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.
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
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
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
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
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
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 trip.
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
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
Katherine, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emeritus