Packing can be the most dreaded part of any traveling. As I will be gone for nearly 3 months (eek!) I need to pack right and pack light. Here are my insights into packing for the Middle East.
1. figure out if you will have access to a washer/dryer situation and plan accordingly
2. Pack for the weather.
In Jordan it is very dry and can get hot during the day, but at night the temperatures can drop to below 50. Packing clothes that are flowy for the day heat and a few items that can be layered to provide warmth at night.
3. Cultural Sensitivity
When I told people I would be studying abroad in Jordan one of the first things they would say is, “Do you have to wear a burqa?” umm… no. “Well, do you have to wear a headscarf?” It’s called a hijab and no I don’t have to. Unlike places like Saudi Arabia or Afghanistan I don’t have to be completely covered. Jordan is a very liberal, multicultural country that is very accustomed to tourists and western women. I could wear a mini skirt and heels if I really wanted to, but then I would get a TON of looks. That being said, I just need to worry about covering my shoulders and my knees and no shirts that show off my cleavage. These are easy adjustments. I have plenty of t-shirts, light scarves, and a few long skirts. I did buy one long maxi dress, one pair of long flowy pants, and an extra long skirt. Besides that you shouldn’t have to worry about buying a new wardrobe when traveling. This way if you really needed something you can always buy it there and you’ll have room in your suitcase.
Another consideration is that Jordanians like to dress up for class. I’m more of a tshirt-and-comfy-pants-meets-rolling-out-of-bed sort of person myself. I decided to pack one white cotton button-up blouse and a khaki cotton blazer. I packed long skirts and a small bag of jewelery so this will suffice.
You’re going to be walking, hiking, running, climbing while traveling so pack comfy shoes. I packed comfy knock-off chaco sandals, nice sandals for dressy occasions, tennis shoes, and my converse. I would’ve packed my toms shoes but they sadly have a huge whole in the toe area.