In a few days I will embark on a Messiah to the motherland, taking the free trip to Israel that my people have granted me on the grounds that my mother is Jewish and I am too poor to get to Israel myself.  On Birthright, a Jewish Israeli charity that sponsors free 10 day heritage trips to Israel for 18-25 year olds, I will be suddenly thrust back into trust-fall bonding sessions, dormitory style housing,  and an extreme variety of activities that range from climbing mountains to attending Seders to clubbing in Tel Aviv to splashing in the mucky mucky of the Dead Sea. Since worrying about how I will possibly have enough energy to climb a mountain and make life long friendships while jet-lagged and hungover from Manishevitz will just make my head explode, I will instead focus my nervous energy on packing for such an multifaceted adventure.

I love the chaos and excitement of visiting a new country, and I’m usually the type to throw whatever looks good in a big duffel the night before a flight and then realize later that those vintage heels may not have been the best choice when visiting the slippery cobblestone streets of Prague in the middle of winter. But this time, with tips from others who have made this journey before me and the spirit voice of my mother nagging me to “think practically”, I am determined to actually be prepared. Here are a few ways to pack prepared for any circumstance.[ITPGallery]