Religion, Clothing And Your Luggage

Apart from the well seasoned and experienced traveller, an issue that should concern us all when packing our luggage but which is frequently overlooked is that of the religious expectations or cultural standards held by the people of the country we are visiting. Some people indeed are of the belief that when you are in Rome you should do as the Romans do. In other words, whatever the dress code and cultural values of the people are, you should do as much as you possibly can to respect these traditions and values. Indeed, some go as far as adhering to strict dress codes.

However, even if you do not feel entirely comfortable with going as far as this, you should always make every effort to be sympathetic to the values held by the people you are visiting, and do not do anything which could be considered offensive or disrespectful in any way. After all, when you are visiting a friend’s house or a family member’s house for an event, you are likely to give consideration to the social expectations, and dress accordingly, either wearing smart or casual outfits.

No less should be true when going abroad. Having said that, making assumptions that may be out of date or merely stereotypical can be every bit as offensive as making no effort to make any consideration. If in doubt, it is always advisable to discuss your concerns with a professional and experienced travel agent. These people will be able to advise you on specific customs and expectations of the people you will be visiting.

As a general rule, most cultures will be reasonably accepting of visitors bringing their own cultural values with them. But, to give a specific example of where this does not go down well, visiting the middle east wearing outfits more suited to a Mediterranean beach holiday will not be considered to be in good taste. Indeed, there are many cultures which consider that unnecessary over exposure is highly offensive. It is also wise to consider the fact that this does not merely limit itself to the dress code for women, and that there are expectations for men just as much.

Should you be anticipating visiting places of worship within the areas you are visiting, then it is also worth knowing that for many religious cultures, removing one’s shoes is essential before entering such buildings. Clearly if this is the case, then it is important that your choice of footwear include socks or their equivalent, since bare feet is not always considered appropriate, or indeed hygienic.

Very rarely, the colour of the clothes that you wear can have some significance, and although this is unusual, again, it is always worth checking with either a well seasoned traveller who has been to the location, or a professional travel agent who can advise you. Of course, we don’t always have an exact planned itinerary for when we go on holiday and sometimes due to unexpected weather conditions, unexpected cultural events and a range of other factors, we can find ourselves visiting areas we didn’t expect, or being involved in events we didn’t plan. Therefore the golden rule of flexibility will stand you in good stead. Taking a wide range of interchangeable outfits will provide you with a wardrobe likely to allow you to fit in to the local culture, conditions and climate far more than would taking one or two set outfits more suited to your home town.

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