What to Pack for Your Trip to Israel
BY Lee Saunders DATE 29/08/2023
There have been many words of wisdom when it comes to what to bring on a vacation, but when packing for Israel, one valuable tip is to lay out all your clothing items, and then choose the ones that make you feel most confident and joyful, then half it. Of course, much depends on whether you are travelling with the family, friends or solo, with or without children, but the golden rule applies. Cover the essentials, leave space for memories and pockets for souvenirs.
The Basics: Essential Items for Every Traveler
Wherever you go in the world these days, you have to start with the three Ps: Paperwork, power and personal items, and Israel is no different. With regards to paperwork, ensure you have your passport in order – all visitors must hold a passport that is valid for at least six months from the date they depart their country. Here, to make it easier, we have created a travel to Israel checklist.
Tourists visas for Israel last up to 90 days and every nationality is allowed to enter, most countries automatically, but some may need a visa approved in advance. Check with your embassy or the Israeli government website. Israeli authorities no longer stamp passports upon entry or exit. If you’re only visiting as a tourist, you will receive a piece of paper with all of your information. This will not create issues if visiting other countries in the Middle East. Keep hold of this paper. If you also visit the West Bank, you will need these, and some car rental companies also require this proof of entry. As when travelling elsewhere, ensure that you have the appropriate level of insurance for your trip, keeping physical and digital copies.
Israel is one of the most advanced and cutting-edge destinations when it comes to staying charged and connected. Most buses and trains have charge points by the seats, though it is always worth carrying a power bank or portable charger to keep your devices at full strength, especially if travelling to the Negev desert. When charging phones, tablets, computers or other devices, you will need an adapter to connect to Type C and H sockets and plugs. In Israel the standard voltage is 230V and the frequency is 50 Hz. You can use your electric appliances in Israel, if the standard voltage in your country is in between 220 – 240 V (as is in the UK, Europe, Australia and most of Asia and Africa).
Personal items will always depend from person to person but a good camera should be on your Israel packing list, allowing you to capture the stunningly varied landscapes, from the greener north to the dusty brown desert, as well as historical sites you read and hear about. For your phone, there are always a few good apps to download. These include the Gett or Yango apps, which allows you to book taxis, track your ride, estimate fares, and pay electronically, as well as navigation apps, in English, such as Moovit or HopOn, which show you how to get from A to B in the best possible way.
Dressing Right: What to Wear in Israel
Whether you’re strolling through the vibrant market in Jerusalem, partying in the streets of Tel Aviv, or hiking around the north’s Carmel National Park or Negev desert in the south, Israel’s diversity presents a wide range of experiences to enjoy -many of them requiring some planning, and all of them captivating.
Firstly, dress for the weather and the activity. As unpredictable as temperatures have been in recent months, assume that it will be very warm or hot between April and October, humid in the center, drier in the south and Eilat. Between it will be hot and humid in the center and north, and a drier heat in Eilat and the south. In these months, bring lightweight and breathable clothing, including T-shirts, short-sleeved
shirts, shorts, jeans, comfortable and sturdy walking shoes, a hat or cap, sunglasses, sunscreen with high protection, and mosquito repellent. You don’t need any injections. Ziploc bags for the beach, toiletries or other miscellaneous items are always good value and take up no space.
While between November and March, the weather can be cooler. In the hills of Jerusalem, the temperatures are cooler, especially in the evening, Rain is possible, though rarely last for hours. Put away the vests and tank tops then, with light jackets and long sleeves among the things to pack for Israel. Make sure you pack jeans and pants, a light rain jacket in case, and some thin sweaters. With hiking season in the cooler months of October-May, bring hiking boots, crucial for exploring historical sites and many natural wonders, such as Masada, the Ramon Crater and Timna National Park, near Eilat.
Additional Essentials for Israel
The currency, the Israeli shekel, is as – as of publication – approximately 4 to the US dollar and Euro, and 5 to the British pound, but download a currency converter app to your phone, such as Currency Plus, to help with any quick calculations and latest rates for your currency. Many Israelis speak English, especially in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, and around tourist attractions, but outside of the major cities, having a translation app or Google Translate can be helpful for communicating and understanding locals.
Although it is not a tangible item per se, having an open-minded attitude is perhaps one of the most crucial things you can bring. Israel is a nation that is rich in cultural and religious diversity. At the end of 2022, the population in Israel stood at approximately 9.6 million, 73% Jewish, 21% Arabs, and the country is home to the holiest sites in the three monotheistic religions, and is home to people of all walks of life, including Ethiopian Jews, Bedouins, Druze, and many more.
Understanding, learning and respecting local customs will always go a long way. Visits to many religious sites, such as the Kotel (Western Wall) will require modest dress. A shawl or scarf for women and longer below-the-knee pants or shorts for men and women will ensure access to these places. For synagogues, you won’t need to bring your own Jewish Kippah (or Yarmulke) as many will be able to provide, but you can also buy souvenirs. If you are joining a family for Shabbat, the dress code is far more informal than many places: usually a shirt, long pants or jeans, and sneakers will suffice.
How Dan Hotels Can Assist
Should you have forgotten anything, or need anything at all, the Dan Hotels’ staff is well equipped to help point you in the right direction. From the closest ATM to its in-house laundry and dry cleaning service, you have everything you need at your fingertips. If you have young children, you can ask for equipment for the room, such as a cot set: playpen, head protector, or blankets, as well as baby baths, strollers, sterilizers, night lights, and more.
Packing for a trip to Israel involves consideration of the varied climate in such a small country, as well as the sheer range of activities in which you can get involved. By packing essentials like weather-appropriate clothing, cultural accessories, electronics, and personal care items, you’ll be well-equipped to explore both Israel’s historic landmarks and breathtaking scenery. When you return home, you will need to unpack very little: some dirty laundry and many cherished memories.
Written by Lee Saunders