What to Wear in Egypt 10 Things You Need to Pack

What to Wear in Egypt & 10 Things You Need to Pack

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.

Helpful Egypt Trip Planning Resources

What to Wear in Egypt Pin

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.

Pyramids of Giza

What to Wear in Egypt

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 Women Should Wear in Egypt

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 a resort thing only but I did see them worn by tourists in big tour groups. If you will be in a big group and want to wear them, it’s probably fine but avoid short shorts. If you’re NOT in a big tour group, I would avoid them.

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.

The easiest way to dress is to wear midi or maxi dresses that are sleeveless. Then carry a long sleeved button up shirt to put on top when near other people. Many cabs don’t have air conditioning and 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 v-necks.

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.

Local women wear the same things we do including fitted clothing like skinny jeans and leggings. They typically wear tops that are loose and long sleeved 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 clothing that is modest and offers sun protection. 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.

Egypt Packing List Dress
HAT: Amazon | SCARF: Similar | DRESS: Amazon | SHOES: Adidas

2. Hat to Block the Sun

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.

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.

I have 2 favorite sunscreens that I use. The first is 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. The second is a travel sized broad spectrum SPF 50 sunscreen that’s perfect for active pursuits and reef friendly if you are heading to the Red Sea.

Egypt Itinerary 7 Days
HAT: Brixton | SHIRT: Similar | DRESS: Similar | SHOES: Adidas

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. A Comfortable Maxi Dress

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. Sandals are not a good option for walking around the Pyramids of Giza.

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.

As previously mentioned, comfortable shoes are a must! 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.

The beauty of sandals is that they take up almost no space in a suitcase and are an easy thing to put on when you want to go out for a meal. I recommend trying a pair of Sam Edelman sandals, they are so comfy and cute!

What to wear in Egypt Luxor
HAT: Amazon | SHIRT: Similar | SKIRT: Similar | SHOES: Adidas

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 back up power. 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.

9. Secure Purse, Day Pack or Money Belt

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, you will find people trying to sell you scarves or things they can use to cover your bag while they grab something. Stay away from these people and have a secure bag.

A purse must completely close. If you use a tote bag, it should completely zip shut so a stranger can’t reach in. For Egypt, I found it best to wear a small cross body travel wallet that held my credit cards, passport, phone and a few extra things like lip gloss and hand sanitizer. The cross body strap held it in front of me and I kept my hands on it when walking through a crowd. The other reason I really like it is because it easily fits in my travel backpack so it’s not an extra item for carry on.

Backpacks are really useful but are easy for someone to access when they are on your back. The outer pockets should only have things you don’t mind losing. Passports, wallets or phones should be in compartments that are in internal pockets that zip up. When you are in a crowd, wear your backpack as a front pack for safety.

Consider buying a cable lock to keep the front compartments of your backpack secure. They’re so inexpensive and will give you complete peace of mind. We personally use this camera backpack that is much safer than a normal pack. The part that would normally open up on the front is placed against your back so no one other than you can access it.

10. Sunglasses

You’ve heard about the sun in Egypt repeatedly so you’ll understand why this is not the time to forget to pack your sunglasses. Whether you pack trendy sunglasses, Aviators or inexpensive polarized sunglasses that you don’t have to worry about, just make sure you have something to cut down the glare.

Related Post: The Best Egypt Itinerary 7 Days in Cairo, Luxor and Aswan

Egypt Travel Tips Sphinx
HAT: Amazon | SHIRT: Similar | DRESS: Similar | SHOES: Adidas

Packing List for Egypt

Things to Leave off Your Egypt Packing List

  • Shorts – Although we typically wear shorts in high temperatures, Egypt is extremely conservative. It is best to not show much skin unless you are on a specific tour or Nile river cruise where shorts are allowed.
  • Tank tops and crop tops – Unless you are by the pool or beach, these shouldn’t be worn.
  • Heavy jackets – you will rarely ever need any heavy clothing in Egypt. To cover up, a light cardigan or button-down shirt is perfect.
  • Valuables – It’s important to leave as many valuables as possible behind. Tourists are very easily targeted, especially in popular destinations, so make sure to keep your essential valuables close to you.
  • Drone – we were stopped each time at the airport with our camera equipment. You cannot use a drone so don’t bring it.

Egyptian Visa & Money

In Egypt, Visas are offered upon arrival. This means that when land in Cairo, you can enter the country by purchasing a visa. In this case, make sure you bring along 25 USD exactly and purchase your visa before entering customs. We had no problem with this, although we arrived very early in the morning. You can purchase your Egypt visa in advance here, or if you are on a tour, they will likely coordinate the visa process with you.

The currency in Egypt is Egyptian pounds. Cash is necessary and there are many ATMs available throughout the country. However, there is a limitation as to how much you can withdraw so be aware of that.

Safety in Egypt

Even though this is definitely not something you would typically find in a packing guide, many people worry about safety in Egypt. There are some things you can do to plan ahead. Start by looking up the Egypt Travel Advisory to be aware of any current issues. Since things are constantly changing in the world, we highly recommend travel protection. There are 2 ways we protect ourselves. We book our tickets with our Chase Sapphire Preferred that has built in travel protection and we use World Nomads travel insurance. If we ever need to cancel a trip, we are totally covered.

One last note regarding safety: always be aware of your surroundings. No matter where in the world you travel, even if it is within your own country, be alert. Tourists are always a target. The less touristy you look, the better. As mentioned above use a secure travel purse or secure backpack to protect yourself from petty theft. For more information read our Egypt Travel Tips.

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  • Reply
    July 22, 2022 at 3:57 am

    We just went to Egypt in January 2022. I did not have to cover my head in the various Mosques as we are not Muslim. Visitors are not expected to per our guide. There were lots of other visitors that did not need to cover. This is cultural and not Islamic/Muslim.

    • Reply
      July 22, 2022 at 5:06 am

      Thanks for sharing. One of the benefits of having a guide is definitely knowing the ins and outs. Another benefit – especially in Egypt is that you are left alone. I was instructed in multiple mosques to wear a covering in addition to being prohibited from carrying a small tripod. When a guide was with us, no one said anything.

  • Reply
    March 21, 2022 at 10:16 pm

    This is so great, thank you! I”m planning for my LONG awaited trip coming up this May and while I have travelled enough to know this stuff it’s nice to confirm my ideas and to see a few *specific* suggestions for dresses that have been tested, hats, etc.

    TIP for others: I’m bringing an umbrella as well, to help stop the sun too, esp as I’ll be in Jordan in end of May or even June.
    ~ AdventuressAli

    • Reply
      March 22, 2022 at 12:03 am

      Definitely agree – there’s a great sun umbrella in the list and it’s a lifesaver. We just added a post with great bubble hotels in Jordan if you get to Wadi Rum.

  • Reply
    September 5, 2021 at 7:19 pm

    Thank you very much for the great tips and wardrobe links! I’d love a couple of the button down shirts you suggested but they are no longer available. Can you offer suggest a substitute?
    Going to Egypt in October 2021!

    • Reply
      September 5, 2021 at 7:56 pm

      White button down shirt is updated and all other links are being checked now. Thanks for letting me know. Hope you have an amazing trip!

  • Reply
    April 7, 2021 at 6:47 am


    Thanks for these wonderful tips. It’s really helpful. Following your blog since a very long time and I am pretty happy from the insights I am getting via it.

  • Reply
    March 8, 2021 at 6:02 am

    I’m planning to go to Egypt this year. God willing. Where did you get that red skirt? It’s beautiful!

    • Reply
      March 8, 2021 at 6:04 pm

      Hope you are able to go. It’s the trip of a lifetime! Here’s a link for the dress but it may be sold out. https://bit.ly/3cbOVqT

  • Reply
    Mark Burnett
    March 3, 2021 at 10:04 am

    Yes, I agreed! The best time to visit Egypt is in December, I had visited therein in 2018 and it was a great time there. Thanks for sharing this such a great article,

  • Reply
    Avis Lawton
    March 2, 2021 at 10:21 am

    I have visited Egypt last year, before corona and I can agree with this that Egypt is modern but conservative. I am going to visit it next year again just when the covid-19 gets into normal and thanks for this Closed-toe shoe idea.

  • Reply
    January 2, 2020 at 5:12 am

    Such a breathtaking place indeed. Happy New Year dear!


  • Reply
    December 29, 2019 at 11:04 pm

    I’d love to visit Egypt one day! This is such a helpful guide, thank you! You took so many beautiful photos while you were there as well. I wear a lot of maxi skirts and dresses so it’s good I could just rewear my regular wardrobe there!

    Hope you had a merry Christmas 🙂 We had a great time with family and so much good food! Have a happy new year 🙂

    • Reply
      December 29, 2019 at 11:29 pm

      Your current wardrobe sounds perfect for a trip to Egypt. We can all reduce our carbon footprint by loving the clothes that are already in our closets. Happy New Year!

  • Reply
    December 28, 2019 at 2:27 pm

    I would love to go to Egypt!

    Effortlessly Sophisticated

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