Middle East has a lot to offer and it would be a shame to not see those beautiful landmarks, sceneries and people because of fear. By following a few easy tips, you don’t have to worry about being in a culture so different than yours.
You don’t have to wear a hijab (if you’re not a Muslim and you wear a hijab, it just confuses the locals) or cover up your hair (unless you’re visiting a country that has a very strict Sharia Law) at all times and all places, but you definitely should dress more modestly and respectively than you ordinary would.
Even if you are, in your opinion, dressed in that fashion, you probably aren’t. It’s not just about what you can or can’t do; it’s also about showing that you are a worldly traveler who has respect for other people’s culture.
Choose long, flowing skirts or loose jeans and a cardigan. Basically make sure your shoulders, elbows, knees and upper chest are covered at all times. If you are visiting a religious site, then you should definitely cover your hair. A scarf will come in handy for this, and it’s also a fashionable accessory.
Attitudes towards female travelers
Whether you’re travelling alone or with someone, like a male companion, try to tone it down a little.
It’s great that you’re an outgoing person, but that will only make you stick out for all the wrong reasons.
You won’t be treated badly, just try to show some respect for local traditions and culture and you will be respected in return and left alone.
Also, it may be wise to get “engaged”. It will save you from all of the boring questions such as “Why aren’t you still married?”
If travelling with someone who’s not your husband or relative, it may be best to pretend that you are one or the other. Even if you are married, don’t even hold hands let alone kiss. Completely avoid displays of public affection.
Stay clear of men-only hubs and check out women-only venues
Men and women in Middle East lead very separate lives, especially in public. If you want to relax in a café or bar, make sure it’s not for men only. Also, if visiting a mosque, head to the women’s side. If you’re tired after a whole day in the heat, recoup at a hammam (bathhouse) for women only.