Why Tourists Need To Be Mindful Of The Clothing They Pack For This Popular Spanish Island

When you travel to another country, especially for the first time, it's a good idea to try to blend in with the locals for a number of reasons. Our outward appearance gives a strong first impression, and tourists often stick out like a sore thumb, which can sometimes be problematic. Blending in with the locals can help you avoid being immediately dubbed a tourist, which may help you avoid common problems like becoming a target for pickpocketing.

Seasoned travelers understand that certain behaviors and clothing choices sometimes need to shift depending on the place where they're traveling. Clearly, it's imperative that tourists obey all local laws, which includes respecting places of business by following dress codes. For travelers planning trips to Spain this year, it will be necessary to spend some extra time preparing your wardrobe to comply with new rules for tourists, particularly if you're planning to visit Mallorca.

Mallorca is a must-visit spot for beautiful beaches and historic landmarks. The Mediterranean island is a gorgeous destination just off the coast of mainland Spain that attracts nearly 12 million tourists yearly. Business owners and locals on the popular island destination must be fed up with the tourists' clothing (or lack thereof) because many establishments have introduced new mandates and dress codes for bars, restaurants, and cafés. As you pack for your trip, ensure you've included items to wear that fit the new guidelines so that you look and feel your best during your vacation.

The importance of respecting local customs

Frequent travelers know that it's important to shift your style, if necessary, out of respect for the local culture. It's a common courtesy to dress more modestly when visiting a cathedral, temple, or other religious gathering place. If you're visiting a high-end restaurant or club, you might assume it's a good idea to check the dress code beforehand. Even in parts of the United States, where clothing requirements are relaxed, you'll see signs on some places saying, "No shirt, No shoes, No service," – a popular slogan that arose in Florida communities during the 1970s to keep barefoot "hippies" out of establishments. 

In 2022, Spanish business owners outlined new guidelines for tourists to follow during their trip to Mallorca. Soccer jerseys, strapless tank tops, swimwear, and any clothing or accessories purchased from street vendors are no longer permitted in at least 11 establishments, most of which are located around the popular Palma Beach area.

The new dress codes are an attempt to cut down on drunk tourists who party on the streets and beaches before entering bars and restaurants and end up causing disturbances. While following a dress code when vacationing on an island may seem out of the norm for some, business owners hope that the new rules will help curb what they call "antisocial tourism." The topic is controversial, even among Mallorca business owners. Some say that the rules are classist and designed to limit tourism in Mallorca to wealthy visitors.

What to pack for an island getaway in Spain

The casual clothing you would wear for water adventures isn't in alignment with the vibe that business owners are trying to create. While beachy clothing doesn't always indicate drunkness, business owners in favor of the regulations think it may help encourage better behavior and ensure that would-be patrons return to their hotels to clean up before visiting nice bars and restaurants.

The easiest way to ensure you meet the dress code criteria is to return to your accommodations to shower and change clothes before going out to lunch or dinner. Europeans tend to be a little more dressed up than Americans, so when packing, opt for breathable, elegant attire during the summer months. Consider packing fabrics that will keep you comfortable, like linen and cotton. Opt for trousers, breezy button-downs, or flowy sundresses to keep you feeling cool and appropriate during your summer trip to Europe. Choose leather sandals or sleek trainers over athletic shoes or flip-flops.

If going straight from the beach to the bar or restaurant is your only option, then choose a relaxed spot that feels more casual where you can dine al fresco — and ensure that you've packed an appropriate cover-up, like a dress or t-shirt and trousers, to slip on after you get done swimming. Make sure to leave the jerseys at home, and don't show up to businesses in anything that could be mistaken for a swimsuit.