What to Pack for a Trip to Israel? (And What Not to Bring Along!)

Share this post -

What to pack for your trip to Israel? And what not to bring along too! Three concise lists of what you absolutely must bring, the things you probably should and those you should totally avoid.Over the years, I've answered hundreds of questions from visitors to Israel. Quite a few were around the big "what to pack" dilemma. Should I bring sneakers or hiking boots? Do I need to bring a heavy coat when visiting in November? Do I need any special kind of converter for my phone?

This post will provide you with the following lists -

  • Things you absolutely should pack for a trip to Israel.
  • Things you should probably bring along - depending on the nature of your trip.
  • Things you shouldn't bring along.

This is a funny post for me to write because I actually live in Israel. However, as a fellow traveler, I fully appreciate the pains of packing for a new destination that you've never visited before.

The information is based on several sources.

First, questions and comments on my post about What to Wear in Israel. I have had hundreds of those over the years - and I always reply to them all!

Secondly, we love hosting people. We couchsurf and host other couchsurfers. Talking to so many travelers to Israel, I have a pretty good grasp of the things they were happy they brought along, the things they missed (and needed our help with) and the things they were sorry they had dragged along.

Keep reading so you can avoid repeating the same mistakes! And don't forget to follow the tips in the last section of this post as well - they're important!

Things you absolutely should pack for a trip to Israel

Here are the items that you either won't be able to replace or that replacing will take you way too much time. I'll also explain what to do in case you manage to forget or lose one of these.


Well, you won't be able to make it on board your flight without one, so the odds of you landing here without one are slim. However, it's possible to lose documents.

Before you leave, make a copy of your passport. Keep a print somewhere in your belongings, as well as a copy that you can access online.

If you happen to lose your passport while in Israel -

  1. If you suspect your passport was stolen, report the theft to the local police. Call the number 110 to find out where exactly you need to report the theft so you can get a written copy of the report. (The emergency number for the police in Israel is 100 - although dialing 911 will also work here. The 110 number is for their information center).
  2. Contact your embassy to find out how to get a new passport or alternative temporary travel documents for your flight back home.

Credit card

Almost all businesses in Israel accept credit cards. Israelis usually use local versions of VISA and Mastercard. You need to check with your bank to make sure that your card will work in Israel. At least some banks require you to state your travel plans in your account - or else the card will not be valid in a different country.

You can also use your card to get cash from ATM's. You'll find one next to every bank branch and in every shopping center. Just don't forget your code! By the way, you won't be asked for your PIN code when you pay at a store - just doesn't happen here.

What to do if you lose your credit card?

Call your bank back home right away to report the loss of the card. They should be able to instruct you on how to get money transferred to you so you can use it for the remainder of your trip.

Driver's license

You only need this if you plan on renting a vehicle. If you really want to see the country, beyond Jerusalem and Tel Aviv - renting a car in Israel will be a good idea. You can only do that with a valid driver's license. There's no need for any additional papers unless your driving license has no photo or doesn't have your name in English letters on it.

Your phone

Yes, you can buy cell phones in Israel. In fact, that's easier to do here than in the US because all phones are - by law - unlocked. However, I'm sure you'd like to have your own phone with you - the one you're used to, which has all of your accounts on it etc. Also, phones are not cheap here.

In short, don't forget to pack your mobile phone!

Prescription glasses & sunglasses

You can get new prescription glasses in Israel but just like anywhere else in the world, it can be time-consuming. Save that for an actual emergency such as losing your spectacles, and just remember to pack both types.

Prescription  Medications

Bring along whatever prescription medication you may need. If your meds include narcotics or anything which may look suspicious, it won't hurt to bring along a copy of your original prescription and/or a letter from your doctor. I've never heard of anyone who had any problem with legitimate quantities for personal use - even for a few months - but you never know, so if in doubt, have the papers with you.

If you lose your prescription medications -

You can get a replacement here but naturally, you'll need to see a doctor first. Again, having access to a letter from your doctor or to your medical files will help and make the process faster.

If you have travel insurance with medical coverage, call the insurance companies to find out which doctors they work with. Otherwise, just Google "doctor in Tel Aviv" or "doctor in Jerusalem" and you'll get links to English-speaking doctors who treat tourists.

Things you should bring along


Generally, the dress code in Israel is very casual. Some would call it "non-existent". Just bring your favorite comfortable clothes as the weather calls for. No tie required, and no evening gowns. Even if you're going to a wedding. You'll feel overdressed and out of place.

Take a few minutes to read my detailed post about what to wear in Israel. I included a guide on what to wear, by month of the year, so you can tell whether you need a light jacket or a heavy coat - or possibly neither.

Should you bring "modest clothing"?

I've seen this as an item in others packing lists for Israel. To clarify - you can wear whatever you want in Israel, as long as you're not trying to visit a religious site like a synagogue, a church or a mosque. These establishments tend to have their own rules about what's modest enough for you to wear when visiting.

In my experience, at mosques, both men and women are required to cover the elbows and knees when visiting. Neither are asked to cover their head, by the way. Jewish and Christian sites tend to be more lenient. At the very least, you'll be expected to cover your shoulders. Some places may ask women to cover the elbows and knees as well.

As for synagogues - Orthodox Jewish men wear a head cover (usually with a yarmulka, locally known as "kippa"). Married Jewish women usually cover their head as well. Many visitors to synagogues and other religious sites cover their head out of respect, but you really don't have to.

I know this sounds weird, but local secular Jews sometimes make a point of not covering their head in such places. It's perfectly legal - but may get you into an argument. As a tourist, you may want to anyway, just to avoid any arguments.

So back to packing -

Both women and men should pack at least one set of clothes that cover your elbows and knees, for visiting holy sites.

Women should also carry a shawl or pashmina with them - which can be used as a head cover as well as for covering the shoulders when necessary. Men may want to pack a hat to be used as a head cover if planning to visit synagogues.  Actually, a hat is a good idea anyway, so just have accessible and available.


I get so many questions about footwear so clearly, this is on people's minds.

You should bring a pair of comfortable walking shoes. Period. Hiking boots? Sneakers? Sandals? Crocs? Your choice. Pretty much anything will work for any time of the year.

During summertime, you may want to go with a light and well-aired pair of shoes or sandals. But again, whatever works for you, as long as you're comfortable. By the way, if you're traveling light, you can just wear the shoes instead of packing them. One pair should be enough.

Toiletries etc.

Again, no problem with getting any type of toiletries here in Israel. Prices are a bit higher than in the US or even Europe but nothing too dramatic. If you forget anything, you can get it here.

Packing your usual set of toiletries makes sense, of course. You know which items and brands you like - there's no one-list-fits-all with these things. Don't forget any OTC medications that you're used to and female hygiene products (if you need them).

Other items

Finally - the "other items" section.

Adapter and/or converter

There are two separate issues - although you can find an all-in-one solution.

Adapter & Converter

You would need an adapter just so that you can plug something into an Israeli outlet (depending on where you come from). This is what our outlets look like -

Socket in Israel

If you're coming from the US or Canada, you also need a converter.

Israel - like most European countries - uses 220v system. If you plug in a US-bought appliance into an Israeli socket - using a simple adapter you'll basically fry that gadget. It will probably work at first - and then stop once the excess voltage heats it up and destroys it. Tried and tested...

To avoid that, you need a voltage converter as well as an adapter. Fortunately, these are easy to get since you can have an adapter and converter in one. It will come in handy in any country you'll travel to.

Not sure which to get and where? Click for my detailed guide about adapters and converters for those traveling to Israel.

Phone chargers

Can't live without your phone and the phone can't live for long without a charger! You can buy phone chargers here but they will be a local version, suitable for our electric system. On the plus side, you won't need an adapter/converter. On the other hand, you won't be able to use them elsewhere in the world.

If you have an iPhone, chargers tend to be expensive so it's best to bring your own and take good care of it. That means never plugging it in without an adapter/converter (see above).

Extra phone batteries or power banks

You're bound to be using your phone a lot when traveling. Israel has excellent data phone coverage and there's free WiFi in many places. You'll also be taking pictures and maybe shooting videos.

I usually run out of battery mid-day when traveling. My Samsung Galaxy S6 has a fixed battery, so I carry one or two power banks with me. If your phone has detachable batteries, get a couple of those. Don't run of juice during your trip.

A hat

Traveling during summertime, or just planning on being outdoors a lot? Consider bringing a hat with you. Your choice of hat or cap is personal - just keep in mind that some sort of head cover when out in the sun is important.

A hat is also useful if you plan on visiting local synagogues. You don't have to cover your head but it is the polite thing to do.


Did I mention the sun already? You can get sunburnt here just by spending a few hours outside on a summer day. Even more so if you're visiting the seaside. Get good quality sunscreen that's right for your skin and use it liberally.

Things you shouldn't bring along

You probably know all about the items you can't bring aboard the airplane. Obviously, don't bring with you any drugs or drug paraphernalia or any weapon of any kind.

There are some items which may be perfectly legal to bring in Israel - but I would advise against doing so.

These items basically include anything that may raise suspicion of any kind of involvement in the conflict -

  • Toy weapons
  • Books or other reading material in Arabic
  • Political material relating to the local conflict (regardless of which side you happen to support)
  • Clothes which carry political statements relating to the local conflicts

Again, all of the above are perfectly legal to carry around in Israel. And if you're an Arab Israeli citizen who happens to be reading a book in Arabic on board the flight, that's perfectly ok too. The problem would be with tourists who may be suspected of being affiliated with terrorists - either Palestinian or Jewish ones (yes, we have the latter as well).

What would happen if you do bring one of these items?

I can tell you what happened to one of our Couchsurfing guests. He was an American guy, a Mormon who had spent six months in Egypt on his mission. While there, he took the time to learn Arabic and so he had with him a copy of the Koran in Arabic.

He came to Israel from Egypt on a bus and crossed the border near Eilat. When he entered, they asked him to show the content of his bag and that book in Arabic simply meant he had to wait for a couple of hours for them to call the officer in charge, and go through further questioning. Once they were convinced he was ok - he was let in, along with his Koran, not a problem. Except for the aggravation and lost time.

A few more tips for packing for a trip to Israel

Travel light

Most people who visit Israel seem to avoid renting a car or driving. With some itineraries, that's fully justified. With others, not so much, but that's another point. If you want to know what I really think about this, read my post about renting a car in Israel.

The point is unless you're renting a car at the airport for the duration of your trip, you should really travel light. Lugging a big suitcase behind you is never fun. Public transportation options in Israel are generally ok but they may require you to walk for 5-10 minutes between stations when switching bus lines. Easier to do when you have less luggage, especially in the rain or on a hot day.

And do yourself a favor, unless you have back issues, choose a carry on backpack instead of a suitcase-only type of luggage. It's just going to be so much easier for you to take your stuff on your back as you travel around.

Pack clothes for only 3-4 days

Still, on the "travel light" theme.

If you're traveling with a low-cost airline, you may get a much cheaper ticket if you avoid bringing a suitcase at all. Sticking to the trolley-sized allowance is actually preferable, IMO. We've done that several times when we traveled to Europe and it worked just fine.

If you're traveling solo, you can absolutely pack clothes only for 3-4 days. You should be able to find self-service laundromats in any big city here, and in some of the smaller ones too. Just use Google Maps to find them. Here's what the search results look like in Tel Aviv -

Laundromats in Tel Aviv

Clicking on the pins will show you the opening hours. And they're super convenient with many places open 24/7. I only wish we could find laundromats that easily in European countries we travel to.

Other cities have their share of accessible laundromats, though with more limited opening hours. There's a reason why Tel Aviv's slogan is "The City That Never Stops".

The point is, you don't need to pack clothes for the entire trip - packing for 3-4 days is plenty. Just leave some time for doing your laundry.

If you travel solo, that is. If traveling with a group, you should discuss this with the tour organizer to see if you're going to get enough free time in major cities - and when that's going to happen.

You can find (almost) everything here

In other words: Don't fret.

Yes, I know. I suffer from travel anxiety myself, so I do fret before any trip, When packing is concerned, here's how my husband puts my mind at ease:

He reminds me that whatever we end up forgetting, we'll be able to buy once we reach our destination.

And he's right.

Get this - I was frantic about getting all of the right clothes, toiletries, and medical supplies in our suitcase before our very first trip to... the USA. Turns out, most of the stuff is actually available locally in the stores. Who would have thought?

Now, things are actually a little bit more expensive to buy in Israel. Also, your travel time is super valuable and you should make the most of it sightseeing and not shopping for sunscreen or band-aids. However, just know that if you do end up forgetting almost anything - you'll be able to find it here.

When I say "almost", I'm referring to the following -

  • Passport
  • Driver's license (in case you'd like to rent a car)
  • Credit car (getting one sent over would be a total PITA)

Other than that, you can absolutely forget anything else. Worst case scenario, you'll pay some money and buy a replacement while in Israel.

Share this post -


  1. As far as “Married Jewish women usually cover their head as well” – halacha (Jewish law) means we cover our hair (wig, scarf, fully covering hat, etc). There is NO requirement or expectation for visitors to do the same, although you are welcome to do so if you want. However, a “chapel hat” or doily on a woman’s head – as worn in some churches etc – would just look wierd.
    This is different than exposed elbows and knees and deep necklines for women, which would be offensive in any Orthodox setting.

    • Hi JH,
      You can pay pretty much anywhere using credit cards. I would carry probably 100-200 NIS on me, just in case. You can always get more at any local ATM using an international card.

  2. Hi there! This is going to be an unusual question. I’m European and want to travel to Israel. There’s an Israeli company named Mul-T-Lock with its headquarters in Yavne. Is it possible for me to go to the companies building and ask them to tell me a little more about some of their products and their history? And maybe entering the premises and visiting the workplace. I’m Mul-T-Lock’s biggest fan, I even have the companies logo as a tattoo.

    • Hi Dani,
      Yup, quite an unusual question. Why not email them and see? I have a feeling they would like to meet up with their biggest fan, but it’s something you should probably schedule in advance.

  3. Loved your article! Spot on! Just came back and learned so much! Went with Imagine Tours and loved it! Only thing I would add about prescriptions – the original bottle or at least a written list of all meds and dosages in case you end up staying longer for whatever reason. (Covid, airline strikes,etc) I took my empty weekly container and then filled it once we got to the hotel. I traveled with pain meds (old lady here) in their bottle from the pharmacy but no one checked.

    • Also if traveling with checked bag – pack all your meds and a couple changes of clothes in your carry on. In our very large group two people’s luggage was misplaced for a couple of days.

      • Lol, I was just saying the same thing when replying to your previous comment. I should have read all of the comments first, but yeah, that’s the best thing to do these days.

    • Hi Charlotte,

      Great tips! I would add this: have enough medication for a week in your carry on. So much luggage gets lost these days, it’s good to have enough on you until you find a local physician who can write more prescriptions should you need them. I’m glad you enjoyed your trip!

    • Hi,
      This would depend on where exactly you are. All big cities have lively open markets and if you like them, you can check any local one and have a ball. In Jerusalem, look for Machne Yehuda Market, and in Tel Aviv for HaKarmel Market, to mention the two largest ones.

  4. Hi, I am leaving November 1 on a spiritual trip to Israel with a tour group. I am so excited! However, I am concerned about currency in Israel. Do I need to convert my US dollars into Israel currency. And if I do, where do I need to go? I heard that the value of American dollars are not of high value in Israel. And you answered so many of my questions thru you web page. Thank you so much!

  5. Great info, not sure how many people actually bring their pets, but I have a 3.5 lb 8 yrs old Chihuahua who hates being away from me more than a day or two. She travels with me everywhere and does really well around strangers. What are your thoughts on travel with pets? (Are there Pet friendly hotels)

  6. Could you give me a little guidance on crafting tools? I am a knitter and I always bring along a project or two when there are long travel times. Do you think I will have any trouble with knitting needles, yarn, scissors, etc. while traveling within Israel or with the TSA rules leaving Israel?

    • Hi Sonia,
      I can only speak from my limited experience. I’ve just flown from Israel to the US and had a plastic crochet hook and some yarn on board with me. There was no issue with that. That was also the case in previous flights between the two countries, including coming from the US to Israel.
      Based on my experience, I believe a plastic hook or needles and yarn should be perfectly ok. Scissors, not so much. They’ll throw them away. You would either need to use a plastic knife (like the one they give you with your meals) or maybe something like this little gadget. I took that one with me once and had no issues (no guarantees though, just my own experience). I hope this helps! Have a safe flight and a good trip!

    • Hi Denise,
      Do you mean one that advocates a specific religion? It would be fine when visiting a location where that religion is practiced. For example, a tee-shirt with an image of Christ would be perfectly ok when visiting a church. It should also be ok in most secular Israeli cities/towns, especially for a tourist. I’m not sure it would be welcome when visiting a mosque or a synagogue.

  7. I take medication. Is it ok to put the daily meds into a weekly medication container ? Or do all the meds need to be in separate containers? I haven’t had any issues in other parts of Europe but am not sure about Israel

    • Good question, Lee. I don’t think this is specific to Israel, but generally speaking, it’s best to carry medications in their original packaging when going through customs. For prescription medications, especially opiates or amphetamines, it’s a good idea to carry with you a letter from your doctor, or at least your signed prescription. Having said all that, as long as the quantities are for personal use, I’ve never heard of anyone who had trouble bringing them into Israel (or into the US, as a visitor there). I don’t think anyone will even ask to see your luggage or their contents and I highly doubt they would mind a weekly medication container with a small amount of meds for personal use. I hope this helps! Enjoy your visit!

  8. Should we bring washcloths to use in bathing? We have had to bring them on trips to Europe. Thanks for all of your advice. We’ll be arriving next week. Can’t wait!

    • Hi Janet,
      Everywhere you’ll say at will have a shower and maybe even a bathtub. I’ve never heard of anyone using a washcloth though. I hope this helps.

    • Hi Steve,

      Sure, as long as it’s sealed you should have no issues. I am 99% sure that an open bag would be perfectly ok too. I know that going into the US, bringing non-sealed food items is a problem, but I’ve never heard of anyone getting stopped bringing food into Israel. The only thing to avoid would be seeds and *maybe* whole fruit. And even then, I know it’s an issue going into the US – never heard of it being an issue when entering Israel.

  9. Hi, thank you for your detailed article. I have never been to Israel and have my first trip in December. You have said anything can be purchased if forgotten. What about hearing aid batteries? I have a bad habit of forgetting to take them with me. Thank you

    • Hi Kathryn,
      Yes, you should be able to buy them here. I know they’re available in our local pharmacy chain (like the US Wallgreens). Ours is called Super-Pharm and there’s usually one in every large shopping mall (several in every city). I hope this helps and enjoy your trip!

  10. Thanks for your guides. They’re fantastic. I haven’t seen anything about pocket knives. I’ve carried a small 3″ folding pocket knife every day for 40 years now. Not as a weapon, but as a legitimate tool. Is that a problem anywhere in Israel? Thanks again!

    • Hi Joz,
      Clearly, you wouldn’t be able to bring it on board the plane with you, so it’ll have to go into a checked-in suitcase. Worth mentioning because if you forget to, you’ll lose the knife. Once in Israel, I doubt you’ll have any problems with it. People carry pocket knives and fruit knives and I’ve never heard of anyone having any problems. In fact, the only time I was asked to get rid of a similar item was in Washington DC. It wasn’t even a pocket knife, just a tiny pair of scissors that I used for my crochet work… I had to throw that in the trash before I could get into the museum.

      • Thank you! I’ve done some overseas traveling and have always packed my pocket knife in my luggage. I’ve never had an issue with it. There was one time I got away with it at a Kremlin museum in Moscow where you weren’t supposed to have a pocket knife. Fortunately, I wasn’t searched and was able to keep my knife.

        I’ve been to some countries in the middle east where it was rude to show anyone the bottom of your shoes and abstain from using your left hand in polite company. Are there any social norms I need to follow closely as an American to avoid offending people around me?

        I’m really looking forward to visiting your amazing country. Thanks again!

        • I’m glad you’re back for a follow-up, Joz! I asked a friend who knows the local law regarding weapons. He says that as long as it’s a folding pocket knife that doesn’t have a fixed blade (or can be turned into one), it’s legal to carry around. The blade needs to be shorter than 10 centimeters too. There are limitations on where you can carry that though. You’re not allowed to take it into schools, for example. A police officer can still stop you for holding a pocket knife but with a foldable small pocket knife, he would have to prove that you have malicious intent. With a regular fixed-blade knife, there’s no need to prove intent – it’s illegal to carry in public places.
          Now, having said all that. It’s really up to you as to whether you want to carry that pocket knife around. My friend says that as long as it’s a small one, surrounded by work tools etc, like a swiss army knife, you shouldn’t have any problems. Personally, as a tourist, I’m not sure I would be going around with it. Maybe keep it in your luggage for when you really need it?

          As for other codes and social norms, I can’t think of anything specific. Israelis are generally very warm and forward. You may find people to be louder than what you’re used to in the US, depending on where in the States you come from 😉 If you’re coming from NYC/NJ you’ll probably feel right at home. We’re not “Minnesota nice” here but then again, no one will be offended if you are. No limitations on hand use, shoes or anything else that I can think of. This is a very informal society. We call our teachers and military superiors by their first name, for example. Dress codes are very lax too and most Israeli men don’t own a suit or even a tie. If they ever wore one, it was on their wedding day. I hope you’re getting the picture by now – enjoy your trip!

  11. Can I bring binoculars? I’m ornithologist.
    I will come by the plain, and I’ll have in light back-pack.

    • Hi Deimante, I’m not aware of any limitation on bringing binoculars along with you. Make sure you visit the Hula nature reserve to see the migrating birds!

  12. Thank you ….going to Israel tomorrow and this is one of the best articles I have found. You relieved some of my anxiety.

    • Hi Lynette,
      I hope you’re enjoying Israel! It was unexpectedly stormy yesterday but hopefully, you’ll enjoy some great weather later this week.

  13. I am confused. Everything else I have read said that there is no need for a converter for phones/computers. They have built in converters. You do need adapters. IS your experience different?

    • Hi Janbo,
      If you’re coming from the US you definitely need an adapter. You’re right that most phones and laptops can work with 220V. However, not all do, so do check to see if your laptop is wired for 220V or else get a converter (not just an adapter). Also, for anything else, like a hairdryer or CPAP machine, you will definitely need a converter. Hope this helps!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *