ODDS AND ENDS
FRIENDS & FAMILY UPDATES
Parents of teens will automatically receive email notifications including updates from the road and a link to new pictures posted from the group.
USING A CELL PHONE ABROAD
If you plan to bring your home cell phone abroad, contact your provider to understand the costs associated with international roaming. If you wish to rent a cell phone or purchase a local SIM card (for unlocked phones only), options are available through our partner, 019 Mobile.
HOW AND WHEN TO CALL
For parents and friends who wish to contact a teen during the program, keep in mind that Israel is seven hours ahead of Eastern Time. Please also remember that the use of communication devices during scheduled program time will not be permitted.
EMAIL & INTERNET ACCESS
Some of the hotels, kibbutzim, and guest houses where we stay will have internet stations and/or Wi-Fi available which teens are welcome to use during free time, often for an additional fee.
Our accommodations, all meals, in-country transportation, basic health insurance (excluding pre-existing conditions), and all activities are covered by the core program fees. The only spending that is your responsibility will be snacks, bottled water, souvenirs, gifts, etc. We estimate that $100–$150/week is sufficient.
There are a number of ways to bring money abroad. Read this section carefully, and keep in mind that BBYO Passport will be unable to facilitate money transfers to teens during the program. Plan accordingly.
ATM & CREDIT CARDS
If you choose to use your personal ATM card or credit card, we would ask that you be aware of the following:
- If your ATM card has a Visa, MasterCard, Star, Cirrus, or Maestro logo imprint, you should have no difficulty withdrawing money while abroad. Other ATM network cards may work, but we encourage you to check with your local bank prior to travel.
- Some teens have experienced difficulty withdrawing money from savings accounts. We strongly recommend that ATM cards be linked to checking accounts only to prevent any potential complications in Israel.
- Major credit cards like Visa and MasterCard are also accepted throughout Israel. Contact your bank ahead of travel to inform them that you are traveling abroad, and will be using your cards to make purchases.
- Do not send your child with prepaid gift/credit cards, as they will likely not be accepted abroad.
Tip from our Staff: Check with your bank before travel to find out service fee charges when using ATMs and credit cards internationally.
US and Canadian dollars are not accepted abroad. In past years, participants have been able to exchange their currency at the kiosks in the airport. However, this year the currency exchange procedure will be different than in past years due to the closure of the currency exchange kiosks. Instead of going through this process at the airport, the money changer that BBYO trips have used in the past is willing to come meet BBYO travel groups following the mandatory quarantine period. Below, there are a list of procedures detailing how each BBYO Passport group will exchange their currency.
- Israel Journey: The money changer will meet each Israel Journey group in Jerusalem following the mandatory quarantine period.
- ILSI: The money changer will meet the group on Friday at hotel check in Jerusalem.
- Trek Israel: The money changer will meet the group in Eilat.
It is very important to note that there will be very few opportunities to exchange currency throughout the duration of the program. Most stores where participants can buy souvenirs will accept credit cards. However, participants will need cash to use at smaller stores and stalls. We recommend using credit cards wherever possible, but using cash when a credit card option is not available.
THE LOCAL CURRENCY
In Israel, the local currency is the New Israeli Shekel (NIS). Each shekel is worth about $0.31 USD. Keep in mind, coins in Israel come in higher values than what we are used to in North America. This means you need to watch your coins carefully. Additionally, keep in mind that there are 5 Shekel coins (~$1.45 USD) and 5 Agorot coins (~$0.01 USD). It is important to know the difference between the 10, 5, and 1 Shekel and Agurot coins, as they have drastically different values. NOTE: Exchange rates are constantly fluctuating, check the rates prior to your program.
Tip from our Staff: Remind your teen to keep their money and credit cards in safe places. For example, your teen loses their wallet containing all their credit cards and cash, BBYO will not be able to transfer spending money to them.
HOST FAMILY WEEKEND
The second Shabbat in Israel is an optional Host Family Weekend. This is the perfect opportunity to visit with relatives or family friends while in Israel (excludes ILSI and Israel XPR). Host Family Weekends begin Thursday late afternoon/evening and end Sunday morning.
HOST FAMILY WEEKEND LOGISTICS
The BBYO Passport tour guide will be in touch with the host family 2-3 days before the host family weekend to make plans for your pick-up and drop-off. Locations are to be determined by the tour guide, while in Israel once the itinerary is confirmed and usually take place in and around Jerusalem and/or Tel Aviv.
To take advantage of the Host Family Weekend, submit a release form as part of your registration account. You will be asked to provide the name and cell phone of the person(s) responsible for pick-up and drop-off and during the weekend itself. This person must be at least age 21 and must carry a form of identification. Finally, be advised that all program rules apply during this weekend.
NOTE: More details about this weekend will be provided when the form is released in the spring.
Participation in the Host Family Weekend is not mandatory and the itinerary during this weekend is fully programmed for those teens staying with the group.
OTHER VISITATION OPPORTUNITIES
Visitors are welcome at our accommodations during Shabbat or on an evening weeknight – as long as it is fully coordinated ahead of time and approved by your staff in advance. Teens are not permitted to be “checked out” of the program by friends or family under any circumstances outside of the designated Host Family Weekend.