So you've booked your flight to Egypt, secured your perfect all-inclusive vacation and you've got kiteboarding, delicious Egyptian cuisine, and mysterious Pharaohs on your mind. Now you have to figure out what you're going to pack for this trip. Every one travels and packs differently and if you are a seasoned traveller you will have your own personal travel check list at the ready, but hopefully some of our suggestions will help you to bring everything you need and take the stress out of packing.
Before you start rolling the t-shirts and folding the trousers, consider your trip you may be planning to include some more adventurous things this holiday, or maybe just sunning and swimming. The clothes for visiting historical sights, need just as much thought as which bikini you are going to pack.
Hopefully our ideas will help you which ever time of the year you are travelling. If nothing else we hope it is a handy guide for planning your suitcase and contains a tip or two to help you bring everything you need.
When to Visit Egypt?
There is really no wrong time to visit Egypt as the weather is generally pleasant all year round, you may not wish to visit Luxor and Aswan in the full heat of high summer, but there are always other parts like Red Sea holidays and Alexandria.
November – March - This is the best time for those who want some winter sunshine, there are often less people except during the school holidays. The winter in Egypt is mild and generally sunny, except maybe in Alexandria when there can be rain.
April – May / September – October - These are the best months to visit Egypt, especially if you want to explore the North and the South regions. The weather is warmer and suitable both for hiking and enjoying the beaches.
June – August - If you don't mind the heat, summer in Egypt is perfect for the beach and pool lounging. This is peak season at the Red Sea while Cairo, Luxor, and Aswan have fewer tourists due to temperatures that reach over 40C degrees.
Important Points To Remember
Egypt's climate is dry – it is mainly desert so, you will need to bring moisturisers and hair conditioners.
It is hot – during the summer it is sweltering, and even at other times of the year it can be hot especially in the middle of the day - you will need sun hats, sunglasses, sunscreen lotion and water.
Conservative clothing – Being mindful of Muslim culture so clothes generally need to cover up a little more than in the summer in the U.K. At the Red Sea areas they are more used western dress.
Lots of sand – and as you know, sand has a habit of getting everywhere.
Tight places to negotiate – If you plan on entering the Pyramids or the tombs in the valley of the kings, you will be negotiating entrances that appear to have been made for smaller people than we tend to be now.
Thirsty – Your guides will have a supply of water. Still you will notice that you often feel thirsty, so you and your travel partners would be well advised to carry some water of your own.
THE PACKING LIST
LUGGAGE AND ACCESSORIES
Backpack - Backpack - even if you do not usually choose a back pack a small day sack is very useful to carry your essentials day to day.
Standard size expandable suitcase – 4-wheel 26″ roller suitcase.
Bag for single day clothes – It is always a good idea to a change of clothes in your carry on bag for the aircraft. It is always possible with any holiday that your luggage could get delayed.
Packing Cubes - You won't understand why you need these until you buy some. They're excellent for staying organized. No more having to reorganize all your stuff every time you need to get one thing out of your suitcase. A medium-sized packing cube is perfect for rolled-up t-shirts and can easily fit up to 8-10 t-shirts.
Organizing bags - keeping all of your things easily accessible each in their different bag or cube makes accessing them once on holiday a much easier task and also means that dirty shoes, or liquids from your toiletries do not make the rest of the contents of your case dirty. An extra bag for laundry is also a good idea.
Locking Purse - Better safe than sorry, bring a handy lockable purse with you to keep your water bottle, camera, wallet, and other stuff.
Valuables - you will need something to keep your valuables safe when out and about, waterproof for the beach and if possible lockable.
CLOTHING FOR ALL SEASONS
For Summer - tee shirts or tops for each day, preferably not vest tops. two or three pairs of summer trousers and maybe a summer skirt or two. A long sleeved outfit for the evening. It maybe worth buying these with insect repellent in the fabric or else bring insect repellent with you. Also for women a scarf or light shawl can be useful especially if visiting mosques or churches. Just bring one as you will find many practical and beautiful ones available for sale while you are in Egypt.
For winter - (2) temperature regulating t-shirts, (2) temperature-regulating long-sleeved shirts, (3) blouses / lighter sweaters, a fleece jacket, (2) light jumper or cardigan, (1) pair of baggy pants, (2) pairs of jeans/smart casual pants, (1) dress, everything else in the other categories.
Basic temperature regulating t-shirt - No matter what the season, you'll want at least one basic temperature regulating shirt.
Cute temperature-regulating shirt - For some strange and inexplicable reason, Merino wool keeps you cool in summer, warm in winter, dries quickly, and keeps away moisture.
Insect repellant top - You'll need this in both summer and winter since insects and mosquitos in Egypt are pretty active. If you're particularly concerned, you can also spray Permethrin on your clothing before you go. It lasts up to six washes.
Long-sleeved temperature regulating top - Winter in Egypt is relatively warm during the day and chilly at night. You'll want temperature regulating tops that are suitable for this variation in temperature. Even if you travel in summer and you end up hiking or camping, you'll want at least one of these tops.
Blouses / Shirts - For the rest of the time when you're out and about, you'll want some nice tops (short or long-sleeved depending on your sensitivity to sunlight). People generally dress smartly, so keep that in mind when choosing clothes. Just make sure you pack lightweight clothes.
Cardigan - Having one on hand for chilly evenings or for mosque visits. You'll also want an additional layer when taking a bus or train or plane anywhere.
Lightweight, loose pants - If you're going to Egypt in the summer, you'll want baggy and lightweight pants. If you're travelling in winter, you'll probably want just one pair of lightweight khakis and two pairs of jeans to mix and match according to the season and your personal style.
Jeans/dockers - If it's summer, it's way too hot to wear jeans. However, you'll probably want to bring at least one pair of dockers for evenings. If you're travelling during winter, you'll want to bring a few pairs of jeans/dockers pants and maybe one pair of lightweight ones. Mix and match according to the season.
Skirts - If you're travelling in winter, you probably only need one, if any at all. During summer, a couple will do. Make sure they're long, and they match your tops.
Dresses -If you're travelling during summer, bring one nicer casual dress that you can wear both during the day and in the evening. If you're visiting during winter, you can bring one just in case or bring a skirt and a cute top. Either way, make sure it covers below the knee and your shoulders or can be paired with a cardigan.
Scarves - Bring several scarves and a few basic shirts to mix and match and create new outfits.
Large shawl - Carrying a large wrap is helpful for impromptu mosque visits or for protecting your skin when the sun is too intense. Plus, it's a cute outfit accessory as well.
Swimsuit - Your normal style of swimsuit, a one piece may feel more comfortable than a bikini but both styles are fine. For women definitely no topless bathing or sunbathing at any time.
(Women) Cover-up - For women a cover up for use getting to the pool or the beach. For men one of those tee shirts will suffice.
Sun hat - To prevent your skin from breaking from the intense Egyptian sun, especially if you're prone to burning.
Sunglasses - No explanation necessary. Yes, you need them in winter too.
OUTER and UNDERWEAR
(Women) Your normal underwear, with maybe any suitable extras if you are planning to visit the gym on holiday.
Sports socks - Maybe change your normal socks for sports socks. These are designed for hot and sticky situations.
Fleece - Even in the summer, you'll want to bring a jacket for early morning hikes, overnight camping trips, or for freezing cold long-distance buses and trains.
Packable down jacket - There are some winter days when it gets pretty chilly, so a proper jacket does come in handy. A packable one is warm but doesn't take up much room in your suitcase.
(Women) We would also suggest packing cotton pyjamas or tops and shorts or trousers a useful addition to your case.
(Men) Two tank tops to double as PJ's that you can use at some point on the trip.
Sandals - Pick ones that are cute and comfortable to walk in all day or hiking ones for the great outdoors.
Flats - Sensible shoes for visiting ancient sites or doing activities like horse riding, these could even be trainers.
All-purpose sneakers - You can wear them to hike up a mountain or to explore a new city. These are your go-to travel shoes, and if they get dirty, you can throw them in the wash. These are especially useful when visiting historical sites.
Water shoes (optional) - If you are on a beach holiday these are very useful, and will save you discomfort if on a rocky part of the beach and protect you while in the water from sea urchins.
Light slippers – Are easy to throw in on the outside compartment of the suitcase.
Shoe pouches – A small accessory that is quite useful as a lightweight bag to store shoes while keeping your suitcase clean.
TOILETRIES AND ACCESSORIES
Light hanging toiletry bag - to keep all your toiletries conveniently at hand.
Nail clippers – You'll certainly need these, especially when it gets dry in Egypt.
A glasses cases – Not the coolest accessory but safer than losing your sunglasses while hanging to your shirt collar.
Oral care -Don't forget your toothbrush, toothpaste, and floss sticks. Your favourite brands might be a little more expensive, so it's easier to just bring your stuff with you.
Shaving machine - Use a compact electric shaver for short trips and if you don't have sensitive skin, you can easily buy a razor at a pharmacy.
Deodorant - Cause we all sweat.
Shampoo, Conditioner, Leave-in Conditioner, and Soap - Your favourite hair and skincare brands (especially niche brands) might not be available in Egypt. Leave-in conditioner is essential because the water in Egypt will dry out your hair. As for soap, we recommend you buy a multitasking travel soap that you can use to clean yourself, clothing, and dishes.
Hand sanitizer and face wipes - Egypt is a dry and dusty desert, so face wipes or baby wipes will help you stay fresh. The hand sanitizer is always handy to have, especially if a bathroom isn't available, at restaurants and for spontaneous snacking.
Makeup - For minimalists, a tinted moisturizer, mascara, eyebrow pencil, eyeliner, and lipstick are all you'll need. However, for makeup-lovers, you also need travel-sized versions of your favourite makeup. Just stay away from anything prone to melting.
SPF Chapstick - Use it often and only buy the SPF kind. If your lips don't dry out from the air, they'll get sunburned from the sun.
50 SPF Sunscreen - You will constantly re-apply, especially on those intense days in Cairo and Luxor where there is no cover at all, and you are bouncing between ancient sites. Chemicals in sunscreen have a negative effect on the ocean, so if you're going swimming, we recommend an environmentally safe brand.
Insect repellent - If you're travelling to Egypt in the summer, you'll definitely want insect repellent. It's not as bad as when you're going to tropical destinations, but even so, the mosquitos are pretty relentless. Plus, it's safe to use on your clothes and your skin, and it doesn't make you feel or smell bad.
Chafing gel - You know that uncomfortable rawness you get between your thighs from them rubbing together? It's very real, especially when it's hot out.
Menstruation things - What ever is normal for you.
Skincare - Whether it's hand, face, or body moisturizer, you'll need it all. What you don't want to skimp on is a face moisturizer. All the sun and heat will dry out your skin and don't forget to pack a good body lotion too. Your body needs hydration as well.
Miscellaneous - In terms of jewellery, all you need is 3 pairs of earrings plus what you're already wearing and a few cute and matching bracelets and necklaces. Also, pack a waterproof phone pouch and a perfume bottle atomizer if you want to bring your favourite perfume along. Also don't forget to pack a hairbrush, hair ties and bobby pins.
TRAVEL SAFETY AND FIRST AID
Travel Insurance - Yes, you need travel insurance for if things (hopefully don't but often do) go wrong. Check out the different plans and pick the one that's right for you.
Photocopy of important documents – Kept in your suitcase, as a back up.
Cash – You can get Egyptian money in England, but the rate is usually better if you bring sterling and change it at the hotel or a bank. Also carry with you a credit card, there are one or two more suitable for travel. Much of Egypt works on cash still but in larger places you can pay by card and if stuck you can use your card in an ATM. If you do bring a card or two, make sure to tell your bank before you travel or they may block your cards.
Luggage Locks - Preferably the approved for travel locks and if you have a standard black suitcase attach something to make it stand out on the luggage carousel.
Anti Diarrheal - This is worth packing as many people find the change of food and water and the heat, effects them. If you forget ask your representative as there are plenty of chemist shops in Egypt and they all sell medicines like this. If you find yourself in the chemists shop (sydellaya) you will find that someone will speak English as they like doctors, train in English.
Rehydration Salts - this is good to have with you as it is easy to dehydrate especially if you have a day or two of diarrhoea.
Painkillers - Always bring your family favourite but nothing codeine based.
Travel sickness- If you suffer from it you know what suits you.
Strepsils – If you get sore throat easily, then a pack of these is always handy.
After Bite gel – For children and those that are easily bitten.
Travel First Aid Kit – It’s a good idea to stick a small one in your bag but remember to remove the scissors if you aren't planning to check your luggage.
External Hard-drive – where you store all of your photos and videos or back them up as the trip goes on.
Air Pods – Primarily for watching Netflix on the plane.
Tech Pouch – This is a great for keeping a lot of small gadgets together.
Various chargers - for all the electronic gear for the trip.
VPN - To access your bank account or any secure online account, sites get worried when you're in a foreign country. Accessing some of these sites could be annoying or downright impossible. Also there are quite a few sites that are blocked in Egypt.
Power bank - You're out and about all day and using your phone to navigate, take photos, and whatnot. Picking a light, fast one with multi charging ports is essential.
Universal travel adapter - You can use them in every country and never have to worry about plugs again. Some also have USB slots, which is super handy if you are mainly charging phones, cameras, and tablets. Pack two just in case.
GoPro Camera - For adventure footage and photos.
Sports watch – a rugged, waterproof sports accessory for snorkelling and diving trips.
Kindle -Not only can you keep guidebooks on there, but it's also nice to be able to read at your leisure on those long-distance trips or at the beach.
Headphones -The small noise-cancelling wired ones do a pretty good job of blocking ambient sound on aeroplanes (and everywhere else).
Laptop/Tablet (optional) -A lightweight laptop or tablet is easier for travel planning than a smartphone.
Water bottle or water-purifying bottle - Unless you are boiling the water, so buy the bigger bottles and decant them into your own individual ones.
Microfiber towel - Pretty much all hotels will have towels for use on hand, but it's always nice to have a towel you can use when travelling. Whether on the beach or at an impromptu picnic, a microfiber towel dries quickly and is also great for hikes and outdoor activities.
Travel pillow - Not just for the plane but also for sleeping on long-distance trains and/or buses. Just attach it to your backpack when you aren't using it.
Eye mask and earplugs - Making your environment as quiet and dark as possible makes for better sleep, especially if you're planning on staying downtown in Cairo particularly. Most likely the street noise will be annoying enough to interrupt your sleep. We highly recommend bringing earplugs, even if you don't usually sleep with them.
Toilet paper - You can always buy toilet paper while there or take some from your hotel. If you're particularly worried about hygiene, also bring your travel toilet seat covers. Note - don't flush anything down the toilet in Egypt, not even toilet paper. The pipes can't handle it.
Snacks and granola bars – If you have to skip meals because of a packed schedule, or you’re travelling with children, it is recommended to pack a bunch in your backpack.
Egyptian Arabic Phrasebook - Is more of a nice-to-have than a necessity. However, it will be particularly useful if you're travelling through Egypt independently and if you're not at tourist sites. Google Translate is quite helpful but it translates to Modern Standard Arabic, not Egyptian Arabic, which sounds different.
Lonely Planet Guidebook - It's nice to have a reference but it's not a necessity if you've done proper research or have internet access.
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