2-week trip to Israel
Hi Everyone - I leave one week from today for a 2-week tour of the Holy Land! It's more like a short-term college course, taught by a professor, and we'll have 10-12 hour days if we opt for all the additional lectures, etc. We had an 8-week map prep course, so I believe I'm pretty prepared to take it all in. This info is to partially defend myself for a not-as-light-as-I'd-hoped-for packing list, ha ha.
I have two questions:
1 - Given my schedule, should I pare down any of the contents (or have I missed anything?
2 - Should I opt for my new ballistic nylon Tri-Star or take my dyneema Aeronaut? The group I'm traveling with are checking their bags. I didn't plan on it, but if the weight of my bag is pretty heavy, I may do it just because I didn't want to haul my bag around during the 3.5 hour layover at Heathrow. Thoughts?
Merrell tennis shoes (wear)
Keen water sandals
REI gray cargo hiking pants
Patagonia roll up black pants
Ex Officio khaki tropicwear pants
Columbia stone convertible pants
3 Ex Officio short sleeve t-shirts (black, blue, green)
2 Icebreaker short sleeve t-shirts (brown, turquoise)
Icebreaker long sleeve pink striped 200g shirt
Smartwool long sleeve purple half zip shirt
Mountain Hardwear long sleeve sun shirt, blue
REI rain jacket
5 pair Icebreaker undies
5 pair socks (2 wool, 3 nylon)
Pashmina (for head covering at Western Wall and for warmth)
Sleep shirt and shorts (can double to wear out if needed)
Dr. Bronner’s baby mild – for shampoo, soap, laundry, in case not provided
Prescription drugs - + 1 day extra in case of delays
Eyedrops – day and night types
First aid kit – couple of Band-Aids, a few Pepto tablets and some Aleve
A couple extra Ziploc’s
Spare glasses, mini-eyeglass repair kit
Small packet of tissues
Converter (will probably buy there to ensure it works)
Documents, Electronics, Class Materials, Day Pack stuff
TB passport pouch – also serves as hidden money stash
Copy of passport in luggage
Money - $100
Address list for postcards
Notebook for documenting picture sites
Anker dual charge wall plug
iPhone & cable
Camera & charger
iPad & cable
Kindle (won’t need charger)
iPod & cable
Do you know where there will be laundry facilities available? Also, are you staying in places for longer than 1-2 nights? The answers to those 2 questions, for my travels, impact my clothing list. What a trip! You'll need a vacation to rest up from your vacation!
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I have the same question as @ monkeylady about laundry. If you are planning to wash then you dont need as many clothes. Are any of your pants quick dry? I usually go with max 3 of any type ( short sleeve, long sleeve) and no more than 5 total tops. YMMV.
Why do you need the iPod? The iPhone or iPad could do all those functions. Are you planning to read in sunlight? If not, you could drop the kindle too. What kind of camera? I bought a light weight clip style usb charger that takes up only a fraction of the space and weight of my regular camera charger. I always take a flat style sink stopper in case the hotel sink doesnt have a stopper. I also use a starbucks bottle of water which I refill and eventually replace with another bottle of water. They are lighter and i tend to lose water bottles.
I would take more than one extra day of meds.
I would agree that unless the iPod is a Shuffle, it seems superfluous to take it in addition to an iPhone. Also, if you're taking a Kindle and/or iPad and/or iPhone, do you need a separate paper bible?
And yeah, take extra meds - presumably they won't take up much room, and you don't want to be trying to source them locally if there are delays or other problems.
Well, if you are staying in one place the entire time, or moving around on a tour bus, you shouldn't worry too much about packing light. If your days are that busy, you may not want to do much laundry.
Also, as someone who does Bible study classes -- particularly if you are looking at the Hebrew and English at the same time -- I would stick with the paper Bible. I do a lot of the work on my iPad because I don't like carrying the extra weight, but I have noticed that the paper versions offer better translations than anything that's available as an app, and of course they are easier for flipping around quickly in order to find a particular chapter or verse. And if you are standing outside in the strong sun, the iPad screen can be hard to read.
If you want a working cell phone while you are there, you can get an Orange card for your iPhone, if it is unlocked. I did this successfully with my iPhone 5 last fall. I ended up buying a voice/data plan, and using the phone to guide me around when I got lost. This may or may not come into play if you are with a group the entire time.
Have a great trip!
Hmmm, even though everything is covered, u may want to up the amount in the "fun" kitty.
We're staying in a hotel for all but four nights, and there are laundry services available at the hotel and on the college campus. I don't want to spend a bunch of time doing laundry, so I'll either use the sink at night when I have to, or as you can see from my list, I was thinking about bringing a week's worth and then sending it out to be laundered. We'll be staying in a kibbutz in Galilee for four nights, and amenities there will be less than at the hotel. That's the second week, so I'll have time to prepare for that. Also, there's a store right by the hotel that has everything I might need to pick up, similar to a drugstore/mart here. This area is used to US students and tourists and carry most everything we might have forgotten practically on site. I'd really rather not take a hair dryer, and may ditch that.
All my clothes, undies, socks, shirts, and pants, are quick-dry. So yes, I should pare it down. I'll work on that. I know the rule of three; it's just really hard to do it once it's a reality!
The iPod is a nano, and just easy because it's tiny and can slip into my front pocket if I'm listening to music and resting my eyes. I was taking the iPad for notes, movies, and e-mail each night to family (easier than my iPhone - I have a vision impairment and the larger font is much better). bchaplin, I'm not taking a Hebrew translation, and wondered about a paper v electronic version. The Kindle is great for the sunlight, and I thought I might be able to get away with my downloaded Bible there, which will take a ton of weight out of my daypack.
My camera is a Canon Powershot digital, not a micro, but easily fits in a jacket pocket or side pocket of my synapse.
If I pare down, what should I drop? 1 pair pants and a couple of shirts? Anything else? My practice-pack had me at 12.5 lbs. I'm 5'0" and a size 6 in pants and shoes, and my husband is amazed at the amount of stuff I get into a small bag. One of the few perks of being the size of a 12 year old.
bchaplin, you're right; I'm with a group and our luggage will be on a bus, so minimal carrying. That's why I'm not so worried about packing light other than to keep it to one bag to possibly check (I hate the idea of checking a TB bag!). I want to bring a bag big enough to bring back some meaningful souvenirs as well.
Lose the hairdyer, pack a quick drying hair turban and don't forget to take a hat.
Lose the Kindle, use your reading app on your iPad, only take the iPod if it is a Shuffle.
Address list for postcards can be added to your iPhone/iPad contact lists.
Camera & charger, Notebook for documenting picture sites. How big is your camera and can it be replaced by the iPhone ?
Do you need to document the pictures for your courses in a scientific way? If so, you could set up the camera or the iPhone to give you precise time and day and write the data back at your hotel on your iPad or in any of your courses notebook.
I suppose that a small notebook doesn't take that much space but unless you or your prof are picky about paper and format, you might want to pick one up in Israel.
I agree with everyone, take more than one extra day of meds, I will say one week and an extra prescription.
Yet it sounds like a bit much but if you cannot function well without the prescription, you need extra.
You never know what Heathrow has in store for you, same with Eyjafjallajökull.
From Wikipedia: Between the 14th and 20th of April 2010, ash covered large areas of northern Europe when the volcano Eyjafjallajökull erupted. About 20 countries closed their airspace to commercial jet traffic and it affected more than 100,000 travellers.
I hope the people who setup the course, have alternate routes from Heathrow to Israel using trains, buses and boats in case that happens.
Coming back is less of a worry, unless you have exams, because Europe in Spring and Summer is mighty fun.
Bring more money, in small currency stashed everywhere, bring a backup credit card that can be used to withdraw money in local ATM.
Don't take a debit card with automatic withdrawn, those type of accounts can be emptied right away with no possibility of recourse.
Change 50 pounds and 50 checkels in small bills and coins right away, in your bank or credit union.
The change offices in airports or major train station are always more expensive than financial institutions.
For the benefit of pickpockets, bring an old wallet with demagnetized discount cards, (discount cards have personal data which can be sold) a small amount of coins (pennies do just fine) and a couple of low denomination coins and bills in pounds or sheckels to buy airport and street food.
I'll second the idea of a microfibre hair towel/turban instead of a dryer - they absorb a lot of water out of your hair in a matter of minutes, and then you can just let your hair finish drying naturally. In the mild climate of Israel, that won't take long!
I will only mention clothes as the other categories are so personal, and likely specific to your activities there. You mention the shoes you will waer to travel but does the rest of your list include what you will wear? If so, and your bags weighs that little then I think your list of clothes is really good. I do agree that you could drop a couple of tops. I know some of the pants you are taking and they won't weigh much and will pack small. They are the hardest to sink wash so I think 4 is a good number.
Whisper, yes, the list includes what I'll wear on the plane. I think you're right about cutting out a few tops.
On the hair dryer, my hair is short so I think you all are right that I should ditch the dryer, and my vanity!
I just downloaded a bible on my iPad to see how easily I can navigate it electronically. My only concern there is reading it in the sun because we will have some talks at the sites. I think at most I'll take the kindle to deal with the sun since it's so light.
I went on a 3-week archaeological tour to Israel 20 years ago. We visited 8-10 sites a day, so the intensity was probably similar to your itinerary. Some impressions that remain:
- We got really dusty, all the time. I'd advocate for keeping the extra pants & tops. It was more humid in the Galilee when we were there, and things didn't dry quickly. (We hung dainties on the outside hotel railing, but they took forever to dry.) I finally bought 2 more t-shirts because my others were so filthy. ;-) Adventure clothing & sandals are great.
-- In December, it was warm enough that year to wear khaki bermuda shorts (or cotton hiking pants) with hiking sandals with tshirt and a polarfleece layer in Galilee. You may want a lightweight cotton skirt or hot-weather option in case it's warm? I find tech fabrics to be uncomfortable when it's humid, so prefer cotton-blend things.
-- Sun is a big deal. I took heavy sunglasses (REI glacier glasses with side shields). I'm sun-sensitive, but I'm glad I had them. BTW I still have those glasses. ;-) I wore my hat a lot. Big brim, light color.
-- You might want the larger bag, if you intend to bring back materials/souvenirs. I collected brochures and slide sets at many sites, because I planned to use those materials for teaching. (and I still use them) Not sure if you'll want room for things like that, but you may want the extra space. I didn't bring back much olivewood, but had books & bits of rock.
-- About the Bible - be sure you can use it easily offline. I use Logos software, and it takes forever to load, even for offline stuff. If your prof wants you to take a Bible on the bus, will you want to take your iPad to hike up Masada? To keep it safe, that might mean you hike everywhere with the heavy iPad. You may prefer the paper copy Bible, or read the BIble of the person sitting next to you. Our biblical archaeologist had us bring a Bible to Israel, but we didn't need them during the day. Also, I kept a pocket-size journal for taking notes from site lectures, and I still use those notes. At the time, I wore a nice fanny pack, which made it easy to pop out that pad and jot while at sites - I could keep my daypack on the bus while we hiked. A Side Effect might be a classier version.
-- One gal on our tour had brought a portable cassette recorder (the kind used for dictating notes). She stood right next to the tour guides to capture their every word. I found that annoying at the time (in every photo, she's standing the closest to the guides), but now I wish I had those recordings, or of me whispering notes into it. I know I missed a lot of info for my notes. I'm thinking about taking a little recorder when I take an archaeological tour in Rome next week -- they have them at Target - I'm tempted, because my iPhone battery/memory won't hold up for the week.
-- They encouraged us to drink a ton of water - we carried liter bottles of "Naya" water everywhere. I used a small bottle to bring home some water from the Jordan River, which I boiled when I got home and later used for my kids' baptisms.
-- You may want some Immodium.
-- I didn't take a hair dryer. (Had long hair, washed it daily.) I'm sure there will be dryers in hotels, and possibly the kibbutz? If not, that's what scrunchies, headscarves or hats are for.
--I got easily overwhelmed with all the swaths of historical data. The Land of Israel is so layered in history. I found I had to focus in on the historical periods I was most interested in, and filter out the rest.
Hope you have a great time! I hope to return soon to Israel, because I'd like to see the Bethsaida excavations and new finds in Migdal.
Preprint or handwrite name and address labels of people you want to send postcards to. It makes writing/sending them a breeze and you always know who you haven't sent a card to.
First off, bringing water from the Jordan for your kids' baptisms gives me goosebumps! What a wonderful idea! Thanks for sharing your experience there. The days will be so full that I really only wanted to do laundry one time halfway through the trip. We'll have two free days, but the last thing I want to do is spent it doing laundry, or doing it in the sink every night in hopes it would dry. I've done it before, but that was in a humid climate as well, and I had the same issue of things not drying overnight.
The sun will be a big deal for me. I'm as very pale redhead with very sensitive skin, and I have a vision impairment that not only impedes my sight, but my pupils let in too much light as well. I have very dark prescription sunglasses, and I'll take a backup pair as well. And I live in a hat in sunny climates, so I guess that'll take care of both sun and hair dryer issues! No need for a hair dryer if I'll be wearing a hat all day.
On the Bible, I downloaded a searchable one on both my Kindle app and my iBooks app to see how they work, and it'll do just fine. I plan to ask at our class tonight if we'll need to use it at the sites, because if we do, I'll definitely need the Kindle for reading in the sun. Sharing won't work for me since I need to hold things closer to see, and the electronic version will be lighter than my large print paper Bible. If we just need the Bible in the classroom or on the bus, my iPhone will work just fine. Which makes me wonder if I even need to take the iPad, although it would be nice for writing notes and e-mails at the end of the day, and just keeping it in the room.
For souvenirs, I plan on picking up some broken pottery or rocks at the sites, and I did plan on getting some olivewood Christmas ornaments for gifts. I like your idea of brochures. When I went to England, I got the paperback tour guides of every site I visited and they're great for a trip down memory lane. Good call on the larger bag for those things.
Fortunately one of our group is bringing a video camera! She's going to film the teachings, which we hope to use for teachings at church in the future, but of course, we'll all want to see them again for just the reason you mention - so much to take down in such a short time.
Thank you for mentioning that you felt overwhelmed at times. I feel overwhelmed already with all the preparation and I'm not even there yet. It already feels like information overload! I appreciate the reminder to just focus in on what's important to me, and not feel like I have to remember every detail mentioned on the tour. I haven't done a trip like this before, so I really appreciate your advice.
@dwright17 Sounds like it will be a fantastic trip, and I also enjoyed reading TavaPeak's descriptions of her experience. I'm actually in favor of having both paper and electronic copies of a few items always easily available for review, which is easier than having to always pull out your iPhone or iPad in order to read your itinerary or address cards. Question: do you really need a converter? By dropping the hair dryer, you probably only need to worry about charging your electronic devices (iPhone, iPad, Kindle, etc.), and all of these use floating voltage systems that work anywhere as long as you have the correct plug connector. All your devices (including the Kindle if you wanted to charge it) can work off the same chargers (you only need a short micro-USB cable for the Kindle). The only thing I sometimes take with me when traveling abroad is a Monster Outlets to Go power strip that lets me connect multiple devices to one outlet (using only a single plug adapter for the outlet). For example, in Paris, good hotel rooms that are not part of the large chains tend to be clean, but very small, and there's usually only one outlet that is easy to use.
If you do decide to buy a sim card for local use, you might want to remember to bring along the tool for popping this out of your iPhone. (I set this out for travel last fall, but forgot to pack it; I'd either store this in front of one of the end guards of the size 1 Knitting Tool Pouch in Ballistic nylon, so it and the sim card are held in place, but remain visible through the clear urethane window, or I use one of the Clear organizer Wallets and have the Ultrasuede dividers keep these small items from getting lost.
While you might not want to record videos, you could easily record some audio portions of lectures and conversations on your iPhone or iPad. The ClearRecord Premium app includes noise-reduction, and the ability to use compact formats for voice recording as well as Wi-Fi or Dropbox transfer. It's not as fancy as some of the recorder options specifically for iPad that also keep track of your place if you are also typing notes, but for $0.99 it works simply, will record on both your iPhone and your iPad Mini, and will give you better quality recordings in noisy environments than simply using your memos or other recording app.
Another general purpose iOS app recommendation, especially useful for people with vision issues or who alternatively want the ability to listen to text content (including options in multiple languages): Voice Dream Reader You can try the free, lite version first. If you just want to use this for easier reading of documents or text (with highlighting, large fonts, adjustable color contrast backgrounds) on a wide range of documents it will handle these types:
- Plain text (TXT)
- Rich Text Format (RTF)
- Microsoft Word (DOC and DOCX)
- Zipped MP3 files, such as LibriVox
- Microsoft PowerPoint (PPT and PPTX)
- Portable Document Format (PDF)
- Apple Pages (PAGE)
- Apple Keynote (KEY)
- Web (HTM and HTML)
- eBook (ePUB) (without DRM)
You can set it up for Drop Box syncing and transfer of documents. It supports bookmarks and searching, and if you are running iOS 7, you can optionally use the built-in Apple voices for supported languages to read the text. You don't have to use the audio features, but if you do, you can customize the speech rate and fonts for each document. If you load in PDF documents, you have the option to access both the text (through text-to-speech) and the images. The same app will work on your iPhone and your iPad. It comes with the Acapela Heather voice (U.S. English), but the latest update supports the Ivona voices (U.S. English Salli and Joey, British English Amy and Bryan) in addition to the Neo-Speech Voices (James, Kate, Julie, Paul, Bridget -- others for different languages like Chinese and Japanese), as well. You can start playback and continue reading even with with your screen locked. List price is $9.99, includes Heather U.S. English voice. Additional voices via in-app purchase from $1.99 to $4.99 (for the new Ivona voices). This app is constantly updated with new features, but you can read the old NPR article about the developer.