By Myscha Theriault, McClatchy-Tribune News Service
9:56 AM EDT, September 25, 2012
Many of the world's popular leisure destinations are also home to sites which are spiritually significant to people of certain faiths. For example, Mount Carmel National Park in Haifa, Israel, is within relatively easy access of the world headquarters of the Baha'i faith, which allows free public tours of its elaborate hillside gardens. Similarly, those visiting Venice, Italy may want to experience Saint Mark's Basilica after enjoying a gondola ride in the city's canals.
If you wish to tour such attractions while you are visiting the host country, having a few conservative fashion choices at your disposal will help ensure you are granted the access you're seeking. Fortunately, spending money on specialty garments you'll only be able to use once, or dishing out for overpriced tourist solutions at the entrance gate isn't necessary. There are numerous items available at mid-range clothing and department stores that you can use to aid your tourist efforts.
Length: Body coverage is critical at many sacred sites around the world. One of easiest ways to make sure you're dressed appropriately is to choose longer clothing options for your vacation wardrobe. Maxi dresses and skirts offer ankle-length coverage for women while still providing room to move comfortably up stairs, hills and into tour vans.
If your clothing selections lean more towards form-fitting jeans and leggings paired with tank tops, be sure to pack a long tunic or a duster made from a thin sweater fabric. This will enable you to stay stylish and appropriate while touring cathedrals and temples around the world. Basic trench coats can also provide a solution in moderate temperatures should your skirt length fall short of a venue's standards of acceptability.
Layers: Camisoles have come to my rescue on numerous occasions when a dress neckline was in danger of breeching boundaries, and take up very little luggage space. When the only long dresses I'm able to purchase at home come with spaghetti straps, I purposely include items like shrugs and shorter jackets made with denim or twill to pull on prior to entering a particularly sensitive building or area. It's a casual look you can also use at home to deal with seasonal weather shifts.
Thin cardigans serve the same purpose, and pair well with pencil skirts and sleeveless dress shirts if you happen to be combining business with pleasure during your trip. If you like the look of layering a thin, coordinating scarf over a tank top and buttoned blouse, choose one that's a bit wider. It will give you the same look and leave you prepared for those situations where a head covering is necessary.
Theriault is the best-selling co-author of the book "10,001 Ways to Live Large on a Small Budget," and founder of TrekHound.com, a website for independent travelers. She also founded TheLessonMachine.com, a website for teachers.
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