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Eurovision Song Contest 2019
Eurovision Song Contest or popularly called Eurovision is one of the famous annual events in Europe with a legacy of 63 years since its inauguration in 1956. Eurovision Song Contest is also one of the most watched non-sporting events and also one of the longest-running television programmes in the world. Unfortunately, its wide popularity makes attending the event expensive and sometimes even impossible because of limited numbers of tickets sold for this event. This article consists of essential tips how to attend ESC 2019 more affordable.
We were lucky for being able to attend the Eurovision Song Contest 2018 in Lisbon and we will also be witnessing live the ESC 2019 in Tel Aviv, Israel in May 2019. This year's slogan of ESC is ¨Dare to Dream¨. However, as an attendee to this big event, dreaming is not enough but preparing early enough is important to make attending possible. We are happy to share our strategy how to decrease travel costs for attending this event.
ESC 2019 Will Be in Tel Aviv, Israel
European Broadcast Union has on September 13, 2018 confirmed that Eurovision Song Contest 2019 will be held in Expo Tel Aviv (International Convention Center), Tel Aviv, Israel. The semifinals of 2019 Eurovision Song Contest are taking place in two days. The semi-final will be on May 14, 2019 (Tuesday), 22:00 and the second semi-final will be on May 14, 2019 (Thursday), same time. The most awaited final event of ESC 2019 will be held on May 18, 2019 (Saturday at 22:00).
Tel Aviv is a medium-sized capital with about half million inhabitants. It is a popular holiday destination and it is said that the city never sleeps. The city is also very popular among LGBT people. Tel Aviv is considered to one of the most gay-friendly cities in the world. In fact, LGBT people in Israel are allowed to serve in the military openly.
Eurovision Song Contest 2019 Venue
The location of 64th Eurovision Song Contest or ESC 2019 is at the Expo Tel Aviv (International Convention Center), one of the biggest arena in Israel. The confirmation was announced just after months of determining the host city. The decision was taken by the Eurovision Song Contest Reference Group after KAN, Israeli public broadcaster was asked to present at least two potential candidate cities, one of which was Israel's capital city, Jerusalem.
Usually the venue has been located in the capital of the winner's country. Jerusalem is the capital of Israel and many people were expecting the event to be hosted there. However, with the official announcement, many may have been surprised about Eurovision 2019 venue which will be held outside Israel's capital. Jerusalem is close to Tel Aviv and so it may be a good idea to extend the holiday and to visit Jerusalem during the same trip. The estimated travel time by air is about 34 minutes while bus trip between these cities may take 48 minutes to more than an hour depending on the bus connections.
Earlier in this article, we gave a few preparation tips. Our tip was to make educated guesses, which cities have the most probable venues for the ESC 2019. Usually these cities are the same as the three biggest cities in the winner's country. Originally, we were actually guessing Tel Aviv because there are good flight connections from European cities to there. That is why we had booked our hotel in Tel Aviv right after Israel won Eurovision Song Contest 2018 but we also had refundable bookings in Jerusalem. In Tel Aviv, there are more accommodation options than in Jerusalem and you can enjoy its nice beaches.
Eurovision Song Contest 2019 Dates
Eurovision Song Contest is not a single day event rather it is a full week with many events including the main highlights, the semi-finals and the grand final. Many visitors are only attending the final event which is held on Saturday.
The schedule of ESC 2019 has been confirmed. Eurovision Song Contest 2019 will take place beginning from May 13th and lasting till May 19th. The final date is May 18th 2019.
Preparation Tips for Tel Aviv
Now that the dates of Eurovision Song Contest 2019 are known and we also know that the location of ESC 2019 is Tel Aviv. This is the last moment to start doing arrangements if you want to save on your Eurovision trip.
Hotels During ESC 2019 Are Expensive
Cheap accommodation is impossible to find during ESC but the cheaper it will be, the faster it will get fully booked. For this reason, we have booked our accommodation long time ago.
Hotel prices increase due to high demands so book your hotel as early as possible. It is important to book a hotel that is refundable as long as you are not sure about your attendance to ESC 2019. Because the event dates have been confirmed, booking non-refundable hotel is a better and cheaper option.
There may still be hotels and hostels available for booking in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, but their prices are already high. We therefore recommend to our readers to secure hotels as soon as possible. As the event approaches, it may be that all hotels are fully booked.
We suggest you to compare hotel prices on HotelsCombined.com*, that is our favourite comparison tool. Booking.com* is also a good alternative because it often offers refundable hotel bookings. Choose hotels that can be cancelled free of charge if you are not totally certain about your plans.
There is also another hotel booking site called Bidroom that advertises to be even 25% cheaper than other hotel booking sites. The membership is not free but you can try Bidroom one month free of charge after registering. By cancelling your membership after you have made your bookings, Bidroom won't charge you the membership fee.
Check also our separate review of Bidroom.
Flight Prices Vary Less
The demand of flights to Tel Aviv around the event dates will be high and ticket prices consequently will increase too. It is therefore last moment to start comparing flight prices and to book them right away when you find a good connection.
The cheapest route usually isn't a direct route but it is a flight which include connections. Combining low-cost flights can also be a good solution. You may consider flying to Israel early before the event and out a few days after the event. Check which days are the cheapest ones.
Book the flights when you are sure where to fly to and when. We recommend you to use Skyscanner* to do comparison.
Eurovision Song Contest Tickets
We are giving a few tips how to get tickets for Eurovision Song Contest 2019.
Follow the official information channels of ESC 2019. The ticket sale started on Feb 28th. This year the sale consists only a single patch and not many of them like in the previous years. Unfortunately the tickets are also much more expensive than people have been expecting. A good thing about the high price level is that there are still tickets left to the semi-finals and to the rehearsal shows and the tickets were not sold out in a few hours. But the unfortunate side is that you need to pay almost 80 euros or more for you ticket.
Because ESC 2019 will be held in a big and popular city, securing your tickets to the final may be hard. The arena has only capacity of about 7300 people and only about 4000 seats are available to the public. That's really little. Rehearsal shows are almost as nice (and affordable) as the real shows and tickets for them are easier to get.
Unfortunately this year tickets are expensive too. The cheapest tickets to the semi-finals will cost 180 euros and the cheapest tickets to the grand final 280 euros. Also, the rehearsal shows are not cheap either. You need to pay at least 80 euros. Check more information about the prices here.
Ticket status check on 13th April: There are still tickets left to the live semi-finals and to all rehearsal shows. The high price level has kept the demand lower than expected. Tickets to the final are also available but only via non-official channels. We do not recommend you to use them.
Practical Tips for Israel
We are collecting here some practical tips for your journey to Israel. Please contact us if you know some tips that could be beneficial for other readers too. Commercial tips are also welcome if we find them helpful.
Eurovision SIM Card to Israel
As we all know, Israel does not belong to the EU so the mobile roaming costs in Israel may be significantly higher than in the EU area. To avoid high roaming charges while attending ESC 2019 in Israel, a prepaid SIM card is a great choice.
SIMtoIsrael contacted us and told about their Eurovision SIM Card Package. We evaluated their offer and the package seems to be perfect for ESC fans.
For only 22 US dollars, you will get an Israeli SIM card with Israeli phone number. There are unlimited local calls and messaging included and also 40 GB high-speed data. These specs should be enough even for heavy users. The card will be valid 7 days and it will be delivered to your home. For a more convenient option, you may opt to pick-up the sim card at Tel Aviv International Airport. By ordering it online ahead of time before travelling to Israel, you will save time.
We have placed our own order and the process was simple and smooth. Paypal and a credit card payment methods were available.
The delivery of the sim card internationally is free free but it takes 3-4 weeks so placing the order now is recommended. If you feel being late, you may also choose to pick up the sim at Tel Aviv Airport which is a more convenient and faster option. Order the SIM card at SIMtoIsrael web site.
Another SIM Card Option
UniSimCard by Global Voice Connect offers a prepaid SIM for Israel starting from 29.90 US dollars for 7 days. The card includes data and free local calls. The SIM card can be ordered from the internet and it will be delivered to your home before arriving to Israel. The arrangement is really handy and you do not need to spend time in Israel looking for prepaid SIMs anymore after arriving.
UniSimCard sells also global SIM cards that have variable pricing in different countries. Global SIM is a good choice for people who are travelling frequently outside the EU. Global SIM users can have virtual numbers in different countries that makes international calls cheaper.
Immigration to Israel
Please be aware of the immigration and visa requirements of Israel. Use reliable sources to confirm that you have all required travel documents and double check their validity. Often it is not enough to have a valid passport during the journey but the passport must be valid also a few months after your trip. That is why check all the details really carefully if your passport is about to expire soon. Safety is an utmost important thing for Israel so expect strict security procedures. Let us all wish for a safe event.
The laws is Israel may be significantly different than in your home country so please get familiar with the local norms and laws and abide them accordingly. For example, we are planning to fly a drone in Israel but we need to apply a temporary license for it. As a general advice when travelling, always get familiarized beforehand about existing laws in your destination.
Read more about Israel on Wikitravel.
Eurovision Song Contest 2019 Winner?
Who will win? We still don't have any clue but comment below your favourite song. Or just support your own country.
Attending Eurovision Song Contest will never be cheap. By preparing well and being an early bird, you increase your chances to get tickets. Early booking usually means cheaper hotels and maybe also cheaper flights. ESC 2019 is a popular event not only for Europeans but this international event is broadcast across five continents.
If you get unlucky and don't get tickets to the shows, don't worry. There are countless other Eurovision related events at the same time so travelling to the Eurovision city is never a bad choice. You will find out much to do there. Israel is a popular holiday destination so why not to combine the ESC with a beach holiday in Tel Aviv where the weather will be great in May.
What are your thoughts about Eurovision? You may like to share this article to your friends if you found it useful.
It is soon time to think forward - that means year 2020. Check out also our article about Eurovision Song Contest 2020.
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