Egypt is one of those countries that never stays off the grid. The precision of the Giza Pyramids still sparks huge controversy about the possibility of alien visits. Then, the influence of many other kingdoms and empires has turned Egypt into an open-air museum. We don’t even need to mention the marine life lying underneath the surface of the Red Sea.
While these sound tempting, we also can’t deny that traveling to a country like Egypt means leaving the comfort zone for many people. The sensitive culture, heated political tensions in the Middle East, and the climate make it challenging to create an Egypt packing list.
Considering all the factors of traveling to an Islamic country in Africa, we prepared an elaborate Egypt packing guide. You will find answers to your questions, including what to wear in Egypt.
Egypt Packing List: Weather
Egypt experiences pleasant temperatures all year round, and it barely gets very cold. However; you should still consider what to pack when it comes to different seasons.
From June to August, Egypt is all about the extreme heat that can exceed 100 degrees Fahrenheit. The transition periods – March-May and September-November – are still warm, but much more present than the summer months. Even in winter, the lowest recorded temperature is around 60 Fahrenheit, although the coastal cities receive a significant amount of rain during this time.
What To Pack For Egypt
Packing clothes is the most challenging part when traveling to a conservative country, and Egypt is no exception. Here, we will first give general advice on what to wear in Egypt based on the season. Then, we will continue with specifics and the dress codes for men and women.
General Tips: What To Wear In Egypt
Regardless of the time of your visit to Egypt, sweating is an unpleasant situation that you need resolving. Temperature regulating t-shirts are perfect for the job; they will keep you cool in summer and warm in winter by absorbing the sweat and keeping you dry. We would especially recommend the ones made of Merino wool, as they offer the best regulatory quality.
No matter when you visit, packing lightweight clothes will be a life-saver. You might want to bring smart casual clothing if you want to fit in, as locals also dress up this way when going out in the evening.
Scarfs can come in handy both in desert tours and when visiting religious sites. If you can, try to find one with a secret pocket, where you can put your valuables.
Sun hats and sunglasses are just as important as your passport for traveling to Egypt. We can’t emphasize enough the severity of the sunlight during the daytime in summer.
You can bring swimsuits if you are visiting the coastal cities.
You can bring jeans, but we would urge you not to do so in summer because it will be too hot for that.
The most important thing to keep in mind is to cover the knees, shoulders, and cleavage. It is not because it is necessarily dangerous to dress otherwise, but it is out of respect for the local culture. Also, you don’t want to attract unwanted attention and occasional catcalling.
Skirts, shorts, and dresses should be long enough to cover down to your mid-calf. You should have at least 3 maxi skirts or dresses depending on your length of stay.
You also need to avoid tight clothing that reveals curves. Loose-fitting and lightweight clothes will be both more appropriate and more comfortable.
A cardigan will be very useful for adding a layer to your clothing in case of religious sightseeing or cold weather.
You can wear bikinis at beach resorts, but you should still cover yourself in the other parts of the hotels, such as restaurants. Also, don’t go topless!
You don’t have to cover your hair except when you are visiting mosques. Also, a scarf can protect you from sand and dust in the desert.
Just like women, men should avoid wearing clothes that reveal shoulders and knees.
In the city, it is considered rude to walk around in loungewear, or workout gear.
Bring collared shirts for visits to mosques, or the houses of local people.
The activities in Egypt range from hiking to diving, so you could use several different types of shoes.
Sneakers are the best shoes for hiking and walking around in the city. Especially those made of wool will keep your feet cool and comfortable. It also helps a lot that you can wash them along with your laundry, in case they get dirty during visits to sites, such as the Pyramids.
Sandals are also great, especially for summer. You can use them both on the beaches and while hiking.
You can bring flip flops not only for wearing at the beach but also when visiting a traditional hammam.
Some beaches in Egypt are quite rocky, which can be annoying and painful when going into the water. You can add water shoes to your Egypt packing list to protect your feet.
Medication and Toiletries
Here are some essentials that you need to include in your packing list to maintain your health and hygiene.
With the increased risk of diseases like the Corona Virus, we are once again reminded of the importance of clean hands. You should bring lots of hand sanitizer to sterilize your hands at any time of the day.
Although hotels mostly provide toiletries like soap and shampoo, you can still bring personal toiletries of your preference, such as conditioner.
Face wipe will save your life during your desert expeditions since sand and dust will cover your face otherwise.
We don’t even need to explain why bringing 50 SPF sunscreen is a must.
Your lips will likely suffer from the dry air, but you can use SPF chapsticks to keep them moist.
If you are traveling in summer, you might want to bring insect repellent with you.
Another tip for summer is to bring chafing gel for your thighs that rub against each other in a dress or skirt. Anti-chafing balms will prevent skin irritation.
It might sound scary, but diarrhea is common amongst tourists in Egypt because it’s incredibly easy for food to go off in the heat. You can bring antidiarrheal Imodium to help treat your upset stomach. Rehydration salts are also useful, as they regulate your salt levels.
If you will go hiking, we recommend that you bring pain reliever tablets.
For boat trips, particularly the Nile cruise, you can bring Dramamine that will fight motion sickness.
Cities in Egypt can be noisy day and night. For uninterrupted sleep, you could use earplugs.
A power bank is an essential item to charge your electronics wherever you are.
Egypt’s power operates on 220 V and 50 Hz like most of North Africa. The plug types are C and F, which both comprise two sockets like the ones in mainland Europe.
You can bring a universal travel adapter with multiple USB slots to charge multiple electronics at the same time.
Other electronic items you could bring are your smartphone, camera, GoPro. Headphones, and kindle.
You cannot drink tap water in Egypt, so you would need a water bottle that has purifying and insulating features.
You can bring an extra towel to use when you are outside and soaking wet in your sweat.
In rural parts of Egypt, you will find that only a few people can speak English well. For accurate translation between English and Egyptian Arabic, you can purchase an Egyptian Phrasebook. These are easy to purchase at book stores or order at Amazon.
Travel Insurance and Safety
Although Egypt is a fairly safe country or at least its touristic cities are safe, your trip can be interrupted by petty crimes such as pickpocketing. Luggage locks can come in handy, especially when you are traveling long distances by bus or train, or walking around a city like Kairo.
From injuries to accidents and stolen items, international travel insurance is mandatory for your protection. For instance, World Nomads has various packages that you can select based on what you need to be covered.
Prior to your arrival, you need to apply for an E-Visa for Egypt. Click here for more details on the application process. This is a fast and straightforward process that should take no longer than a week.
Once you obtain your visa, you need to bring the following documents with you on arrival.
The printout of your E-Visa
A passport that is valid for at least six months after your return
Your travel itinerary
Hotel bookings and return ticket consistent with the itinerary
Printout of your travel insurance
Egypt Packing List: Conclusion
As you can see, packing for Egypt is not as complicated as it sounds. All you have to do is to take the necessary steps for going abroad to any country, with additional care on your clothing, medication, and visa documentation. Once you have these covered, Egypt is waiting to greet you with arms wide open!
Egypt Packing List: FAQ
Although there is no specific dress code, you should still dress in a way that serves respect towards the customs. Lightweight, loose-fitting dresses, pants, t-shirts, shirts, and skirts are all acceptable as long as your knees and shoulders are covered. Try to blend in by looking at how Egyptian women and men dress up.
It would be inappropriate to wear tank tops and short skirts, especially in rural areas. This might attract unwanted attention.
There is no such obligation for women.
Although dollar, euro, and pound are accepted in touristic areas, bringing Egyptian Pounds beforehand will be a smart decision. The exchange offices in Egypt can take more commission than the ones in your home country.