Dress code etiquette while travelling for work

PwC auditor here. Haven't started yet but I'm travelling to Dubai for training on my third day. Should I wear a suit while travelling or can I just wear shorts and a t shirt?

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Comments (21)

Sep 19, 2017 - 5:27am

Shorts and a t shirt for all non-work functions, including those with work people being social. I spent time in another country too in my previous job, and would have gone nuts if I wore work clothes everywhere. No need to wear a suit on the plane unless you're going straight from the airport to a meeting. I travel a lot these days and that's what I do.

Oct 15, 2017 - 10:43am

No it wouldn't.

GoldenCinderblock: "I keep spending all my money on exotic fish so my armor sucks. Is it possible to romance multiple females? I got with the blue chick so far but I am also interested in the electronic chick and the face mask chick."
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Best Response
Oct 14, 2017 - 12:00pm

When you wear a suit at airports/flights other business people seem very open to conversation.
Had a great chat with someone at an airplane restaurant/bar who apparently was a C-suite executive at a large reinsurance firm. At the end he gave me his card and told me to stay in touch if I ever wanted to go into the business. Probably wouldn't have happened if I had worn shorts and a shirt haha.

Oct 14, 2017 - 12:17pm

If you don't want to go full suit, look for some solid linen shirts if you're going to be spending a decent amount of time in that sort of climate. I'd advise against shorts; I was perfectly fine wearing khakis/chinos when I was traveling in Dubai.

Oct 14, 2017 - 12:24pm

Jeans and a button down if you don't have a meeting directly after...work clothes if you do. Traveling in a suit or even business casual becomes really uncomfortable if you start to travel often. I only fly in a suit if I absolutely have to.

Oct 15, 2017 - 11:06am

So much wrong advice being passed around here, except for one, tbh. Jeez, we're talking Dubai here.
As mentioned earlier, anything non-work social, wear shorts and a T-Shirt. Just be sure to wear close to knee-length. Cargoes seem to find too much hate here, but they are a lifesaver in Dubai, unless you really want to drench yourself in sweaty thighs and calves. The weather over there is still warmly pleasant this time of the year, so don't be a prude.
But over the first week of November, the weather will definitely turn colder, so you better hope to have a loose jacket on you sometime. I just used a loose unbuttoned trench coat apart from my usual attire. If you're European, then hey, it's summer for you!
As for formal stuff, suit and tie. Mostly you can let loose the tie and no one would bat an eyelid. Everybody understands the summer heat is not for everyone (including the Emiratis themselves). I've worn a dishdasha with the thobe and headdress with this particular variety of white leather chappal they have over there for work, and there were no issues with that.
As for travel wear, wear what you're most comfortable in. I can't stand cold airline temperatures, so I mostly go with jeans and a shirt with a blazer. If I were a bigwig, the last thing I would want is some prick who keeps talking on and on about random stuff. Remember (and this is very important), many Arabs who might be "worthy enough" for networking often travel rarely, and when they do, they often travel with their families in business class. If they are travelling alone, they would prefer conversation in Arabic. So not many opportunities that way.
Or if you're looking at networking with people like one of my uncles (who is a huge bigwig hotshot yada yada there), don't worry, you won't be, since he usually takes the jet he bought my aunt some years back. Most of the really wealthy tend to go on chartered flights there, or first class on the Big Three airlines there.

If you really want to network and stuff, don't worry. The major finance companies in Dubai are located in the DIFC area and Downtown, a small place that's smaller than the Vatican. So if you want to "network", there are a number of social events happening around in the locations there specifically for networking. Most likely, you'll meet a shit ton of guys just by having lunch in the same place - trust me, at one point, you'll get tired of trying out all the restaurants in DIFC/Downtown.

Tl;DR: Don't be a prude, dress for the weather, be respectful of local customs pertaining to dressing, and mostly keep to yourself in the flights unless you know Arabic. If you want to network, network elsewhere - chance meetups, specific events, etc.

GoldenCinderblock: "I keep spending all my money on exotic fish so my armor sucks. Is it possible to romance multiple females? I got with the blue chick so far but I am also interested in the electronic chick and the face mask chick."
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Oct 15, 2017 - 11:22pm

Maybe it matters in banking. Could matter in Dubai. But I promise no one in audit gives two shits if you travel casually, and I would know.

  • 1
Oct 16, 2017 - 2:14pm

Maximize comfort while minimizing style slack. If my travel is long and has a meeting immediately before or after it, I usually carry a pair of jeans in my Tumi.

You'll never have time (or comfortable privacy) to full on change, but changing from suit pants to jeans is way more comfortable without sacrificing look too much. As above, you never know who you'll run into.

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