Do not throw out the little slip of paper that they give you at the airport. This is your entry visa and entitles you to exemption of the 17% VAT tax on rental cars, hotels and certain shopping venues.
All the children (and adults) need a hat with a brim. I cannot stress this enough. It really keeps you cool. It is very hot and everyone needs one. A baseball cap is ok, but one with a full brim is better to prevent sunburned necks.
Bring your sunscreen favorites (spray, lotion, etc) reapply throughout the day. You will need to use insect repellent as well. We have lots here but if you have a favorite brand that you use on kids at home, you should bring it. It is most useful in desert areas.
Bring water shoes for the City of David tunnels, rafting and Ein Gedi. No flip flops
Buy water for your apartment and Air B and B. Make sure people start drinking water BEFORE you leave for the day. Buy some of the hand water bottle cooling things. They hold a liter or liter and a half of water. You can refrigerate your water the night before and place them in those things to keep chilled.
Make sure you know all your passwords for your ATM cards and call all credit card companies and tell them you are going to Israel, so charges are not denied.
You should have a good data plan on at least one cell phone because if you are driving in a rental car you will definitely need to be able to access WAZE and What’s App.
Buy a driving map of Israel. The rental car companies are not so good about giving one. It is great for the kids to see where they are going and the outline of the country as you guys drive around.
Shop for snacks and bring daily. Best to have at least one or two persons carry a regular backpack. That way, it will fit water, snacks and souvenirs if you buy
Take good pictures of the rental car before you head out.
Bring medication for everyone and if needed, bring a prescription from your doctor if you run out. Bring your favorite over the counter meds in small quantities. You need a prescription here for neosporin!
Buy travel insurance and also check your insurance policies to see what is covered overseas.
Buy a Rav Kav card at the airport for bus travel. If going to parks, that can be purchased there too.
If you need gluten free or any other special foods, have a letter written in Hebrew with you to present to the management of the restaurant or hotel
Download Moovit, and other pertinent apps for your phone. Check charges daily from Pango and Gett.
Do not bring Traveler’s checks, nobody uses them. Bring cash with you as well as a few ATM cards. Just in case the ATM machines do not work in the neighborhood that you are in, a money changer can change American cash and Euros. Do not change money at your hotel or a bank, they give terrible rates. Only a money changer.
Bring good footwear. A good walking shoe or good walking sandals. Your feet will thank you.
Learn a few words in Hebrew. Todah means thank you and it goes a long way.
If your child is a super picky eater, bring favorite snacks from home for the flight and the first few days here. Some kids wind up eating nothing here.
Adjust to jet lag by being outside for the first day. Try to keep everyone up until regular bedtime. Do not overschedule the first day.
Pack lightly, hand wash and hang up to dry. We are a casual country in terms of dress/attire.
Bring an open mind, a sense of humor and a smile. Don’t compare to your home country. You are in ISRAEL!!!