No cleavage in
We wore long-sleeved shirts and khaki
pants all through Turkey. Anything that
shows cleavage and skirts will garner
you more attention than you want, even
if the outfit would be tame for the states.
The long-sleeved outfits were also good
for touring. We had no troubles other
than the typical attention paid to women
travellers in this outfit. Also, ankle-length
skirts are another modest choice that
didn't seem to cause difficulties.
Never expose your thighs in Micronesia...
Wear long dresses that are below the knee.
It is considered very rude and inappropriate
to expose the thighs or rear to males. Always
bring a sarong (lava lava) even when swimming.
Heidi, Mountain View, Hawaii
capri pants in Nigeria...
I lived in Northern
Nigeria for one year. Shorts, tight pants,
sleeveless tops, clinging shirts, low-
and capris are all BIG no-nos.
Nylons or socks are not necessary, though.
Most women there seem to favor sandals.
My typical outfit was a long, loose skirt,
and a comfortable 3/4 sleeve cotton blouse
or tunic which covered my derriere. Nigerians
are big on ironing. The "grungy" look
will win you zero points. No self-respecting
Nigerian woman would leave the house without
taking a bath first. In crowded and more
conservative areas, like Kano's old city,
you might consider draping a sheer scarf
over your head (these scarves are plentiful
in the markets). You still won't pass
for a local. You will, however, get more
respect and less harassment, since they
will assume you are a fellow Muslim. You
can also buy beautiful fabric by the yard
and have a tailor make whatever outfit
you can think of, all very affordable.
Things are bit more relaxed in the South.
You might see tank top's there, but women
still cover their legs with long skirts.
Julie, Albany, USA
black, black in Europe and Africa...
Naturally relaxed jeans, naturally relaxed
sweater - black. Naturally relaxed to me
means fit for YOUR body, not thin model
tight or the current baggy "androgynous"
look, 1 to 1 1/2 inch black boots, invest
in a nice tweed/wool jacket (black or charcoal),
and carry a nice head scarf around, wherever
you go. Being a Black American woman, who
is an avid traveller, this ensemble has
gotten me appreciative glances and nods
from men and women, especially in France
and Norway. In Africa/Saudi Arabia, ditch
the jacket and opt for a white button down
shirt, jeans and sandals (oh yeah, the scarf
comes in real handy here). It's about being
tasteful and respectful of oneself and others.
Not looking too rich or poor. Just think
Audrey Hepburn and you won't go wrong.
Ife, Washington, USA
I travelled in Cambodia (also Thailand,
Vietnam and Laos). My favorite clothes
became an ankle length sarong bought in
Thailand (in a dark color) with a short
sleeved top, whenever I crossed a border
or went someplace more conservative, I
put a white button down long sleeved shirt
on over that. It was light weight enough
to still be cool (plus it protected me
from the sun) and I found that dealing
with officials was MUCH easier when dressed
this way. Sandals (Teva style) were fine
everywhere and good for taking on/off
all the time. If you ride as a passenger
on a motorcycle learn to ride sideways
like the local women do (esp. in Cambodia
and Vietnam), important if you are wearing
a skirt. Make sure to keep clean and have
clean hair, even the poorest people bathe
as often as possible and are very insulted
by smelly "backpackers".
Shelly, Tampa, USA
Be sure to pack extra insoles for your
shoes. Bring extra cushy ones, especially
if you are hiking on marble (like in Greece)
or stone (like in Egypt). Try them out
at home in the shoes that you are planning
to wear on your trip. Your feet will be
happy and so will you. A nice, extra item
to pack is a small bottle of peppermint
foot lotion from the Body Shop. This soothes
frayed nerves and tired feet!
Jackie, Nanaimo, Canada
Pack as little as possible -- I learned
this the hard way! I have found that browsing
the "used" clothing stores in my area
yield great clothes at inexpensive prices.
That way, if something is lost or ruined,
I don't have to worry. Pack things that
will go together. Don't bring anything
that doesn't go with another piece of
clothing. Walking shoes and sandals are
perfect for any trip during the summer.
I use a "healthy back" bag (Ameribag)
as a day bag and it is wonderful. I bring
a small, cheap bag for evening wear and
I purchase cheap jewelry at discount stores.
My $5 watch from Walmart looks great and
if lost/stolen, who cares. Just remember
that you have to carry whatever you bring
so don't pack a huge bag. I have recently
only and I will never bring a large suitcase
again. Try it -- you'll love the freedom.
St. Louis, USA
Bring a fleece to Peru...
Peru is a very poor country so
it is dangerous (and in bad taste) to show
off expensive jewelry, designer clothing,
etc. My girlfriend brought an expensive
leather jacket which was promptly stolen
from our hotel room. There is no need for
dressy clothing in Peru because it is a
very casual place. In Lima and Cuzco, you
may want a skirt or dress to wear to a restaurant,
but nothing like a cocktail dress is needed.
If you are going to Machu Picchu bring cotton
khakis, t-shirts and a fleece for the morning,
depending on the time of year. Remember
the seasons are opposite of the USA. I went
in September so it was coming on spring.
The mornings were cool and it got very hot
by noon and I would strip down to a t-shirt
and jeans. By 3 PM the temperature starting
dropping like a rock and by 4 PM I needed
my fleece. There aren't many restrictions
about dress in Peru, but if you overdress,
you will look out of place. If you are taking
a raft ride on the Ollytambo (I recommend
it), wear river pants (waterproof khakis)
and a pullover rain poncho. I stayed very
dry in this gear. If you are hiking, wear
sturdy shoes but avoid the heavy hiking
boots which will slow you down. I wore Sketchers
jammers. Tennis shoes are okay, but there
are a lot of rocks and it is rough terrain.
Make certain you have shoes with ankle support.
Take a small back pack for hiking, you will
need it. You will want your hands free for
photo taking, etc. Always take spare batteries
and plenty of film for your camera because
you won't have any place to buy these things
at the ruins. There is literally nothing
in Machu Picchu - no vendors, no hawkers,
no concession stands after you pass the
front gate. Take water and sunscreen --
you are at 12000 feet! Also a sun hat with
a wide brim and sunglasses are necessary.
Bottom line -- jeans and t-shirts with a
fleece will carry you through most of the
Francesca, Steubenville, USA
Wear little make-up
Wear very little makeup. While in Paris
and London we rode the metro and ate out
a lot, so I had plenty of opportunity
to observe the locals. Very few European
women wear make-up. If you do wear make-up,
I recommend sticking with mascara and
a little eyeliner.
Stefani, Phoenix, USA
An abaya is respectful
in the Middle East...
Go to the open market and buy an Abaya
(a full length cloak that covers from
neck to ankle) and wear it over your own
clothes. You will have far less problems
with men. It does not mean that you are
Muslim -- only respectful of covering
up due to their religious beliefs. An
abaya is cool and lightweight to wear.
Each country has their own style and colour
according to region.
Katherine, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emeritus