So, you’re planning a trip to Egypt, Land of the Pharaohs, or what some call, the Cradle of Human Civilization. Visiting this enthralling and fascinating country is something which we feel everyone should try to do at least once in their lifetime. Of course, if you have never been to Egypt before, you may well be wondering what all to pack for your upcoming trip.
You probably already know that Egypt is a hot country. You probably also know that in is a Muslim country, and a relatively conservative country. It’s unlikely that you will see many Egyptian men wearing short pants and/or sleeveless tops. It’s even more unlikely that you will see Egyptian women wearing bikinis on the beach.
However, nothing is stopping you from packing in such clothes for your trip because tourists are free to dress as they wish!
Anyway, since we already have lots of advice on our site regarding what you should wear in Egypt, in this post we are instead going to look at some other things which you may want to consider packing in for your trip to Egypt.
Protection against Sunburn
Sunburn and/or sunstroke are among the most common problems affecting tourists in Egypt. A lot of tourists underestimate the weather and the intensity of the sun. Most of Egypt’s outdoor archaeological sites have little to no shaded areas.
When visiting places like the Giza Pyramids, for example, you are going to be in full sun for the duration of your visit. Other famous historic sites like the Valley of Kings and the Karnak Temple complex at Luxor are no different. Most of the country’s top historical monuments are best visited in the morning or late afternoon, but even then, sunburn is a very real possibility.
Fortunately, a little bit of knowledge and common sense can go a long way in helping you to avoid excessive and/or painful sunburn. Here are a few essential items which you need to include on your packing list. They won’t take up much room in your luggage, and they can save you from a great deal of discomfort:
- Good quality sunscreen lotion – The importance of a good sunscreen lotion cannot be overestimated. We recommend using a cream or lotion with an SPF value of at least 15. You can of course buy sunscreen lotion in Egypt once you arrive. However, bringing some with you will mean you have one less thing to worry about.
- Lip Balm – You would be surprised by the number of people who don’t even think about packing in some lip balm. Chapped and painful lips are a common occurrence among tourists. Lip balm is cheap and takes up no room in your luggage. Be sure to add this to your packing list.
- A wide-brimmed hat – If you have even seen photos of tourists at some historical sites in Egypt, you will have noticed that wide-brimmed hats are quite a common sight. Not only do they keep the sun off your head, but they also provide a decent amount of shade for your eyes and face.
- Long-sleeved tops and long pants/dresses – You would be forgiven for thinking that minimal covering would be best in hot countries like Egypt. However, long-sleeve shirts and long pants or ankle-length dresses are far more practical and more comfortable when you are out exploring Egypt’s ancient sites. The secret here is to choose lightweight and light colored clothing made from breathable fabrics. Such clothes will keep the sun off your skin. This helps you to feel cooler and they help you to avoid sunburn.
- Moisturizing body lotion – While not essential, we would definitely recommend using a good quality skin moisturizer during your stay in Egypt. The hot dry weather can quickly dry out your skin even if it is hidden under clothing.
Dehydration and Heatstroke
Avoiding the sun does not automatically mean you can’t or won’t be at risk of heatstroke. The primary cause of heatstroke is very warm weather and a lack of hydration. It really cannot be emphasized enough just how important it is for you to stay adequately hydrated, and especially in a hot country like Egypt. Drinking plenty of water is essential.
At NileCruiseHolidays.com, we feel so strongly about this that we even provide free bottled water for our clients during tours they have booked through us.
Visitors should be aware of the fact that tap water in Egypt is not safe to drink. At some top end hotels, and on some Nile cruise ship, you may see signs saying that the tap water is safe to drink. However, we don’t recommend doing so. Bottled water is cheap and abundant in Egypt, so there is no need for anyone to take chances by drinking tap water.
So, what should you pack for Egypt in terms of adequate hydration? There are only two things which we would recommend:
- Insulated Water Bottle – Very few people enjoy drinking warm or tepid water, and especially in very warm weather. With Egypt being as warm as it is, a bottle of cold water doesn’t stay cold for very long. If you want to be able to enjoy cold water and/or other refreshments while visiting the country’s famous tourist sites, we highly recommend that you get yourself a good quality water bottle. Insulated bottles that are designed to keep cold beverages cold are by far the best choice.
- Hydration Salts – Hydration salts usually come in the form of powder which you then dissolve in some drinking water. They help to maintain good hydration by replacing lost electrolytes. You can purchase these powders in many grocery stores and pharmacies. You could of course buy some when you are in Egypt, but since they take up almost no space at all, we would suggest bringing some with you.
Personal Hygiene Items
What sort of basic hygiene items you should pack for a trip to Egypt really depends on personal preferences and your travel style. Since things like shampoo and hair conditioners can be quite heavy, some people feel it’s best to only take a small bottle of each and then buy more in Egypt if they run out. The same applies to things like soap and toothpaste, both of which you could take with you, or buy when you arrive in the country.
None of our own Nile Cruise and Stay holidays include tours on the first day. When our clients arrive at the airport we meet them and drive them to their hotel. We get them checked-in and we go over their chosen itineraries, and then they have the remainder of the day to themselves. This provides an ideal opportunity to do some shopping for any items they feel they will need, including things like nail clippers which are an often-overlooked item.
Medication and First-Aid Supplies
If you have to take prescription medication, it’s unlikely that you will forget your meds at home, but we would highly recommend making sure you have enough to last throughout your trip. Although it probably won’t be necessary, we would also recommend getting a cover letter from you doctor stating what your medication is for, and what doses you have to take.
Typical OTC (over the counter) medicines and remedies are widely available in all of Egypt’s major cities. You will also find a similar range of OTC products available in Egypt as you would in your own country, but you may not always be able to find the same brands. This can make shopping for OTC products somewhat confusing, and especially if you are dealing with store attendants or pharmacists who cannot speak your language.
While there is no need for you to pack in a well-stocked first-aid box or kit, there are a few first-aid items which we would recommend packing in for your trip. Not only should you pack them in, but you should also try to carry some on your person during tours. A few first-aid items which we would recommend would include:
- Band-Aid strips – Even small nicks and cuts can quickly become infected when traveling in Egypt. Having some plasters with you will allow you to immediately cover any nicks or cuts before any dirt can enter them. Plasters are also very useful in the event that you get any blisters from walking.
- Antibacterial ointment – Again, even tiny open wounds can easily become infected. Having a good antibacterial cream can go a long way at protecting any minor wounds should you incur any.
- Cotton swabs – Having some clean cotton wool swabs with you will allow you to apply topical treatments to wounds without you actually having to touch them, which is great if you are unsure about the cleanliness of your hands.
- Anti-Diarrheal tablets – Anti-diarrheal tablets are used for treating diarrhea. While opinions are divided regarding the use of these drugs, the fact of the matter is that they work. While it is unlikely that you will get food poisoning, you could well experience an upset stomach (Mummy Tummy) during your trip to Egypt. Good anti-diarrheal medication can help to ensure that your tour schedule is not severely impacted should you experience an upset stomach.
Don’t let talk of food poisoning and upset stomachs put you off from trying Egyptian food. Egyptian food is delicious, and as long as you avoid eating at empty and/or suspicious looking places, you should be just fine, and your Egyptian adventure will be more enjoyable than ever.
Electronic Devices and other Valuables
We don’t recommend taking more devices and gadgets than you actually need. Only take those items which you feel are essential, such as your mobile phone and a good camera, for example. These days, many tourists don’t even take cameras anymore. Instead, they rely entirely on their phone cameras.
Be aware that at some attractions there are restrictions in place regarding the taking of photos. An example would some of the tombs in the Valley of Kings at Luxor. Strictly speaking, taking photos inside the tombs is forbidden. However, some people do take pictures inside the tombs, but they do so without using a flash. If you must take photos in places like these, make sure you are discreet and that you have your flash turned off.
As with electronic devices, we also don’t recommend wearing expensive jewelry, or at least not a lot of it. The same applies to cash, in that you should always avoid carrying around more cash than need be.
What Clothes to Pack for Egypt
If you do a bit of online research about what to wear or what to pack for Egypt, there seems to be a lot of emphasis on the importance or wearing conservative clothing. While it is true that most Egyptians prefer to wear conservative clothing, tourists are not expected to do the same. However when visiting and entering mosques, women are required to cover their hair and shoulders.
In most cases, a lightweight scarf is perfectly adequate for covering your hair and shoulders when entering mosques. Scarfs can also be very useful as an extra layer of sun protection when visiting the country’s many ancient sites.
Wondering what to pack for Egypt? Forget all about drawing up a clothing list, because here are the best and only clothing tips you need for your Egyptian adventure:
- Pack in light loose fitting clothes – baggy pants, baggy dresses, baggy skirts and baggy shirts are best.
- Choose clothes made from breathable fabrics – cotton is one of the best materials, but there are some really good breathable synthetic materials as well.
- Avoid dark colored clothing – dark colors attract and hold the heat, which is not something you want when you are traveling in a hot country like Egypt.
- Pack in at least one outfit of casual clothes – you may need these for dining out at certain restaurants or visiting certain attractions like the new Grand Egyptian Museum at Giza. Some Nile River cruise ships also have a smart/casual dress code in certain areas aboard the vessels.
- Pack in a light pullover – While much is often said about Egypt’s high daytime temperatures, not much is said about the country’s chilly evenings, especially during the cooler winter months.
What Footwear to Pack for Egypt
For many people, a pair of comfortable sandals or a good pair of hiking sandals will be perfectly adequate, although some people might prefer to wear closed shoes. At the end of the day, it all boils down to personal choice.
If by any chance you were to book one of our Egypt and Jordan Tours, then a good pair of comfortable walking shoes would also be highly recommended. Most Jordan tours include a trip the Lost City of Petra, and this tour includes a good deal of walking.
Other Items to Pack for Your Trip to the Land of the Pharaohs
The more time you spend thinking about what to pack for Egypt, the more chance there is of you packing in things which you probably won’t need or use. Other than those things which have already been mentioned, there are two more things you should consider packing for your trip:
Sun Glasses – Do yourself a favor, and don’t forget to pack in a good quality pair of sun glasses. You are definitely going to need them in Egypt.
Travel Pillow – The benefits of a travel pillow become apparent the minute you board your flight to Egypt. They can make your flight a lot more comfortable and make it easier for you to get some sleep. They can do the same for you in Egypt, especially during longish road trips, like the drive from Aswan to Abu Simbel. A travel pillow is not essential, but inflatable ones take up no room in your luggage so why not take one with you when you travel.
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