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Safety In Saudi Arabia

Is Saudi Safe?

Discover if Saudi Arabia is a safe place to visit with Alternative airlines

Old Town Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

Staying informed

Staying informed about travel to and within Saudi Arabia is essential, and adhering to government guidelines ensures you have the latest advice. The Saudi Ministry of Health provides up-to-date healthcare recommendations through its dedicated mobile app, Mawid, and a hotline reachable at 937. For the most recent updates on travel policies, you can also visit the ministry’s website. It is important to be in the loop with the recent news to prepare for your upcoming trip.

Two women looking at a rocky cliff in Saudi Arabia

Females visiting Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia has a low crime rate, making it generally safe for solo female travellers. However, cultural differences still exist, so awareness and common sense are key. Be mindful of your surroundings, especially in crowded areas. It's also best to avoid isolated places at night and trust your gut if you feel unsafe.

Before you arrive in Saudi Arabia, you might want to save emergency numbers (police and tourist police) on your phone. It's also a good idea to familiarise yourself with local women's support groups or organisations that offer assistance for females travelling alone in Saudi Arabia.

For extra reassurance, share your plans for your trip with trusted contacts and consider joining guided tours or group activities, especially if you're going to visit less touristy areas in Saudi Arabia. The safest destination for women in Saudi Arabia is Jeddah.

A man wandering through Saudi Arabian desert

Extreme weather and natural disasters 

Sandstorms and dust storms are common due to being surrounded by the desert. They can cause allergies and breathing problems and last up to an hour. During sandstorms or dust storms either stay indoors, wear a mask or seek medical advice. The peak time for sandstorms in Saudi Arabia is between Febuary and April. Saudi is also known for flooding with heavy rain from November to February. Check weather forecasts in the Arab News and Saudi Gazette

packing a suitcase

Travelling to Saudi

Before you can enter Saudi Arabia, you’ll need to think about the country’s visa requirements. The visa application process will vary depending on your nationality and the purpose of your visit. If you’re a resident of the UK, US or the EU, you should be able to easily apply online with an e-Visa application. You can also apply for a tourist visa on arrival at any of Saudi Arabia’s international airports. With Saudi’s e-Visa, you can choose between a 30-day visa and a 90-day visa. However, please be aware that if you stay any longer than your visa allows, you will be deported and fined! Find out more about Saudi Arabia's visas here at Alternative Airlines.

Another important factor to consider for your trip is travel insurance - while it’s not mandatory, having comprehensive travel insurance is highly recommended. This will cover you for medical emergencies, trip cancellations, lost belongings and other unforeseen situations, giving you peace of mind for your trip to Saudi Arabia. Make sure you’re up to date with any required vaccinations and health screenings before you travel. You’ll also need to be prepared for thorough security screenings at Saudi Arabian airports and cooperate with authorities if necessary.

Once you’re in Saudi Arabia, you’ll need to consider keeping yourself safe, respecting local laws and customs and dressing modestly. If you’re visiting Saudi Arabia’s bustling cities, such as Riyadh or Jeddah, make sure you are vigilant in crowded areas, especially during events or religious gatherings. 

The Makkah Clock Royal Tower in Mecca, Saudi Arabia


The crime rate in Saudi Arabia is low, but there are petty crimes such as theft, there have also been more serious crimes, including crimes against women. Take care when travelling outside towns and cities. A combination of factors seems to contribute to the very low rates of crime in Saudi Arabia including the firm and deterrent effect of Islamic criminal law, the general effect of religion and religiosity, the influence of Quranic teachings, and the Islamic educational system.

Saudi flag on map

Laws and cultural differences

Saudi Arabia adheres to Islamic principles and enforces Sharia law rigorously. It is essential to honour local traditions, customs, laws, and religious beliefs to avoid offending. Actions that may be innocuous in the UK could result in severe penalties in Saudi Arabia. Therefore, it's advisable to refrain from:

  • Public displays of affection- (such as holding hands or hugging). This is considered to be inappropriate and offensive. Physical contact between unrelated men and women in public is also discouraged.
  • Using profanity or making rude gestures- Don’t engage in or encourage any discussions around criticism of Islam or the Saudi royal family as this is not only highly offensive but also illegal.
  • Playing loud music in public spaces- Saudi Arabia is the birthplace of Islam - show respect during prayer times, avoid disruptions at mosques and don’t enter prayer areas unless you’re a Muslim.

Violations of these norms can lead to fines, imprisonment, or deportation.

Woman wearing modest clothing while in Saudi Arabia

What to be aware of when visiting Saudi

While travelling alone in Saudi Arabia, be wary of:

  • Overpriced goods and services- Haggling is a common practice, especially in souks, but it's a good idea to research fair prices beforehand.
  • Fake tours and transportation- Try to stick to licensed operators and avoid deals that seem too good to be true.
  • ATM scams- Use reputable ATMs and be cautious of strangers offering help.
  • Fake currency exchange- Only exchange currency at official kiosks or banks.

Remember, if something seems too good to be true, it probably is! Trust your gut and be cautious.

Woman hiking in the desert of NEOM, Saudi Arabia

Cultural norms or etiquette

Here are some key things to remember, when travelling to Saudi :

  • Dress modestly - this means you need to cover your shoulders and knees in loose-fitting clothing, especially outside major cities. Choose clothes made out of natural fabrics like cotton or linen. Scarves are not mandatory but welcomed in some conservative areas.
  • Mindful greetings - avoid physical contact with strangers, and instead go for a nod or smile. Greetings for women differ slightly; use "Marhaba" for hello and "Shukran" for thank you.
  • Public behaviour - be mindful of noise levels and public displays of affection. In some areas, women and men have separate seating sections.
  • Photography - always ask for permission before taking photos of people, especially other women. Be respectful of religious sites and avoid photographing them during prayer times.
  • Local sensitivities - be aware of local customs during Ramadan, where eating and drinking in public during the day is prohibited. Respectful clothing and behaviour are especially important during this time.

These are general guidelines and specific situations may vary. By being mindful and respectful, you can have a smooth and safe travel experience in Saudi Arabia.

Before you fly...

Before visiting Saudi Arabia, it's important to research cultural sensitivities, dress modestly, respect alcohol regulations and be aware of gender segregation practices. You can find out more information about this in our blog - Saudi Arabia Travel Advice.


What is the emergency number in Saudi?

The main emergency number in Saudi Arabia is 112. This will connect you to a dispatcher who can direct you to the appropriate emergency services, such as police, ambulance or fire department.

You can also reach specific emergency services directly:

  • 999 for police
  • 997 for ambulance
  • 998 for fire department

It's always best to call the main emergency number (112) first and let them assess the situation.

Which city in Saudi is safest for female travellers?

Jeddah has the lowest crime rate and is safest for female travellers.

Tips for female travellers:

  • Visit during the day
  • Hire a guide
  • Be prepared to bargain
  • Remember to dress modestly
What currency is used in Saudi Arabia and how can I access it?

The official currency of Saudi Arabia is the Saudi Riyal (SAR). It is denoted by the symbol ﷼ or SR. You can easily access Riyals before your trip by exchanging your home currency at banks or currency exchange offices. ATMs are also widely available in major cities and tourist areas, allowing you to withdraw Riyals using your debit or credit card.

What is the crime rate is Saudi?

The crime rate in Saudi is moderately low however, there is petty crimes still being committed. Due to the harsh punishments and the religion this may have an impact on why the crime rate is lower than other countries. Saudi is ranked 2x lower than the United States regarding crime levels.

Do I need a visa to travel to Saudi Arabia?

Before you can enter Saudi Arabia, you’ll need to think about the country’s visa requirements. The visa application process will vary depending on your nationality and the purpose of your visit. If you’re a resident of the UK, US or the EU, you should be able to easily apply online with an e-Visa application.

Which airlines fly to Saudi?

The main airlines in Saudi Arabia are: Saudia, Riyadh Air, Flynas, Flyadeal

Air flights to Saudi Arabia include British Airways, Lufthansa, Indigo, Wizz Air, Etihad, Gulf Air, Emirates and Qatar.

For more information on airlines that fly to Saudi head over to our page.