A trip to Egypt is a big undertaking, and many people are nervous – or at least curious – about what and how to pack for such an adventure. The main considerations when packing for a trip to Egypt are climate, culture, and local conveniences. Here we go into each of these topics more in depth to help guide your packing routine for this trip of a lifetime.
Egypt’s climate ranges from warm to hot during the day and from warm to chilly at night for most of the year. Many people are surprised to find some nights cold in Egypt during the winter. While you’ll see Egyptians break out heavy jackets then, that’s more of just a fashion statement. Egypt’s coldest nights never require more than just a light jacket, a sweater, or a windbreaker.
However, more than just the temperature should be considered when packing and preparing for a trip to Egypt. While the country’s latitude is roughly equivalent to that of the state of Florida in the United States, the lack of humidity in much of the country can make the heat during the day feel much more intense on your skin.
As a result of this combination of atmospheric conditions, planning for protecting yourself from sun exposure should take precedence over worries about the temperature.
When packing for a trip to Egypt, feel free to choose clothing in which you would feel comfortable doing outdoor activities at home such as going on a long walk around a city. While you don’t need athletic clothing, you do want to be comfortable while walking over sand and rocks at some points, such as on the Giza Plateau and in the Valley of the Kings in Luxor. You don’t need a track suit, but you don’t want to wear a ball gown or suit either. That’s why we like to invoke analogies of clothing suitable for walking comfortably around an urban area.
Many of the pros in Egypt wear long sleeves, collared shirts, and long pants for maximum protection from the sun. Even a light scarf for both men and women is a good idea. You’ll notice that traditional local attire includes these themes for very good reason.
While Egypt is very much a traditional Islamic country with conservative social norms, it is also very much a country that has thrived on tourism and foreign trade for thousands of years. So while most Egyptians tend to be conservative in their dress and appearance, they don’t expect foreign guests to do the same. This means that women do NOT need to cover their heads in public while in Egypt, as is the case in other countries in the region.
It is also unusual for men in Egypt to wear shorts. While it is ok for tourists to do so, especially at tourist sites, it is seen as a little odd for anyone to wear shorts while walking casually around a city in Egypt, although no one would ever comment on this to a tourist.
Cairo is one of the largest cities in the world, so although Egypt is still very much a developing country, Cairo and even Luxor, Aswan, Alexandria, and the Red Sea resorts still have everything you could possibly want or need to survive on a trip to Egypt.
If you’re the type of traveler who absolutely needs your specific type of shampoo or soap, then by all means you should feel free to bring those. However, Egypt’s five-star hotels often have better quality shampoo and soap than many of us use back home on a regular basis. Also things like hand sanitizer and sunscreen can easily be purchased locally in Egypt rather than wasting luggage space.
A good travel tip is to plan time for a pharmacy or mini-market run once you get to Egypt to pick up some essentials such as these so that you don’t have to bother bringing them from home. However, if you have the extra luggage room, feel free to bring the kitchen sink.