Are you planning a trip to Egypt and wondering what to wear? We just got back from an amazing month in the country and loved every second of our time. However, the Egypt dress code can get confusing. It’s a hot desert country after all, but it’s also a conservative predominately Muslim country.
This means packing for Egypt can become difficult. That’s okay – we’re here to help with this Egypt packing list. Let’s dig in!
Things to Consider When Packing for Egypt
When is the best time to visit Egypt?
Egypt is a hot place year round, but there are times that will be much more comfortable than when it is completely boiling and all you’ll want is the AC. High season in Egypt is from mid-October to March, this is also when the weather is cooler.
April is when things start to get warmer, and May is when Egypt really 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 be wishing for constant heat relief. Temperatures can easily reach 34°C with an average of 28°C, making almost everywhere in the country feel very hot. There’s hardly any rain, and the temperature barely drops below 22°C. You can see our month by month breakdown here.
Short story is Egypt is always going to be hot so prepare for that. The good news is is that the humidity isn’t terrible and if you head towards the Red Sea you’ll see cooler weather.
How conservative is Egypt?
Egypt is a predominately Muslim country. That being said I saw every kind of dress code in Egypt. Cairo definitely seemed to be more liberal in the younger neighborhoods, but we also found most people conservatively dressed in Giza and other parts.
Tourists seemed to have their own 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 stepped out of these tourist sites and into the real streets you’ll see women in hijabs and abayas, and men in traditional thobes.
As both a women and a man I would dress with respect to the culture. This 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. Trust me, 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 bring nice formal clothes?
If you have plans to sail on a Nile Cruise I would plan to bring at least two “smart” outfit choices. On our cruise, we noticed people definitely dressed up at night.
What to Wear in Egypt
Essential Items to Pack for Egypt
When picking out what to wear in Egypt it’s best to bring a pair of breathable shoes to walk around in. The heat in Northern Africa and Egypt is intense. This means if you don’t want your feet to always feel sweaty and stinky wear cool and comfortable shoes.
I love the Allbirds Tree Runners for their breathability in situations like this. I’ve been going strong in them for two years! Check out my other recommendations on women’s shoes, and the best men’s travel shoes.
I love my buff. I usually wear it for keeping my hair back when it’s really hot, 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.
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 a lot of unwanted attention and a scarf helps negate the attention.
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 own towel. Also, if you head to the beach or want to take a hike it never hurt to have a towel packed away in your daybag. 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 we are accustomed to 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.
If you do have plans to go to some of the coastal cities then a light windbreaker jacket will help, especially in the winter. I have been traveling around with my Northface rain jacket and love it for walking on the windy beaches.
Check out this cute windbreaker from Cotopaxi, they make recycled material outdoor gear for a reasonable price.
Depending on the season it can get cold in Egypt. Some nights in Cairo are cool and a fleece is the 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 the travel in our opinion. The fleece has a classic relaxed cut that has 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 a great gift for travelers as they’re a wardrobe staple.
A Good Sunhat
If you are considering what to pack for Egypt I recommend picking up a stylish sunhat! Trust me you’ll want some sort of hat for walking around all day in the hot sun.
Just throwing a shemagh into your bag is going to make packing for Egypt a breeze. A Shemagh is the perfect travel accessory for both the men and the women travelers out there. This can be worn for just about anything. It will keep you warm, cover your face, protect valuables in your backpack, and even double as an eye mask the shemagh has tons of different uses.
It’s perfect for anyone heading to the desert and wanting to keep the sand out of their face.
You’ll find most a lot of people wearing sandals in Egypt and they are definitely great for the beach destinations. You don’t want to live in your shoes your whole trip and sandals are perfect for letting your feet breath. A good pair of sandals is great for being comfortable on long travel days and under the hot sun of Northern Africa.
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 pair of sunglasses; however, we love ours and will never buy cheap ones again, they are totally worth it.
Essential Clothing Items to Pack for Egypt – Women
This one is for the ladies! No need for push up bras while you’re in the 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 sweaty real fast here. So having techincal fabric underneath my clothes is really appreciated.
Blouse or Tunic
A blouse or tunic are always a good thing to pack in your suitcase. I would suggest bringing one nice one and one casual one that you don’t mind getting a little sweaty. With tons of restaurants in Aswan, Cairo, or Luxor you’ll definitely want a top for an evening out exploring.
I love wearing a relaxed pant when we travel. The Women’s Mantra 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.
These pants are lightweight and weigh nothing in a carry-on bag. I could literally live in these pants if it were acceptable to wear them for breakfast, lunch, and dinner out.
The Egyptian streets aren’t the cleanest in the world. That’s why I do 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.
I wear them all over when I want the comfort of Harem pants but don’t want to get them dirty from the streets. I’m a really big fan of Coalatree trailhead pants (pictured in all these photos). Coalatree makes eco-friendly products that are durable and perfect for travel.
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 as they’re effective as they anti-microbial properties and will stay fresh longer when you sweat. Linen is a great option as it has timeless look for your trip.
Long sleeves are also great for sun protection and we wore them on our tour days around the ancient cites of Karnack and Edfu.
Just because you’re in a predominantly Muslim country doesn’t mean you can’t wear a bathing suit for when you are on the coast. I would recommend bringing a few bathing suits for enjoying the Red Sea.
One of my favorite brands for swimsuits is prAna. prAna makes high-quality swimsuits for active women. Many of their pieces are stylish, yet supportive. So if you’re planning to go surfing, bodyboarding, kitesurfing, scuba diving, or play beach volleyball and want to make sure your ta-tas stay intact these swimsuits are for you.
When purchasing board shorts it’s best to stick with darker colors as they hold up longer and to get a shorter cut above the knee. As for material a great blend of polyester and elastane is a solid choice as it’s lightweight and comfortable.
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 black top.
If you like to go with a classic t-shirt think about going with light colors like white or grey. I love Title Nine for quality women’s clothing.
For a more girly look in Egypt try wearing a cute dress in Egypt for walking around the Ancient sites and snapping photos. I personally loved wearing light and flowy dresses in Egypt, but it was important to me that they weren’t too revealing. Dresses past the knee with no cleavage or shoulders showing are ideal.
One of my favorites for this trip was my Anatomie Lina Cargo Dress. It’s perfect for Egypt and all around Africa travel! What I love about Anatomie clothing is that these pieces are specifically made for travel and are anti-wrinkle. (Psst – you can use the code TWP15 for 15% off!)
Sanuk Yoga Slings
I literally wore these on every day of my trip. The Sanuk yoga slings feel like you’re walking on an actual yoga mat – they are that comfortable! They look great with dresses and there are a lot of prints and patterns that look perfect in Egypt.
Essential Clothing Items to Pack for Egypt – Men
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 order a new pack before each trip as old shirts look slobbish.
Short Sleeve Button
A short sleeve button down is a great option to beach casual while avoiding the tee shirt look. I like to go for the linen as it has a more relaxed beach look and it hold up better in the heat than a cotton shirt.
Cameron has now found his favorite pair of pants in the men’s version of my prAna Mantra pants which is the Vaha Pant.
These are loose fitting, but still look super stylish!
If you’re going on a fancy Nile River cruise or staying at a really nice resort on the coast you’ll want at least one dress shirt for evenings out.
Cameron recently ordered a new selection of shirts and ties from the Tie Bar and so far I’ve loved my clothes. All stylish, nice quality, and affordable. Plus their online website makes it easy to order a new wardrobe with suggestions for what matches and inspirations for outfits.
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, our news sources, our 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 so that we can call the local numbers in case of emergencies. Data is cheap in Egypt, and it was nice to stay connected. Having 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 important packing item for Egypt if you want some great shots while on your vacation. We travel with a bunch of 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 a lot of stories of travelers having them confiscated at points of entry, so we wouldn’t recommend taking any chances or messing with the Egyptian authorities.
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.
While I love having a good real book when I travel sometimes it’s just 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 great as they mimic a real book and you can read them in the harsh sun while on the Red Sea.
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.
Skin cancer is for real! Don’t forget your SPF when traveling to the 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 very hard 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 ocean just go with a reliable name brand.
Dehydration in Egypt is a real concern and should be taken seriously. 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.
I like to bring my special all natural deodorant with me when I travel since it can be really hard to find abroad. You will need deodorant for Egypt – trust me! If you use specialty products make sure to bring it; however, generic roll-on sticks can be found at pharmacies around the country.
The Red Sea is a snorkelers and divers paradise. If you’re into snorkeling then pick up some fins, a mask, and snorkel so you don’t get stuck paying to rent the set up every time. Personally, 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 suitcase.
Alternatively, if you’re staying a resort or hotel on your vacation check to see if they have free equipment you can use!
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