Are you planning a trip to this Northern African country and wondering what to wear in Egypt? We just returned from a fantastic month in the country and loved every second of our time. We stressed our Egypt packing list and 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
How conservative is Egypt?
When thinking about how to dress in Egypt, it’s best to research beforehand. Egypt is a predominately Muslim country. I saw every kind of dress code in Egypt. Cairo seemed 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 main 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 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 I felt entirely 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, you don’t need to dress super fancy when considering what to wear to Egypt. 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 a nice resort or cruise, add it to the list!
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.
Women’s Clothes For Egpyt
Try wearing a cute dress in Egypt to walk around the ancient sites and snap photos. I loved wearing light and flowy dresses in Egypt, but they needed not to be too revealing. I chose to wear dresses that were past the knee and showed no cleavage or shoulders.
One of my favorites for our trip is the Scotch & Soda Safari Dress. It’s perfect for Egypt and all-around Africa travel! I love that the dress is made specifically for travel and anti-wrinkle. You can also check out some recommendations I have for safari dresses.
Blouse or Tunic
A blouse or tunic is always good to pack in your suitcase. I would suggest bringing one nice and one casual that you don’t mind getting a little sweaty. You’ll want a top for an evening out exploring with tons of restaurants in Aswan, Cairo, or Luxor. You can see the blouse I wore above to the Pyramids, which felt appropriate for walking around Cairo.
I love wearing relaxed pants when we travel. The Women’s Summit Pant is made from hemp and recycled polyester while offering 50+ UPF protection. They are perfect for Egypt as they’re comfortable and conservative. Harem or loose pants are fantastic, but we suggest packing cuffed pants as the city and tourist sites are often dusty — it’s a desert. Another suggestion is the Trailhead Pants (pictured in all these photos). They are super comfortable, durable, and eco-friendly.
Lightweight Long Sleeve Shirt
Egypt is a conservative country, and I prefer to cover up with a long-sleeved shirt when exploring cities, temples, and natural landscapes. It’s also a great form of sun protection, which can be very intense. Many of the temples have absolutely no shade.
We can recommend both men and women pack a linen shirt. They’re practical as they have anti-microbial properties and will stay fresh longer when you sweat. Best of all, linen shirts are a timeless look for any age or gender.
Almost every shirt you pack for Egypt should be loose and light. It gets bloody HOT in Northern Africa, and trust me, the last thing you will want to wear is a skin-tight blacktop. If you like to wear a classic T-shirt, consider wearing light colors like white or grey. I have recently fallen in love with Unbound Merino Wool Shirts. Wool shirts are superior to cotton shirts and make for phenomenal travel shirts.
Merino Wool Shirt
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 to enjoy the Red Sea. My favorite bathing suits lately have been made by Andie Swim.
This one is for the ladies! You do no need to push up bras while running around the desert. I travel with several sports bras and enjoy their comfort and support. 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! *Use code TWP20 for 20% off!
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 a v-neck option for a more stylish look, but it all depends on personal preference. Western Rise makes our favorite men’s shirts for travel. The X Cotton Tee is an excellent synthetic option, while the StrongCore Merino Tee has all of our favorite features of wool. Unbound Merino also makes some fantastic wool clothing for men.
Lightweight Long-Sleeved Shirt
Pack one synthetic and one linen shirt for a trip to Egypt. Synthetic shirts are great for days visiting dusty sites and hot days as they handle the heat and resist stains. Our safari shirt post has some great recommendations, but the Columbia Tamiami is our favorite. In contrast, a linen shirt is comfortable and looks great. They’re also practical as they have anti-microbial properties and will stay fresh longer when you sweat.
Pair a linen shirt with sandals, shorts, jeans, or shoes. It will always work. It’s versatile 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 love the quality of Everlane Linen Shirts.
Pack a pair of long pants made from lightweight material that offer decent ventilation. You can opt for hiking like the Sahara pants from REI pictured above. These pants are made from a lightweight synthetic material that breathes well in the heat. We recommend them when visiting in the off-season or shoulder months when daytime temperatures can still be scorching.
However, when the weather feels more manageable in the high season, I highly recommend travel pants from Western Rise. The Evolution Pants are the one pair of pants I pack in my luggage for every trip—they’re pretty much the perfect travel pants.
As we’ve shared, you’ll want a bathing suit if you 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 is super lightweight and durable. Best of all, they look great on the beach or in town.
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. Wear breathable and comfortable shoes if you don’t want your feet to feel sweaty and stinky. 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 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.
I love my Buff Headwear band. 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. Buffs last for years and aren’t only helpful in Egypt. It’s been one of my top travel accessory investments ever!
A Scarf or Shawl
Egypt is a conservative country; 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 excellent protection from the desert winds and dust.
We always recommend bringing a travel towel when you’re on the road; Egypt is no exception. You’ll often need your towel if you plan on staying in hostels or more budget accommodation. Also, if you head to the beach or want to take a hike, having a towel in your day bag never hurts. 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.
If you plan to go to some coastal cities, a light windbreaker jacket will help, especially in the winter. We suggest you travel with a lightweight windbreaker that can pack easily in a suitcase. We have a number of recommendations for travel jackets in this post.
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. A great option for
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.
A Good Sunhat
If you are considering what to pack for Egypt, I recommend picking up a stylish sunhat! You’ll want a hat for walking around in the hot sun all day. Unlike the traditional tarboosh above, I’d recommend a hat with a brim. If you’re traveling around much of Africa, we have some great recommendations on safari hats that serve many functions.
You’ll find 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 is great for being comfortable on long travel days and under the hot sun of Northern Africa. The sandals in the photo are Sanuk Yoga Slings, some of my favorite sandals.
Protect your eyes from the sun in Egypt since the sun reflects off the desert landscape. There are many sunglasses options; everyone should own at least a pair. It’s best to ensure they have UV protection for the health of your eyes.
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.
When we get to a new country, we always get a local SIM card 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 in Cairo, and we 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. If you want to have your data sorted before you land, consider getting an eSIM.
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-T5.
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.
See Our Recommendations
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. Finding a decent travel adapter for a reasonable price can be tough when you’re likely already running low on juice.
Travel Adapter Recommendations
While I love having a good book when I travel, sometimes it’s impractical 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 it mimics an actual book, and you can read it in the harsh sun while on the Red Sea.
Extra Items to Bring to Egypt
Walking around and participating 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 with bringing some hand sanitizer and eco-friendly baby wipes in your bag.
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, go with a reliable name brand.
Natural Sunscreen Recommendations
Dehydration in Egypt is a genuine concern. These electrolyte tablets should get your body back to normal should you fall sick. You may not need a whole bottle, so take a few in a bag or pill holder to save luggage space.
The Red Sea is a snorkeler and divers paradise. If you’re into snorkeling, pick up 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 – 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!
Our daypack was handy every day in Egypt. You’ll need something to stash your photography gear, hand sanitizers, papers, phones, and anything else 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.
Our Recommendation For Travel Insurance
We don’t travel without travel insurance, and neither should you. You never know what can happen in a foreign country, and it’s best to be prepared. HeyMondo offers excellent short and long-term travel insurance policies.
Plan Your Trip to Africa
- Travel Insurance: We don’t travel without travel insurance and neither should you. You never know what can happen while traveling so it’s best to be prepared. HeyMondo provides excellent short-term and long-term travel insurance plans.
- Travel Waterbottle: When we’re uncertain about the water supply we use our Grayl Purifier. It’s come in exceptionally handy around Africa.
- Camera Gear: Chances are you’ll want a camera for your trip to Africa. We love the Sony RX100V for a pocket-size camera and the Fujifilm XT-4 for a professional camera. Check out our favorite cameras for Africa.
- Safari Clothes: Lightweight, beige, and moisture-wicking clothing are great for traveling Africa. See our favorite safari clothing here.
- Safari Hat: A good hat is both stylish and functional.
- Safari Bag: A durable bag is ideal for traveling around Africa.
- Safari Pants: We recommend neutral-colored pants as they’re great at hiding dirt and can match most shirt colors.
- Safari Shirt: Shirts like these are lightweight and keep the bugs away!
- Boots: While you don’t need to wear sturdy shoes every day, at least one pair of safari boots will make your trip nicer!
- Travel Adapter: You’ll need a special travel adapter for traveling Africa. Get one before you get there so you don’t pay a premium on the ground.