Travel Tips and
What to Pack
American Schools of Oriental Research
Volunteer staff will need to purchase a 5 or 6 inch Marshalltown trowel
to use when
excavating at Tel Zayit. Please adhere to the size and brand. You should be able to find one
at your local hardware store. Don’t come without it!
One of the best pieces of advice anyone can give you regarding international travel is
Ron E. Tappy
to pack light!
Less is often more, especially when it comes to clothing—remember, you’re
the one who will have to carry what you bring. One medium to large suitcase should hold
everything you’ll need. You will be allowed two carry-ons (one at 9” x 15 1/2” x 21 1/2” and
one at 6” x 13” x 17”, neither to exceed 22 lbs.) and a maximum of two checked bags (one
with total height/length/width measurements of 62 inches; the second of 55 inches). Each
checked bag weighing over 70 pounds will incur an extra charge (normally a minimum of
$75), which you will be responsible to pay at the airport,
so don’t over pack!
Barbara L. Johnson
It would be wise to bring a day-pack as a carry-on,
so that you can keep valuables such as
your camera, wallet, passport, etc., with you while traveling, but also so that you will have
P. Kyle McCarter
something small in which to take a change of clothes for overnight weekend trips in Israel.
Bring any prescription medication in your carry-on, in case your luggage gets lost!
John R. Rodkey
If your health insurance does not cover you in Israel, you may purchase travel insurance
at a very reasonable cost ($45–$80) for the length of your trip through the excavation’s travel
agent, but you must do this at the time you purchase your airline ticket,
so plan ahead.
Sherry L. Whetstone
The easiest way to access cash in Israel is by means of your ATM card.
Alternately, you may
Connie G. Tappy
use the cash advance option on your credit card
(deposit money in your credit card account
prior to leaving for Israel to avoid high interest rates and cash advance charges). We strongly
encourage you to prepare for both
possibilities. (FYI: Banks will charge a fee for cashing
Traveller’s Cheques; wiring money is slow and a hassle; personal checks are not universally
accepted; and the excavation does not cash checks!).
While the money spent on weekend travel, souvenirs, snacks, etc., varies from person to
person, we recommend bringing at least
$250 for personal expenses, including snacks at the
kibbutz, laundry fees, etc. Bringing cash in small denominations
will allow you to exchange
only as much money as you need to at any given time and thereby take advantage of fluc-
tuating exchange rates. Dollar bills are also handy for tips and emergencies (bring about 20of them), and using U.S. currency or credit cards at hotels (for weekend travel) will save yourpaying the Value Added Tax.
Public transportation by bus in Israel is good and very reasonable. Sheruts
sell seats at a fixed price or on an individual basis. These are also inexpensive and run fre-
quently to and from the airport and between major cities. A sherut ride between the air-
port and Kibbutz Gal-’on costs $40–$50 (more on shabbat)
split by the number of people inthe sherut. Rental cars are readily available but can be quite expensive.
The water in Israel is generally safe to drink and uncooked fruits and vegetables are safe to
eat, but it isn’t uncommon for travelers there to come down with a case of the infamous shilshul
The Zeitah Excavations
(diarrhea). Bringing along some Imodium AD
may help you get where you need to go!
Israel runs on 220/240 volt current, so you’ll need to bring an adapter kit
for any small
electrical appliances (blow dryer, curling iron, electric shaver, etc.) that don’t have a volt-
age switch. Make sure you get the correct prong shape and configuration for Israeli outlets.
Please do not bring expensive jewelry,
as the potential for it to become lost or stolen is
significant! It’s a good idea not to dig wearing rings with gems set in them—leaving them athome is wisest. As a general rule, do not bring valuable items that would need to be insured.
Simply stated, the weather will be hot. Still, you should bring at least one pair of long
pants and a lightweight jacket or sweater. (You’ll find cotton and other breathable fabrics
Long pants and skirts are appropriate when visiting religious sites, and
women should bring a large scarf to use as a shoulder or head covering. You may not be
The kibbutz will launder your clothes
for you at a cost of 6 sheqels per kilo (about $3.00
per pound—$5.00–$10.00 per week). You may choose to wash lightweight items in yourbathroom sink, in which case you should bring some laundry soap (Woolite or the like).
Volunteers will need to bring a towel
(or two) and washcloth. The kibbutz does have a large swimming pool,
so one towel for showering and one for swimming could serve you well.
If you have a chance to do some preliminary reading,
check out some of the most recent issues of Biblical
which includes wonderful photography and articles written for the lay person. The excavation willsupply you with a syllabus, including reading and writing assignments, if you are registering for academic creditthrough Pittsburgh Theological Seminary.
Remember to leave your contact information with a friend or relative at home:
Kibbutz Gal-’on Guest
House and Seminar Centre, Doar Na Sde Gat, Israel (kibbutz office phone: 011-972-7-687-2410; youth hos-
fax 011-972-7-687-2677). Inform them that packages (not letters) will be difficult
for you to get in Israel—and that you’ll have to pay to receive them! Also let them know that Israel is seven
of U.S. eastern daylight time (noon in New York is 7:00pm in Israel).
What to Pack
If you bring most of the items on the list below (bearing in mind that some are gender-specific), there
shouldn’t be much you’ve forgotten! And don’t forget your trowel!
Clothing and Accessories
___ Broad-brimmed Hat (a must!)
___ Sunglasses (a must!)
* In other words, to wear when not digging (dress in Israel is generally casual—no jackets or ties needed, men!)
**Volunteers will not be permitted to dig barefoot or wearing sandals. You should bring shoes that have a flexible,
durable sole, with uppers that breathe. Ankle support can also be helpful. Hiking boots are hot and heavy!
___ Sunblock (a must!)
___ Eyeglass prescription (in case
glasses or contacts need replacing
___ Plastic flip-flops (to wear in
___ Trowel (a must!)
___ Camera/film (film is available
Documents and Finances
___ Driver’s license (for photo I.D.)
P.S. Don’t forget your trowel!
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