Prepare for the March of the Living with BBYO Passport by reading this helpful guide
Welcome to the 2020 March of the Living. Each spring BBYO sends a National Delegation to the March of the Living to join thousands of other participants from over 60 countries. We are very proud to be the only national youth group to consistently participate in the March of the Living since its inception in 1988. Thank you for being a part of this meaningful tradition and life experience.
The goal of the March of the Living is to educate Jewish teens beyond the textbook: to explore the richness of our past, to keep the past alive, and to perpetuate our Jewish future. Studies have determined that past participants of the return to Israel, seek Jewish life on college campuses, are active in human right causes, continue their Jewish studies, and marry within the Jewish faith. In other words, participating in the March of the Living can be a highly powerful and transformative experience. Of course, we have a lot of fun too; the March is also a celebration of life. Thank you again for being a part of our Delegation, and please take the time to read all of the important details in this manual designed to help prepare you for the journey ahead.
We hope you will take the time to review this document in its entirety.
Please ensure that you have:
- Arranged travel to/from the departure airport or the pre-approved meeting point and submitted your travel plans to us in your registration account.
- Added a supervised hotel stay-over for the outbound and/or inbound flights if necessary in your registration account.
- Uploaded a passport copy in your registration account and ensured that it is valid for at least six months after our return date.
- Signed up friends and family to receive updates during your trip (parents will automatically receive the updates).
- Added a travel insurance policy (optional).
- Arranged for a local SIM or phone (optional) rental.
- Joined the program Facebook group – for teen participants only.
- “Liked” BBYO Passport on Facebook – this is where we’ll post photo albums over the summer.
- Reviewed the Program Rules & Expectations together as a family.
- Reviewed the packing advice in this document.
- Made a plan for accessing spending money during the program.
- Submitted all forms in your registration account.
We are expecting to welcome approximately 200 teens, as well as an adult delegation from across North America. We will be forming four separate traveling groups in Poland and Israel. Each group will have its own staff team of Jewish professionals and leaders. Our bus groups generally travel together, have meals together, and stay in the same hotels. The only separate group time is during debriefings and other small group activities and tours.
By joining a BBYO Passport experience, you are making a commitment to fully participate in a group travel program with a demanding schedule. In order to ensure the success of the experience for everyone, we expect you to stay on schedule and contribute to the positive group dynamics of our community. Although the program is intensive and free time will be limited, there will be plenty of room for personal exploration, shopping, and relaxation. Israeli family and friends are welcome to visit you during Shabbat in Israel provided that the visit is cleared in advance of the trip directly with the Director, Meir Tannenbaum.
Two BBYO staff members will accompany each bus from North America and will be met by one Israeli guide and a dedicated security escort. In Poland, a local guide will join us as well. We are very privileged to be accompanied by a Survivor, Paul Galan, who will be traveling with us and enriching the experience with his stories and perspective. Along with our professional staff team, we will be traveling with a registered nurse and a wellness specialist. Finally, Meir Tannenbaum, the Director of BBYO’s March of the Living, oversees the program as a whole.
Security escorts are government-licensed in both Poland and Israel. All of the destinations on our itineraries are checked thoroughly before each arrival for appropriateness. Buses are privately chartered and locked when not in use. Finally, the March of the Living is a fully supervised program.
The projected itinerary is announced 3-4 weeks prior to departure. Please note that even the confirmed itinerary will be subject to change on the ground. We will do our best to notify parents and participants in advance if necessary.
KASHRUT & DIETARY NEEDS
All meals provided by the program, including those aboard the flights, are kosher. Participants with special dietary situations should make sure their medical dietary restrictions are reflected in their account information.
Shabbat is a special time and can be an amazing opportunity for rest and reflection. Friday nights and Saturdays will include prayer, informal discussions, and various Shabbat programming. Where possible, we try to include visits to local synagogues to give participants a flavor of how Judaism is observed locally. Often times our best or only option is a traditional Orthodox service. Even if this is not part of your tradition, it is an opportunity for a rich cultural experience and can be meaningful, too.
We strive to provide a number of alternative options for celebrating Shabbat, and participants are encouraged to take a leadership role in how the experience is shared with the group.
As a program, we do not drive on Shabbat and we do not oblige or encourage participants to break the rules of Shabbat, which they observe. At the same time, what participants do during their non-programmed time on Shabbat is their own personal decision. We only ask that everyone be mindful and considerate of each other’s practices.
Rules & Expectations
Program Rules & Expectations
BBYO is a teen leadership organization, and as such, we place great trust and responsibility on our teens. By agreeing to participate in the program, you are agreeing to abide by the terms of our Release Form and the BBYO Code of Conduct . We encourage you to review these conduct guidelines as a family before the start of the program:
For the sake of creating a safe and successful program experience, BBYO Passport has established a series of rules and disciplinary guidelines. Each disciplinary situation is evaluated individually, but as a general rule, infractions related to physical violence, drugs/controlled substances, tobacco, alcohol, and leaving the group without authorization are grounds for removal from the program. A single infraction may result in immediate separation from the group. BBYO Passport staff reserves the right to make these decisions, and there may also be further consequences for BBYO members within their local regions after returning to North America.
In the event of program dismissal, the parents of the dismissed teen will be solely responsible for all associated fees, including the cost of special transportation to the airport, a flight chaperone if necessary, or an airline change fee. No portion of the program fee will be refunded, and any scholarship funds awarded will need to be reimbursed in full to BBYO or the issuing agency. Given the international nature of the program, the consequences of dismissal are extremely serious, costly, and disruptive to the rest of the group.
Cause for Removal
It is our sincere hope that no one will need to be expelled from a BBYO Passport program, and accordingly, we encourage parents and teens to discuss this matter carefully together before the start of the program.
All behavioral matters will be dealt with on the program through a series of steps. These steps may include a staff-teen conversation, a formal warning, loss of free time or other privileges, program probation, and ultimately dismissal. Again, BBYO Passport staff reserves the sole right to make decisions related to behavioral misconduct and disciplinary consequences. Any specific questions related to disciplinary rules and regulations should be directed to BBYO Passport’s Executive Director, Aaron Robbin.
Curfew & Rooming
To fully appreciate the program, a good night’s sleep is essential. A curfew will be enforced at the discretion of program staff. Teens are expected to abide by these curfew rules. Hotel rooms are assigned on a single-gender basis. Teens are not allowed to be in any other room other than the room they are assigned to without permission from the staff at any time during the program.
Drugs & Alcohol
Possession, consumption, and/or the purchase of drugs and/or alcohol will not be tolerated on any BBYO Passport program and may result in immediate dismissal. Additionally, sharing, selling or otherwise dispensing prescription medication is not tolerated and may result in immediate dismissal. Moreover, it is the policy of BBYO Passport to allow the police and justice departments of the respective countries visited to prosecute when infractions have occurred without intervention by BBYO Passport.
BBYO Passport staff reserves the right to administer a breathalyzer test and/or search any teen’s belongings and/or room at any time and for any reason during the course of the program.
Leaving the Program without Authorization
As part of our general approach to safety and security, teens on all BBYO Passport programs are not allowed to leave the supervision of the program at any time. There will be occasions for limited free time in specific areas that are deemed secure by program staff. However, the general rule is that there is no leaving the program at any time and for any reason whatsoever during the day or at night. Leaving the program without specific staff authorization is grounds for immediate dismissal.
Timeliness & Cooperation with Program Staff
Behind the scenes of each BBYO Passport program is a complicated logistical plan which requires us to keep to an exact schedule. Staying on schedule requires the cooperation of every teen. It means waking up in the morning on time, not wandering from the group, and respecting the overall schedule of the program. The consequence of being late is that elements of the program will be canceled. We need every teen’s cooperation to ensure that the program to be fully experienced.
We believe in the unique power of a group experience as opposed to a collection of individual experiences. As a member of a traveling community, each teen has a responsibility to treat his/her fellow teens with respect and decency. We aim to create an inclusive atmosphere where everyone on the program is made to feel welcomed and comfortable; each teen plays a role in making this possible. These same principles apply to virtual and social platforms before, during, and after the program.
The purchase or possession of a weapon or an item that may be construed as a weapon is not allowed during the program, and any such items will be confiscated.
Mobile Device Use
Cell phone use is a privilege, not a right. Use of communication devices during scheduled program time is not permitted. During other times, teens must exercise discretion when using the phones (i.e. respect sleeping roommates, etc.). If necessary, program staff reserves the right to suspend or even terminate a cell phone rental if these privileges are abused.
Respect for Property
It is expected that teens will behave responsibly and with respect regarding belongings and property throughout the program. Should property be damaged or defaced by a fellow teen, those responsible will be held accountable for payment of damages. Please note: there is a fee at many hotels and kibbutzim for lost room keys.
Tattooing & Piercing
Such activities during the program are forbidden and may result in disciplinary action or dismissal from the program. Tattooing and piercings can be unsafe in foreign countries and any resulting medical complications would not be covered under the program’s medical insurance policy. Teens will be required to remove any piercings that they acquire during the program.
Tobacco & Marijuana
The purchase or possession of tobacco and marijuana products is not allowed, regardless of age. Additionally, purchasing or possessing smoking paraphernalia is forbidden. This policy includes, but is not limited to, electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) and water pipes.
Safety & Wellbeing
Safety & Wellbeing
The sun in Israel is strong and is often stronger than teens are accustomed to. Dehydration, heat stroke, and sunburn are serious concerns, especially in the desert.
These are some common-sense rules we employ whenever we go on hikes or whenever we will be outdoors for an extended period of time:
- Wear a hat
- No tank tops
- Use sunscreen
- Carry at least two liters of water
Teens are responsible for carrying and self-administering their own medication. With the exception of over-the-counter treatments, our staff is not allowed to hold or administer prescribed medication, with the exception of an Epipen, and cannot be responsible for ensuring that prescribed medication is taken. If you have special requests (i.e. refrigeration requirements), please note them on your health forms. Teens are never allowed to share or dispense prescribed medication. Some medications must be taken at the same time every day. Please take into account the time difference and consult your doctor if necessary.
See our “packing for the trip” section for tips when traveling with medication.
Vaccine guidelines vary by country and are continually evolving. We recommend consulting with your physician as well as the latest Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines.
BBYO Passport requires its teens to be up-to-date with most vaccines recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Center for Disease Control.
Please review our immunization policy.
Proper hydration is essential during a program of this nature. You should be drinking at least two liters of water per day. You can expect that the staff will constantly be reminding you to drink, drink, drink! Ultimately, you must be responsible for this task. The water in Israel is properly treated and is perfectly safe to drink. Bottled water is widely available and inexpensive, and you will have many opportunities to purchase it. Similarly, you will be able to refill your own water bottles with tap water frequently. Teens will not be allowed off the bus without full water bottles.
As a program, we take a number of precautions to reduce security risks. We travel on a private coach bus, we stay at accommodations with security, we plan our itineraries to avoid areas of concern, we always travel with an armed guard, and we are registered for monitoring through Israel's Situation Room.
We also ask our teens to follow some basic security-related guidance as follows:
- Be aware of suspicious objects. Be aware not to leave behind personal items that may be confused with a suspicious object.
- Stay together as a group. This is a supervised program, and we depend on our teens to stay together as a group at all times.
- Follow staff instructions. In addition to traveling with a guard, we travel with licensed guides who are trained in security procedures, and we depend on everyone following their instructions.
Our emergency phone number is 202-643-2296 and is handled by one of our team members. A BBYO staff member in North America will be answering emergency calls 24-hours a day. Please only use the emergency phone number when there is an emergency as described below:
- Family health emergencies
- Urgent medical or safety situation
- Concerns about fatigue or social adjustment
- Requests for flight extensions
- Requests to be featured in photos
- General security concerns (email updates will be sent in such scenarios)
Please check today to make sure that you know the location of where your passport is, that it is not expired, or is about to expire. Your passport must valid for six months after our return date. If it is not, you may not be allowed to board your flight(s). To review information about ordering or renewing your passport visit the U.S. Department of State- Bureau of Consular Affairs website.
If you are traveling to Israel on a USA, Canadian, or European Union member country passport, you do not need a visa to enter Israel. If you are traveling on a passport from another country (e.g. Russia, Ukraine, etc.), you may need a visa to enter Israel. Our office is able to provide you with an official ticket confirmation letter to assist with issuing any required visas or passport extensions.
- Plan to carry a photocopy of your passport during the program. Though BBYO Passport staff will hold onto your passport for safekeeping on the road, we recommend bringing a passport copy to place in your wallet, backpack, and suitcase at all times as a back-up form of identification.
- Check that the name you used to register for the program matches your passport. If you registered with a nickname, your ticket will be printed accordingly, and you may be denied boarding. Contact us to make any corrections as soon as possible, a name change fee may apply.
RULES FOR ISRAELI CITIZENS OR CHILDREN OF ISRAELI CITIZENS
If you hold an Israeli passport you must enter Israel with your Israeli passport. If either of your parents is Israeli citizens, you may still have obligations to the State of Israel that must be worked out prior to your trip, even if you do not have an Israeli passport. It is critical that you take care of these matters before you arrive in Israel. If you do not, you may be obligated to stay in Israel until matters are resolved, and you will be solely responsible for your own situation and any costs involved. We recommend being cautious about these matters and contacting one of the regional Israel consulate offices if you have questions.
Details about the group flight and how to meet at the airport are announced by the end of April and posted to your registration account. Contact us if you need assistance accessing the document. All tickets are issued electronically and staff will have a copy of your e-ticket (electronic ticket) at the airport.
AIRLINE SEATING & POINTS
- Seating is pre-assigned by the airline on our group flights. Special requests can be made at check-in, but not ahead of departure.
- If desired, teens are responsible for obtaining reward points via the airline using the ticket information obtained at check-in. Please provide the agent at the counter with your appropriate information upon check to receive your reward points, or you may call the airline at a later time to obtain reward points.
Check with your specific airline for the most updated terms, however, the following are the basic luggage rules for transatlantic group flights:
- Checked Luggage: One bag of no more than 50 pounds and no more than 30 inches long
- Carry-on Luggage: One carry-on backpack
When deciding what kind of luggage to bring, keep in mind you will need to load your luggage on/off the bus and to/from our accommodations; try to keep it manageable. Be sure to bring luggage on wheels (we suggest a rolling duffel). Before packing, please review updated restrictions on the TSA website.
Please Note: Luggage cannot be checked all the way from your home airport through to Poland. You will need to pick up your luggage when you arrive in New York. We may be on chartered flights for the entire trip.
You will be receiving two BBYO Passport luggage tags and a t-shirt just before the trip. Make sure to fill out the luggage tags and affix them to your carry-on and checked luggage.
MEETING AT THE AIRPORT
Plan to meet the group in the check-in area of our departure terminal four hours in advance of the group flight. If you are taking a domestic flight to meet the group, please make sure it lands at least five hours before our departure. Starting at six hours prior to departure our team will be wearing staff t-shirts and will greet teens as they arrive at our meeting location. The BBYO Passport t-shirt that you will receive before the program should be worn on departure day.
We recommend that teens arrive at the airport with their personal cell phone and a portable charger in case they need to contact a member of our team. Please be sure that teens cell phone number is listed in your registration account.
When making your travel arrangements, we recommend that you consider ground travel to our departure airport as this greatly reduces the chances of flight delays. If you are traveling to the gateway airport on a connecting flight, we recommend arriving a day in advance of our international departure. An optional supervised airport hotel stay-over may be available for this purpose (see below). If you arrive on the day of departure, please allow plenty of time to spare.
SUPERVISED AIRPORT HOTEL STAY-OVERS
Optional supervised hotel stay-overs may be available on the night before your group’s departure and the night of your group’s return, if requested in advance. The cost of the supervised hotel stay-over is $200 per person which includes dinner and breakfast. Exact hotel arrangements and meeting instructions will be available at a later date. During the hotel stayover, teens are not permitted to leave the hotel for any reason without making prior arrangements with our staff.
Sign-up for the supervised hotel stay-over by emailing email@example.com. Space is limited, and we may not be able to fulfill requests within a month of departure.
WHAT HAPPENS IF YOU ARE DELAYED
If you are delayed on departure day and will not meet the group on time, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. If possible, we will re-schedule you on the next available flight. However, please keep in mind that there is no guarantee that we will be able to do so, and you will likely be traveling without staff. Additional fees may apply.
Parent Tip: The optional group travel insurance policy includes coverage for missed connections and travel delays. It is a great value and protects your teens travel. We recommend that every parent purchase it for their child. For more information on group travel insurance, review our insurance page.
On arrival, we proceed to passport control (customs) and then meet at baggage claim. Our Israel staff will have signs and will be wearing special badges to identify them. In baggage claim, there will be time for restroom breaks and to use an ATM*, but do not wander beyond baggage claim without staff. From there, we proceed to the bus loading zone which is where pre-ordered rental cell phones/SIM cards will be distributed.
*A currency exchange representative will meet the group in the bus loading zone. The exchange rate provided is better than what is available inside the airport baggage claim area – and much faster, too!
We typically clear customs and baggage claim within 60-90 minutes of arrival. If scheduling a connecting flight home, allow for a window of at least three hours between flights within the same airport. Our staff will be on hand to escort teens through baggage claim and direct them to their connecting flights as requested, but our staff will not be available to escort teens to connecting flight terminals. While we will do our best to assist with any connecting flight delays, we cannot commit to having staff at the airport for more than three hours after the group's return.
The group flight, sleeping accommodations, all meals, in-country transportation, basic health insurance (excluding pre-existing conditions), and all program activities are covered by the core program fees. The only spending that is your responsibility will be snacks, souvenirs, gifts, hotel internet usage, and optional laundry service when we arrive in Israel. We estimate that $150-$200 is sufficient to cover all such expenses.
HOW TO BRING MONEY ABROAD
There are a number of ways to bring money abroad. Please read this section carefully, and keep in mind that BBYO Passport will be unable to facilitate money transfers to teens during the program, please plan accordingly.
Personal ATM / Credit Cards
If you choose to use your personal ATM card or credit card, we would ask that you be aware of
- If your ATM card has a Visa, MasterCard, Star, Cirrus, or Maestro logo imprint, you should not have any issues withdrawing money while abroad. Other ATM network cards may work, but we encourage you to check with your local bank prior to travel.
- Some participants 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 Poland and Israel.
- Major credit cards like VISA and MasterCard are also accepted throughout Poland and Israel. Please contact your bank to inform them you are traveling abroad and will be using your cards to make purchases.
- Please do not send your child with prepaid gift/credit cards as they will likely not be accepted abroad.
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. If you plan to bring cash with you, either plan to exchange it to local currency before you depart for the program or at the airport in Israel. There will be very few opportunities to exchange funds during the program itself. If you are looking to purchase souvenirs on the program, most stores will accept credit cards. You will only need cash to use at smaller stores and stalls. We recommend mainly using credit cards during the program and using cash for times when credit is not accepted.
ABOUT LOCAL CURRENCIES
In Israel, the local currency is the New Israeli Shekel (NIS). Each shekel is worth about $0.25 USD.
In Poland, the national currency is the Zloty – with one Polish Zloty currently worth approximately $0.30 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 Agorot coins, as they have drastically different values.
Exchange rates are constantly fluctuating, please check the rates prior to your trip.
MEDICAL & TRAVEL INSURANCE
MEDICAL INSURANCE DURING THE PROGRAM
BBYO Passport program fees include basic medical insurance that covers treatment and medication; however, it will not cover any pre-existing medical conditions. This means that the policy covers treatment for issues like a stomach bug, a broken limb, or dehydration, without any out-of-pocket expenses or paperwork. The policy does not cover any medical conditions for which a participant is already being treated or for which treatment has been received in the past. This exclusion rule also applies to all psychological care. For this reason, participants are required to come on the program with their own medical insurance policy, which includes coverage for short-term travel abroad. In the event that a participant needs to be treated for a pre-existing condition during the program, the parents of the participant will be solely responsible for any associated costs.
Review a summary of our medical insurance terms.
If you are extending your stay in Israel, your local medical insurance can be extended as well at a cost of $2.50/Day. Please contact us for additional details.
All teens are encouraged to sign-up for a travel insurance policy to protect their investment and plan for the unexpected. We have partnered with Travel Insured International to provide a discounted group travel insurance option. The cost of the travel insurance policy is based on the total cost of the program and other domestic travel expenses. Plan coverage information is available through our general resources- insurance webpage. Insurance can be purchased in your registration account. Policies may be purchased up until the date you make full payment for the program.
WHAT TO PACK
Preparing for the Weather
In Poland, the temperature in Spring can range from the 40’s to the 70’s, and it frequently rains. In Israel, the weather will be warmer and may range from the 60’s to the 80’s. In most areas of Israel, the heat is dry and there is very little humidity. The chance of rain in Israel is very low during our travel dates. Because weather can vary greatly during this time of the year, please check the forecast for Poland (Warsaw or Krakow) and Israel (Jerusalem and Tel Aviv) when packing. Whenever we plan to be outside for an extended period of time in Israel, participants will be required to have a hat, a shirt with sleeves, sunscreen, and water. Over-exposure to the hot Israeli sun can cause heatstroke, dehydration, and sunburn. This rule is an important one and strictly enforced. Shirts without sleeves including cut-offs and tank tops will not be permitted outside of the hotel.
Pack Appropriately for Religious Sites
Since we will be visiting sacred and religious sites during our trip, the custom is to keep knees and shoulders covered in such places, so please pack accordingly. Specifically, when visiting the Kotel, girls should wear long skirts. Tight pants are not appropriate. Also, to create a special atmosphere for Shabbat, it is tradition to wear clothing on Friday night and Saturday during the day that is nicer than what we wear the rest of the week. Clothing similar to what you would wear on Shabbat at camp is perfect!
Special Items You Will Receive
March of the Living provides a light hooded jacket and light (not sturdy) backpack. BBYO Passport provides a program hat, which must be worn at all times along with a t-shirt and luggage tags. You will also receive a lanyard nametag which must be worn at all times.
Please Note: It is important that you pack a change of clothes, toiletries, contact lenses and prescription medication in your
carry-on luggage, in case your checked luggage is delayed in transit.
Evenings in Israel tend to get chilly quickly – frequently into the 50’s or 60’s. Because we will not always return to our accommodations to change before an evening activity, always bring a day-pack with a windbreaker, long-sleeved shirt, or light sweater... layering is key!
SAMPLE PACKING LIST
To be used as a guideline only (based on the 2-week trip, without doing laundry.)
What We Recommend
- 8 t-shirts (no tank tops)
- 3 pairs of shorts
- 4 pairs of jeans or long pants
- 14 pairs of underwear & socks
- 6 long sleeve shirts
- 1 fleece or jacket
- 1 White shirt (Yom Hazikaron)
- 3 pajamas
- Shabbat/nicer outfits (modest) plus longer skirts/shirts for Kotel, etc. (3)
- Nicer shoes for Shabbat
- Sturdy walking shoes (closed toed)
- 1 Bathing suit + beach towel
- 1 pair of water shoes (the Dead Sea)
- 1-2 hats for protection from the sun
- Toothbrush and toothpaste
- Soap, shampoo, razor, deodorant, etc
- Contact lens case, solution, and spare contact lenses
- Sunscreen (SPF 15 or higher)
- Passport and photocopy of passport (must be valid for at least six months after our return date)
- Toilet paper(Unavailable at some Polish rest stops)
- Light Backpack
- Mini packages of Kleenex, chapstick, and anti-bacterial soap or wipes
- Portable Charger
- Copy of prescriptions in case medicine is lost
- Water Bottle
- Voltage adapter/converter
- Kippah for Shabbat, if it is your custom
- Medication (recommended to be packed in your carry-on)
- Backpack to bring on the bus each day with an extra layer of clothing
What We Do NOT Recommend
- Linens, pillows or sleeping bag
- Luggage that is not easily carried
- Expensive jewelry or other valuables
- Heavy backpack or hiking boots
- Laptops or expensive electronics
While BBYO staff may have over the counter medicine (i.e. cough drops, Tylenol, Band-Aids, etc.), it will be limited and teens are expected to have their own supply on the program.
Special Notes: Pack a change of clothes, toiletries, contact lenses and prescription medication in your carry-on luggage in case your checked luggage is delayed in transit.
Theft is not uncommon in any place where a large number of tourists congregate, and there have been instances in Israel in the past. Accordingly, we encourage you to leave valuable items at home and to carefully keep track of anything valuable that you do bring on the program. As a general rule, hotel rooms should always remain locked. However, even a locked hotel room should not be considered a secure area unless a safe with a lock is available. If you bring a lock for your suitcase, locking it in the room is an option. If it is possible to bring a locking suitcase, we recommend it, although it is not a solution by itself. Teen property is the sole responsibility of the teen.
Bring comfortable walking shoes! We will be doing a lot of walking, and having comfortable shoes is important! Flip flops will not be allowed when we are on the move, and while athletic sandals like Tevas or Chacos are fine most days in Israel, they are not appropriate for days when we have hikes/nature walks. It is not necessary to bring hiking boots. Comfortable and sturdy walking shoes are more than sufficient for all programming.
LAUNDRY ON THE TRIP
A special laundry service will be pre-scheduled shortly after arrival in Israel. Laundry is done on an individual basis by participants. Participants can expect to pay approximately $10-$12 per load (Israeli shekels only) depending on the weight of the clothing. Participants will be given laundry bags to fill, and your clean clothing will be returned in those same bags. We encourage participants to pair up as a room when doing laundry so that whites and colors are combined in separate loads. Finally, we recommend that participants label clothing in advance that will be sent to the laundry service. BBYO Passport and its tour providing partners are not responsible for any clothing lost or damaged by the laundry service.
MEDICATION AND CONTACT LENSES
If you are taking prescription medication, bring enough for the duration of the program as well as an extra written prescription record in case you misplace or lose your medicine. Take all medication (OTC and prescription) on the plane with you in your carry-on luggage. Do NOT pack any medication with your checked baggage. The same applies to contact lenses. Please review TSA restrictions on traveling with medication and liquids.
If you are musically inclined and willing to bring your instrument, please feel free to do so! There will be plenty of occasions to showcase your skills. Remember that as with any other valuable item, bringing an instrument on the program is done at your own risk of loss or damage.
The electrical plugs in Israel are different than North American ones, with two rounded prongs that are separated slightly further apart. Therefore, you will need a voltage converter if you are bringing electronic items (unless they have a built-in one), as well as an adapter for plugging in your items. If you are unsure of which plugs to purchase, check with your local electronics or travel store. A travel adapter can be purchased online and should be no more than $5.
As with most hotels, the majority of the ones visited will supply small bottles of basic toiletries (shampoo, body wash, etc.) Though, it is always a good idea to pack a small amount to have on hand.
KEEPING FRIENDS & FAMILY UPDATED DURING THE PROGRAM
Parents of teens will automatically receive email notifications including updates from the road and a link to new pictures posted from the group. Additionally, friends and family will be able to sign-up to receive these same updates by filling out a short online form.
USING YOUR CELL PHONE
Prior to using your cell phone abroad, please contact your cell phone provider to understand the costs associated with international roaming. If you wish to rent a cell phone or SIM card (for unlocked phones only), please review the options below.
Cell Phone and SIM Card Rental Options
We have compiled a list of several cell phone and SIM card rental options. Review all of your available options with 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 that we stay at will have internet stations and/or Wi-Fi available which teens are welcome to use during
free time, usually for an additional fee. We strongly suggest that you do not bring a laptop on the program or any other expensive communication devices as the risk of theft or damage is very high.
Thank you for taking the time to read this manual in its entirety. Do not forget to refer back to the checklist found on page 4. We look forward to having you join us on this incredible journey. Please do not hesitate to email us with any questions.