting cars is possible for people 21 and older through Avis in Tel Aviv. You can make car reservations online. Just make sure when you start to drive, you have a good map and are prepared to get a little lost here and there; the signs in Israel are often inaccurate and confusing. Also, be alert at all times and don’t talk on the phone (it’s illegal anyway) because Israeli drivers are crazy. Don’t miss travel spots to the north are Golan Heights, the Galilee, to the south Eilat, the Negev. And of course Jerusalem and any random town you can get to.
If you want to travel outside of Israel, leave enough time to get through security and customs. It is easy and cheapest to get to Ben Gurion Airport on the train from Tel Aviv however it is possible to take a cab. Don’t pay more than 150 (maybe 175) shekels one way to the airport in a cab. There are also lots of organized tours to cities in Israel- definitely look online to find information about these.
Booking a Flight
Booking a flight to Israel can be extremely expensive. You need to book it at least a month or two in advance to get the best deals. A normal price to pay roundtrip is anywhere from $1000-1400. Anything below $1000 is a really great deal and anything above $1400 is a little much, however if you get in a bind you may have to settle. Go to kayak.com and search their travel deals first. They also have an option you can click that says “I am a student” so that they can try to find flights with student discounts. If prices look ridiculous online, sometimes calling an airline directly is your best bet. If you tell them why you are flying to Israel and that you are a student, they may be able to give you a better deal than what you find on the internet. You want to avoid buying a one-way ticket if at all possible. Many countries get suspicious of foreigners who do not have set plans to leave the country so the agents at customs and security may give you a hard time upon entering the country. Plus, one-way tickets to Israel are extremely expensive. Some airlines, like El Al, have specials where they discount tickets on their flights the night before it takes off. This is a huge gamble because it does not guarantee you a seat on the plane but if your dates are flexible this may be something to consider.