So you’re on your way to the Holy Land and you can’t wait to get to Jerusalem for your first glimpse of the city that’s holy to more than half the population of the world. What are the essentials you should bring along to make your trip that much more enjoyable?
First off–under the necessary items list, is “modest clothing.” Almost all the religious sites in Jerusalem insist that your shoulders be covered (men and women) and shorts are a no-no for women. A light scarf or two can double as a wrap-around skirt and a shoulder-covering.
Another “must-have” for Jerusalem is sturdy walking shoes. You’ll be doing lots of walking on ancient stones and cobbled pavements where your flip-flops just won’t cut it.
If you’re coming in the summer, bring your sun-screen from home–it’s at least twice the price here and you’ll be slathering it on to combat the intense Middle Eastern rays. Same goes for deodorant and bug spray.
Jerusalem can get rainy and chilly (mid 40s) between December-late March, so appropriate gear for the weather is important–but pack a jacket with a hood and leave the umbrella behind since most of the time it’s too windy to be of any use.
Throw in a blank notebook to go along with your camera–there will be so many experiences you’ll want to remember, and sometimes an old fashioned pen and paper are the simplest way to jot them down whether you’re on a crowded bus or on a remote trail.
You can buy it here, but to hit the ground running in the summer you may want to bring along one of those insulated bottle containers with a shoulder strap for the liter of water you’ll have to shlep along on every tour in the summer.
You won’t need fancy clothing–Israel in general is a very casual country, and Jerusalem in particular is a place where people just don’t consider it important to get dressed up too often. If you’re invited to a wedding, casual attire is perfectly acceptable. You’ll feel comfortable dressed casually for the theater, clubs and even fancy restaurants in Jerusalem.
But don’t worry too much about the material things–Jerusalem is a city of the spirit and soul and it’s those adventures and experiences that will make your trip here.