How Much to Bring
While this is a free trip, yes, it is a good idea to bring some money. Two meals each day are already included as part of the program. Lunch is on your own and is typically a quick and inexpensive stop. There is a good chance that you will want to supplement that allowance with your own money as well. You may occasionally want to buy bottled water (although the tap water is perfectly fine in Israel), snacks, drinks, etc.
Additionally, it is customary in Israel to tip both the tour guide and the bus driver at the end of the program. There is a good reason for this. The professional staff on the trip work around the clock to ensure the success of the program. They put their heart into the experience, and tipping a small way to say thanks. Our advice is that $100 in total is an appropriate gratuity for 10-day trips, $70 for Express (7- or 8-day) trips, and $140 for Study Abroad programs. Tipping is not required, and if this is something you cannot afford or do not want to participate in, do not be embarrassed to tip less or refrain altogether. It is not customary to tip your North American staff or the Israeli guards. All in all, we recommend that you bring $200-$250 on the trip.
How to Bring It
Israel uses the shekel as its currency, and each shekel is worth about 25-30 American cents. If you are bringing dollars to Israel, a currency exchange representative will meet the group as we board the bus in the airport. We have negotiated a special group rate with this representative that is better than what is available inside the airport…and much faster!
You should also bring an ATM and/or credit card to Israel. ATM cards with a Visa or Mastercard logo work throughout Israel. If your ATM card is not part of Visa/Mastercard, you should check with your bank to make sure it will work in Israel. Finally, notify your ATM or credit card company about your travel plans to avoid them potentially suspending your account due to irregular activity.
Please DO NOT bring Travelers Checks or Israeli Bonds as there will be no time to get them cashed during the 10-day trip.
NEXT: GENERAL PREP INFO