Are you planning a trip to this Northern Africa country and wondering what to wear in Egypt? We just got back from a fantastic month in the country and loved every second of our time. We stressed over our Egypt packing list and figuring out how to dress in Egypt.
However, the Egyptian dress code can get confusing. After all, it’s a hot desert country, but it’s also a conservative, predominately Muslim country. That means packing for Egypt can become difficult. That’s okay – we’re here to help with this Egypt packing list and tips.
Tips On Packing for Egypt
When is the best time to visit Egypt?
Egypt is a hot place year-round, but sometimes it will be much more comfortable than when it is boiling, and all you’ll want is the AC. The high season in Egypt corresponds with cooler weather from mid-October to March.
April is when things get warmer, and May is when Egypt starts to see some properly warm temperatures. The average temperature is 25°C, but the highs can soar up to 32°C. Come July and August, you will wish for constant heat relief. Temperatures can easily reach 34°C with an average of 28°C.
There’s hardly any rain, and the temperature barely drops below 22°C. You can read about our recommendation for the best time to visit Egypt. Egypt is always going to be hot so prepare for that. The good news is that the humidity isn’t terrible, and if you head towards the Red Sea, you’ll see cooler weather.
How conservative is Egypt?
When thinking about how to dress in Egypt it’s best to do some research beforehand. Egypt is a predominately Muslim country. I saw every kind of dress code in Egypt. Cairo seemed to be more liberal in the younger neighborhoods, but most people dress conservatively in Giza and other parts.
Tourists seemed to have their dress code at the tourist sites. Places like the Temple of Karnack, the Great Pyramids, and the Temple of Philae saw shorts, tight pants, high heels, and short dresses. However, as soon as you step out of these tourist sites and into the actual streets, you’ll see women in hijabs and abayas and men in traditional thobes.
We recommend you dress to match the culture as you are a guest in their country. We view it as a sign of respect. It means no short shorts, short dresses, or cleavage showing. If you do decide to dress provocatively, you’ll feel more out of place than if you didn’t.
I wore a modest knee-length dress that showed a bit of my upper chest (not cleavage – just chest), with my long blonde hair down and felt completely out of place with people staring at me while walking around neighborhoods in Cairo.
The exception to this is at beach resorts along the Red Sea. Here it’s perfectly acceptable to wear bathing suits, cover-ups, and shorts.
Should I Pack formal clothes?
Of course, when thinking about what to wear to Egypt, you don’t need to dress super fancy. However, if you plan to sail on a Nile Cruise, I suggest you pack at least two “smart” outfit choices.
On our cruise, we noticed people dressed up at night. The question all depends on your plans, but in general, most people would benefit from at least one nice outfit. If you plan for a nice resort or cruise then add it to the list!
What to Wear in Egypt
When thinking about what to wear in Egypt we recommend you pack a pair of breathable shoes to walk around Egypt. The heat is intense. If you don’t want your feet always to feel sweaty and stinky, wear breathable and comfortable shoes. City streets and archaeological sites can be dusty so closed-toe shoes are a nice thing to wear.
Allbirds Tree Runners are excellent for their breathability and are among some of the best shoes to wear in Egypt. We love Allbirds and their sustainable initiatives and their shoes have lasted far longer than we would have guessed. Another great option for a lightweight travel shoe is Tropicfeel. They are excellent travel shoes that breathe well and double as water shoes.
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I love my buff. I usually wear it to keep my hair back when it’s sweltering, but it’s also served its purpose as a scarf and wet rag too. Buffs last for years and aren’t only helpful in Egypt. It’s been one of my top travel accessory investments ever!
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A Scarf or Shawl
Egypt is a conservative country, and you may want a headscarf for some religious sites. They are lightweight and easy to travel with, so there is no reason not to have a scarf or shawl. They are always good to have when you need to cover your head before walking into a Mosque.
I also like wearing scarves around my head while just walking around. As a blonde, I tend to get unwanted attention, and a scarf helps negate the attention. It also serves as an awesome form of protection from the desert winds and dust.
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We always recommend bringing a travel towel when you’re on the road, and Egypt is no exception. If you plan on staying in hostels or more budget accommodation, you’ll often need your towel. Also, if you head to the beach or want to take a hike, it never hurts to have a towel packed away in your day bag. Consider a towel an essential Egypt packing list item.
The biggest complaint about travel towels is that they often feel nothing like the plush cotton towels at home and in hotels. However, with the PackTowl, you can forget about all of that because they set out to create a towel that mimics its cotton counterparts with the technical features of a travel towel.
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If you plan to go to some coastal cities, then a light windbreaker jacket will help, especially in the winter. We love to travel with a lightweight windbreaker that can pack easily in a suitcase. We have a number of recommendations for travel jackets in this post.
However, a light windbreaker that doesn’t take up much room is best for Egypt. Check out these two jackets from Cotopaxi and Arc’teryx.
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Depending on the season, it can get cold in Egypt. Some nights in Cairo are cool, and a fleece jacket is a perfect thing to have. Consider a fleece a necessity on your Egypt packing list or at least one warm item.
Patagonia’s Synchilla Snap T Pullover fleece is one of the best fleeces for travel, in our opinion. The fleece has a classic relaxed cut with a timeless look for a walk or sitting around an evening bonfire. It’s a double-sided fleece that provides plenty of warmth while remaining soft and comfortable. They also make an excellent gift for travelers as they’re a wardrobe staple.
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A Good Sunhat
If you are considering what to pack for Egypt, I recommend picking up a stylish sunhat! You’ll want some hats for walking around all day in the hot sun. I’d recommend a hat with a brim unlike the traditional tarboosh above. If you’re traveling around much of Africa we have some great recommendations on safari hats that serve a multitude of functions.
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You’ll find most many people wearing sandals in Egypt, and they are great for beach destinations. You don’t want to live in your shoes your whole trip, and sandals are perfect for letting your feet breathe. A good pair of sandals are great for being comfortable on long travel days and under the hot sun of Northern Africa.
I travel with my Rainbow leather flip-flops and my Tevas or Chacos, which get me through anything and are great for comfort while walking. The sandals in the photo are some of my favorites and they are from Sanuk (I always buy new Yogo slings each year!)
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Make sure to protect your eyes from the sun in Egypt since the sun reflects off the desert landscape. There are a lot of options for sunglasses, and everyone should own at least a pair. It’s best to make sure they do have UV protection for the health of your eyes.
We made our first investment in quality polarized sunglasses with a pair of SMITH Optics Lowdown 2. Truthfully, not everyone needs to invest $150 in a couple of sunglasses; however, we love ours and will never repurchase cheap ones. They are worth it.
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Women’s Clothes For Egpyt
This one is for the ladies! No need to push up bras while you’re running around the desert. I travel with several pairs of sports bras and enjoy the comfort and support they provide. With the hot Egyptian heat, they can get real sweaty fast here. So having technical fabric underneath my clothes is appreciated. My absolute favorite sports bra brand is Handful!
Blouse or Tunic
A blouse or tunic is always a good thing to pack in your suitcase. I would suggest bringing one nice and one casual one that you don’t mind getting a little sweaty. With tons of restaurants in Aswan, Cairo, or Luxor, you’ll want a top for an evening out exploring.
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I love wearing relaxed pants when we travel. The women’s Summit Pants are made out of hemp and recycled polyester while offering 50+ UPF protection. They are perfect for Egypt as they’re comfortable and conservative. Best of all the pants are lightweight and weigh nothing in a carry-on bag.
However, the Egyptian streets aren’t the cleanest in the world. That’s why I like to wear pants that won’t drag on the ground all the time. Harem or loose pants are fantastic, but if you want pants where the bottom won’t get filthy wear a cuffed pants.
I’m a massive fan of Coalatree trailhead pants (pictured in all these photos). The Trailhead pants are some of the most comfortable and durable pants. Best of all Coalatree makes some awesome eco-friendly products that are durable and perfect for travel.
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Lightweight Long Sleeve Shirt
I like to pack one technical long sleeve shirt for Egypt. The other option is to go with organic materials like hemp, linen, or rapeseed. They’re practical as they have anti-microbial properties and will stay fresh longer when you sweat. Linen is an excellent option as it has a timeless look for your trip.
Long sleeves are also great for sun protection, and we wore them on our tour days around the ancient cities of Karnack and Edfu.
Just because you’re in a predominantly Muslim country doesn’t mean you can’t wear a bathing suit when you are on the coast. I would recommend bringing a few bathing suits for enjoying the Red Sea. My favorite bathing suits lately have been made by Andie Swim.
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Almost every shirt you pack for Egypt should be loose and light-colored. It gets bloody HOT in Northern Africa, and trust me, the last thing you will want to be wearing is a skin-tight blacktop. If you like to go with a classic t-shirt, think about going in light colors like white or grey. I love Title Nine for quality women’s clothing.
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For a more girly look in Egypt, try wearing a cute dress in Egypt for walking around the Ancient sites and snapping photos. I loved wearing light and flowy dresses in Egypt, but they needed not be too revealing. Dresses past the knee with no cleavage or shoulders showing are ideal.
One of my favorites for this trip is the Scotch & Soda Safari Dress. It’s perfect for Morocco and all-around Africa travel! What I love about these pieces are specifically made for travel and are anti-wrinkle. The photo is from a more recent trip to Egypt, but it’s a similar climate and culture to Morocco.
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Men’s Clothes For Egypt
T-Shirt or V Neck
A classic tee will never go out of style. We suggest sticking with solid colors like tan, white, or grey. There’s also the option of a v neck for a more stylish look, but it all depends on personal preference.
Cameron prefers the grey as it’s super easy to stain the white ones. T-shirts are cheap, and we like to order a new pack before each trip as old shirts look slobbish.
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Lightweight Long Sleeve Shirt
I like to pack a technical long sleeve shirt for Egypt. The other option is to go with organic materials like hemp, linen, or rapeseed. They’re practical as they have anti-microbial properties and will stay fresh longer when you sweat. Linen is an excellent option as it has a timeless look for your trip.
Pair a linen shirt with sandals, shorts, jeans, or shoes. It will always work. A versatile piece of clothing that looks good for both sexes and works at the beach, museum, archaeological site, or restaurant. It’s tough to find decent linen shirts online, but I really love the quality of J. Crew’s linen shirts.
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Cameron has now found his favorite pair of pants in the men’s version of my prAna Mantra pants, the Vaha Pant. These are loose-fitting but still look super stylish!
We’re pretty big fans of prAna, so we highly recommend checking out some of their products. The women’s pant is the Summit pant, and the men’s is the Vaha pant.
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Dress Shirt & Chinos
Pack at least one dress shirt for a trip to Egypt. I like to stick with a classic color like blue or white that will never go out of style. Pair the dress shirt and chinos for a classic look.
Bluffworks specializes in men’s travel clothes and makes some awesome pants, shirts, and blazers. Their travel clothes are all comfortable, wrinkle-resistant, and stain-resistant. Amazing for travel!
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As we’ve shared before you’ll definitely want a bathing suit if you plan to visit the Red Sea. A lot of resorts and some cruises feature a pool too. Cameron loves Quicksilver’s Amphibian shorts. The material looks like heavy cotton, but they’re super lightweight and durable. Best of all, they look great on the beach or in town.
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Electronics to Bring to Egypt
We live in a digital age, and I hate to say this, but our phones are our lifelines in Africa. They are our maps, news sources, and online social lives, and yes, they are even used as our telephones to get around.
We always get a local sim card when we get to a new country and top it up with data and airtime to call the local numbers in case of emergencies. Data is cheap in Egypt, and it was nice to stay connected. Our phone helped us the most when we were in Cairo and had to keep calling Ubers to get around. It would have become a pain if I was constantly searching for WiFi to complete the task.
A high-quality camera is an essential packing item for Egypt if you want some great shots during your vacation. We travel with many cameras, but the one we recommend to everyone who wants to take their photography seriously is the Fujifilm X-T3. You can read all about our favorite cameras for travel blogging and vlogging here.
Please note that drones are not allowed in Egypt. We’ve heard many stories of travelers having them confiscated at points of entry, so we wouldn’t recommend taking any chances or messing with the Egyptian authorities.
Remember that Egypt uses the Europlug. Make sure you find a suitable adapter like the one I have to keep you charged. Otherwise, you may be paying for a cheap one once you land.
I would recommend getting a good one online before arriving. It can be tough to find a decent travel adapter for a reasonable price when you’re likely already running low on juice.
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While I love having a good book when I travel, sometimes it’s not practical because of the weight. I’ve recently switched to a Kindle Paperwhite, which is small and compact, plus it has a backlight for reading at night without a harsh glare. The Paperwhite version is excellent as they mimic an actual book, and you can read them in the harsh sun while on the Red Sea.
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Extra Items to Bring to Egypt
Walking around and taking part in everyday activities in Egypt can get pretty dirty. It was also a reoccurring theme to find hand soap nowhere. You can’t go wrong bringing some hand sanitizer and eco-friendly baby wipes in your bag.
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Skin cancer is for real! Don’t forget your SPF when traveling around Africa as you’re close to the Equator. We recommend ordering some online before leaving the house as you will need it underneath the African sun, and it can be tough to find in grocery stores in Egypt (and when you do find it, the pricing will be insane).
We highly recommend getting an eco-friendly sun cream that does not contain harmful chemicals. They’re mineral-based and usually only cost a few dollars more to help protect our oceans. If you’re not going to swim in the sea, just go with a reliable name brand.
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Dehydration in Egypt is a genuine concern. These tablets should have your body back to normal should you happen to fall sick. You may not need a whole bottle so take a few in a bag or pill holder to save luggage space.
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The Red Sea is a snorkeler and divers paradise. If you’re into snorkeling, then pick up some fins, a mask, and a snorkel, so you don’t get stuck paying to rent the setup every time. We travel around the world with our gear – yes, I’m serious. My fins fit right in my suitcase while the mask and snorkel sit comfortably in any backpack or bag.
Both of our masks are Aqualung masks, and we use them for snorkeling and diving. I have Oceanic fins and use them everywhere, while Cam loves Hammerhead’s brand for his underwater gear. Alternatively, if you’re staying at a resort or hotel on your vacation, check to see if they have free equipment you can use!
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Our daypack was handy every day in Egypt. You’ll need something to stash your photography gear, hand sanitizers, papers, phones, and anything else that you need for a full day out when traveling. Our favorite daypack as photographers is the Peak Design Everyday Backpack or NOMATIC Backpack. Or you can check out some of our favorite day packs here.
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