What to pack for Middle East

  • What to Pack
    by machomikemd
  • What to Pack
    by machomikemd
  • What to Pack
    by machomikemd

Most Viewed What to Pack in Middle East

  • stewarth99's Profile Photo

    Connecting to the local power supply and phone net

    by stewarth99 Updated Aug 20, 2008

    Miscellaneous: Egypt uses european style two pin plugs. Because of the various devices I have, I made up a small extension lead with multiple square pin sockets. That way you can charge several devices at once. Local 'Holiday' SIM cards are a good buy in Egypt if you are making local calls. I usually end up giving it to the taxi driver on the way to the airport when I'm on my way home. No good to me any more. One thing, turn off your automatic clock update. It costs money there and you will find your phone calling Egypt to update after you get back and that does cost!

    Related to:
    • Business Travel
    • Photography
    • Study Abroad

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  • JohnniOmani's Profile Photo

    General Guide or Backpack Essentials

    by JohnniOmani Updated Nov 6, 2007

    4 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Luggage and bags: Military style bags ie dark green etc should be avoided and a backpack that can hold up to 10 days worth of clothes is advisable. You will get a lot of mini buses in Yemen, Oman, Syria, Jordan etc and a big bag will be a huge hassle and not worth it. The weather is pretty consistent in the Gulf so you will only need a few different outfits giving you more flexability for warm clothing and space in Syria, Jordan and Egypt.

    Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: A book could be written about what clothes to bring to the Middle East. Every country not only varies dramatically but every region within the country itself varies a lot. On the whole, modesty is advisable. Western Arabia is more relaxed than the Gulf, Saudi, Yemen and Iran so women can get away with wearing baggy pants and shirts. Wearing a hat will deter unwanted attention while a headscarf is a good idea in smaller towns and villages. If you are ever wander what to wear then look how the majority of the locals dress and adapt when necessary. In Iran and Saudi and I highly recommend in Yemen, women should wear the hijab and full clothing. (Saudi and Iran law requires women to cover everything but their hands). Men can pretty much get away with a shirt rolled up and cotton pants. Overall, be modest and you will be respected by most local people.

    Toiletries and Medical Supplies: You can get almost everything you require while travelling but a few things that may be useful are multi vitamins (due to the same diet day in and day out), diarrhoea blockers like Loperamide when eating in Indian restaurants, insect repellent, vaseline to stop rubbing and itching due to the heat, iodine to dry out cuts (due to heat and humidity making it worse), and sunscreen and rehydration mixture.

    Photo Equipment: Other than Yemen, you can pretty much get whatever you need in the souqs and shops.

    Camping/Beach/Outdoor Gear: Camping is popular in Oman and the UAE so other than these two countries it is not really worth carrying around a lot of supplies.

    Miscellaneous: Bring a lot of passport photos for visas, padlock, cord for drying clothes, tiger balm (for aches), English reading material, tampons if travelling to Iran, and backpack cover (can be used for many things such as sitting on it when in a dirty or dusty place).

    Related to:
    • Budget Travel

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  • travellingdan's Profile Photo

    Warm clothes even in summer!

    by travellingdan Written Aug 16, 2005

    Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: Even in summer it can get a little chilly at night. So pack at least some long trousers, socks and a sweater if you travel to the MidEast. I did the mistake and just fetched a cold in warm August (sniff...)

    Related to:
    • Budget Travel
    • Road Trip
    • Backpacking

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  • dr.firas's Profile Photo

    Go For it!

    by dr.firas Updated Jun 29, 2003

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Photo Equipment: Sure

    Camping/Beach/Outdoor Gear: If you like!

    Miscellaneous: To avoid bad effects of the sun in the Middle East!
    You should prepare yourself to pack everything, which will protect you from sun!
    Sunglasses, suitable hat, light dress and it should have the light colors to reflect the sun not to aspirate it; White color is the best in the desert.
    And once you deiced to go to the beach bring all the collection of milk and protection lotion and oil!
    Also as a tradition in my packing list pages I should remind you to bring all the teeth hygiene stuffs.


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  • maen31's Profile Photo

    Packing List

    by maen31 Written Aug 26, 2002

    1.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Luggage and bags: You have to bring your needs in a bag that can help to get everything that you love to be with you ,don't forget your notebook and sandals in the Summer.

    Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: In Summer it is little hot ,so t_shirt and shorts are better and sunglasses also ,in Winter ,the weather is not very cold and warm clothes are enough and an umbrella .

    Toiletries and Medical Supplies: I don't know what you need ,you can find anything That can help here.

    Photo Equipment: Get your camera and batteries ,but no matter you can charge these before you go to some isolated places.

    Camping/Beach/Outdoor Gear: You can stay outdoors ,but why outdoors, it is nice to set on a chair and watch the sky at night .

    Miscellaneous: Just bring yous smile and leave anything behind.

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  • Packing List

    by spencrland Written Aug 26, 2002

    1.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Luggage and bags: Luggage on wheels, of course! Bring and extra bag to take home all your wonderful finds in!

    Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: In October it was still very warm during the day. I recommend taking a hat, especially if you will be doing alot of sightseeing and don't forget sunscreen. At night it cools off considerably. I would take several long pants, a comfortable sweater and then shorts and tee's for the day. YOU MUST HAVE COMFORTABLE WALKING SHOES!!!!

    Toiletries and Medical Supplies: If you like a wash cloth, there are none in the hotels there. Bring all your meds and possible something for you stomache even if you don't normally suffer from problems. I also took some Tylenol PM which helped me to adjust to a new sleeping pattern.

    Photo Equipment: Bring lots and lots of film and if you can, a good camera with a telephoto lens...you will really want to get a closeup picture of some the wonderful faces you will see without being an offense.

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  • maykal's Profile Photo

    Packing List

    by maykal Updated Aug 26, 2002

    1.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: Don't be fooled into thinking that the middle east is always hot and sunny...at times the weather in some parts can be downright cold wet and miserable. Accommodation doesn't always include suitable heating, so you'll feel the cold more than you would do back home. So bring along some cold weather clothes. It is incredibly hot in summer, but Arab society is conservative, so shorts for both sexes are out (unless on the beach or by a pool), and women will need to cover up to varying degrees depending on the country. No countries (with the exception of Saudi Arabia, perhaps) require non-muslim women to wear either the hejab or the veil, and many Muslim women don't wear these items either, but in certain places you might feel more comfortable covering your head. Jordan, Syria and Lebanon have large Christian populations, so the 'dress code' is more liberal there (although still relatively conservative compared to Europe), while in Yemen, the majority of women wear an all-encompassing black cloak called a Balto, with very few walking the streets with their faces showing. Many foreign women living in Yemen also choose to wear black cloaks, but leave their heads uncovered. Leave behind any tight clothing, or anything that shows the contours of your body. For men, legs and upper arms are better off covered in most parts (think of it as built-in sunscreen!!), although in places frequented by tourists you'll fit in with t-shirts. At the risk of generalizing, Arabs as a whole take a lot of care with their appearance, and tend to dress fairly well, so it is fair to say that any clothes you have with holes in (cut jeans etc..) or 'hippy' clothes will not go down well. One shirt I have has a slight tear on the shoulder, and my friend pointed out a beggar, joking 'look, even the beggars dress better than you!'. Shoes...again it depends on the country, and the religion of any local friends you have. To enter the prayer hall of a mosque (if this is allowed) or a Muslim household, you'll have to remove your shoes, so any shoes which slip on and off easily are ideal. Boots are good for walking the city streets, but are annoying if you have to keep taking them off and putting them on again. It is different from one country to the next, but Syrian houses tend to have courtyards, and you only remove shoes to enter rooms with carpets. For Christian households, it depends on the owners, so just follow their lead. In Yemen, shoes are left at the front door of a house. Flip-flops or thongs are quite practical for walking in the city in Yemen, and are available cheaply everywhere...however, Yemenis attach great importance to keeping feet clean, and cities tend to be quite dusty, so they are not so practical if you are visiting someone. Toilets in many houses have special communal shoes just inside the door...you are expected to use them, and when you leave, take them off before coming out the room, to avoid the dirt from touching the clean floors elsewhere....this can become an acrobatic trick in some houses! Clothes are cheap to buy in the Middle East, and there is no difficulty finding clothes shops...they are everywhere! You'll also find many designer clothes (mainly fake, but of good quality) available quite cheaply. So, it is not really necessary to bring a huge amount of clothes with you. A note about traditional clothes: yes, they are great souvenirs, and yes, they are perfect for fancy dress parties in Europe, but a foreigner wearing traditional clothes will be ridiculed. This is especially true in more touristy places (Syria, Lebanon, Jordan), where most locals dress Western-style, so you'll either be thought of as a joke, or as a joker, making a mockery of them by wearing traditional clothes. Can you imagine how an arab would be treated if he went to London and dressed as a Morris dancer, or visited berlin wearing lederhosen? Well, you'll get much the same reaction if you try it there! This applies less so to Yemen, and often you'll be required to dress like a Yemeni if you are invited to a wedding. Jellabiyyas or Thoabs (both like shirts which extend to your ankles) are worn by many Yemenis, and come in many different colours and styles (white and blue being the two favoured colours). If you are buying, make sure you get some undergarments too, otherwise your loud boxer shorts will be visible to all! The Yemeni male skirt is also frequently worn, and foreigners copying this are accepted, especially at the coast and when chewing qat (be careful how you sit down, and at first wear one with a belt until you are confident enough that it will not fall down in public!!!). Headscarves (keffiyeh) are also nice souvenirs, and practical too, serving as protection from sun and dust. They come in many patterns, but remember that certain patterns mean certain things in some regions (some colours are representative of Palestinian groups, while others show that you are a member of a specific political group...if you intend wearing it in Syria, Jordan, Palestine and Lebanon, take a local with you when you buy! In Yemen, it is all in the way you tie it, and Europeans will stand out so much anyway, so it doesn't really matter what colour you choose or how you tie it, nobody is going to mistake you for being one tribemember or another!

    Toiletries and Medical Supplies: Most things are available in the cities...in fact, you'll find almost anything in the souks. One thing I had difficulty finding was roll-on deodorant or deodorant sticks...if you can't cope without them, bring enough from home to last! Local brands of toiletries are often as good as Western brands, but cheaper. However, some are just plain cheap and nasty...you learn pretty quick which brands to steer well clear of! Medical supplies....well, you can get pills and other medicines at pharmacies, but you won't always know what these are. In many places, the pharmacist plays the role of the doctor, so you'll find people entering a pharmacy, saying, 'my mother has a pain in her stomach' and walking off with a bag of unnamed pills, no diagnosis and no idea of patient history. Whatever illness you have, a pharmacist will have some pills for it...pills are seen as cures for everything, 'as long as it is a pill, it is OK' seems to be the attitude. Also, many Arabs seem to distrust locally made remedies...for example, Syria produces some excellent cough medicine, but Syrians will pay three times as much for some similar German-made cough medicine. Basically pharmacies are fine for buying items such as lip-salve, plasters, throat lozenges or cough medicine, but steer clear of any pills you might be offered....you don't need a prescription to buy any pills, but that means that anything is available over the counter, and chances are the pharmacist won't know the expiry date, side-effects, or even if he is giving you the right dosage. If you have anything other than colds or diarrhoea, then head to a proper doctor. To obtain a residence permit (and you'll need one of these to stay anything more than a couple of weeks), you usually have to have an AIDS test. They don't accept test certificates from other countries, so you have no choice but to head to a test centre and give a blood test. Take your own needles!!! Often hospitals are very ill-equipped, and you don't always see where the needle comes from. Doctors in the UK provide medical kits for travellers, which include syringes, needles, dental needles, and other essential items, as well as full instructions in any requested language. If you carry one of these packs, then at least you won't be mistaken for a drug addict! When you leave the country, a good idea is to donate these to a local hospital or medical centre...they will be appreciated.

    Photo Equipment: You can buy the latest cameras in shops all over the Middle East, but don't expect to find any bargains....I've had requests from Syrians for me to send them digital cameras from England as apparently they are cheaper! Standard camera films are available everywhere, but for anything slightly different (like APS, for instance) the chances of finding a suitable film decrease dramatically. Away from the main cities, sometimes the films are out of date, or have been kept in hot conditions for too long...stock up in the cities! Camera batteries are almost impossible to find...they must exist, but I never found them. Be careful about taking pictures in the Middle East...some countries can be touchy about things; in general, don't point your camera at presidential palaces, police stations, bridges, embassies, even policemen or police vehicles. With people pictures, always ask first, especially if you want to take a photo of a woman. Children are often very pleased to have their picture taken, and most men won't object either, but always ask first. In mosques, you won't be looked on too highly if you insist on snapping away at people praying. Again, ask first (if you really want pictures inside the prayer hall, then try asking for permission from the Imam).

    Camping/Beach/Outdoor Gear: Generalizing a bit again, but Arabs aren't too keen on outdoor activities such as hiking, camping, mountaineering, diving, snorkelling, etc....so if you are into any of these things, then bring all your own gear as you won't find it here.

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  • Aragina's Profile Photo

    Packing List

    by Aragina Written Aug 25, 2002

    1.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Luggage and bags: I carried a rucksack as it was easiest

    Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: t-shirts, shorts but decent cloths for visiting mosques, you must remember you have different religions here, so best cater for all tastes.

    Toiletries and Medical Supplies: I took all my medication with me but found things like headache remedy's and other common items easy to get.

    Photo Equipment: I had a problem getting digital Smart card but battereis wer in abundance

    Camping/Beach/Outdoor Gear: good boots for walking across the sands a must as well as good socks, forget the sandles

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  • suroor2001's Profile Photo

    Packing List

    by suroor2001 Written Aug 24, 2002

    Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: good walking shoes..or runners...as I found the roads and side walks were very badly in need of repair..pot holes everywhere...specially in Aqaba.

    Toiletries and Medical Supplies: Mosquito repellant,,as I found lots of them in Amman.

    Photo Equipment: Films are very expensive here..get them before you come.

    Camping/Beach/Outdoor Gear: Must wear long apparel in the public beaches, else you will get harrassed.. but if you go to a Private Beach there is no problem as western swimwear is allowed.

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