Many Americans have the mistaken notion that Israel is a place where “women have to be completely covered and walk ten feet behind their husbands.” While that is generally not the case, especially for tourists, there are some dress related issues to keep in mind.
In order to pack and dress appropriately for your tour, you need to consider several factors.
WEATHER: The average daytime high/low temperatures in the areas you will visit are: Jerusalem (47/60), Tel Aviv (49/69), Tiberias (50/71), and Masada (51/72). March is considered the end of the rainy season, so there is a possibility of rain. And, although it is unexpected, due to unstable weather patterns in recent years, there is a possibility of snow. Discipleship Travel LLC recommends using the above temperature averages as a guide to preparation, but visiting Weather.com or some similar site about 10 days prior to travel to see a more relevant prediction of the weather during your visit.
In general, weather related clothing for March should include a sweater/jacket and rain slicker (or umbrella) and shoes that can withstand being wet.
COMFORTABLE and MODEST: Comfortable and modest is a theme we try to follow at Discipleship Travel LLC.
Since you will be getting on and off of a tour bus and walking a considerable amount throughout the day we recommend that you dress comfortably in loose, lightweight clothing that can be layered. In March, it is common to start the morning with more layers and reduce them throughout the day. Choosing clothing that can be hand washed and hung up to dry in the hotel will reduce the amount of clothes you need to bring.
We also need to remind you that you will be visiting religious sites and other culturally conservative areas, so you should keep modesty in mind when selecting comfortable clothing for your tour. In Israel, modesty generally means knees and shoulders covered for both men and women. At certain locations, men can add a head covering of any type (hat, ski cap, bandana, etc) to their modesty list. Maintaining clothing modesty is rarely a problem in March.
You may also want to bring a swimsuit or some type of water wear (and a towel) for swimming in the Sea of Galilee, floating in the Dead Sea, and hiking through Hezekiah’s Tunnel. The water – in all places – will be cold, but for most travelers this will be a once in a lifetime opportunity. So, don’t worry about the cold water … enjoy it!
HATS: The sun in Israel can be extreme, so consider bringing a hat or other head cover to help protect you from the sun. Also, as mentioned above, men are required to cover their heads while in synagogues, and almost anything counts as a cover: ball caps, fedora, bandanas, etc. Men may also opt to buy a souvenir yarmulka to use for cover in Jewish areas.
SHOES: Because you will be doing a LOT of walking, be sure to bring comfortable and stable footwear that will be appropriate for stairs, hills, dirt trails and rocky, uneven terrain. Many travelers are happy with hiking sandals (men, women), light hiking boots or sturdy sneakers (i.e., running, walking, basketball). Last year I got a pair of Columbia trail shoes that are great. We strongly recommend water shoes for use at the Sea of Galilee, the Dead Sea and Hezekiah’s Tunnel. (The hiking sandals linked above fit the bill for water shoes, but you may be interested in something just for the water.) Heels and cowboy boots are typically not a good idea on a study tour like this one.
If you plan to get new shoes for the trip, get them now and start wearing them. Do not break in your new shoes on the trip!
JEWELRY: Wedding rings and modest accent jewelry is appropriate. You are wise not to draw unnecessary attention to your most valuable and prized jewelry; leave it at home in a secure location (e.g., a safe or safe deposit box). The less (and less expensive) jewelry that you bring, the less you will be concerned with its safety and whereabouts. And, if you ever feel like you didn’t bring enough jewelry or you simply want to add something from Israel to your collection, your guide can help you find a trusted local jewelry vendor.
BAGGAGE LIMITS: As you choose what items to bring, be aware that each passenger is limited to 1 checked bag and 1 carry on with the following limitations:
Checked Bag: 50 lbs. (23 kg) that does not exceed 62 linear inches (158 cm), including wheels and handles. The linear measurement = length + height + width.
Carry On: 17 lbs. (8 kg) that does not exceed 55 cm x 35 cm x 25 cm. (Note: Computer bags, brief cases, backpacks, instruments, and crutches are all considered carry on baggage.)