My Middle East adventure is fast approaching! In seven weeks I’ll board a flight to Amman, Jordan, and I have so much I still need to do to get ready. But this weekend I took care of the most important thing- buying shoes.
Yes, that’s right. I am finally the proud owner of some adventure sandals. I ordered them online so I haven’t had the chance to try them on and I am praying that they fit. I’m nervous about the fact they don’t have a little toe loop thingy to keep them secure on my feet, but we’ll see. Normally these babies go for about $70 on the Teva website, but I found them for about $30 on a discount shoe site.
Why adventure sandals, you ask? First off, there’s no way I’m wearing sneakers while it’s over 100 degrees outside. These shoes are perfect for getting around without dealing with the hassle of cheap flip flops and they prevent aching feet for a lot longer than normal sandals. Not to mention they make the perfect water shoes for when we go swim in the Dead Sea and raft on the River Jordan.
But they’re not ideal for things like hiking and serious day-trip adventures. For that I bought a sturdy hiking shoe.
My dad advised me to go with a hiking shoe rather than a boot for simplicities sake, and I agree with him. The only difference between hiking shoes and boots is the ankle support, and because I won’t be doing any really serious backpacking or climbing I went with the shoe. These shoes are $110 on the Merrell website, but once again I found a super cheap pair for only $60.
I wasn’t going to get waterproof since I doubt my shoes will get very wet in Israel, but I decided it would come in handy for my hiking trips to Rocky Mountain National Park with my dad. I had a really tough time deciding, but settled on these since they seemed lighter, smaller, and more versatile than most other shoes.
I also took the time this weekend to search for power adapters for my electronics. I have traveled internationally to Germany in the past, and I know the annoyance of having to deal with adapters and hookups and plug-ins, so I was determined to do a lot of research and find out exactly what I needed.
Israel’s power sockets don’t look too different from America’s, but American plugs definitely will not work. Their type of plug is called “Type H”. The prongs used to be flat, but now they are round. I found several sources saying that most sockets will accept both kinds of plugs, but many new buildings will only accept the round ones.
Another lesson I learned the hard way from traveling internationally is that in many countries, the sockets sink into the wall a bit. In Israel it doesn’t appear to be as deep as the sockets in Germany, but it is still slightly recessed. This means any plugs that aren’t the rounded shape of the socket won’t fit in the hole. Bad news for me, as the only Type H adapters I could find online were square.
The only other option you have with these kind of sockets is to buy a “Type C” adapter. Type C is the kind used in Europe, but it will fit into the two top holes of the socket pretty well. I managed to find a Type C that was made for Israeli power outlets, so I went with that in the hopes it can substitute for my square three-pronged one in a pinch.
I’m still slightly scared that I’ll plug my computer into the wall and have it blow up, so I also bought a mini surge protector just in case.
So I bought about four things and I’m not even anywhere close to being done. My professor gave us a list of things to take along, and I trust him because he’s traveled to Israel and the Middle East on this same trip for nearly 20 years. Here’s his list of Middle East travel essentials:
- Sunglasses, sunscreen in a high SPF, sun hat
- Attachable water bottle (like a Nalgene, should drink 4-5 quarts per day)
- Swimsuit (probably a one-piece)
Pair of sandals/water shoes (Chacos or Tevas) Lightweight but heavy duty walking/climbing/work shoes (for working at the dig site)and socks
- Security wallet (attachable to waist or hung around neck underneath shirt)
- Especially for women: Long, ankle length skirt and scarf or other head covering, as well as shoulder covering (sweater/cardigan) for visiting religious sites
- Lightweight clothing (cotton), T shirts, shorts, pants, sweater and sweatshirt or light jacket for cooler nights, nylon or polyester hiking pants with detachable zipper leg sections
- Few small packets of laundry detergent, a sink stopper, and a small travel clothes line
- Suitcase with wheels, pack light (max luggage weight is 50 lbs)
- Pocket notebook for diary entries (but I’ll be blogging instead!)
- Hand sanitizer
- Medicines, such as Imodium, laxatives, Tylenol or Advil, Benadryl
- Work gloves and knee pads
- Band aids or moleskin for blisters, small first aid kit
- Small backpack for day excursions
- iPad or small laptop
- Optional: Unlocked cell phone (to avoid long distance calling fees), micro-recorder, or pocket knife
With the flight seven weeks away and the end of the school year fast approaching, I’m not too worried about getting everything before I leave. I am, however, worried about my bank account.