Winter is a fantastic season to pack up and head to some warmer, desert countries. Israel and Jordan experience pleasant winters, compared to their intensely hot summers, making winter a great time to visit. If you’re headed to the Middle East to escape the winter, here’s what to pack for Israel and Jordan!
Weather in Israel and Jordan in Winter
Israel sees temperatures in the mid-60’s to mid 70’s during the day, dropping down to the 50’s at night. Weather will vary throughout the country though. The northern part of the country will be much colder, as will the low-lying desert areas. The southern city of Eilat stays very pleasant, with many days good enough for a beach visit. There may be some light rain on occasion, or even snow in the colder parts of the country during winter.
Jordan experiences similar weather patterns in winter, with the desert and higher altitude areas experiencing colder temperatures, and very cold nights capable of bringing snow. The southern cities near the Red Sea are quite pleasant in winter as well.
Winter Packing Tips for Israel and Jordan
Packing for Israel and Jordan’s winter season is all about being prepared for the changes in temperature as you explore the countries. Despite this, it is very possible to pack carry on only for your trip to Israel and Jordan. To do this, it’s essential to pack light layers that provide warmth when worn over one another. You’ll want to be prepared for the bright desert sun, the cool winds, and the warm Red Sea. Here’s what you’ll want to pack:
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Good walking and hiking shoes
When packing for Israel and Jordan, you’ll need to keep in mind the wide variety of terrain you’ll encounter on your trip. You could be hitting the busy streets of Tel Aviv, touring the slippery cobblestone streets of Old Jerusalem, walking the sandy beaches of the Red Sea, hiking up Masada, or trekking through the rust-colored sands of Wadi Rum desert.
You’ll want a pair of comfortable walking shoes that can dry quickly in case of rain, but also provide enough support for more demanding walks like hiking through Petra or Ein Gedi National Park. My barefoot Merrell shoes are my go-to shoes for travel. They are lightweight, very packable and can dry pretty easily if they get wet. Merrell no longer sells the shoe I have, but this one is pretty close!
A lightweight, waterproof raincoat
Winter in Israel and Jordan can see more precipitation than in summer. While it probably won’t rain much, you may experience a day or two of drizzle. For this reason, it’s a good idea to pack a lightweight and waterproof raincoat, that can be rolled into a small bundle and not take up too much room in your bag.
A lightweight, warm coat
On those days when you’re visiting the colder parts of Israel and Jordan, you will want a layer to keep you warm. If you get the chance to sleep overnight in the Wadi Rum desert, having a
A scarf is a great way to add a little extra warmth on cool days. Ladies will also want to make sure they have a scarf to use as a head covering if they plan to visit any Holy Islamic sites like the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem. My favorite scarf for traveling is my simple black hidden pocket Sholdit scarf. There’s a pocket hidden within the lining of the scarf, where you can store extra cash, a phone, snacks, or whatever else you may need.
Lightweight clothing for layering
When it comes to things like shirts and pants, I recommend picking clothing that is comfortable and easily layered while packing for Israel and Jordan. I like to travel with plain colored T-shirts, and a light zip-up sweatshirt for an extra layer of warmth when needed.
For pants, I always go comfortable and reliable. After the Great Pants Disaster of 2017, I always pack pants that I know won’t cause me any problems. Shorts are probably not a necessary thing to pack, but a pair of capris might do you well if you plan on visiting Eilat or the Red Sea area!
If you’re a lady who likes wearing dresses (teach me your wayyys…) you could probably get away with wearing a maxi dress or something warmer than your usual summer dress. Consider a bit more modesty for Jordan when packing a dress and choose something with a bit of coverage on the top.
There are lots of places in Israel and Jordan where you may want to enjoy the lovely beaches on a nice day. Whether it’s swimming in the Dead Sea, snorkeling or diving in the Red Sea, having a beach day along the Mediterranean, or enjoying one of the many natural springs around Israel, you won’t want to miss out on experiencing the many water features in the area.
Women don’t need to be too conservative with swimwear in Israel. The same goes for swimming in Jordan, as long as you’re at a resort beach. If you plan to swim at a public beach, it’s better to err on the side of caution and see what other women are wearing. Some women will also wear bikinis at public beaches, and some may wear
Either way, I would recommend having some kind of cover-up to wear to and from the water.
Sunscreen and Sunglasses
Sun protection while traveling is always a good idea, but especially so in places like Israel and Jordan. The desert sun is no joke and can leave your cheeks pink in no time! Make sure to leave a bit of room in your bag for your preferred sunscreen and a pair of sunglasses! (or two if you’re me and have too many to choose from!)
In deciding what to pack for Israel and Jordan in winter, there are a few small things that will be very useful to you during your trip. Aside from things like undergarments and toiletries, which I find most people can handle packing on their own, there are a couple extra things I recommend slipping into your bag.
- Facial tissues
This is something I always have with me when I travel. I bring 2 or 3 small travel packs of tissues and I bring one with me whenever I’m out exploring. This is for one major purpose: Many public restrooms don’t have toilet paper. Either it’s a cultural thing, or it’s just not refilled often enough. Bringing some tissues will always be advantageous.
- European plug adapter
Plug adaptors are one of those small things that are easy to forget, but very very necessary. I like to have a few of these adapters on hand for my travels!
- External batteries
My iPhone 6, which I use for photography and navigation while traveling, doesn’t have the best battery at this point in its life. Without a good external battery, my phone would quickly render itself useless. An external battery of this size is enough to completely recharge your phone battery three times, without being so large that it weighs down your day bag.
- Reusable water bottle
Hydration while traveling is important, so I always bring a reusable water bottle. I like to use this water bottle by LifeStraw. The straw inside filters out 99.9999% of waterborne bacteria and parasites, so even if you’re nervous about the water in Israel and Jordan, this water bottle makes it completely safe to drink!
If you’ve been wondering what to pack for Israel and Jordan during the winter, it’s pretty simple. Being prepared with layered clothing and all the right accessories will help you enjoy your trip to Israel and Jordan in winter to the fullest! With this packing list, you’re sure to be comfortable no matter what weather you face!
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