What Every Woman Should Know Before Traveling to the Middle East

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Image: www.aceshowbiz.com

Every day, thousands of tourists from every corner of the planet, travel to the Middle East hoping to see the wonders of a region rich in both culture and history. Birthplace of the world´s three major monotheistic religions, this area is characterized by having the Islam as the predominant religion in most of its countries. This is why customs, rules and laws tend to be quite different from the lifestyle of western´s tourists; especially women. So if you are planning to travel to the Middle East anytime soon, please pay attention to the following tips before starting your adventure through the land of Ali Baba and Tawfiq al-Hakim.

This is why customs, rules and laws tend to be quite different from the lifestyle of western´s tourists; especially women. So if you are planning to travel to the Middle East anytime soon, please pay attention to the following tips before starting your adventure through the land of Ali Baba and Tawfiq al-Hakim.

Be modest

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When dressing the most important thing is to be modest. Try not to wear too fancy dresses because  these type of clothes are reserved for special occasions or family gatherings.

Cover knees and shoulders

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Before going out don’t forget to check that those parts of your body are well covered, even if the sun is heating up.

Baggy clothes

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Try to wear baggy clothes. Do not use dresses that highlight your figure.

The Veil

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In most Arab countries it is not necessary for woman tourists to cover their head with a veil. You can do it optionally as a sign of respect; however, you must wear one if you want to go inside a mosque or any sacred sites. However, in some radical countries like Oman, women are forced to wear “burka” ( type of dress that covers all the body, leaving only the eyes visible).

The shoes

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Remember to take your shoes off whenever you walk into a sacred place or a local family house.

No kisses or hugging

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If you are traveling with your partner or if you meet someone interesting during your trip, avoid any type of public display of affection. You can get in serious trouble if you don’t choose to do otherwise.

The handshaking

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Whenever you meet someone, even if it’s a stranger, you should always give a handshake. In some cases, it is possible that some Muslims prefer to greet you by touching their heart or wait for you to do it first. Above all, NEVER use your left hand to greet someone, this act is considered a serious offense.

If you are traveling alone

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In many Middle East countries it is mandatory for woman to hire a tourist guide if they are traveling alone. If that’s your case, maybe it will be better for you to purchase a “group tour package” from the departure city. If you are traveling to Saudi Arabia, be aware that woman are not allowed to travel alone or even drive cars.

If you are traveling during “Ramadan”

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“Ramadán” is a period of meditation, which begins in July and ends in August, in which Muslims do not eat food while there is daylight. Remember that during this time restaurants do not open during the day and shops close early.

Credit cards

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Restaurants, hotels and big malls accept credit cards like American Express, VISA, Diners Club and Mastercard. Be aware that small shops only accept local currency.

Personal care

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Before meals, when getting up, before cooking, after going to the bathroom and before bedtime. For health reasons, you should never forget to wash your hands as much as you can. However, when going to a mosque, don’t forget to wash (beside your hands), your neck, elbows, knees and feet, for religious reasons.

If you wish to travel in a more relax way

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If you want to travel around the Middle East in a more calm and relax way you should considered going to Dubai, the so – called “Venece Golf”. There you´ll find more religious tolerance than in other countries.

Travel safety

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Although it may seem that women are most vulnerable in the Middle East, the fact is that serious sexual crimes are rare because of the severity of the penalties.

Ask for extra tips

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Finally, do not forget to ask for extra useful tips from travelers who have already experienced a similar experience. They will give you good advice and transmit confidence.

About the Author: juan

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