While this tour is mostly paid for, it is a good idea to bring some money. Two meals each day are usually included as part of the program. Lunch is on your own and is typically a quick and inexpensive stop. 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 experience is that $50 for the tour guide and $30 for the driver ($80 total) is appropriate. Tipping is not mandatory, and if this is something that you cannot afford or something you do not want to participate in, do not be embarrassed to tip less or to refrain altogether. All in all, we recommend that you bring $400-$800 on the trip.
The official currency of Israel is the Shekel. It generally fluctuates at around 3.60-3.90 shekels for ever US Dollar, but you should check online before you depart to see where the exchange rate is now. If you plan on bringing actual cash to Israel, your only real opportunity to exchange is at the airport at one of the currency exchange kiosks. Once you leave the airport, there will be virtually no opportunities to exchange dollars for shekels at a decent rate.
The best solution is to bring a credit card and/or ATM card. In terms of credit cards, Visa and Mastercard are accepted everywhere in Israel. It would be a good idea to call your credit card/ATM provider before you depart to let them know that you are travelling to Israel. Otherwise they may think there has been fraud and suspend your account while you are abroad. In terms of ATM cards, most will work in Israel, but you should definitely call your bank ahead of time just to make sure the card will be accepted in Israel. NOTE: Any ATM card with a Visa or Mastercard logo will work for sure. Please DO NOT bring Travelers Checks or Israeli Bonds as there will be no time to get them cashed during the 10-day trip.