In the chronicles of traveling, Saudi Arabia has been defined as one of the most difficult places to visit on earth. Partially, this is because it lies in an area popular for terrorism. On the bigger hand, it is due to its stringent laws and cultures that many travelers find incomprehensible.
These laws affect women more, just like their cultures seem to look down on them. The problem is that these stringent laws extend even to female travelers. So, to be safe and comfortable while traveling to Saudi Arabia, what does a lady need to do?
1. In Saudi, women will not get into the country if they are not picked up at entry points such as the airports by a male relative, sponsor, or friend. If found walking with a male partner that is not one of these, the woman is arrested.
2. Decency in terms of dressing is emphasized. Long-sleeved tops and ankle-length dresses (not pants) are the recommended dressing code. To be safer and more comfortable, wearing a veil over the head ensures this.
3. If a woman traveling to Saudi Arabia goes into a hotel without a male companion, most of the hotels will not serve them, as this is taboo. Additionally, they risk being arrested by mutawwa, that is, the religious police.
4. At most beaches, especially public, wearing bikinis is strictly prohibited; only a few private accommodation facilities allow for such. Inquiring before booking into one is therefore highly necessary.
5. In public transport; including buses, taxis, trains, boats, or ferries, men will sit together as the women do the same. Also, females are expected to sit in the seats next to windows. In taxis, only the seat behind the driver is allowed to women.
6. If in the company of men or a man, people in Saudi Arabia might greet the men and ignore the lady. This should not provoke annoyance because it is common and acceptable for them to act that way. In short, women are supposed to stay far from men that are not their relatives, sponsors, or friends.
7. In conclusion, if a lady traveling to Saudi Arabia finds herself in a disturbing situation, they should do anything to attract attention. For instance, if harassed or roughly handled, scream to attract attention. Mishandling women is restricted and drawing attention would save such a situation.