Today's guest post comes to us from my Prince Charming, who generously offered up this advice after I generously complimented his speedy (ten minute) packing for a trip to Gaza. Considering it still takes me an hour to pack, I was impressed. He makes this trip to Gaza so frequently because he has a lot of work to do in the Gaza office of his organization; he sort of lives there for a few days every couple of weeks. This information will be helpful to you if you:
a) Often travel to the Gaza Strip. b) Often travel to any one location (for example, you travel to your sister's house every couple of weeks to accompany her to medical appointments). c) Are a minimalist international (or national) traveler.
How to Pack for a Split Life in Gaza
For a visit every two-three weeks, when you start traveling each time you come, bring at least one or two items you can leave behind. The things you leave behind should be
- a pair of jeans
- a clean white t-shirt
- flip-flops or slippers
- a hat
- a sweater
- extra socks
If you arrived as a minimalist and only have one of each of these things, slowly acquire cheap extras as you build up your Gaza closet. In an ideal world, if you will have lots of important meetings, it is good to leave a sports jacket or suit behind as well as a tie or two, one tone no fancy design, in blue, yellow, or red.
I brought in an extra flashlight, travel alarm clock, and two pictures of my wife (can I get a collective "awww" says Genevieve) for my bed stand.
Once you’ve got a basic after-work attire settled there, all you need to bring in is work attire. I usually stay 2 – 3 days at a time.
My usual clothes packing list is:
- 2 pair khakis
- 2 -3 pair socks and underwear (enough to leave at least one clean pair of each behind for the next visit)
- 2 t-shirts, exchange with the last one you left behind
- 1 Work sweater if winter
- 1 – 2 long sleeve knit shirts or button down depending on weather
- 1 jacket, casual if no special meetings planned
- 1 pair of shorts if summer
In the event that I have to stay longer than three days, there is a washing machine available.
I also bring:
- dual-sim card cell phone (to cover the trip from Palestine-Israel-Palestine,)
- travel umbrella if looking like rain
- reading glasses
- a snack
- R2-D2 (a small good luck token - see above photo)
- my work laptop
- phone charger or mini-usb cable for phone charging on laptop
I usually bring a phone charger, but that is only because I’ve been too lazy to pick one up in Gaza. An even easier approach is to bring a mini-usb cable and charge the phone through my laptop. A travel speaker such as our Jawbone is good if going for a longer visit. I take the projector from my office and use it with my laptop and speaker to watch movies in the evening.
Of course, you can assess the local market and buy within Gaza as needed too if you don’t want to shuttle items back and forth. I bought a chess set and cards locally for the guesthouse in case anyone else is staying aside from me and wants to play a match. You can get a pocket knife locally as well; don’t bring one across the border, and don’t bring any spirits either.
Having done this, it now takes me ten minutes to pack for Gaza and for a while I was leaving with less than what I brought it.