What to pack?

Try to pack light. You have to strike a balance between being ready for whatever weather Israel might throw at you, avoiding the expense of socks washed and folded by the hotel for $6.50 a pair, and avoiding physiotherapy from having repeatedly lifted your body weight in luggage. Let’s start by saying that your tour guide has little or no memory when it comes to what you wore the day before yesterday. And aside from me, really, who are you trying to impress?

Airlines are placing more restrictions on luggage. Generally, you get 20 kilos (44 lbs.) of checked luggage, and another 8 kilos (17.5 lbs.) of carry-on. But you have to leave some room for the stuff you will be buying for folks back home.

Pack comfortable clothes, good walking shoes and a hat. Something modest enough to avoid censure at holy sites (err on the side of caution). Bathing suit and flip flops (even if its winter, there’s always a wet option: the Dead Sea float, the Red Sea snorkel, the Golan Heights water hike). If you’ve got a pair of river sandals (Tevas or Keens), they’ll usually come in handy.

Even on winter days, the sun usually shines most hours of the day. So think layers. In the summer, shorts and T-shirts are usually fine. But you need to bring something modest for days we go to the Old City, for instance. And a sweatshirt or light jacket for the evenings.

Don’t forget the meds, and bring sun block with you. Some people have problems with contact lenses, as the air is drier than they’re used to.

The food in Israel is great, with fewer preservatives, fresher produce and amazing variety. But if you’re a picky eater, you ought to bring some favorite comfort foods along. While most everything is available here, it will rarely be when and where you need it. It’s hard to find Gatorade, so you might consider bringing the powder.

I’m available if you have any specific questions.