What should families pack for an Egypt vacation?

Egypt is known for its long hot summers and sweltering sightseeing, but don’t be caught off guard when packing as the winters when most tourists travel are comparatively quite cold.    You really need to be packed for the seasons but prepared for the sun year-round – and the fact you’ll be doing a lot of walking!

Inside Karnak Temple

This packing guide focuses specifically on family travellers but many of the suggested items are applicable to all travellers – so please read on! 

In this guide we will cover:

  • Packing for the seasons
  • Clothing – women, men & children
  • Gadgets, electronics & guidebooks
  • Medicines & toiletries
  • Daypacks

Don’t forget to check out our comprehensive guide to visiting Egypt with kids here, as well as our best suggestions for when to visit and a detailed look at Egypt travel safety.

Egypt Clothes Packing – What season are you travelling in?

Before we dive straight into the packing list, we strongly suggest you look at what season you are travelling in to make the right choices – you can read more on the weather in Egypt here.

The big variance between summer and winter packing is the need for layers.  It can surprise many just how cold the early starts can be in winter, you will likely want a jacket, if not gloves and beanies too.  However, as you get trekking during the day you will start stripping down and may be reaching for the hat and sunscreen by lunchtime.

Alternatively, visiting during the hotter months (you can count anything from about later March through to October!) you are going to want light, breathable cotton.  And several changes of clothes, you will sweat through at least one outfit per day, if the general dustiness of the desert doesn’t get you first.

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Ladies Clothing for Egypt

  • Jeans or cargo trousers – winter
  • Cotton trousers – summer
  • Sensible footwear
  • Underwear
  • Long sleeve shirts
  • t-shirts (avoid tank tops)
  • Bathers
  • Sunhat
  • Sunglasses
  • Long maxi-dress
  • Ladies head scarf/wrap
  • Jacket/cardigan

For winter: You may want a large wrap or warmer jacket to enjoy sundown if you are on a cruise boat or at a resort, or you could use the pool towels. (Don’t expect to be using your cruise boat pool in the cooler months, they are not heated!! More on Nile cruise boats here.)

Extra tips for women travellers to Egypt – what to wear

Whilst it is not necessary for women to be completely covered or wear a hijab in Egypt, you will find locals dress very conservatively.  By all means, dress for the weather, but leave the short-shorts at home, and when out in town or away from the main tourist sites, it’s strongly suggested that you don’t wear anything too clingy or revealing (you will be stared at regardless). Keep to long legs and long sleeves if possible and a scarf never goes astray, either for the wind or quickly pull over your head.

Entering any sort of religious building – Islamic or Christian – you will want to be fully covered.

If you are staying at a beach resort, different rules apply WITHIN YOUR RESORT ONLY.  Feel free to wear your normal beach wear but if you are heading out on a shore excursion it’s wise to cover up more.

Footwear in Egypt

Although there is a lot of walking involved, a full hiking boot is not necessary.  For most travellers, you will find a good trainer sensible for winter and a comfortable walking sandal appropriate for summer. For a beach stay, you will want to throw in your flip-flops too.

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Men’s clothing for Egypt

Oh really – they even have to things about this?!! OK, in case they need any help too:

  • Jeans or cargo trousers
  • Long shorts
  • Sensible footwear
  • Underwear
  • T-shirts
  • A nice evening shirt
  • Swim shorts
  • Cap or  sun hat
  • Sunglasses
  • Jacket/pullover in winter

Kids clothing for Egypt

  • Leggings, track pants
  • Long sleep top
  • Trainers / solid sandals
  • T-shirts
  • Girls dresses
  • Cardigan / Sweaters
  • Bathers
  • Sunglasses
  • Summer hat

In the winter, depending what temperatures your kids are used to they may also want a beanie/gloves/scarf.

The rules in terms of being covered up really don’t apply to young children, but as your girls reach adolescence, it would be sensible for them to dress a little more conservatively than they might at home if they want to avoid the inevitable stares.  As my girl is also quite the explorer, I always through in leggings to wear under dresses, no matter the season.


Gadgets, Electronics and Guidebooks

  • A money belt is a great way to secure your cash.  Only take out what you will need for the day, keep as little as possible in your pockets and use your hotel safe when possible.  It’s best to travel with both local currency and USD.
  • Electric plugs are Type C  (2-pin European). Voltage is 220W, from the US you will need a wattage converter – see our full guide to Middle East electronics here
  • Camera/smartphone
  • SD cards
  • Power bank & USB cords – whilst hotels/cruise boats all have power points, a long day of photographing and long train or bus journey’s you will want that extra power back up.
  • Books/Kindle  – you will hopefully get a little downtime!
  • A thermal water bottle
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Egypt guidebooks for all the family

Regardless of whether you are hiring a tour guide for your trip of travelling independently, you will likely want a guidebook for extra background reading (believe me, you will have information overload at many points!)

There are a plethora of choices when it comes to guidebooks on Egypt, it really depends if you have a preferred guidebook brand.  Some people are Lonely Planet through and through, whereas others prefer the more pictorial DK Guides – we find these are more adaptable with the kids as they gain more interest in wanting to follow along.


Most of the Egypt books we found for children were not suitable for travelling with, but great for doing some pre-reading and understanding before our travels.


A complete guide to Egypt books for kids coming soon! 

Medicines & toiletries

Although you will find pharmacies all around the country, they won’t necessarily speak English nor stock brands you are familiar with.  There is no harm in asking to open up the packaging to read the English instructions but as your timetable is likely to be tight, it is one of those countries to come best prepared for minor ailments.

As well as packing your own prescription medications, if you know you are particularly prone to say motion sickness or travellers diarrhoea it is wise to bring supplies with you.  Here are suggested items you could pack.

  • Hand sanitizer
  • Bandaids / Plasters
  • Steriwipes
  • Panadol / Ibuprofen
  • Anti-diarrhoea medication
  • Rehydration Salts
  • Insect repellent
  • After bite cream
  • Antihistamines
  • Motion sick tablets
  • Corn pads
  • Lip balm
  • Sunscreen
  • Hair bands
  • Deodorant
  • Face Wash
  • Shampoo/Conditioner
  • Women’s sanitary items
  • Wet wipes
  • Tissues
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You can find a comprehensive guide to family first aid items here


Kids backpacks

For the journey over on the plane:

  • Small backpack
  • Sanitizer
  • Tissues
  • Torch
  • Binoculars
  • Tablet
  • Headphones
  • Cards / small games
  • Teddy

Family Day Pack

For day trips we find it easier to carry one bag for all the family, we include in our day pack

  • Water bottles
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Tissues
  • Wet wipes
  • Lip balm
  • Loose change
  • Small snacks
  • Camera
  • Power bank
  • Binoculars

As we noted above, some sort of money belt or concealed way to carry your cash is strongly recommended and keep passports and any extra cash in the hotel safe if at all possible. Women may also like a cross-over bag for keeping tickets/camera close to hand (and let’s be honest, all the family’s bits and pieces you inevitably end up carrying).



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What to pack for a vacation to Egypt

 


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Researched and written by our editor Keri Hedrick, an avid traveller, writer and mum of 3 based in the UAE.  You can see more of Keri’s regional and overseas adventures with kids on Instagram.   This article is not sponsored or endorsed by any of the businesses mentioned but does contain affiliate links that may earn us a small commission.