The idea of packing for your gap year in Israel can seem a little overwhelming. How do you decide what to bring on your year abroad? How many bags can you get away with before they start making you throw things away at the airline check-in to hit the 50 lb weight limit? Will that carry-on actually fit in the overhead bin?
To put your mind at ease, we've put together a list of items that should be at the top of your packing list—and what you can probably leave at home:
It will take up most of your space, but you probably need it. Unless you plan on going to Poland in the winter, save space and leave your parka at home.
- Undershirts. I did Marva army training and kibbutz volunteering as part of my program and all my clothes got really dirty. Definitely bring stuff you wouldn’t mind losing and ruining. Also, bring lots of socks. They’re constantly getting lost. -Benjamin, Tafnit Bnei Akiva
- Some modest outfits for religious functions, rain boots because during the infrequent times that it rained, it poured, and anything you wear at home. You’re on a gap year program, but you’re living your life. -Arielle, Kivunim
If you have a favorite brand of something, stock up. But don’t go overboard—Israel does have drugstores.
- Don’t bring too much stuff because Israel has everything you might need. I definitely shouldn’t have brought toiletries with me. - Aliza, Hebrew University Freshman Year Program
Israelis love to hike, and you are going to be living in a country that was practically designed for hiking. You’ll want to break in your boots before your first trek, so picking them up before you leave will give you time to wear them around the house. Use your hiking backpack as a carry-on, and then you can use it for tiyulim with your program, and weekend trips around the country. If you can’t fit the backpack, don’t worry—Israel has plenty of stores where you can pick one up.
You’ll be able to find almost everything you need in Israel, but take into consideration where you are going to be living. If the first part of your year is in a major city, you’ll have ample time to stock up on essentials once you get there. If you are starting out on a kibbutz or in the desert, you might need a little more to tide you over for the first few weeks.