What to pack for Saudi Arabia?

So, you’ve signed up to work and travel in Saudi Arabia, completed all the deployment documentation and medicals, and you’re ready to pack your bags. As you look at that empty suitcase, you think ‘what on Earth do I pack?!’

Here are some recommendations for packing as you begin your new adventure abroad:

  1. First and foremost, your passport and visa (for obvious reasons!)
  2. Vaccination card (in particular, evidence of yellow fever vaccine if you’re planning on travelling to Africa)
  3. A stash of local currency (preferable). Alternatively, bring US Dollars
  4. Laptop and all cords – for surfing the net, contacting home and streaming TV/movies. You should always save electronic copies of your important documentation.
  5. Important documents should also printed and packed in your hand luggage (with an additional copy left at home for family/friends)
  6. Swimsuit and towel – for those weekend siestas and swims by the pool
  7. Cool, cotton clothing that’s ideal for the warmer weather. Jacket and pants for the cooler weather – it does get chilly during winter!
  8. Active, casual and semi-formal wear for the various social activities you’ll be signing up for
  9. Shoes! For work, sport, casual and formal occasions; if you’re planning to travel to cooler countries, you might want to pack some boots too
  10. A scarf. Great in your hand luggage if you need more warmth on the plane, need a pillow or want to create some darkness to sleep
  11. Women require an abaya when entering Saudi Arabia (not compulsory at the airport, but it may make you feel more at ease)
  12. Your favourite things from home to decorate your room and give it a homely feel
  13. Toiletries and beauty products, especially if you require a certain brand. If you don’t mind using different brands, bring a small supply and buy refills there
  14. Medications (and their prescriptions) until you’re able to book a GP appointment to get your own supply
  15. Jewellery for special nights out
  16. Bags: suitcase, hand luggage, back pack and handbag to cater for day trips, mini-breaks and long adventures
  17. Camera! You’ll need to document all the incredible things you will be seeing and doing
  18. All-in-one adapter for electronic plugs/sockets
  19. An unlocked phone to put your new SIM card in on arrival (or buy a phone when you arrive)
  20. Your favourite foods from home, such as Milo, Natural Confectionary lollies and Pineapple Lumps!

Additional Tips:

  • Pack your most important items first, so if you start running out of room/weight, you’ve at least got your essentials
  • Pack good quality clothing that will last several wears. There’s no point using precious packing space and weight for those $20 pants that’ll last one week! That goes for clothes that you’re likely to wear only once!
  • Plan your flight outfit, which ideally consists of your heaviest clothing and accessories. You can sacrifice 14 hours of some flight comfort for extra luggage, right?
  • Find out the hand luggage restrictions for your airline. Can you bring an additional handbag? Does a laptop count? Can you bring your camera bag as an extra?
  • Remember: shopping malls in Saudi Arabia are extraordinary, online shopping is endless, and of course, if you forget anything, just ship it over later!


Austra Health is currently recruiting for a range of positions in Saudi Arabia. If you are interested in this opportunity, feel free to call us on 03 9864 6010 for a confidential discussion.