Packing for my two weeks in Israel, Jordan and Egypt were harder than I thought. I knew that since I was traveling in the winter I needed to prepare for warmer temperatures in the day and cooler ones at night. Things got a little more tricky when I found that while some locations like Tel Aviv stay relatively warm in the winter, Jerusalem get colder. And in the desert (where I’d be heading to hike Masada, float in the Dead Sea and camp with a Bedouin tribe) it could get quite warm during the day and very cold at night.
Needless to say creating my packing list was a bit of work, but if you make it to the end of this post I’ve got a free packing guide for you to print out!
The answer I settled on was layers. I’d pack a variety of basic layers (mostly cotton) that I could mix, match and well, layer as needed. When I arrived in Tel Aviv, it was still balmy and warm at night but by New Year’s Eve the weather had turned unseasonably cool for the region. Those layers ended up saving me in my second week of travel – the weather in Egypt was much colder than I expected – when I wore almost all of them at once.
Now I seem to have traveled during the coldest days of this winter for this region because Katie of Style Wonk got away with an adorable tank and skirt just a week after I left. So the best advice I can give you is to pack lots of interchangeable layers and hope you don’t have to use them all at once. Here’s my secret formula:
6 Tops + 5 Bottoms + 3 Dresses + 2 Vests + 1 Jacket
It wasn’t until afterwards that I realized I’d packed almost entirely white, black and grey pieces. I once read an article by Jess Keys for The Everygirl citing a black tee as an essential for travel. I gave her advice a try and have since packed a black tee for every trip I take. I’ve found it to be one of my most worn and versatile items.
Another favorite is my denim button up – easily paired with any bottom for a laid back outfit or layered on top as a light jacket. And then a sheer blouse is nice to include because its dressier than the cotton tops I already packed and doesn’t wrinkle.
Dresses are so easy to pack because they take up little room. I opted for a short dress to wear on sunny days and made sure to pack a long maxi dress to wear to religious sites where I needed to cover up. I was also lucky enough to spend NYE in Tel Aviv so I packed a fun little number for that night.
If you’re visiting Israel, you’re visiting the Dead Sea so don’t forget a swimsuit! Bring one you don’t mind getting dirty – I actually ditched mine afterwards. Otherwise bring your normal essentials like bras and underwear. I definitely recommend bringing at least 1-2 sports bras and tights or leggings for layering on cold days. I roll up my essentials and stuff them inside my shoes to keep their shape.
You’re toiletries, medicine and makeup. I pack mine inside ziploc bags and then place those bags inside a zippered toiletry bag so I don’t have to deal with leaks. I also like to bring my own microfiber towel. It takes up no space and dries quickly.
IN YOUR CARRY ON
I prefer to pack all my electronics in my carry-on because I like to have them on hand and get paranoid they’ll get broken or lost in my checked bag. Don’t forget to pack chargers and accessories as well. I also keep my passport, flight confirmations, ID and money on hand.
Now if you are heading to Israel print out this packing guide so you don’t forget anything! You can grab the higher resolution version for printing here.
Do you dread packing as much as I do (despite the excitement of your trip)?