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Saudi Arabia Packing Tips: What to Wear in Saudi Arabia

Discover our packing list and tips for travel to Saudi Arabia, with inspiration for what to wear from Indagare founder & CEO Melissa Biggs Bradley and our partners at Mytheresa—so you can arrive prepared and in style.


1. Dress modestly and conservatively.

Both men and women, but especially women, are required to dress modestly while in Saudi Arabia. Non-Muslim women are no longer required to wear a headscarf or abaya, but they should keep their chests, arms and legs covered. Hemlines should reach close to the ankles (no shorter than tea-length) and sleeves should reach at least past the elbows. Men should refrain from wearing shorts or revealing shirts like tank-tops.

  • Avoid deep necklines, cutouts, sheer fabrics and form-fitting silhouettes. Pack safety pins, a travel sewing kit and a slip or camisole for a quick fix on any deep necklines or slits.
  • Avoid clothing with any potentially offensive slogans, images or logos; any sexual, profane, religious or political references should also be avoided (public expression, including clothing, that is deemed offensive is criminal in Saudi Arabia and can result in fines or detention). Criticism of Islam or promotion of religions that contradict Islam are also illegal, so religious symbols such as the Star of David or the Crucifix should not be worn or shown publicly.
  • Always carry a scarf, shawl or duster to cover up, in case.
  • Particular care to be covered should be exercised around any religious sites.
  • Note: For the hotel pools and beaches and private yacht trips, Western-style bathing suits are accepted, although we recommend bringing a more modest cut and a kaftan coverup.

2. Modest does not mean boring!

Color, prints, accessories and a sense of style are more than welcome, and Saudi Arabia offers its fair share of high design and glamour. We recommend packing casual attire and comfortable walking shoes for daytime and desert activities (think "archaeologist chic") and a mix of "relaxed but refined" and more elegant attire for evenings, which can be accomplished by packing a few dressier items. Like Morocco, Saudi Arabia is stylish, and you may wish to dress up for meals.

3. Dress for the heat, sun and sand.

Sun and sand protection (hats, sunglasses, sunscreen) is essential, and opt for loose, breathable, natural fabrics like linen that can be layered upon with a sweater, jacket or coat as it cools off at night. For bottoms, bring jeans, chinos and khakis, and clothing that you won’t worry about getting dusty. A shawl, scarf or pashmina is also a must-bring. See more about the weather and climate in Saudi Arabia below to inform your packing.

4. Wear comfortable shoes.

You will be traversing cobblestones and sand dunes, and jumping in and out of 4x4s (and on and off of camels!). Footwear with traction and support, that you do not mind getting a little dirty, is of the utmost importance. Sneakers, espadrilles, loafers and sturdy sandals all work well. Plus: A lightweight boot (like a cowboy boot) will allow you to stay covered with a mid-calf hemline.

5. Keep the essentials in your carry-on!

Pack all valuables—including travel documents and cash/credit cards, essential medicines and toiletries, camera and tech equipment (including a phone charger and adapter), jewelry and glasses/sunglasses—as well as a change of clothes and undergarments, in your carry-on and keep it with you. This is particularly important given the baggage issues travelers have been experiencing at airports, and given that most itineraries include a few internal flight transfers in Saudi Arabia. Don't forget your phone charger and international adaptor!


How to Pack for the Middle East with Melissa Biggs Bradley and Mytheresa

Packing for a trip can be daunting, especially when you’re visiting an unfamiliar place. During this recorded livestream event, Indagare founder Melissa Biggs Bradley talks you through how to pack for your next trip to the Middle East and North Africa. Selecting from a custom collection curated by our partners at Mytheresa, the finest edit in luxury, Melissa showcases examples of the perfect pieces to bring.

Shop pieces from the edit for your next trip here—and explore all the custom edits here.


Plus: Exclusive Indagare Benefit — VIP Personal Shopping We are thrilled to offer direct access to Mytheresa’s Personal Shopping program—an elevated curation of more than 200 of the world’s most coveted luxury brands, exclusive products, engaging content and exceptional service. Your dedicated Mytheresa VIP Personal Shopper will curate individualized style edits of must-have pieces for any of your upcoming trips, including to Saudi Arabia. Ready to travel in style? Email to get started.

Related: Watch this video for Melissa's carry-on packing tips.


Summers in Saudi Arabia, from June to August, are hot, with daytime temperatures exceeding 100°F in almost all of the country (the holy city of Mekkah is the hottest point) and going as as high as 130°F. In September and October, temperatures begin to drop, with lows hanging in the high 60s°F and highs reaching 90°F. The best time to visit Saudi Arabia is from November to February, when the weather is mild and sunny. In March, temperatures typically range from the high 70-80s°F during the day and mid-to-low 60s°F at night, and temperatures steadily climb from this in April and May. Saudi Arabia has a primarily desert climate, with the exception of the semi-arid southwestern region. Temperatures can vary during the day, with the air getting cooler at night (and cold in the winter). It is usually quite sunny and rarely rains; humidity is low, except along the coasts of the Red Sea (where it can be oppressive). The steppes and highlands regions, which are cooler and more mountainous, can sometimes receive snow in the winter, as well as rain. The summers also see sandstorms caused by winds from the south. It is possible to swim in the Red Sea year-round. In addition to celebrating Eid al-Fitr (the end of Ramadan) and Eid al-Adha, the other major holiday in Saudi Arabia is September 22, Saudi National Day.


Clothing Essentials

Overall, we recommend bringing an assortment of your favorite basics—linen pants, boyfriend jeans (not ripped), long-sleeved maxi dress, utility shirt or shirtdress, oversized blouse, tunic and maxi skirt—and then bring a great kaftan, overcoat, duster or long vest to throw on over everything, and accessorize with scarves, hats and jewelry.
  • Comfortable day outfits, layers and walking shoes with support for touring (sneakers, espadrilles, loafers or boots work well). A long-sleeve, crew-neck maxi dress and espadrilles or jeans with a t-shirt, kaftan style jacket and sneakers are perfectly acceptable outfits.
  • A few dressier evening outfits (maxi dresses or skirts, pants with long-sleeved shirts or blouses, colorful kaftan jackets or wraps, nicer pair of shoes) for dinners and after-dinner events. Men should bring a jacket and tie and appropriate pants and shoes.
  • At least one cardigan or shawl, light jacket, duster and/or trench coat for layering and covering up.
  • For winter months, also bring a heavier coat and sweaters.
  • A scarf for layering and any other desired accessories.
  • A good bag for day touring as well as an evening purse and a small backpack or fanny pack for adventures.
  • Sunglasses and a sun hat (straw or felt-brim) or baseball hat.
  • Modest athleisure-wear if you are planning to stay at one of Indagare's preferred desert tented camps in AlUla (yoga and other exercise classes are on offer).
  • You may also want hiking clothes and shoes with good traction if you plan on doing any hiking, camel-riding or quad-biking.
  • You may wish to bring a bathing suit, sandals and cover-up for the hotel pools; Western-style bathing suits are generally accepted, although we recommend bringing a more modest cut.
  • Pajamas, underwear and socks, including warmer loungewear/pajamas for the desert (it can get cold at night).

Travel Essentials

  • Strong sunblock and SPF lip balm.
  • Power adapter and converters: Saudi Arabia uses plug type G, which is the plug that has three rectangular pins in a triangular pattern. We recommend bringing a universal adapter.
  • Camera, telephoto lens, charger/batteries, memory card, etc.
  • Photocopies of all important travel documents (Covid Vaccination, Passport, Visa).
  • Toiletries and any personal medicine (with documentation of prescriptions) as well as other over-the-counter essentials (Band-Aids, Ibuprofen, Sudafed, Pepto Bismol, Dramamine, Imodium); masks, wet wipes and hand sanitizer.
  • Phone charger, headphones, earplugs, eye mask, pen, notebook. You may wish to pack a few granola bars for longer days of touring.
Related: Considerations for Travelers to Saudi Arabia: What to Know Before You Go

Related: Destination Spotlight: Saudi Arabia with Indagare Productions — 3-Part Series

Published onMarch 30, 2023

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