What to Wear When Travelling Abroad

Travelling abroad means you’re venturing out of your comfort zone. Not just to a new country but into a new culture too. Dressing appropriately for the country you’re visiting is important, not just because it helps you to blend in like the locals but it will also keep you safe and attract less attention. Here are some tips on what you should wear when travelling abroad.

 

MODEST CLOTHING

If you’re venturing to a country with strong religious values, it is exceptionally important to dress modestly. Women should stick to pants, long skirts or dresses. Carry a shawl in your bag as a safety precaution and wear this when visiting religious places like temples and churches. Avoid miniskirts, tank tops, shorts, revealing dresses and anything showing cleavage. Men should avoid shorts and sleeveless shirts as well. It’s a wise idea to invest in a good pair of dark jeans as these can double as semi-formal pants in certain instances.

 

SNEAKERS AND OPEN-TOE SHOES

Invest in a good pair of sneakers while travelling abroad but research specific places you plan to visit beforehand. Some tourist attractions, restaurants or shows have a strict dress code and formal shoes may be preferred rather than casual sneakers. Closed shoes are generally a safer option too, especially when travelling to cities known for infection and disease as you can avoid insect bites or unexpected cuts on your toes.

 

EXPENSIVE JEWELRY

Avoid wearing your expensive jewelry abroad especially in countries known for their high crime rates or with popular tourist attractions. You don’t want someone swiping your diamond earrings from Paris or helping themselves to your tennis bracelet from Rome. Heart breaking, I know. Pick pockets are pretty good at spotting tourists and its quiet common to have your belongings stolen at popular sites. Leave your expensive goodies at home and settle for a more casual look. That way, if you lose something, you won’t be too devastated.

 

INAPPROPRIATE COLORS

Research the places you plan to visit before you get there. In the western world, black is usually worn to funerals but in many parts of Asia, white is the color of mourning. In India, it is considered inappropriate to wear black when entering a temple. It’s also a good idea to keep in mind that black and blue are the main colors that attract large biting insects in central Africa.

 

RELIGIOUS CLOTHING AND OFFENSIVE WORDS / IMAGERY

It’ a good idea to avoid clothing with religious or military symbols, swear words or words written in a language you cannot translate or do not know the meaning of. You don’t want to receive strange or hostile looks or worse, have someone start an argument with you based on a piece of clothing.

 

BACKPACKS

It’s one of the most practical items that a traveler just cannot live without because it fits pretty much everything and is easy to lug around. That said, bear in mind, that it also screams out: tourist. Backpacks are great for lugging around a lot of items but it’s also pretty easy to reach into a side compartment and steal something. It’s a good idea to carry a smaller sling-over bag that you can use when visiting popular attractions or on everyday walks.

Have you traveled to a country with a strict dress code? I’d love to hear your experiences in the comments below.

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Hi World! I'm Shal - an environmental microbiologist, writer, teacher and artist from Durban, South Africa. I've spent the last two years traveling and teaching Chemistry and English to young kids in Asia. Life of Shal was founded as a way to share travel experiences, tips and other worldly magic with you! Join me on my journey!

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