The weather of Israel is similar to Southern California, so check that region’s weather for the dates of your tours. The Sea of Galilee area can be around 80 degrees in the spring/early summer and 70 in the fall. Jerusalem can range between 70 and 80 depending upon your visit time and the dead sea area, Masada, Qumran, and the En Gedi warms from the 80s to the 100s, also depending upon the time of year. You can check the long-range weather reports for Tiberias or Jerusalem to see if rain is expected to tell you if umbrellas will be necessary but unless you are there in the winter, I doubt it!
Pack clothes that you are happy to wear all day! Comfortable, not dressy, easy to pack clothes. An assortment of pants, jeans, shorts, T-Shirts, shirts, blouses, light sweaters and jackets, and a bathing suit should be all you need for your tour days. The hotels have laundry service but no washers and dryers. If you have things that hand wash easily – and you like them – pack those!
Bring shoes that feel good ALL DAY! Whatever that means to you – sturdy sandals, tennis shoes, walking shoes with low heels, and even flip flops if you are used to wearing those. You will be walking over stones, hiking on paths, walking in churches and through cobblestone streets. There are steps and inclines to manage so come prepared!
You don’t have to dress up for dinner or breakfast at the hotels, you will NEVER need to feel dressed up unless you just like to do that.
If you like wearing a hat, pack one for walking around archaeological sites like Megiddo, Masada, Bet She’an and Qumran as they don’t have much shade.
What to wear when….
When you visit churches, the Temple Mount and other sacred sites, everyone (men and women) will need to have their knees and shoulders covered – so no shorts or tank tops on those days. Plan to wear long pants or capris, and if you are wearing a sleeveless shirt, plan to wear a light jacket or sweater to cover your shoulders while visiting the sacred or church sites. FYI – the buses are air conditioned so you might appreciate a light sweater or jacket anyway! Shorts and sleeveless tops are OK for all other sites, Tel Dan, Bet She’an, Qumran, Masada, En Gedi, and Hezekiah’s Tunnel.
For baptism during your tour, you can bring a bathing suit to change into at the two baptism sites that are generally on a faith-based tour, the Yardenit Baptism site near the Sea of Galilee or the Qasr el Yahud near Jericho. If you would rather not change into a bathing suit, just wear something you don’t mind getting wet! Both sites require that a white robe be worn during baptisms, a towel and changing areas are available for a fee which includes the white robe.
If you are fortunate enough to have a tour that includes rafting down the Jordan River, first – it is NOT white water rafting, it is a nice easy ride down the river in kayaks and rafts – you will probably want to wear either a bathing suit or clothes you don’t mind getting wet, plus water shoes, sandals or flip flops (Rich always wore flip flops everywhere!) The same attire is fine for Hezekiah’s Tunnel, you may be wading through water as high as your knees in some areas, but mainly the water will be ankle deep. So shorts and water type shoes are recommended. Remember it is dark in that tunnel so if you have a flashlight or headgear with a light – be sure to bring that!
Whether electronic or actual, your most important accessory will be your Bible and possibly a journal to write down your thoughts at each site. There are so many wonderful places to see on your tour, just be sure you are comfortable and ready for the day!