Located at the top of the African continent, but feeling more culturally similar to its neighbours in the near Middle East across the Red Sea, Egypt is a country with filled with fascinating geographies, histories, people and cultures… especially when it comes to travelling!
I spent 3 weeks in Egypt as a solo female adventurer and experienced very little hassle, in fact, I loved this country with its wonderful ancient treasures, world-class museums and incredible river cruises.
However I know that doesn’t ring true for all travellers to this country and that many people do find they get pestered in Egypt.
What I don’t want this to do however, is put you off going there.
The key to enjoying Egypt, rather than just surviving it, is probably to be prepared, be wise and to do some serious research before you go… of all which my blog can help you out with, so don’t forget to hunt around for all the Egypt content I’ve written previously!
And another good place to start is with this packing list, so you know exactly what to pack and wear during your time in Egypt for the least stressful and most rewarding experience possible.
Feeling comfortable will definitely help you to have a better and more relaxed time here, so it’s certainly a worthy bit of prep!
And on that note, it’s time to jump in…
- My 27 Top Tips for Travel in Egypt
- 10 Unmissable Things to Do in Aswan, Egypt
- The Perfect Egypt Itinerary
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What to Wear as a Female Traveller in Egypt
The general rule for female travellers when it comes to what to wear in Egypt is long pants and tops that don’t reveal your upper arms or chest, especially if you’re travelling alone.
At least this is true when travelling the major cities and Nile area of the country – the coast is slightly different and more relaxed in terms of dress code.
While no way near as conservative as other countries I’ve visited such as Sudan, Egypt is not as liberal as parts of Lebanon or Turkey either, so do beware that in mind.
Lying somewhere in the middle, female travellers in Egypt do not have to cover their heads, but I’d certainly advise only packing clothes that extend below the knee and that cover the shoulders or cleavage.
Having your arms exposed is ok (as long as your shoulders and chest are covered), but you may feel more comfortable wearing longer-sleeved garments that do cover your lower arms too.
Sarongs or thin scarves are a great option when travelling in Egypt as they are so versatile, compact and light. Sarongs or scarves can easily be draped over your head or shoulders too for extra coverage.
Evening wear certainly isn’t a must here – as a largely alcohol-free country (although it’s not illegal, few people in Egypt drink it and it’s very expensive), you’re unlikely to be going out or needing much specific evening attire, so that’s one thing you don’t have to worry about!
Ditto heavy make-up, which is not common here and will be a nightmare in the heat!
In terms of shoes, when it comes to what to wear in Egypt, I really do think you can limit yourself to 3 pairs – 1x comfy trainers / runners that can be used for any long sightseeing trips or travel days, 1 pair of good support sandals like Birkenstocks and perhaps some lowkey evening flats or pumps.
In my opinion, dress sandals, or anything with a heel, are definitely not required when travelling in this country.
For more specific ideas about exactly what to wear in Egypt, check out these sections below.
You can also download your own copy of my broader Middle East packing list (which also covers North Africa) by entering your details in the box below…
What to Wear when Sightseeing in Egypt?
When it comes to sightseeing in Egypt, especially around any of the temples, you’ll want to make sure you’re fairly covered up – not only for cultural reasons, but also to protect yourself from the sun as, needless to say, the UV rays in Egypt can be fierce!
A long skirt or thin, ankle-length trousers will be perfect for sightseeing in this country as they’ll allow you to stay fairly cool.
They also provide some warmth when you go into any temples or pyramids, which can actually be pretty cold inside.
I’d advise a thin, long-sleeved bamboo or cotton top for the top half, so that you can ensure your chest and upper arms are covered.
Something loose and comfortable will help you stay comfortable and cool, because you don’t want to be fiddling around constantly with clothing in the heat when you’re trying to sightsee.
Ladies, I’d also take a thin scarf or sarong with you when sightseeing, so that this can be placed over your head if you’re visiting any religious sights.
Sunglasses, a good sunhat and some sunscreen are also top items and I highly recommend bringing a good daypack you can put them all in and carry easily throughout your sightseeing time in Egypt.
This Marmot Kompressor is ideal for the job as it packs down to nothing and is light, waterproof and comfortable.
And finally, you’ll also want to ensure you have some water with you for sightseeing days in Egypt and that you drink a lot to stay hydrated.
Rather than constantly buying plastic water bottles, I highly recommend you take a filter water bottle with you to Egypt, which will allow you to drink the tap water here (or anywhere in the world) safely.
An amazing piece of technology, I highly recommend Water-to-go bottles for the job.
And if you are looking for top sightseeing trips in Egypt, then check out these fantastic options.
What to Wear at the Coast in Egypt?
If you’re travelling to either Dahab, Sharm el Sheikh or Hurghada, you’ll find that dress codes are more relaxed than in other Egyptian destinations.
This means that coastal spots in this country are more chilled places to finish your trip and spend a few days relaxing.
With good temperatures and sandy beaches, you’ll definitely want to bring your swimwear and a towel to enjoy these spots.
Sunglasses, sun hats, sunscreen and sarongs are also a good idea.
Don’t forget a good book and your headphones too, and you may also want to bring a snorkel and mask set if you own one because, at the Red Sea, you’re on the edge of some of the best diving and snorkelling spots in the world, so don’t miss out!
And now I want to bring you a complete packing list for Egypt – a handy item-by-item guide so that you’re fully prepared and packed for your trip here.
Clothes to Pack for Egypt
1 Thin Windproof Jacket
Egypt has a hot, dry climate, but at night it can get chilly if you’re out in the desert.
As such, I recommend taking a thin windproof jacket with you to this country – something light, compact but practical would be ideal and this North Face Venture 2 is perfect.
3 Thin Sweaters or Cotton Long-Sleeved Tops
Great for layering as, in certain parts of the country, you might not feel comfortable walking around with bare arms, which means some thin, light tops are crucial.
I always love a natural fibre long sleeve option to stop me sweating as much!
2 Cardigans / Denim Shirts
Helpful in the evening and /or if you want something a bit smarter during the day.
I’m loving the denim shirt look right now!
7 Singlets / T-Shirts
Choose a range of colours and styles that match the trousers / shorts you’ve selected.
I recommend loose ones that will keep you cool and aren’t too revealing.
T-shirts are best as they cover shoulders (good for avoiding sunburn), or go for my ventilation tactic, which is a singlet with a thin scarf or sarong draped around the shoulders.
7 is a good number of tops as it means you have enough to survive without doing laundry for a week!
2 Jeans / Trousers
Great for going out in the evening or wandering around cities like Luxor and Cairo, you’re likely to feel very uncomfortable in anything short or revealing in Egypt (outside of the coastal regions), so long-legged pants are a must.
Just make sure they are thin and light!
2 Pair Leggings
One of my travel essentials full stop (not just in Egypt!), leggings are especially ideal when you’re exploring the temples and cities, because they are thin and breathable… if you get the right pair.
In fact, I strongly recommend bamboo fibre ones because they are breathable, hypoallergenic, soft, thin and compact down really easily.
In Egypt especially, leggings are good under a casual dress or tunic when you need to dress modestly and are comfy to wear on any long bus or train rides you might have to make.
1 Pair Shorts
Shorts are really only worn in Egypt by travellers at the coast, which is why I’ve suggested just 1 pair.
If you’re keen on a diving or snorkelling adventure, the Red Sea has some amazing opps and dress codes are certainly more relaxed here.
1 Summer Dress
Another great item for Egypt beach times and / or to pair over leggings in the cities.
Those who aren’t a fan of dresses, may wish to double up on the shorts here.
You can’t take enough sarongs travelling in my opinion. As they are so light, I recommend 2 as a minimum!
Perfect for using as a beach towel, a headscarf, a shoulder wrap, a bathrobe, a sheet, a laundry bag … the list goes on!
Check out my post about the 20 reasons why you should always take a sarong travelling for more ideas.
These ones from One World Sarongs have some beautiful designs.
Ideal if you’re wanting to visit any mosques and need to cover your head.
Also good to cover shoulders – see above in the T-Shirt / Singlet section for more info.
Small and compact, 8 pairs is a good number to save the hand washing duties!
Bras & Sports Bra
Make them comfortable ones in this heat!
Bikini / Swimwear
Well you need something to enjoy Egypt’s fabulous coast with that’s for sure.
I always love Rip Curl’s offering.
Most days you’ll probably be wearing sandals in Egypt, but this is for those exceptional days when you’ll wear trainers – like when travelling in planes, buses or trains.
You can always double up on your daywear here to save room if needs be!
Sun Hat & Sunglasses
Whether you want to bring a cap or a floppy, or a large designer number, the choice is yours.
Just make sure you bring a sun hat of some description because walking all day in cities or around temples in Egypt’s heat can be tough!
I love this one from Hello Sunshine.
Shoes to Pack
1 Pair Trainers / Runners
Versatile, comfortable and essential if you want to see all the sights in this epic country.
I highly recommend New Balance who create stylish city runners that you can still wear in the evening too.
1 Pair Flip Flops / Sandals
Personally, I love my Birkenstocks, which I basically lived in during my time throughout the Middle East and North Africa.
The support they offer means you can sightsee to your heart’s content and never get sore soles!
1 Pair Evening Flats
A great addition to any Egypt packing list if you want to go out for dinner at least a few times during your trip.
Toiletries to Pack
Thin Toiletries Bag
To hook or not to hook, that is the question!
Either way, just make sure it is light and thin.
This one is a great and affordable option.
Shampoo & Conditioner Bars
I always go for shampoo and conditioner bars when I travel to save the plastic and keep the space down!
Although they are a bit pricey, they last for ages.
Say goodbye to mid-travel spillages and bulky bottles people, this is the future!
I always pack a natural crystal deodorant when I travel as they last forever and are free from many nasty chemicals.
Keep your soap in a ziplock bag to prevent soap slime leaking on to everything you own!
Toothbrush, Toothpaste, Floss
Facial Wash, Toner, Serum, Moisturiser
Cotton Buds / Pads
Hair Bands & Hair Brush
Glasses / Contact Lenses if you wear them
Razor & Spare Blades
Nail Scissors, Nail File & Tweezers
Medical / First Aid Bits to Pack
Choose a 30 SPF or higher for those helluva strong rays in Egypt and go natural if you can to keep the chemicals out of your skin.
This doubles as a great moisturiser, soother and aftersun.
SPF Lip Salve
Very important for those UV conditions in Egypt.Burt Bees are always my go-to brand, as they never dry out my lips.
Natural Bug Repellent
An ideal remedy for headaches, sore muscles and insect bites, tiger balm is a super versatile, travel essential for me!
Tea-Tree Essential Oil
A powerful antiseptic, anti-mould and anti-fungal treatment, tea-tree oil is also great to throw in with your washing, or you can use a few drops to freshen up smelly bags / laundry etc!
Get an organic tea-tree oil if you can.
Paracetamol, Antiseptic Cream, Antihistamines & Band Aids
The only medicine you need to take in my opinion!
There’s so many pharmacies in this country you’ll be able to get almost anything you need there anyway!
The best way to deal with your time of the month when travelling ladies.
Check out the best prices for them here.
Electrical Items to Pack
Smartphone & Headphones
Taking your smartphone to stay in touch with those at home, check maps, book activities and upload some pics while you’re in Egypt is a great idea.
I’d also download some audiobooks and music onto your phone before you leave home – a good shout for travel days.
I recommend Amazon Audible and Spotify Premium for these purposes and wouldn’t travel anywhere without either these days.
Portable chargers are great when travelling without a solidly reliable charging source, like in Egypt, where power cuts can be a regular occurrence!
I recommend the Anker PowerCore which allows me to charge both my phone and my camera – BOOM!
Camera, Lens, Spare Battery & Charger
I love my Sony A600 mirrorless camera, which I’ve used across North Africa and beyond.
Light, compact and sturdy, it’s perfect for travelling.
I’d also recommend a GoPro for Egypt if you want to capture some of that Red Sea underwater action.
Take a large memory card if possible – like this 64GB one.
Might not be a bad idea to double up in case you lose it or fill it up.
High-speed memory cards are also a good idea for snappier processing times.
How are you going to charge your devices without an adapter?!
Egypt has the same type of plugs as continental Europe, so get a cheap adapter here.
Otherwise, you can splash out on a worldwide adapter – better value if you’re travelling elsewhere after North Africa or anytime in the future.Skross are a great, reliable brand that I highly recommended.
Headlamp & Spare Batteries
Never travel in Africa without a headlamp and try to choose a product that uses commonly found batteries and has a red night light function.
I love my Black Diamond Storm, which has served me well during my time across Africa.. and the globe!
A VPN service is a must for me when I travel, especially in high-risk countries.
I love NORD VPN who offer a huge number of global servers for a quick and seamless connection.
Documents to Remember
Passport & Photocopies
Definitely take a colour copy of your passport with you to Egypt and keep it with you at all times.
There are multiple checkpoints across the country and it’s necessary to have at least a copy of your passport with you if you get stopped.
Flight Tickets & Visa Documentation
Many nationalities can get free tourist visas for Egypt on arrival – hoorah!
Do check with your embassy before travelling however.
Always good to have with you wherever you travel.
World Nomads offers simple and flexible travel insurance. Buy at home or while travelling and claim online from anywhere in the world.
Alternatively, if you’re a long-term traveller, digital nomad or frequent remote worker seeking travel health cover, check out Safetywing’s Nomad Insurance policies.
Credit Cards and Debit Cards
ATMs in Egypt are plentiful and accept both Mastercard and Visa.
They tend to dish out both USD and Egyptian Pounds (LE).
When it comes to using ATMs, or paying for things in Egypt generally, you want to ensure you’re not being charged overseas transaction fees or getting poor exchange rates, which is why I always take my Wise Card away with me wherever I travel.
The easy way to spend abroad with real exchange rates, no markups and no sneaky transaction fees, you can use your Wise card just like a debit card in Egypt… and it links easily with Google and Apple pay – sold!
Get yours here.
Cash in Small, Thin Purse
Bring US Dollars with you – they are most easily exchanged in Egypt.
And Don’t Forget…
This whole packing list should fit into a 40l backpack – I never travel with anything bigger and love this great example from Berghaus.
I recommend Latrek travel towels, because they are cheap, compact, soft and don’t smell.
Love, love, love mine!
Read my review here.
Good for sightseeing and beach days, this one from PacSafe is perfect.
Very useful for locking up bags and valuables when staying in hostels, these don’t have to be expensive, just reliable!
Eye Mask & Earplugs
Key for sleeping on overnight train journeys and in hotels in Egypt.
This eye mask from Alaska Bear is super comfy and a great travel treat.
Filter Water Bottle
Amazing pieces of tech, filter water bottles allow you to drink tap water anywhere in the world safely.
My go-to brand are Water-to-go bottles, which are inexpensive, but very reliable and will allow you to drink Egypt’s non-potable tap water without any problems.
These great bottles also help prevent more unnecessary plastic waste from polluting our planet – double win!
Great for doing emergency washing such as underwear in a sink, travel handwash is always a must when I adventure anywhere.
SAVE IT TO PINTEREST!
So that’s it, my complete Egypt packing list.
Have you been to this gem of a country?
What else did you pack that I might have missed?
Please let me know in the comments box below…