The Middle East is our favourite place in the world! We have dreamed for so long of sharing this love with our children and with our friends. To prepare for this trip, I spent a ridiculous amount of time scouring the internet for the best travel items for a trip to the Middle East, all in the hope of making the experience as seamless as possible. We are back on the road and we have been putting them all to the test!
Here is a Learning Brave list of recommended items for a trip to the Middle East!
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**All opinions are our own, because we’re very opinionated.
These are THE BEST! You can fill them from any water source and have clean and safe drinking water at any time. Our family has a few of these and we have found them to be invaluable. Buying water all the time to meet hydration needs while on-the-go can be such a pain, as well as being bad for the environment. It has been such a relief to be able to always have the water that I need on-hand.
I particularly find this useful in the early morning or late in the evening when I am in my accommodation and I want to drink but I don't want to go wandering around the town looking for water to buy. Also, we take them through airport security empty and then fill them up from any tap once we are ready to board the plane, that way we have our own water straight away and don't have to stress about buying any on the flight or in the airport.
Life-straw water bottles are fantastic!
Our family uses these two travel adapters to charge our computers and also as USB hubs, they work great!
3. Power bank.
The power can be a bit unreliable in these parts, it is handy to have a good power bank to charge your phone and also in case you run out of battery while sight-seeing during a long day.
We use this one for carrying around during the day
We use this one as more heavy-duty backup for multiple devices while on-the-go. On a recent long bus ride, my kids were extremely happy that we had this power charger, because, yes, they had forgotten to charge anything and they were facing a very long drive with the view out the window as their only entertainment!!! - Aaargh, the horror!!
I have invested in a new camera to capture all the amazing moments and stunning scenery that we will see in the Middle East! Sometimes a phone is good enough, and sometimes it is just not enough. I did thorough research and chose a camera that is super easy to use, takes amazing photos and video footage, and is light and compact to carry, I LOVE it!
The Canon G7X is a wonderful travel camera!
5. Go Pro.
Having a compact action camera is so fun in the Middle East! The GoPro 8 is waterproof and easy to use!
Everyone in our family travels with a kindle. I have to put this on the list because books, books are life. If there are delays, if there is a blackout, if I have to wait in an airport or the plane has no entertainment - a kindle is the answer to all these dilemmas! The new kindle paperwhites also function fantastic for audio and they are waterproof!! (VERY useful for people, ahem...me, who have been known to occasionally drop books into the bath...)
Having cords, plugs and adapters all over the place drives me nuts! Our family have a few of these handy travel organizers and they are fantastic!
These are essential! Our family has at least one each, and I think we have a few spare floating around.
I like the microfiber option for my kids because they are easy to dry, compress and easy to clean. I use a smaller size micro-fiber towel for my hair, and I have a large one for swimming, they are the best!
We also LOVE our Turkish towels. They function as a towel, a scarf or a blanket. In these past few warmer months I have been using my Turkish towel as my blanket because the hotel ones were too heavy or scratchy.
Here are some cute ones from Amazon -
We particularly love our Turkish Towels from SandCloud, they are wonderful quality and 10% of each purchase goes towards marine conservation! My girls both received SandCloud towels as a Christmas gift, they use them as scarves, towels and blankets.
I LOVE packing cubes. I like to have everything organized and rolled up compactly. Quality matters with packing cubes, I have bought cheapo ones in the past and the seams or zips have busted along the way - very frustrating!
We have multiple colors of these amazon basics packing cubes, they are fantastic! We use them for separating clothes, underwear etc. and we also use them for toys - they make an excellent Lego bag! They are strong with two zippers and the seams are holding up well after a few years of use and severe overstuffing!
For this recent trip I invested in a set of cute compression cubes, they work great and I am very happy with them! I do have a tendency of trying to squeeze too much into them (waaaay too many dresses than is needful) and I can't quite get them to always compress fully. Oh well, even when not compressed, they work great as normal packing cubes, the quality is good and the colours make me happy.
It is hard to find good quality sunscreen in the Middle East. It is important to me that we are using good-quality, natural and reef-safe sunscreens, these ones are my favourite.
ALL the ThinkSport products are fantastic! They are my favourite brand for good quality, reef-safe and natural sunscreen. This sunscreen doesn't leave too much of a white cast and will rub in well.
Blue Lizard sunscreens are just as good, I absolutely LOVE this spray option for when we are in a hurry and I need to get some sunscreen on my kids, and even better, it is an Australian brand! And trust me, in Australia, we know ALL about the sun and sunburn thanks to that ole hole in the ozone right above our heads!
I have now found a fantastic face sunscreen that I can't live without! I was feeling annoyed with having to apply sunscreen to my face daily and having a greasy feel or a white cast and it then wreaking havoc with my makeup, plus I was worried about the ingredients of many of the chemical sunscreens out there, I have sensitive skin and am prone to redness and reaction. Also, my teens were struggling with acne breakouts and sunscreen was making it worse, but ta-da!! EltaMD UV CLear is the perfect facial sunscreen, it feels like moisturizer when applying and it contains ingredients that are good for your skin!!
Just check out Ross' glowing skin...
It's a good idea to not stink everyone out. We've tried a few natural brands and so far I like this one the best.
OK, the most important decision, what to wear to not only look fabulous but also be comfortable?
I tend to live most of my life in dresses and so I travel with an unusual amount of colourful dresses and skirts while on-the-go. But you don't have to wear dresses, in general, you can wear anything you like in the Middle East as long as it is respectful and modest. Women, cover you knees, shoulders, and everything in-between. Try to not wear tight form-fitting pants. I'll put it this way - you are going to get attention just because you are different, you don't want that attention to be on your butt...
I have a collection of long skirts, flowy dresses, hiking style pants and t-shirts, light-weight long-sleeve tops, and I also wear leggings with flowy tunics that cover my butt.
Men - you can wear whatever, but shorts are not so common among locals. You could probably get away with some shorts here and there, but definitely not in a mosque.
My two teenage girls both have one of these skirts -
My favourite websites for flowy breathable clothes are;
https://www.naturallife.com/ - This one is just for the girls, but seriously, I love EVERYTHING on this website! We have a ton of their t-shirts, flowy pants, headbands, dresses, hats, bags and more.
https://www.reddress.com/ - I have found some really nice long-sleeve tops and maxi dresses on here, just make sure to check the fabric and make sure it is a breathable fabric and not polyester as they have a collection of both.
https://www.jaase.com/ - Jaase dresses are my favourite in the world, they are flowy, colourful, breathable and gorgeous! I wear them all over the world. Jaase is an Australian brand and so it can be hard to find in the USA. I usually buy Jaase products second-hand on Poshmark, or there are a few websites that ship internationally.
https://www.decathlon.com/ - Decathlon is a wonderful European company that sells affordable and quality outdoor gear and clothing. We first discovered Decathlon while traveling in Europe and we have been solids fans ever since. We have snorkels, hats, t-shirts, shoes, sandals, towels, travel bowls, bags and much more in our travel supplies - all from Decathlon.
All kinds of hiking and outdoor gear are great for travel in the Middle East. Our favourite brands are Colombia, Merrell, Sherpa, North Face, Patagonia. And of course, any clothes will do, as long as they cover your body and are comfortable.
Don't forget, it's fun to buy some traditional clothes once you are there, like these funny harem pants that me and my kids are obsessed with!
I love shoes. No. I LOVE shoes. It breaks my heart to narrow that love down into a traveller's suitcase. Oh well, the adventure of travelling is worth it, but at least I have done all the over-thinking for you to help you find the best travel shoes that are not only comfortable but cute (because trust me, there are some hideous options out there!)
SANDALS - Me and my girls practically LIVE in Saltwater Sandals. They are good for going out and dressing up, and they are just as good for the beach and dusty streets. I wear them all day and I find them to be incredibly comfortable. I love them so much I even travel with two pairs - just because I love them so much and I like to match them to my outfits.
*note - their sizes are a bit weird, make sure to measure.
As much as I love my Saltwaters, I decided that for the Middle East I also wanted something with a bit more grip, better for hiking and slippery wet terrain. My Bedrock sandals are AWESOME!!
Ross LOVES his Tevas. He wears them everywhere and he is always telling me how comfy they are.
On to shoes. Shoes are SO IMPORTANT! They can make or break a travel experience. As a traveling family, we only own a few pairs of shoes and sandals each, we really need them to be good quality and comfy so that we can enjoy our adventures and they will last!
Once I became a full-time traveller, I invested in a pair of good quality black leather Merrell boots to take me through a European winter, they were the most expensive shoes I had ever bought. They turned out to be the best purchase I have ever made, I wore them for 5 years and they are still going strong!
I discovered I like to have shoes that are so comfortable I forget I'm wearing them. Ones that enable me to walk and walk all day and not have to bother with pain or blisters or discomfort. Once I returned to Australia I tried to go out for an evening in high heels and I was horrified at how uncomfortable they were! I am now forever on the hunt for the perfect, most comfortable and stylish footwear available.
As far as hiking went, I have a pair or Merrell hiking boots that I have been using for the last 10 years, and yes, they are still perfectly good, but I decided I wanted something a little less bulky, something that could work as running shoes and also for hiking and not take up too much room in my suitcase. I also wanted something a bit minimal looking, not shoes that have green neon bits, or bright orange rubber soles that scream" DORKY HIKING!"
I scoured the internet for an embarrassing amount of time and finally bought a pair of Merrell Trail Gove 6 hiking shoes and they are fantastic! Lightweight, comfy, grippy and with respectable colours.
Ross bought a pair of Xero shoes because he had heard so much about them and they seemed to be trendy...he hated! His knees got all inflamed because of the lack of support, so he ditched them and went in search of something better.
He LOVES his new shoes, he says that the Altra Lone Peak 5 Trail Running Shoe is the most comfortable and supportive shoe he has ever worn!
Our 17 year old son was determined to buy some Xero shoes (because he thought they were trendy), but once he tried on the Altra boots, he was sold, he loves them!
This deserves it's own post, but some of the basic essentials are;
We like to travel with solid shampoos as they are easy to transport and last for ages.
I particularly like the ones from Lush https://www.lushusa.com/hair/shampoo/
- Toothbrush and paste
We use these environment friendly toothbrushes -
I have tried many dry shampoos and I like this one because it is good for your scalp as well as being non aerosol.
15. Sleep mask.
I use it every night. I use it on the floor of airports. I use it on the plane. I use it in the car when I am sleepy. I CAN NOT live without it!!
15. A scarf.
You will want a scarf in the middle east, they are good for the sun, for the cold, for mosques, and for looking the part, but honestly, I think it is more fun to buy one over there, it makes for a beautiful and practical souvenir.
Hopefully this list has helped you get ready for an adventure in the Middle East! Let me know if there is any other item you would like to know about!