If you are wondering what to pack for your trip to Egypt, you’ve come to the right place! In addition to a complete Egypt packing list, there are also guidelines for what to wear in Egypt. We’ll cover appropriate attire for women in Egypt (men too), the Cairo dress code and 10 essential items you may be forgetting to pack.
On our trip we found Egypt to be modern, yet conservative. What to wear in Egypt is pretty straightforward but definitely different for men and women. Just follow these few key packing tips you’ll be visiting Egypt with confidence. You will also find a comprehensive checklist at the bottom, including travel gear and which items to leave at home.
Planning Your Trip to Egypt Last Minute?
If you are trying to pull together your trip quickly, here is a quick reference guide to the tours and hotels we recommend, along with practical travel information.
You can also get more detailed information on our 7 Day Egypt Itinerary and 15 Things to Know Before Traveling to Egypt for important Egypt travel tips. Lastly, there are short videos for Aswan, Luxor and Cairo on our YouTube channel.
Weather and the Best Time to Go to Egypt
The weather in Egypt is something you will want to consider although the majority of the year has pretty high temperatures. The high season, and the most popular time to visit, is the winter. December through February has warm daytime temperatures and cool weather by night.
Shoulder season occurs from October-November and March-April. This time of year is very hot during the day, and so it is best to plan activities for the morning and evening.
May through September temperatures can be excruciatingly hot, so I don’t recommend visiting during those months. If you are wondering what the best clothing to wear in Egypt are, check out the 10 things you will want to pack below.
What to Wear in Egypt for Women & Men
There are two things people are typically thinking of when trying to figure out what to wear in Egypt. The first is the temperature. Egypt is a desert which means most of the things on your packing list will be for warm, dry weather.
The second and bigger consideration, is the type of clothing that is appropriate for a conservative country like Egypt. The good news is that modest clothing for Egypt doesn’t mean that you have to be fully covered all the time.
Since the sun can be very strong, sunscreen and a hat is essential. Closed toe shoes work the best when you are out touring dusty monuments. A mask will protect you from germs and also help with the dust.
Typically this is a trip where you move around a lot so it will make your life easier if you can pack everything for Egypt in a carry-on suitcase. Since all your clothing will be lightweight, it will be easy to pack in a smaller bag. Compression packing cubes can help you fit everything into a smaller suitcase as well.
What Men Should Wear in Egypt
In Egypt, men dress smartly. They wear pants and a short sleeve or long sleeve shirt. Some wear the more traditional abaya, which they jokingly refer to as Egyptian air conditioning.
My husband wore shorts and he was assured by people that it was okay but no Egyptian men wore shorts. Men can generally wear what they want in Egypt.
What to Wear in Egypt for Women: Egyptian Outfit
The Egyptian dress code for women is conservative but a little more modern in Cairo than other parts of the country.
- Choose lightweight and airy clothes that don’t expose a lot of skin.
- Outside of beach resorts, crop tops or anything showing your stomach is a hard no.
- Shorts are typically for resorts or cruises. You can wear them in a big tour group but choose shorts that are long enough to cover your butt. If you’re NOT in a big tour group, don’t wear shorts anywhere you wouldn’t wear a bathing suit.
I wore shorts to the train station in Luxor, attracting unwanted attention and almost died of embarrassment. You can see the video that shows it all here.
My Egyptian outfit consisted of a midi or maxi dresses that were short sleeved or sleeveless. Then I added a long sleeved button up shirt and/or scarf when necessary and I wore sneakers.
Many taxis don’t have air conditioning, so being able to get rid of sleeves will be a godsend. You can also wear t-shirts with pants or long skirts. Just make sure they aren’t low cut showing cleavage. You can also pack this Mini Fan.
The Cairo Dress Code
What you wear in Cairo might be different than other parts of your trip. Cairo is a big city with great restaurants and nightlife. You can wear what you would typically wear for a night out as long as it is conservative. There is no dress code per se in Egypt.
Egyptian women wear the same things we do including fitted clothing like skinny jeans and leggings. They typically wear loose, long sleeved tops with high necklines (no cleavage showing). They don’t wear tank tops, anything with their stomach showing or mini skirts.
For the Pyramids of Giza, you will need modest clothing that offers sun protection. Again, I recommend a sleeveless dress and carrying something to put on top when necessary. It is very hot and there’s no place to get out of the sun.
Mosques in Cairo require women to have shoulders covered, long skirts or pants and head covering. They will typically have you remove your shoes.
10 Things You Will Want to Pack for Egypt
1. When Packing for Egypt a Scarf Should be #1 on Your List
Something that most people don’t think to pack for warm weather is a scarf but you will wear it often in Egypt. Bring one like this lightweight linen beach gauze shawl that can also cover your shoulders. It is necessary to have your head covered in a mosque.
I brought a scarf but forgot to take it with me when we were going shopping in Cairo. We happened upon a beautiful mosque and they wouldn’t let me in without putting on this borrowed, unfortunately smelly, abaya.
The moral to this story is to pack a light-weight scarf or two in your bag AND it carry with you.
2. Hat to Block the Sun is an Essential Part of Your Egypt Outfit
The sun can be brutal and you’ll find many times when you can’t find a shady spot. You will wear a hat constantly in Egypt. A wide brim straw hat is the best to block the sun.
I like to take an inexpensive packable hat with me that I don’t mind losing or damaging. Other people prefer a designer packable hat that you can put in your suitcase.
I also brought a fedora hat to change up the look a bit. Two hats are easily packable to if they fit inside each other.
3. A Sun Umbrella is Also a Great Idea for Your Egypt Packing List
The inexpensive 50+ UV protection sun umbrella I packed for Egypt was a lifesaver at the Pyramids of Giza. We were out in the sun for hours with no shade protection and it cut down the amount of heat, which made all the difference.
It comes in 5 different color combinations. We tested umbrellas with white and black underneath. The black definitely was cooler and cut down glare. To take it up another notch, this double sun umbrella will provide even better protection. The umbrella is so compact that it’s easy to pack in your suitcase or daypack.
4. Make Sure to Pack Sunscreen with High SPF
As we all know, most of Egypt is desert land. We’ve talked above about hats and sun umbrellas. In addition, you really need high SPF sunscreen that you apply throughout the day.
If you are just staying in cities, use a weightless, clear 30 SPF sunscreen that also works as a makeup primer. It’s my go to everyday sunscreen and it’s perfect travel size will last you for the whole trip.
5. Long Sleeve Button-Down Shirt
While Egypt is a more progressive middle eastern country, it is still important to be respectful of the culture and religious beliefs of its people. Furthermore, Egypt is hot.
To stay as cool as possible and protected from the sun while sightseeing, yet still maintain a respectful demeanor, a basic button-down shirt is a must for your Egypt packing list.
Not only is it a versatile piece of clothing for Egypt, but you will wear it during the day or out at night.
6. Dresses for Egypt
When people ask me what to wear in Egypt, my first answer is a lightweight maxi dress. I found this super soft, lightweight jersey fabric, cami maxi dress that doesn’t wrinkle, comes in 22 colors and is the best deal.
The other dress I found and love is this button up, short sleeve maxi dress that comes in tons of prints and colors. It’s also a great deal and the flowy skirt looks amazing for an Instagram post .
You could pack 2 of each of these dresses to your list for Egypt and barely use any of your packing space. That’s how lightweight and perfect they are. With a long sleeve shirt to go on top, you would have 8 outfits. You might also consider a lightweight maxi skirt for more versatility.
7. Wear Comfortable Shoes for Sightseeing in Egypt
There are endless sights to see throughout Egypt, many of which require walking on paths and often through dirt. Since you’ll be doing a lot of walking, your shoes need to be comfortable and protective.
My favorite sneakers to wear on vacation are super comfortable, inexpensive, easy to clean off and they get replaced when necessary. They were perfect to wear in Egypt for almost everything. Don’t bring sneakers you can’t get dirty.
Beyond having regular walking shoes, when going into town to shop for food or trinkets, or even just lounging around the hotel, it’s always nice to have a pair of open, breathable sandals to throw on when you aren’t doing anything too strenuous.
8. A Power Bank to Keep Your Phone Charged
A typical day trip in Egypt means that you’ll be using your phone for navigation, photos, videos, getting an Uber and staying in touch. Often that means being out all day or hours traveling between cities. You need to charge your phone on the go.
One of the most important items on your packing list for Egypt is a portable power bank that can charge up to 3 devices simultaneously. You can easily keep it in your pocket or purse all day long and get 3 full charges out of it.
9. Step Down Power Converter and Plug Adapter for Egypt
When you get back at night and are ready to charge your electronics, you need an Egypt plug adapter and a step down voltage converter .
10. Secure Purse, Day Pack and AirTag Tracker
Anti Theft Purse
An anti-theft travel purse or safe back pack is a must no matter where in the world you choose to travel. Tourists are an obvious target for pickpocketing, and at the bigger tourist sights in Egypt, it’s an issue.