The following female packing list for Birthright was submitted by Shoshana Gould. See all female packing lists here.
Birthright is a free ten-day trip to Israel for young Jewish adults ages 18-26 that takes you all over the country – from metropolitan Tel Aviv to the mountains in the Galilee. Abbi and Ilana went and, if you’re reading this, you’re most likely planning on going too. These ten days are jammed packed with activities ranging from visiting Israel’s Holocaust Museum to hiking Masada at sunrise. No matter which trip provider you choose, packing strategically is key.
Unless you are extending your trip, packing carry-on only is the way to go. While this is true for most trips, it’s especially important for Birthright. Since you will be constantly on-the-go, spending only 1-2 nights in the same location, packing light and efficiently will make those early mornings loading the bus a lot less stressful.
Additionally, keep in mind that laundry is not possible during Birthright due to time constraints. Planning your outfits in advance and bringing more than enough underwear will serve you well. Remember to adjust this packing list depending on if you are going in the summer or winter months.
HPL note: Consider packing a few quick-drying clothing items (1 full outfit is recommended). You can wash them in the sink if necessary and have them dry in the morning. (Test it out at home first!) Check out these essential items to pack for hand-washing clothes while traveling.
- Jeans/Pants (1-2) – If you’re going in the winter, jeans are a necessity. Otherwise, lightweight pants like these would be perfect.
>> See which are the best travel pants for women.
- Shorts (2-3) – Israel is known for its hot summer months. A combination of athletic shorts and regular shorts will work well.
- Leggings (1-2) – Most Birthright trips end up looking like a live Lululemon advertisement. Long bus rides and active activities make leggings a Birthright staple. Bring one pair for the plane and one for athletic activities.
- Basic t-shirts / tanks (10)
- Shawl / scarf / maxiskirt (1) – These lightweight items can easily fit into your daypack and double as religious-appropriate attire.
- Shabbat outfit – Tradition calls for wearing white on Shabbat, but that’s never enforced. Besides your night out in Tel Aviv, this will be the only occasion where “dressing up” is suggested.
- Underwear, socks, pajamas – Bring extra!
- Bras (3) – Two everyday bras and at least one sports bra.
- Sweatshirt (1)
- Warm jacket (1) – Only if you are going in the winter.
- Swimsuit (1-2)
- Towel (1, optional) – If you do bring a travel towel, I recommend one that’s quick-dry.
- Flip-flops (1)
- Nice sandals (1)
- Athletic shoes (1)
Birthright is a free trip, so don’t expect luxurious accommodations with high-end toiletries. While some places might have shampoo and soap, you will definitely be spending some nights in places where you’ll be relying on your own supply (hello, Bedouin tent!). The easiest thing to do is pack travel-sized toiletries.
And, don’t fret if you forget something. You can get anything you want in Israeli drug stores. If you’re comfortable using a Diva Cup, that’s a great way to save some space in your suitcase. Hand sanitizer is also a good idea for your falafel at the schuk.
Start your trip with at least $150 of American cash. When you land in Israel, your trip provider will often have an opportunity for you to trade in your dollars for shekels (Israeli currency). While Birthright is a free trip, not all lunches are included and you will want to treat yourself to some ice cream and maybe a cold beverage as well. Using shekels is a lot easier than dealing with credit and debit cards.
Pro tip: If you are planning on making a large purchase or just prefer to use plastic, plan ahead and get yourself a card with no international ATM fees. You can use this handy list from NerdWallet to find a card that is best for you.
Other extras to pack:
- One small purse for your night out in Tel Aviv
- One day pack that will fit a change of clothes and a towel
- Hat and sunglasses
- Water bottle – Water is potable throughout Israel, so save the plastic and bring a water bottle from home.
- Keep your passport (and copies of it) safe in a holder that will be easy to find.
- Your trip leaders will have a first aid kit, but you might want to bring some essentials with you too.
- If you’re not willing to leave jewelry at home, only bring what you’re willing to lose.
- A good pair of headphones is a Birthright must – especially if you’re someone who needs some extra downtime to re-energize (#IntrovertsUnite). Between the international flight and the long bus rides, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to catch up on your favorite podcast, listen to an audiobook, or memorize new Israeli songs. Want to make friends? Don’t forget a headphone splitter.
- You’re sleeping in a room with new people every night. Some of those people might snore. Bring a few pairs of earplugs to ensure you stay well-rested and un-aggravated.
- Pics or it didn’t happen. There are plenty of good snaps to be taken and a good portable charger will ensure that you’ll always be there to capture the memories. Bonus points if you bring one that’s solar charged.
- Bring an adapter for your electronics.
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About the author: Shoshana Gould is a 20-something California native with a love of outdoor adventure and exploring new cities. She has lived in Cape Town, worked as a Peace Corps volunteer in Peru, and backpacked solo through Southeast Asia. Follow Shoshana on Instagram and Twitter.
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Ah I always wished I’d done this! Didn’t find out about it til I was too old…
Looks like you had a great time!
Melissa C. says
Great tip about headphones and earplugs! Birthright was my first trip to Israel (though I’ve been four more times since) and I actually managed with just a carry-on travel backpack. I brought lots of quick-dry clothing and a pinless clothes line. Especially for underwear and shirts, it was really easy to handwash them in the sink once every few nights and hang them overnight. I don’t recommend jeans at all for a summer trip – they’re heavy, take up tons of space, dry slowly and you won’t really need them for the warm summer weather.