We’re all cautious of pickpockets when travelling. But wearing flashy or expensive jewellery when you travel is like hanging a sign around you neck saying, “I have expensive things that are worth stealing”. Your favourite collection may not make it back home with you.
Who likes short shorts? Not the locals. Some people, especially in Southeast Asia, look down on shorts that reveal too much leg. Even if it’s warm, consider wearing a longer skirt or pair of shorts made from a light fabric, so you can still stay cool.
Swear words, flags and religious imagery
Wearing clothing that has national flags, swear words, or military or religious symbols on it may not go down well with the locals. Your holiday doesn’t need to be a field for emotive debates, and it’s generally nor worth hurting or offending someone without noticing it.
I know, I know, aspiring photographers everywhere are in protest. But the truth is that the camera on most phones are just as good as your average camera these days. Unless photography is a particular passion of yours, you may find that using your phone is more convenient, just as effective, saves space and reduces your risk of being pickpocketed.
Bright colours and extravagant patterns make you easy to identify and may increase the odds that you will be targeted by coordinated pickpocket attack. Try to stick with neutral or dark tones where possible so that you best blend in with the locals.
If you’re travelling to a place with deeply religious or conservative beliefs, you will want to dress in a way that doesn’t draw attention. If you see that most people wear long sleeves, high necks or have their legs fully covered, you may want to follow suit. This way you won’t risk offending anyone, will be allowed to enter religious or otherwise significant sites and be more relaxed knowing that no-one is paying you extra attention on the streets. You should do some research on the countries you’ll be visiting beforehand, so that you know what to expect. If you’re in doubt, carry a shawl or sarong in your bag, this way you can quickly cover your legs or shoulders.
As popular as jeans may be, they also scream ‘casual’, especially if they’re wrinkled, and may be seen as disrespectful when worn into a religious or sacred site. They’re also rarely weather appropriate, especially if you’re going to a hot, humid or rainy climate. If you do opt to bring a pair of jeans, bring a black or navy pair.
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