For many, packing for a vacation can be a stressful experience; indeed, filling a suitcase with what you need rather than your entire wardrobe is a surprisingly elusive skill. But fear not, as we’ve put together this list of the essentials for your trip to Israel, which will provide you with all you need to enjoy your trip and fit in with the locals.
Peculiarly, the two most popular shoe brands in Israel among millennials are Australian and German. If you’re looking to adopt the local style and look as Israeli as possible, then pack Blundstone boots which are worn throughout the year and for pretty much any occasion (going to work, meeting friends at a bar, hiking the desert – you get the picture). Equally popular are Birkenstock sandals, which are essential for the sweltering summer heat.
If you didn’t know already, Israel is a hot country. Really hot. In the summer, you can fry eggs on car roofs and traffic cones melt. SPF50 is recommended to protect your skin from the intense heat, allowing you to spend as much time as you want on the beach.
Face it, you’re going to be eating a lot of food when vacationing in Israel, so you want to pack loose pants that allow for some stomach expansion. From local specialities like sumptuous plates of hummus, sweet and doughy jachnun, and fresh, crispy falafel, to Tel Aviv’s metropolitan culinary scene that could match London and New York – Israel is a food lover’s paradise.
Light, waterproof jacket
While most of the year Israel’s weather is dry and hot, in winter months it can be prone to intense rain showers of apocalyptic proportions. Getting caught for just a couple minutes in such conditions without the appropriate clothing can leave you completely drenched.
Israelis push the boundaries of ‘casual’ to the limit – it is not uncommon for guests at weddings to arrive wearing jeans and sandals. Whether going to work, a cocktail bar, or Shabbat dinner at a relative’s, shorts and flip flops are the norm in day to day life, so pack accordingly.
One of the best things about vacationing in Israel is relaxing on the beach with a group of friends, chilled watermelon in hand, soaking up the sunshine. Do it right by packing a large beach towel for everyone to sit on, and watch as your friends worship you. If you forget, don’t worry – simply head to the shuk and take your pick from the plentiful supply of colourful tapestries.
Israel is blessed with some jaw-droppingly gorgeous landscapes, so for those who want more than just a beach holiday, put on your Blundstones and go explore. From ancient forts buried away in the lush greenery of the north, to hiking to the top of the Masada in the southern desert, a selfie stick is a must to help you capture those magical views.
While Israel is a predominantly secular nation, it is also home to the holiest city in the world. Any visit to Israel is incomplete without a trip to the fascinating, intense, beautiful and often crazy city of Jerusalem. Modest clothing, especially for women, is essential here, meaning skirts or trousers that go below the knee when visiting religious sites such as the Wailing Wall. If you forget, then worry not – there are religious women who volunteer to hand out garments to those showing excessive skin by the Wall.
Portable mini fan
This will be a game-changer for those visiting during the height of Israel’s heat and humidity in the summer. Whether sitting at one of Tel Aviv’s numerous open air coffee shops, waiting for a bus, or queuing for your second pita and falafel of the day, life will become much more pleasant with a mini fan in hand.
There are a lot of mosquitos flying around in Israel who are thirsty for your blood. Be smart and prevent yourself being ravaged by them by packing repellent and spraying yourself thoroughly at night, so you can enjoy an itch-free vacation.