Don't go to the Middle East! #travel
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Don't go to the Middle East (or other Muslim countries) without these travel tips!
Respect local customs and dress codes: In many Middle Eastern countries/countries with a Muslim majority, there are strict dress codes for women. Dress modestly & cover your shoulders & knees. Even if it's hot, just suck it up for respect to the local culture!
Research cultural norms, traditions, and customs of the countries you are visiting. For example, public displays of affection are generally frowned upon in many Middle Eastern countries, so no hand holding with your male significant other! You should also be prepared for some gender segregation, since in certain places, that is still the norm, particularly on public transportation or at religious sites.
Be cautious when taking photographs: In some Middle Eastern countries, it's not allowed to take photographs of certain buildings, public places, or people. Make sure you know the rules before taking any pictures, and ask permission if in doubt
Try local cuisine! Just be careful with street food and make sure it's cooked thoroughly, and avoid tap water.
Learn basic Arabic: Learning a few words and phrases in Arabic can go a long way in communicating with locals and showing respect for their culture. Plus, language training is good for your brain!
If you're planning a trip in March or April, be mindful of Ramadan! The dates shift since it's based on the lunar calendar, and traveling during Ramadan can impact your travel experience. Ramadan is a major holiday for Muslims, and it is marked by fasting, prayer, and reflection. During this time, many aspects of daily life can be affected, such as the opening hours of shops and restaurants. Even if your travel plans don't change, be mindful of consuming food and water in public because many locals may be fasting, and it's important to be sensitive.