Packing for Israel: A Basic Guide to Get You Going!
Some of my friends visiting Israel for the first time ask me for tips on packing. I tell them that there is nothing that they can’t buy over here, and so they should relax and get what they can carry with them when they are traveling.
Israel has such a diverse landscape it’s funny!
Did you know you can ski in the north during the winter and then drive down 6 hours and be on the hot beaches on Eilat?
Same day! Truly!
But some are insistent, and over a period of time, I have made an inventory which I put forward in such occasions.
Packing for Israel: It’s your call, and also the weather’s
If it’s a summer visit, then it is a good idea to have light clothing, half sleeves, shorts, sandals, beach wear, and shades. It’s also necessary to have a couple of pieces of light winter wear or two as nights in the desert and the mountains are cooler. Water bottles or pouches are mandatory though, and it depends on you whether you want to carry one, or buy it from here.
It helps with the diverse weather patterns throughout the country. In the north it can be very hot and super humid. In the south it can be very hot during the day, cool in the evenings, and very dry. Jerusalem can be quite hot during the day but often cools off in the evenings cause it’s in the Judaean Hills.
Winter would make it necessary to have warm clothing, gloves, a raincoat, and an umbrella. Winters in Israel can get rainy, and it’s always better to be prepared.
Sunscreen, sun glasses, sun hat will be needed irrespective of the season!
Packing for Israel: Good shoes are very important
Be it the beaches, or the desert, you will need good shoes. In fact, your activities in Israel will most probably involve being outdoors most of the time–there are so many hiking opportunities. Even if you are not a bike enthusiast, you will be doing a lot of walking, especially in Jerusalem, and also in other cities.
It is important to have footwear that you are comfortable with. The ideal scenario is to bring those pairs in which you have done a lot of walking, and are really comfortable with. New pinch might really pinch, if you are doing a lot of walking all of a sudden.
Since there are so many beaches around, it is necessary to bring a pair which will still be comfortable when wet.
Packing for Israel: Some conservative (and modest) clothes
Don’t get me wrong, you can wear just about anything you like in most of Israel. But when you are visiting certain religious places, or visiting a local on Friday (Shabaat) evenings – it is expected that you follow certain dress codes.
Religious places require you to cover your shoulders and knees. So, a scarf and a long skirt will be required if you are fond of short dresses. You can wear those on your dress while visiting sacred places, and then pull them off, and everybody will be happy.
Similarly, on Shabaat you are expected to wear something which is a cut above your regular clothes. It does not have to be a tuxedo, or a gown, but something that you would wear on a special joyous occasion.
Packing for Israel: Light Luggage is less trouble and more fun
You will be hauling the luggage mostly yourself, so it is better to carry as less as possible. A large duffel bag with wheels and a middle-sized back-pack which can double as your carry bag on short tours is the ideal combination.
When packing for Israel, even when I lived there, I would always carry around a light backpack.
You just didn’t know when you needed to carry something. Most of the time, it was a bottle of water and a hat. But the country is small, too. So you can hop on a bus in Jerusalem and be at the beach in Tel Aviv in under an hour! So, pack your bathing suit, sunblock, and head out for the gorgeous beaches!
And remember when I said about skiing in Israel, be sure to check this out!