So you’re planning a vacation in Egypt – woohoo! It’s an amazing, challenging, and beautiful country and it will be an experience of a lifetime. You’ll encounter incredibly hot days, a few chilly evenings, dusty and uneven roads, and a few other surprises along the way. You’ll want to be prepared for a variety of weather and terrain conditions and also follow the local customs regarding dress. And, of course, you’ll want to shop!
I was able to spend 30 days in Egypt in November and December of 2017 and have compiled a list of the most essential things to pack for your trip to Egypt!
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The official religion of Egypt is Islam and 90% of those are Sunni Muslims. Which means that most Egyptian women are dressed very modestly. They cover their shoulders, knees, and often their hair. This isn’t always the case as some more upscale Cairo neighborhoods tend to have more progressive views on dress.
However, as a western woman traveling to Egypt you will undoubtedly get a lot of attention from men. And if you choose not to cover up you can expect a plethora of stares and catcalls. I would highly recommend that you leave the tank tops and shorts at home and opt to follow the local customs and cover up as well*.
Remember, you’re not here to change the culture, you’re here to experience a new one.
*If you are staying in a resort on the beach the rules do not apply. Foreigners often lounge in swimsuits and summer dresses in hotels and resorts around Sharm El-Sheikh, Hurghada, and all the coastal resort towns of Egypt .
Weather in Egypt
Egypt is considered to have a hot desert climate. Depending on where you go there will be variations but you can generally expect temperatures in the winter months to range from 60-72°F and those can climb well over 100°F in the summer months. The sun can be absolutely sweltering in the summertime so if you visit during this time you will want to be near air conditioning or a pool. But you’ll find that tourist sites are less crowded and prices are generally lower as it is the off-season.
October until April is considered high season in Egypt as the weather is more bearable. While the temperatures are more manageable during the day, the evenings can get quite cold. You’ll want to be sure to pack a sweater and possibly a rain coat.
Check the dates of Ramadan prior to planning your trip to Egypt. Ramadan takes place in the ninth month of the Islamic calendar. During that month Muslims fast from dawn until dusk so it is considered very rude for foreigners to be seen eating or drinking in public. Many restaurants and shops close during that time and others operate on a reduced schedule. As a foreigner it may not be the ideal time to travel to a Muslim-majority country.
Be sure to read about the things I wish I’d known prior to visiting Egypt to prepare for your trip!
Visa and Passport Requirements
Many countries are eligible to obtain a visa on arrival at Egyptian ports of entries including the US, the UK, EU Nationals, Australia, Canada, Croatia, Croatia, Georgia, Japan, New Zealand, Norway, Macedonia, Republic of Korea, Russian Federation, Serbia, and Ukraine.
Your visa will cost $25.00 USD per person and will need to be purchased in cash. Specifically in US dollars. If you don’t have US dollars for the visa you can exchange your currency at the same counter.
Make sure that the expiration date on your passport is at least 6 months from your date of entry to Egypt, otherwise you may be denied entry.
Essential Egypt Packing List
Choose luggage that is easy to recognize on the luggage belt and also incredibly secure. This model by Fochier is durable, brightly colored, expandable (in case you want to do some shopping) and is super durable to survive those baggage handlers.
Compression Packing Cubes
Keep your suitcase neat and organized with these compression packing cubes by LeanTravel. Not only will they keep your things separated but you can also compress each cube down for extra space in your suitcase.
If you choose to check your luggage (which we would recommend due to TSA liquid restrictions), you’ll want a carry-on bag to have a few essentials on the plane with you. This one by Pincnel has anti-theft protections, has lots of compartments for holding all of your important goodies, and can be worn as either a purse or a backpack. It is also small enough to be considered a “personal item” if you choose not to check your luggage.
Extra Duffel Bag
The shopping in Egypt is amazing and it is impossible to visit the country without grabbing a few souvenirs to take home with you. Ensure you have ample storage for all of your new treasures by investing in this “just in case” duffel bag by Bago. It’s super lightweight and folds up to take up minimal space in your bag. And it’s durable so you can cram it full of your new Egyptian souvenirs.
Unless you’re flying to Egypt in business class, you’ll probably have a difficult time getting any shut-eye during your flight. Keep yourself from dozing off on your neighbor’s shoulder with this compact, lightweight, but incredibly comfortable travel pillow.
There’s nothing worse than trying to untangle a bunch of bracelets and necklaces that you’ve piled together in your suitcase. Keep all of your pieces neat and organized in this compact travel jewelry organizer by Bagsmart.
There are so many amazing ancient ruins to capture in Egypt, you’d be doing yourself a disservice by sticking to your cellphone camera alone. Invest in a high-quality camera that is small enough to fit in your purse and that won’t break the bank. The Sony DSCHX90V has a 30x optical zoom range, a pop-up electronic viewfinder (perfect for taking photos in bright sunlight), and it has a built-in GPS receiver to record the location of your photos.
Universal Travel Adapter
If you’re coming from the United States, you won’t be able to charge your electronics without a converter. Choose a universal adapter with multiple USB ports so you can use it in most countries and charge multiple gadgets at once.
You’ll likely be using Google maps on your phone constantly throughout the day to find your way around. And nothing drains your battery as quickly as your GPS. Make sure your phone stays charged all day with a power bank. This one by Anker is super small and lightweight – it’s easy to toss it in your purse before you head out the door.
Earbuds sure have come a long way! You can now purchase bluetooth wireless earbuds for the same price you would pay for any other earphones. So why would you choose to deal with those pesky wires if you don’t have to? This set by Focuspower are super small and comfortable, fast-charging, and can connect to two mobile devices at once!
Travel Gear Organizer
Keep all of your chargers, cables, earbuds, and everything else all in one place with a gear organizer. Keep it in your carry-on so you have easy access to entertainment on the plane!
Entertainment for the Plane
- Don’t forget to download offline maps of the cities you’ll be visiting in Egypt!
- Download a few of our favorite podcasts to keep up with the news or for background noise while you gaze out the window of the plane.
- Get a subscription to Amazon Audible for access to a huge selection of audiobooks in case in-flight movies aren’t available.
- Bring a few Egypt travel guides and a highlighter on the plane to plan your must-see sites!
Containers for Liquids
These leak-proof travel bottles are the TSA-approved size carry with you on the plane. If you choose not to check a bag you’ll need to transfer all of your toiletries into travel-sized bottles. And even if you do check a bag, it’s nice to have a few things in your carry-on to freshen up during a long flight.
Egypt has plenty of pharmacies in pretty much every city so don’t fret if you forget to pack something. Here are the toiletries that you’ll likely need during your Egyptian vacation:
- Face wash
- Face and body lotion
- Shampoo and conditioner
- Body wash
- Toothbrush, toothpaste and dental floss
- Feminine hygiene products
- Any medications
- Hairbrush and hair ties
- Travel hair dryer
- 2 in 1 travel curling iron and straightener
Temperatures in Egypt can reach well over 100°F in the summertime and the sun is relentless for much of the year in the desert. Long, loose-fitting dresses will keep you cool while also keeping you covered up. KOH KOH has several pretty dresses and jumpsuits that are modest but flattering and won’t break the bank.
Pack at least 4 different dresses so that you don’t have to worry about finding a laundry service during your vacation.
Don’t forget a pair of nylons to keep your legs warm if you want to wear a dress out in the evenings.
No matter what time of year you visit Egypt, you’ll want to bring a sweater with you, just in case. Either for chilly evenings or extra cover, you’re bound to use it during your trip. Choose one that is modest, lightweight, and not super bulky as it will take up a lot of room in your bag.
This one by Alexander + David is perfect to throw on over anything!
While temperatures are generally incredibly hot during the day in Egypt, they can drop pretty quickly after the sun goes down. Be sure to pack a couple pairs of pants so you don’t freeze when you venture out in the evenings. Lee has a great pair that are boyfriend cut and roomy enough to be comfortable on your long plane journey.
And bring at least one more pair that are stretchy and comfortable and can either be dressed up or down depending on your activities for the day. This corduroy pair by Joe’s can be worn with tennis shoes and a tee for daytime exploring as well as boots and a dressy top for a fancy evening meal.
Loose-fitting shirts that cover your shoulders and cleavage are best if you want to avoid the attention of Egyptian men. Bring at least one button down shirt to throw on with jeans in the evenings around sunset when it’s too hot for a sweater but too cold for a tee.
Bring a few modest blouses like this one which are perfect for going to dinner and drinks in the city. Finally, pack at least 4 breathable t-shirts for days when the sun is unrelenting. Bare arms are okay in Egypt as long as your shoulders are covered.
Comfortable Closed-Toe Flats
The streets of Egypt can be incredibly uneven and dusty so if you wear flip flops you’re likely to have very dirty feet at the end of the day. Or take a tumble. These Sorels are awesome because they are super durable, incredibly comfortable, and look great with everything in your suitcase!
Pack one pair of boots to wear with dresses and one pair of casual shoes for days of long walking. Better to stay away from white shoes, the probably won’t be the same when you get back home.
Other Clothing Essentials
- Swimsuit and a cover-up if your hotel has a pool or if you are going to a beach
- Gym clothes and shoes if your hotel has an exercise facility
- One pair of underwear per day
- One pair of socks per day
While Egypt is an incredibly safe country, it is always a good idea to keep a close eye on your things in big cities. A cross-body bag with zip closures will allow you to keep your cash and credit cards close to your body and difficult to get to. Not only is this one a vibrant color but it also has 3 zipper compartments to help you stay organized.
Being that the predominate religion is Muslim, you’ll encounter many beautiful mosques during your stay. Be sure to have a scarf tucked in your purse at all times so you can cover your head before you enter. You may also want to throw it on if you are wearing a low cut shirt or dress to cover your chest if you feel like you’re being stared at.
When you’re wandering around the Pyramids of Giza during the heat of the day, you will need a hat and sunscreen. The sun in Egypt is intense and you should do what you can to shield yourself. This straw hat by JOYEBUY is foldable so it will keep its shape even after it’s been squished in your suitcase.
Speaking of sun protection, don’t forget to pack your sunglasses! Pick a polarized pair with UV protection to keep your eyes shielded from the rays. Don’t forget a sturdy case to keep them safe in your carry-on.
- Your passport!
- To call your credit card company and release your card for use in Egypt
- A backup credit card in case you have any issues with your primary
- To upgrade to an international cell plan during the month that you’ll be gone
Things to Leave at Home
- Tank tops
- Knee-length dresses
- Midriff baring shirts
- A lot of cash. There are plenty of ATMs in the airport and all over Egypt.
And of course the most important things to pack… a positive attitude and adventurous spirit! Have a wonderful trip!
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