The following is a guest packing list post by Loraul Volk. See all packing list posts here.
I had the opportunity to go in 2008 with my high school as a 12 day senior class trip through Egypt. We started in Cairo, and from there we took an overnight train to Luxor and then a very small cruise ship down the Nile to Aswan. We also had the opportunity to go to Abu Simbel which is only accessible by plane (a very small run down plane with chickens running around inside). All in all it was the best trip of my life and I would go back in a heartbeat!
February is often considered the coldest month in Egypt. The average temperature during the day in February is 21 degrees and a low of 9 degrees at night. It rarely rains and if it does it’s not for long.
1 pair of blue jeans – It’s much too hot to wear them during the day but they may come in handy when it is a bit cooler at night (plus they can be dressed up a little if need be)
1 pair of jean capris – To wear during the day (I lived in mine during my trip)
1 nice pair of linen capri length trousers – Keep in a neutral tone (black, beige, brown) to keep them versatile with different tops (can be worn both day and night)
1 pair of black yoga pants – For a day excursion where you may be hiking. Also for comfort when traveling between cities (I wore them on the overnight train)
1 pair of black cotton leggings (full length or capri length) – Can be worn for sleeping or underneath a cotton skirt
1 pair of lightweight cotton pajama pants – For sleeping purposes of course!
*I do NOT recommend bringing shorts! As a respect to their culture and for your safety I advise that all bottoms should be knee length or below*
1 cotton/jersey dress – To wear out to dinner but should have cap sleeves so shoulders are not exposed (I would consider this an optional item as you could leave it at home and buy something locally)
1 cotton/lightweight knee length skirt – Can be worn casual during the day with a t shirt or dressed up for night. I recommend pairing it with black knee length leggings underneath
*All dresses should not have spaghetti straps! I recommend bringing a dress with cap sleeves, or pairing it with a light cardigan. All dresses/skirts should be worn with black knee length cotton leggings for safety and out of respect to their conservative culture*
3 plain V-neck t shirts (black, white or grey) – Can be worn with anything
2 patterned or colored V-neck t shirts – Can be worn with any neutral colored pant or skirt
3 light weight cotton spaghetti strap tank tops – For layering ONLY! I wear a lot of black so I like to bring layering tank tops just to add a splash of color underneath a black top
2 light weight cardigans – One black and one colored to add variety to your outfits. You will probably only need these for night time.
1 bright coloured, hooded thin sweatshirt (hooded) – You will only need this for the plane, traveling in between cities for comfort, or for walking around at night
1 light weight wind breaker – I didn’t think I’d need one but I remember the area around the pyramids were extremely windy
I personally had no opportunity to swim while I was in Egypt but upon further digging on the internet there are places to swim. However, it is highly recommended that women do not swim alone and they do not swim in bikinis, or even shorts. So my personal opinion would be to leave the bathing suits at home and if you must swim, swim in your clothes.
Trainers – I’m more of a converse girl and can very easily live in those but a good pair of trainers will do you well during a long day of walking as a lot of the ground is uneven
Flip flops (optional) – I don’t feel comfortable wearing flip flops on a lot of uneven pavement. My concern was tripping and getting a cut that could easily get infected. So take at your own risk. (Editor’s note: Flip flops are essential if staying in hostels to protect your feet from questionable shower floors.)
Ballet flats – I recommend these over flip flops. They can be worn during the day and keep your toes covered and they can also be dressed up for evenings
Day backpack – Big enough to carry your phone, camera, purse, water bottle, map, notebook, light weight wind breaker, and a little extra room for souvenirs you might pick up throughout the day
Small over the shoulder/messenger bag – For going out at night
Kindle (with charger) – Optional if you don’t have one obviously
iPhone (with charger) – Data roaming turned off
iPod (with charger) – Handy for the plane if you don’t have an iPhone with your music library on it
Camera (with charger) – With extra SD memory cards
*A Ziploc bag to keep all of the chargers together*
Have a read through this tech gear packing list for more ideas.
Medicine – This is important! You will need to follow up with a travel doctor in your hometown about the vaccinations that you will need in order to obtain your visa for entry into Egypt. From what I can recall, you will need the Twinrix vaccine for both Hepatitis A and B. You will also be given a prescription for Dukoral for traveler’s diarrhea. You will take some before you leave for your trip and some will be taken during your trip. As Egypt is the number 1 country for E. Coli I recommend you take every precaution necessary. Out of my 50 classmates and chaperones, almost ALL of us got E. Coli and were extremely sick. Thank god for the Dukoral!
Spare Ziploc bags – To keep wet clothes separate, or for storing ticket stubs/brochures/maps etc.
1 pair of sunglasses – I recommend 1 pair as you may be enticed to buy a nice knock off pair while you’re there
Sun screen – I personally have never worn sunscreen but obviously for fairer skinned ladies you may want to bring it along
Mosquito spray – West Nile… need I say more?
1 hat – I’m not a hat person but it gets pretty darn warm during the day so a sun hat or even a ball cap will suffice
1 pashmina scarf/sarong – This is crucial! You will need something to cover your head if you would like to enter a mosque (you can be refused entry if they deem your outfit inappropriate). I picked one up at a bazaar while I was there but you may want to bring one beforehand.
I guarantee you that ANY major tourist attraction you go to while in Egypt will have a small bazaar at the end of it that you have to walk through in order to reach the exit. I found them very fun and entertaining but some of my classmates found them intimidating because the men are very loud and they shout at you all at once to get you to come to their kiosk and not their neighbors.
Be cautious but also have fun with it! Only stay in the front of the stand where others can see you, if they offer to show you things in the back do NOT follow them. Only pay with cash, NEVER give them a credit card. The rule of thumb I found worked the best when bartering over a sale, ask them the price and then counter offer them 50%-75% lower than their original price. Keep in mind that what you’re buying is not worth nearly what they’re asking. They will drive a hard bargain and refuse… show your confidence and simply walk away. Trust me, they will call you back and agree to your price. I spent very little money on souvenirs because I was very firm with what I wanted to pay for an item.
If you have the time while in Cairo, visit the Khan El-Khalili. It’s the biggest souk/bazaar in the Islamic district of Cairo. It’s a major hot spot for tourists and Egyptian locals alike. It’s very fun to visit if you’re looking to experience Egypt like a local.
For Egypt Tourism info visit the following:
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About the author: My name is Loraul Volk. I am a 22 year old Travel and Tourism Business Management Student at Canadian Tourism College in Vancouver British Columbia, Canada. I have been traveling the world in between school and working 2 jobs since I was 15 years old. Visit her Tumbler, Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest.
*All photos except for title photo by Loraul Volk.
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Tracey - Life Changing Year says
Great packing list! I’d just like to add that while I am thrilled to see that Loraul specified no shorts, I would go so far as to recommend no capris or skirts! It sounds extreme but having just survived a month in Egypt I was completely fed up with men bending down UNDER THE TABLE to look at my ankles! The one day I wore a dress (even though it covered my knees) a man chased me into our hostel! And I’m 40 and not exactly hot! If you’re travelling with a tour you’ll be right in capris but if you’re travelling independently then seriously consider long pants at all times. Egypt is well worth the hassle but cover that skin ladies!!!
Wow – your ankles?! Woweee, thanks for sharing, that’ll impact my Egypt packing list for sure!
You can swim just as long as it is in a nice hotel or a private beach like Stella or Ain Sokhna, Public beaches just wear your clothes because you will be hassled or worse.
I also agree to just leave the capris / skirts at home. I studied abroad in Egypt for 6 months and you’re much better off conforming to local dress codes than risking showing your ankles because you worry it’ll be hot… if the locals are completely covered (men and women) 365 days a year, lightweight cotton pants, even in July in the middle of the afternoon will not kill you.
The author said she packed camisoles for layering but I would extend that to recommend investing in the long camisoles that cover your bum. It is EXTREMELY offensive to show your lower back (think tramp-stamp area) when you bend over. And I’m sure most women have an experience of the occasional plumber’s crack incident (if you know what I mean). I went so far as to buy a pack of those cheap white tank tops from Target (in the men’s underwear section, they come in packs) and tuck them into my pants under shirts. That way, I knew if I bent over and my shirt wasn’t long enough, all that would be showing would be the tank top.
The father south you travel in the country, the more liberal it becomes. I even saw a few locals wearing shorts in Aswan (not recommended, just observed). Alexandria is by far the area you will experience the most harassment. Taking the time to be extra aware of what you’re wearing can help lessen the attention. Cairo is a huge city (estimated population of 20 million) and you can easily slip into the flow and not be noticed. But I recommend taking every precaution possible. It’s just polite.
Nice tips! It looks like you has a wonderful holidays 🙂