Taking a language trip to learn Arabic, go on vacation or try to live in one of the Arab countries is an experience to be organized.
While in 1992, 368 126 people had emigrated to settle in the UAE, the UAE immigration services registered 3,331,000 immigrants in 2007 and 2,141,068 more people in 2018.
Therefore, more and more people are tempted to live and work in one of the 22 Arab League states.
Here are our tips on preparing for a trip to the Middle East.
Do I have to wear a veil in Arab countries in general?
In Jordan, no woman should wear a veil except in mosques. In all Arab countries, one has to adapt to cultural norms in terms of dress, as well as restrictions on women and not men. That said, and in the case of Jordan, it is one of the least strict. One example is that, unlike in other destinations, the use of miniskirts is frowned upon but not prohibited.
Qatar and the United Arab Emirates
Although women in these two countries have massive restrictions, it will catch your attention to see how there is great flexibility in the case of female tourists. If your destination is one of these two, keep in mind that you should not wear excessively short clothes or Bermuda shorts in the case of men. It’s okay: it’s frowned upon, especially in the older neighborhoods of both places, but it’s not forbidden.
In addition to this myth about women, there is another myth you have undoubtedly heard, which is the one that says that men must accompany women to this destination. This is an absolute falsehood, and there is no problem whatsoever. They are, in fact, highly safe destinations.
Saudi Arabia and Iran, the strictest destinations
In the case of Iran, women must wear the veil only in holy places; loose-fitting clothes are recommended, and wearing sandals is not frowned upon as in Saudi Arabia.
In the latter case, all the myths about Arab countries are fulfilled, and it is not advisable to travel alone if you are a woman, you must always wear a headscarf and wear black clothes down to the feet. Moreover, open shoes are not allowed even in the middle of summer.
In addition, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has banned all types of gambling in the country according to Sharia, Islamic law.
However, thanks to the advent of internet gambling and betting platforms, Saudi gamblers can now play casino games and even have the opportunity to play with live dealers. Live dealer casino games work like classic online games but allow players to join a table staffed with a human dealer, even if you are in an Arab country.
Finally, we have seen how Saudi Arabia is the exception regarding the recommendations for traveling to Arab countries, most of which will surprise you with their modernity, especially concerning clothing. Lovers of the expensive, the signatures, and the absolute luxury.
No kissing and not touching men
Although it may seem strange, in many Arab countries, it is frowned upon for women alone to touch men; even in some places, it is forbidden to shake hands with them, so it is best to follow this rule because, as they say “where you go do as you see”. It would help if you also were respectful of their customs, precepts, and religions. Remember that their religion is Islam, and their life revolves around it.
Do not drink in public places
If you are a woman, avoid entering places visited mainly by men. If you want to have a drink, look for a place exclusive for tourists, and when you leave, try to go to your hotel accompanied; it is even better to drink in the comfort of your room or in the restaurant where you are staying.
When traveling to an Arab country during Ramadan, you should remember that Muslims fast between 7:00 and 20:00, and restaurants close during this period. It is considered disrespectful to eat, drink or smoke in front of them during those hours.
Find out about visas and required documentation
Check that you have a valid passport (valid for at least six months for travel to some Arab countries) and confirm if any special visa is required. For example, there is no tourist visa to travel to Saudi Arabia, so you can only go with a work or business visa and a letter from your company.