What to Pack for a Trip to Saudi Arabia | Plus, Tips on What NOT to Bring!

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Knowing what to pack for a trip to Saudi Arabia is key to a successful holiday in the Kingdom. Knowing what NOT to pack, however, is just as important. Traveling to a mostly-arid and endearingly conservative country requires pre-planning and an excellent packing list. Remember, too, that while popular tourist cities like Riyadh and Jeddah stay warm year-round, regions like Asir Province sometimes see snow!

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What to Pack for a Trip to Saudi Arabia | Men & Women

Packing lists always vary between men and women, but in the case of packing for a trip to Saudi Arabia, women should make sure and have some essentials like loose pants, long skirts, long-sleeve shirts and a scarf. Until recently, all women were required by law to wear abayas while in the Kingdom. Now the law requires women to wear modest clothing, which means arms and legs should be covered, and women should not wear tight clothing that reveals any curves.

Men, on the other hand, should avoid wearing shorts in Saudi Arabia and stick to long pants and conservative t-shirts, meaning shirts with no offensive language, slogans or imagery.

Packing list essentials for a trip to Saudi Arabia

  • Loose-fitting jeans
  • Plenty of t-shirts (at least two per day because sightseeing is sweaty business!)
  • Trainers/Tennis shoes
  • Sandals
  • A light jacket (evenings and shopping malls can get chilly! Travelers going to Asir Province during winter should pack a heavy coat. It snows in Abha!)
  • A cardigan, or a couple of light long-sleeved shirts
  • Sunglasses
  • Moisturizing nasal drops (Saudi Arabia is dry! Nasal drops are available at any pharmacy if you forget them.)
  • Hand cream
  • Lip balm with sunscreen
  • A good hat
  • Sunscreen
  • Swim suit (if you’re planning on visiting beaches)
  • A dust mask (just in case you’re lucky enough to experience a sand storm in Saudi Arabia.)
  • A comfortable backpack or cross-body bag


Madareem Crown Hotel – Riyadh


Howard Johnson by Wyndham – Dammam


Habitat Hotel All Suites – Al Khobar




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What NOT to pack for a trip to Saudi Arabia

Alcohol and pornography are strictly forbidden in the Kingdom, and there are a few other items that are forbidden or restricted. Trying to enter the country with restricted or forbidden items may result in arrest, or at the very least, some embarrassing encounters with Saudi officials. Travelers, particularly backpackers roaming from country to country, should be aware of materials that are considered risqué in Saudi Arabia. For a complete list of prohibited and restricted items in Saudi Arabia, tourists should check online before traveling.

A few things not to take to Saudi Arabia

  • Alcohol or anything containing alcohol (this includes vanilla extract)
  • Narcotics and some medicines that require a doctor’s prescription. (Travelers can check online for specific medications that are not allowed without a prescription.)
  • Natural pearls in large quantities. (Cultured pearls are allowed in small quantities.)
  • Radio transmitters (walkie-talkies, short-wave, etc.)
  • Binoculars, telescopes & drones. (Travelers can buy binoculars and telescopes inside Saudi Arabia but should be careful about using them in residential areas.)
  • Products containing pork or frog meat
  • Religious statues, carvings or altars
  • Any game related to gambling
  • All pornographic materials (don’t forget to clear your phones!) & adult toys
  • Any items associated with religions other than the Muslim faith (Christmas trees, crosses, stars of David. The Holy Bible may be brought for personal use. Only one Bible per person is allowed.)
  • Military uniforms
  • Large quantities of expensive jewelry, particularly items containing silver, gold, platinum or precious gemstones
  • E-cigarettes

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What to know upon entering Saudi Arabia

Travelers should know that handbags and check-in luggage are thoroughly inspected either by X-Ray, narcotics dogs or manually upon entering Saudi Arabia. Authorities can intercept items for further inspection. To avoid this awkwardness, visitors should carefully check bags for prohibited items prior to flying into the country.

Taking photos of public buildings, particularly employees inside or outside public buildings, and Saudi women is illegal in the Kingdom, so guests bringing in cameras or smart phones should be cautious and respect the privacy of locals while sightseeing. Photographing government buildings can actually result in arrest – as can trying to bribe police. If you are approached by police, be respectful, and if threatened with arrest, never try to pay your way out of it! Professional photographers wanting to take photos for business purposes need to apply for a permit from the Ministry of Culture and Information.


The Venue Jeddah Corniche


Sahary Al Ola Camp – Al Ula


Airport Hotel Abha





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