Egypt is one of my favorite countries in the world. I first visited in 2008 and did the Egypt and Jordan tour with G Adventures. In 2013, I got a chance to spend 3 full weeks scuba diving in Dahab and got to know the Red Sea area a little better.
However, when it comes to packing tips I find the most reliable source to be locals and expats that can offer more knowledgeable advice. If you’re wondering what to wear in Egypt, Maria Alejandra Laborde from LatinAbroad has some amazing travel packing tips for you! In this interview with the Latin translator and travel blogger, Maria shares inside tips on what to pack for Egypt.
What to Wear in Egypt
Choose Appropriate Clothes for Egypt
Follow the rule of thumb: always cover your shoulders, knees, cleavage and avoid wearing anything that is skin-tight (unless you are wearing a flowy dress with leggings underneath, for example).
I felt extremely comfortable in local markets and gatherings by dressing like the locals. By doing so, you truly start feeling like one of them. It’s even liberating!
Use Breathable Fabrics
The more time I spent in Egypt, the more I preferred to wear long-sleeved undershirts and floor-length skirts. In fact, wearing these in cotton keep you extremely refreshed and cool in the hot desert weather. Avoid synthetic fabrics when traveling to the Middle East by the way — they don’t really breathe.
Follow Local Fashion Style
I made sure I read some literature about the culture and dress in Egypt prior to moving there. Then, I discovered that the rule of thumb is to cover your shoulders and knees at all times, except when visiting the popular beach resorts of Sharm el Sheikh and maybe even Dahab.
The “fun and cute” outfits were thrown into the equation after spending a couple of weeks in-country. Muslim girls have a wicked sense of fashion — it is amazing to see how they are able to match Western tank tops with colorful hijabs and conservative long-sleeve undershirts. I quickly found myself buying a couple of these undershirts, eventually copying their fun, yet conservative style!
Avoid Common Travel Mistakes
Don’t dress like the below image unless you’re by the beach! Not covering your knees, shoulders, and cleavage = big no no. Sure, nobody’s going to stop you from wearing these revealing outfits, but then tourists complain about being stared at by the locals. No wonder, as they barely see that much skin on the streets!
Granted, that doesn’t give them the right to harass you, but you should do everything you can in order to prevent such treatment. It really isn’t that hard to dress conservatively, without losing your sense of style!
Pack Minimal or Waterproof Makeup
Besides lightly lining the inside of my bottom lids, I don’t wear any make-up. The hot desert weather makes you want to wash your face constantly anyway. Thus, I would only recommend a waterproof eyeliner, moisturizing lip balm, and light, mineral-based cosmetics.
PLEASE NOTE: Bring your own deodorant! It can be hard to find (and/or expensive) in conservative countries.
I love long multi-functional tunics or medium length dresses I can wear over pants when in conservative areas. They can be worn in a variety of ways: alone on the city, with shorts on the beach, & over pants when modesty is needed. In this picture of me in Egypt 2008, I wore a linen cotton blend dress over military inspired cargo pants from Forever21. If you’re looking to buy your own, I’m currently loving this tunic from ModCloth!
Thank you Maria for sharing these great packing tips on what to wear in Egypt! Don’t forget to check out her fun travel blog LatinAbroad her post: how to dress in Egypt for more info.
What are your best tips on what to wear in egypt? Share in the comments!
For more tips, please read:
- Egypt: 15 Expat Tips You need to Read
- What to Wear in the Red Sea
- What to Wear in Marrakesh
- How to Dress in Conservative Countries
Suggested Travel Resources:
- Lonely Planet Africa on a shoestring
- Lonely Planet Egypt (Country Guide)
- Lonely Planet Discover Egypt (Travel Guide)