Packing for Israel depends on your length of stay and what kind of activities you plan on doing when you get there. It is important to travel as light as possible, with as little luggage as possible. Below are some things that should be included in your packing list every time you come to Israel:
- Passport- Cannot expire within 6 months of leaving the US, also it is a good idea to take a picture of your passport photo and save it in your email in case it ever gets lost/stolen.
- Plane tickets
- Travel Insurance- Including medical insurance. Verify that your current medical insurance includes coverage in Israel. If it doesn’t, or if you want to be extra safe I recommend buying Israeli travel insurance, such as through https://www.ctas.co.il/.
- SIM Card/ Phone Rental- To use a SIM card, your phone has to be internationally unlocked. If it isn’t, you have the option of renting an Israeli phone. You can use https://www.talknsave.net/ for either, and have it mailed to you before your trip.
- Debit/Credit Card- Visa and MasterCard are accepted at most places in Israel.
- Cash converted into the New Israel Shekel- There are some places in Israel you have to pay using cash. If you can find a local currency exchange, it may be cheaper than at the airport or even within Israel.
- Coin purse- You will be collecting lots of Shekalim and Agorot. I like to donate it all to tzedaka before I return to the airport.
- Prescription Medications- From EpiPens to asthma inhalers to insulin, make sure you have enough of what you need with you at ALL times.
- Over-the-counter medications: Benadryl, Dramamine, Ibuprofen, etc., can make the difference between a good trip and a bad one. It’s better to have and not need than to need and not have.
- Portable phone charger- You will be using a lot of battery using your phone for directions, taking pictures/videos, and communication. Some of the buses in Israel have charging stations that may or may not work. Best to exercise caution and make sure you have plenty of power.
- Phone adapter- The wall outlets are European sockets, and you will need to buy an adapter for charging your phone and other small electric devices. For things that need more power (hairdryers, straighteners), you WILL need a converter in addition to an adapter.
- Tissues- Some bathrooms in Israel aren’t well stocked with toilet paper. There’s no telling which ones are which, so always have some pocket tissues on your person.
- Backpack- If you can manage it, try coming with only a backpack and a small bag as your luggage. You don’t want to be schlepping a ton of luggage bags on a public bus, and overall it’s inconvenient to travel with. A good hiking backpack for hiking/camping trips is worth its weight in gold.
- Purse- Good for casual touring around the city. Make sure it has a long cross-shoulder strap for added security.
- Water bottle- The water in Israel is safe to drink, but the mineral content is different. You may not like the taste, but it’s better than buying bottled water (which can be expensive).
- Changes of clothes*
- Sunscreen- The sun is very strong here, protect yourself!
- Hat- It gets extremely hot here in the summer. A hat is a good way to insulate your head and keep your body heat under control.
- Hand sanitizer
- Beach towel- I recommend using a Turkish beach towel to conserve space in your luggage.
- Tennis/ hiking shoes
- Dress shoes
*Many places in Israel are considered holy sites. Here modest dress is required.
For the ladies: Long sleeve shirt/dress past the elbows, with no cleavage shown, not see-through, and not tight. A skirt that reaches past the knees, again not too tight or see-through.
For the men: Kippah, a shirt with sleeves (can be a T-shirt). Shorts are okay, but they should not be too short or tight.