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What Should I Wear?


While traveling in developing countries for work with a nonprofit organization I realized that more conservative clothing is appropriate. While in Haiti, I always wore lightweight cotton skirts and blouses--no slacks as few local women wear pants. I saved my slightly worn clothing to wear in-country and left it behind for the locals, telling them that I was purposely leaving an item of clothing behind.
Trisha, Atlanta, USA

Haitians are still quite conservative when it comes to women's dress. Shorts and pants are still less acceptable than dresses and skirts, particularly if you are going to be interacting with religious missions. No one expects you to wear panty hose, however. You would bake in them!
Priscilla, Orange Park, Florida

Honduras See also Latin America

A Honduran provincial governor has barred women from wearing G-string bikinis on beaches so as not to "fire up the passions of men." He said sun worshippers found wearing skimpy swimwear on Atlantic coast beaches would be punished but he did not specify what the sanctions would be.
Globe and Mail, Travel section, April 2, 1997

In Honduras, very, very few adult women ever wear shorts no matter what the temperature. Thus, as a traveller, capri pants, skirts or lightweight pants are much better choices when trying to blend in. Luckily, sleeveless tops are fine.
Megan, Burnaby, Canada

In 2003 I spent five months travelling in Central America -- Panama, Costa Rica, Nicaragua and Honduras-- a single woman travelling alone! I read a lot of travel information on the area and they all said that women should cover up, i.e. skirts or pants -- no shorts, to avoid being harrassed by the local men. I found this to be absolutely true. Some women I met complained about being followed, called names, etc my local men, but they were wearing shorts! I never had any run ins like that thanks to being properly attired while on the street or travelling by bus.
Christine, Campbelton, New Brunswick, Canada

Hong Kong

Don't wear halternecks, short skirts or strappy tops as these will make people stare. Although I am Chinese and went to Hong Kong for a holiday, I wore these kinds of clothes, and I had men trying to peep up my skirt in the underground!! I was even stalked by a creepy guy around a supermarket and he even followed me down the street. I'd suggest simple t-shirts, shorts/long skirts and sandals.
Jasmine, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, UK

Most women in Hong Kong are dressed modestly; no short skirts or bare arms. Bring a light sweater as the air conditioning in buildings can be very cold! I found dark colored capris with an untucked cotton blouse and simple sandals, to be quite comfortable and fashionable. Don't wear shorts and athletic shoes or you will be shouting "tourist."
Mari, San Francisco, USA

I lived in HK for 3 years - anything seems to go for expats as its so multicultural but be careful about cleavage (the Chinese, Indian men will stare) and dress well if you want to fit in - lots of designer gear and little dresses. Take a cardigan or jacket for air-conditioned indoors - it can get very cool.
Lynda, New Zealand

Hong Kong during the month of July is hot, humid and incredibly sticky. Shorts and t-shirts that are easy to care for and lightweight are your best bet for daytime travel. Don't forget to bring a long sleeved shirt because the air conditioning in some places is quite Arctic-like.
Jse-Che, Toronto, Canada

In Hong Kong, Pack black preferably. You can see throngs of people in black in all the streets.
Weng, Manilla

Hong Kong women seem to have this amazing ability of withstanding the heat & humidity in tight jeans. Many wear tight clothing, but not sleeveless or cleavage-showing items. Designer clothes with the name or logo highly visible are very popular. For shoes, sandals are fine for the summer only if they're nice-looking. No Tevas, Birkenstocks, nor sneakers. In other words, take casual/dressy looking clothing and leave your grubs behind. I made the mistake of wearing your standard North American casual clothes just to go to the supermarket, and though I'm ethnically Chinese, I got more stares and harassment than any tourist.
Anne, Scarborough, Canada

If you are young and traveling to HK, be prepared for men and women alike to be dressed it high fashion and eccentric clothes. There is no need to be conservative when you are young; nightly partying is always accepted. Bring a light jacket for indoors, but most cultural sites and the best shopping is done out side so be prepared for heat and humidity. Shorts, skirts, tanktops, sandals are all good!
Kirsten, Overland Park, USA


If you've ever wondered how you'd look in that black leather micro-mini, but were too scared to risk the leers and disapproving looks at home, pack it in your suitcase if you're going to Budapest Here you'll see women - not all of them in their first youth - wearing the shortest shorts, the skimpiest tops and generally clothes which would certainly be considered risqué just about anywhere else but don't warrant a second glance here, whether from young men on building sites or old women on trams!

Of course, I'm not saying that when in Hungary, do as some Hungarians do: if you want to wear jeans and t-shirts, that's perfectly acceptable too. What I'm saying is that, in contrast to many countries frequented by women travellers, Hungary is (or at least it was when I lived there 2 years ago), a country where, for once, women can be relaxed about what they choose to wear or not to wear, and that is a refreshing change!
Tina, Dublin, Ireland

Ed. note: Please be careful. Skimpy tops might be acceptable by 99% of the population but it's that 1% that I worry about. Why take chances so far from home?

In Hungary, it's wise to wear a nice pair of khaki slacks instead of the typical jeans-and-a-t-shirt many of us wear while adventuring. I went with a group from college that stayed in families' homes, and one of our friends told us that Hungarians really only wear jeans while cleaning!
Tonya, Danville, USA




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