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Walking Vacations


What to Wear, Where -- Her 50 Fabulous Clothing Tips


No cleavage in Turkey...
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.

Shannon, Arlington, USA

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

Avoid wearing capri pants in Nigeria...
I lived in Northern Nigeria for one year. Shorts, tight pants, sleeveless tops, clinging shirts, low-

necklines 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, 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

Keeping clean in Cambodia...
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

General Clothing Tips...
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 converted to

carry-on only and I will never bring a large suitcase again. Try it -- you'll love the freedom.
Phyllis, 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 trip.
Francesca, Steubenville, USA

Wear little make-up in Europe...
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

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