Exchanging money: You may exchange money wherever you like, but you will pay a premium for doing so. It is best to exchange money at government controlled money changers. We usually stop at a money changer the first morning of our trip. Like all currency, the exchange rate varies daily, but you will be told what the going exchange rate is upon arrival, or you can check online before leaving home at the following website: http://www.xe.com/ucc/.
In most tours all meals are covered except lunches. At any rate, breakfast and dinner are almost always “all you can eat” so you should never go hungry. Food in Israel is about the same price as in the U.S. so figure your lunches accordingly. Also, we often stop at convenience stores to use the restrooms and the stores always have ice cream, cookies and snacks like you would find in the U.S. (and which taste much better).
Most merchants accept currency from countries whose citizens travel the most. Most stores take credit cards, however some charge a small fee for doing this as they have to pay a fee to their bank.
If you spend more than a certain amount on gift items, you may receive reimbursement of part of the VAT (Value Added Tax) at the airport when you leave the country. So, keep your receipts.
“How much money should we take?” Each family travels differently and I wouldn’t presume to tell you how much is enough. Just think of what you would take if you were on vacation in the U.S. for the same length of time. Also, if you have a card with a pin number, you can get cash fairly easily at any ATM machine.
Don’t hesitate to ask the guide anything you need to know.
Shalom, Love Israel Tours