(Closed) Middle East Advice…

posted 8 years ago in Travel
Post # 3
2208 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: July 2010

I’ve never been to Jordan, but I do know it is one of the more Westernized and cosmopolitan of Middle Eastern countries. I have been to Egypt, though, on a relatively independent trip. I imagine they are roughly similar. My advice is to wear modest clothing (sleeves, at least knee length dresses, no shorts, nothing low cut), but I honestly adhere to that in all conservative countries, whether in Asia, Africa, the Middle East, or South America.

I would recommend bringing a scarf to cover your hair if you visit a mosque. They may not require it, but it is more respectful. You can also then cover your hair whenever you feel it is necessary.

Post # 4
454 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: December 2012

Hi!!  I am not from Jordan or going to that area obviously, but here are my two cents!!

I would probably look into online guides for women traveling to Egypt so you can get a better idea.  Wear light clothes, khaki capris or full pants, perhaps  a short or long sleeved white button down.  I would suggest a stylish head scarf, just to reduce attention.  They are surprisingly nice to wear.  I plan on wearing one when we go to Egypt to sight see.

I would avoid sleeveless shirts, skirts unless they are below the knee, etc.  Hopefully that helps a little. 🙂

Post # 5
2208 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: July 2010

@ artichokesalad: a lot of women in Egypt don’t cover their hair, but if you are blonde and go out without a man, covering your hair is an especially good idea. I went out to a club one night in Cairo and got seriously groped. Egyptian men think all American women are super slutty. When just sightseeing, especially ancient sites, you may not need it except to keep the darn sand out of your hair.

Post # 6
1074 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: May 2009

I think Mrs. Star Lightning went to Egypt on her honeymoon   ( I think??)  maybe she has some advice?

Post # 7
33 posts
  • Wedding: April 2003

If you are going for work purposes, just bring professional, decent looking clothes that are not overtly skin-baring or showy. Regardless of religion, it’s just respectful of the workplace(unless your work is in the field as a photographer or something and you need to be more rugged…) I’d say that a tight miniskirt or spaghetti strap top would be frowned upon, but a light jacket, button-down shirt and nice knee-length skirt would look fine.

Jordan has many modern women in the workplace -look at the princess rania, who’s much admired for her modern fashion sense- and not every one wears a Hijab(head scarf). Unless you go into a mosque you probably won’t have to cover your head, but it might be a good idea to bring one in case you want to visit a holy place.

Oh – beautiful Petra…(swoon) We went to Petra about 10 years ago and every woman on the bus (tourists, granted..) wore shorts including myself and nobody batted an eye. There’s a very lengthy, dusty walk down to the ruins and you want to be comfortable. Don’t forget a hat, too! On the way down there are a few impromptu rest stations where they sell water so you can stock up.

Post # 8
1426 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: December 1969

I would recommend getting a light weight long sleeve shirt (something like this: http://oldnavy.gap.com/browse/product.do?cid=5441&vid=1&pid=730409 ) that you can throw on whenever you may need.  When I was in Israel in some of the Palestinian areas, we could generally wear long pants and short sleeves (though not sleeveless) and feel ok, but it was nice to have something like that in your bag in case you started to feel like people were staring.  There was only one time that I felt uncomfortable in pants.  I always made sure there was a guy in whatever group I went out with except for one time, and sure enough the only time I went out with a group of all women, some little boys ran up to us and started hitting those of us wearing pants on the legs and butt with pieces of cardboard they had been playing with.  I really wished I had a wrap skirt I could have thrown on over my pants at that point, but I also got the feeling that this kids were more amused to see American women and were just being kids, rather than us being in any really sketchy situation, you know?  It is usually better to have a man in your traveling group if at all possible, but not completely necessary.  Just remember that people will try to take advantage of women more than men- especially regarding prices.

You can probably take your cues from the people around you.  If you’re in a touristy area, you’ll probably be fine as long as your knees and shoulders are covered.  And you’ll be able to tell right away if you wander into a non-tourist area.  You can almost feel the people staring at you if you aren’t dressed right.  The key is to always have stuff with you that can make your outfit more modest if necessary.  For your hair, I would say keep it pulled back if possible most of the time, just to attract less attention to it.  I also frequently wore bandannas, but that’s just something I do in any country 😉  You could keep a hat or scarf with you, but unless you’re entering a religious site or passing through a conservative neighborhood, you will probably be ok.

Also, remember that most of the merchants will be employing very hard sales tactics.  Learn to be comfortable haggling, and don’t feel bad if you don’t want to buy from someone.  Whatever you want to buy, before you even start talking prices, have a number in your mind of what you are not at all willing to go above.  Start significantly lower than that number, but also be prepared to walk away.  Trust me, they’re not going to sell you something at a loss, so you don’t have to feel bad about trying to get the best price.  I even went to the mall where all those notorious survey takers and kiosk sales people were and practiced saying “no”.

Good luck, and have fun!  I always wanted to see Petra, but it just wasn’t possible to fit it in when I was over there.

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