Travel tips for first time female traveler. Etiquette? Traveling on a pilgrimage with a small group. I will be going knowing a priest friend only. I know we are doing a lot of walking, maybe the best type of shoe that I could also climb, not a lot, but if we go near caves, I want to be able to go up rocky terrain. Is it best to take mostly cash or am I ok taking a smaller amount and using my debit/credit card? I was only on one flight in the last year, and that was to CO. I was healthy as can be until I stepped on the plane. I arrived so sick with a high fever, I ended up at an 24 hour clinic and tested positive for the contagious flu last year. Any tricks to prevent getting sick from the plane? Is there anything that is utterly disrespectful to say to someone that we normally say in the US?
You said that you are going with a small group? Is there someone in this group who is a 'leader' and is making the arrangements? If so, have they been to Israel before? Do you have an idea of the places you'll be visiting?
Shoes are a very personal thing as what works for one person may not for another. What most of us might suggest is going to reputable shop and asking for a good walking shoe - with a good tread - and then breaking it in on multiple types of terrain before you go.
I wouldn't worry about getting sick on the plane: drink lots of water, wash your hands often and WELL, get up and walk around now and again, and try and get some sleep.
You'll want a closed shoe (hiking or sneaker) for some places that will be unpaved. If it's winter, some paving can be very slippery when it's wet (especially in Jerusalem). If it's spring/summer/fall, you'll want sandals most of the time. Thick soles are important.
Most major credit cards are accepted. Cash can be easily obtained using an ATM card with a 4-digit PIN.
Let me reinforce Chani's comment about needing good shoes, particularly in Jerusalem. The shoes I brought (new balance) had plenty of tread on the sole, but the material of the sole did not grip very well on the stone pavement in the old city of Jerusalem. Even when it was dry, my shoes were slipping on that stone pavement. So bring walking shoes the grip really well on a slippery surface.
Very good advice from Sherry. We had the same problem with slippery stone surfaces in Italy so grip - especially if the stone is wet - is as important as tread.