I’ve just booked my next holiday to Israel for September. Now I need to start planning….

Really? So early you’re thinking? Absolutely. I’ve travelled constantly for over 30 years and without a doubt the successful trips are those that have been planned well in advance.

By following some simple guidelines, you can reach your day of departure organised and stress-free. Arriving to your destination country for a fast-paced tour, well rested and fit could very well be the difference between a fantastic holiday and one that leaves you more exhausted. Of course, heading for a single destination Well-being Holiday is another thing altogether. Rejuvenation is the name of the game therefore every minute of pampering can only make you feel calmer and healthier no matter what state you arrive in.

Where to start? Firstly, I suggest you read your itinerary thoroughly to see what’s included in your holiday – you may be required to bring a towel or other specific items. If you are not sure, ask your travel agent to check for you. Amenities offered at hotels can be found on their websites so spend some time researching to avoid packing unnecessary items.

Secondly, make a list – I have a spreadsheet set up in my computer listing my basic requirements however as every holiday is different, the spreadsheet enables me to add/delete items to suit my next journey.

My list is divided into four columns – clothing, accessories, electronic, paperwork. Clothing is the column I make considerable changes to each trip depending upon weather, type of holiday and cultural conditions.

So, let’s start with clothing. Last season’s clothes will do just fine. This is not a fashion contest – spend the money you save on new clothes to buy tours or souvenirs. Choose clothes that breathe (cotton is best), can be hand-washed and dried overnight. Tops and bottoms that can be mixed and matched will also help reduce the number of items you pack.

Avoid tshirts, etc. which carry slogans or artwork that could be considered offensive in the country/countries you will visit.

My list consists of:

  • underwear
  • cotton socks
  • compression stockings  – essential on long haul flights
  • hat/cap – sunburn never looks good in photos!
  • scarves – will protect my neck from the sun, my face from strong winds, and will also enable me to enter places of worship where women may be required to wear a head covering
  • tops – during the day I’ll wear tshirts or lightweight long-sleeved shirts. For dinner in the hotels I can add a piece of costume jewellery or a scarf to dress up a simple shirt. Men should always wear a top when in public areas
  • shorts/trousers/jeans – shorts for daytime but a good pair of jeans at night will suffice
  • belts – if necessary but try and take just one
  • sleep apparel
  • bathers – one area you may find major cultural differences. In the Middle East, modest one-piece bathers are best for ladies and men should wear boardshorts or similar. Bathers may only be worn around the pool area
  • shoes – very important. Sore feet = bad-tempered tourist! I’m going to be walking over a lot of uneven ground therefore my shoes will be flat and have a rough pattered sole to avoid slipping. My hiking boots are several year’s old – perfect. No blisters for me…. And don’t forget the flip-flops for the beach, around the pool and in the bathroom! I’m also going to be visiting the Dead Sea – very little sand but lots of rounded stones to negotiate. Water booties are ideal so they’re going in the suitcase also
  • jacket – I might need if I’m out walking around town at night or the weather’s cool. My lightweight puffer jacket will be perfect. I’ll check weather conditions closer to departure time.

Have I forgotten anything? Probably, but I have plenty of time to add more items.

Okay, the above are the types of clothes – now you need to substitute your items of clothing into the list. For example: Shoes

  • hiking boots/runners
  • white sandals
  • water booties
  • flip flops

Stay tuned…. in the next post I will talk about accessories.