If you’ve landed here, you’re probably planning a trip to Egypt and I’m BEYOND excited for you! I seriously loved my 3 weeks there helping Alex in Wanderland manage her Wander Women Egypt retreat, and I look back on it as one of my favorite trips.
Egypt is known for its rich culture and history and there are so many incredible things you can experience like interesting museums with remnants of ancient civilization, unique landscapes and architecture, and of course the Great Pyramids! So, there’s no doubt you’ll want to be dressed appropriately.
One of the main challenges in planning my trip was packing for Egypt travel during the summer. After all, Egypt is part of the Middle East and temperatures can get scorching hot with chilly evenings.
Because Egypt is a large country with many different types of terrain and a variety of climates (not to mention more conservative customs), you’ll want to be prepared! And since it’s important in Egypt for women to wear conservative attire, I wanted to dedicate a post on what women should wear and pack for a trip to Egypt.
Tips on What to Wear in Egypt: Packing List for Women
What to Wear in Egypt
About ~90% of Egyptians are Muslim. This means that the majority of the country dresses pretty modest—including men. You’ll see the majority of local women in Egypt covering up their knees, shoulders, and sometimes their hair.
This can range depending on where you are. I spent a lot of time at the Red Sea (Dahab in South Sinai) and in Cairo. Dahab is a beach town and pretty relaxed on dress code. We were wearing bathing suits, shorts, and cover-ups around. Cairo, on the other hand, was more conservative, outside of the touristy attractions.
Many people also ask if they need to cover their head and wear a headscarf in Egypt and the answer is, no. However, I do recommend bringing a scarfto cover your shoulders when you’re wearing a dress. Some mosques require you to have one when entering.
A few people have also asked if sandals are okay, or if you have to cover your feet. The good news is that any type of shoe that is comfortable will work!
I brought a mix of sandals and tennis shoes and ended up only wearing the sandals because I was walking in a sandy climate and was really hot.
Foreign Women Traveling: What to Wear in Egypt
As a foreign woman traveling around Egypt, just be prepared for attention—mostly from men. This is just something you kind of have to get used to in Egypt, unfortunately. The more you cover-up, the less attention (stares, catcalls) you’ll get.
Out of respect to the culture and religion, I would recommend following local customs and covering up more than you would at home, especially if you want to avoid this unwanted attention.
Hair covering is not necessary in Egypt, but I do recommend covering your knees and shoulders as best you can. Just remember this isn’t a hard and fast rule, so a lot of it has to do with personal preference. When it was just us girls together in our hotel, villa, or on a boat, we didn’t follow the rules as much as we did when we were walking around in public.
In Cairo, I saw tourists in mini skirts and tight shorts. I even saw one lady wearing a bra and shorts to the pyramids. While this isn’t against the rules, you will get a lot of unwanted attention, trust me! I felt comfortable with my knees and shoulders covered for modesty.
In the summertime, Egypt is extra hot with temperatures of around 90°F-100°F+. During the “winter” months, you can expect it to be within the 60°F-70°F range. Many people say that the best time to visit Egypt is anytime from September to April when temps are a little less intense.
Anticipate crowds around major holidays like Christmas and New Year. I went to Egypt at the beginning of September and it was HOT in the 100s. There was a slight breeze every once in a while, but most of the time I was sweating profusely. Many people say this is actually a great time to visit because the heat scares off tourists.
Egypt Packing List for Women
This packing list will help you figure out what to wear for your trip to Egypt no matter where you go in the country.
Egypt Packing List: Bags
I recommend the Osprey Sojourn Wheeled Luggage. The 60L version of this bag is the best and I even took it on my year of travel. It was great because it can be wheeled in most places, but also has the option to become a backpack.
This bag is perfect if you’re like me and want to be stylish, but also carry around a camera. This fits a mirrorless camera with two lenses!
I take this bag everywhere with me when traveling. It’s got compartments for everything and room for my camera gear, laptop, or other electronics.
I can’t speak highly enough about packing cubes. They keep your bag completely organized and have helped me so much when traveling. It doesn’t really matter the brand, but I like Eagle Creek because of their flexibility and you can really fit a lot into each pack.
Egypt Packing List: Electronics
I use the Sony Alpha 6000. This camera is seriously the best thing to happen to me! I’ve used it for over a year and it’s the perfect size for traveling. Plus the photos come out clear and crisp without much fidgeting with the camera.
You don’t need to know a thing about photography to get great photos with this thing. Check out my Instagram to see the photos I’ve taken with it – @travelingspud. You honestly won’t want to miss the incredible photo opportunities in Egypt so I think it’s a good idea to bring your best quality option.
A power bank is a must if you’re using your phone for a lot of reasons, like taking photos, using maps, etc. I recommend this one!
A must for travel, I love these because they are noise canceling and great for the plane!
Underwater Camera or GoPro
I did a lot of diving in the Red Sea while I was on my Egypt trip, so I brought my GoPro. The Red Sea has some of the best diving on earth, so if that’s what you’re coming for definitely bring your camera.
You might want to look into a portable wifi hotspot like Skyroam if you don’t want to rely on Egypt’s shotty wifi. I personally used this while I was in Egypt because I had some client work to do while I was there and it was a game-changer.
To use it, you can buy the device at home and then buy a monthly plan or purchase day passes for the days you need it.
Unlocked Phone for Sim Card
The Sim cards in Egypt are very affordable. I recommend getting one when you get to the airport so you don’t have to worry about it. You can have them put it in for you. I used Orange and found it to be a great option.
Many times I’ll read on my phone, but a Kindle is great for a trip like this if you have time to read.
Egypt Packing List: Clothing and Shoes
The key to packing for Egypt is to pack lightweight fabrics. I chose to stick to dresses and rompers that I knew I could cover up if necessary with comfortable shoes and accessories.
I brought maxi dresses similar to this one, this one, and this one and they were perfect with a scarf around the shoulders.
I hit the jackpot on jumpsuits/rompers at Target and they were perfect for the trip. I have romperssimilar to this and this.
Flowy pants like these are great for the heat in Egypt because they are breathable and comfy! You can also buy these in Egypt, but they are great to have for the plane ride over because they feel like pajamas.
These are great for layering (you can put a scarf over them) and wearing with flowy pants.
I added this here to tell you that I didn’t pack jeans and I wouldn’t have ever worn them because it was too hot when I went. Also, I would only pack leggings if you are doing some sporty activity and/or want to be warm on the plane.
Most hotels have air-conditioning so if you get cold easily, you might want to bring warmer ones.
Swimsuit and Cover-Up
I was at the beach a lot and diving in the Red Sea, so I was in a swimsuit and cover up a lot in Dahab. You may not need to bring a swimsuit or cover-up at all, but if you have a pool at your hotel or are going to the Red Sea, I highly recommend it.
These will be great if you plan on hanging out in beach towns at the Red Sea (Dahab and Sinai). I don’t think they would be appropriate in other areas.
Depending on the amount of walking you will be doing, you may want to invest in a comfortable pair of sandals. I didn’t wear tennis shoes the entire time although I packed them. It was just too hot. I wore my Birkenstocks quite a bit and then wore my flip flops on days we were diving, but I don’t think walking around Cairo in flip flops would be very comfortable.
You don’t need these unless you’ll be doing a lot of walking and don’t have comfortable and supportive sandals for walking long distances. I recommend these Allbirds for their comfiness.
I recommend bringing your favorite sun hat when you’re touring ruins or just don’t want to be in the direct sunlight!
Bring one or two lightweight neutral scarves that will go great with everything. I brought one with me almost everywhere I went to cover up my shoulders when I felt uncomfortable and to cover my hair upon entering a mosque in Cairo.
It’s sunny in Egypt! Definitely bring sunnies.
Egypt Packing List: Toiletries
The good news about Egypt is you’ll easily be able to find pharmacies and places to buy toiletries in case you forget anything. Here are some things to pack:
Life straw water bottle – This is great if you don’t want to keep buying so many plastic water bottles. Unfortunately, Egypt’s water isn’t necessarily potable and needs extra filtration.
Sunscreen – Make sure it’s reef safe if you plan on diving/swimming.
Bug spray – There can be mosquitos depending on where you are in the country and what season you visit.
Makeup – This may melt off in the Egyptian heat but has a chance to stay on a little longer during cooler evenings.
Hydrating lotion – Make sure you have something for your hands and face because the desert air will suck all of the moisture out!
Tampons/Saalt Cup– It may be difficult to find your favorite feminine hygiene products at local Egyptian stores.
Ibuprofen – Just in case you get a nasty dehydration headache!
Imodium or traveler’s diarrhea pills – Always essential when traveling – you never know when food poisoning, parasites, or other gastrointestinal issues will strike.
Hand sanitizer – This will be handy for bathrooms in Egypt.
Hair Detangler – if you spend any time diving or swimming in the sea, you’ll want this to detangle your hair.
I bought the Orange card when I arrived at the Cairo airport. It was perfect – I had great 4G service for the majority of the trip.
My favorite travel insurance is hands-down World Nomads and is great for trips to the Middle East.
Passport + Visa
Don’t forget your passport! Also, as a US Citizen, you can get your visa upon arrival for $25 USD. I recommend bringing exact USD to buy this at the airport. It’s really easy was super quick for me. Here’s a bit more information about the visa process.
Credit Card and Debit Without International Transaction Fee
Cash is king in Egypt. I recommend getting money out of the ATM when you get to the airport. However, at places where you can use a credit card, I love the Chase Sapphire Reserve because of all of the perks and points you get on travel. My favorite debit card is through Charles Schwab because they don’t have ATM fees. I use this anytime I travel internationally. You can sign up for it here!
Hopefully, this helps you decide on what to pack for your trip to Egypt! Also, you might want to also leave a little room for shopping in case you buy things in the markets (I did)! Just remember that Egypt does have most of the same toiletries, medicine, shampoo, conditioner, and toiletries as we do, so if you lose or forget anything you can always buy it there.
I hope you are as excited as I am that you’ve decided to travel to Egypt. It truly is a wonderful place to visit. Have so much fun on your trip and if you’ve been to Egypt before and I missed anything, please let me know in the comments below!
Welcome to the Traveling Spud! I’m Katie, a 30 something from Idaho who quit her marketing job in San Francisco, California to travel the world for a year. After a trip around the world, my heart chose Idaho. I'm addicted to outdoor adventures, photography, and inspiring others to get out of their comfort zones and cross experiences off of their bucket lists. Let's explore together! Read more here.