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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)
Alex, your blog and Facebook group have completely changed my travel life! I was always that “just in case I might want/need it” packer, but not anymore. I did two weeks in Egypt with carry-on only and never once felt anything was missing. I’m a reformed woman… 🙂
Thank you for all , it will be very usefull, I am leaving next month!
Traveled to Egypt in 2021…luggage was lost for 4 days…definitely recommend carry-on only or putting several light weight outfits in your carry-on/personal item 😁 I t was an amazing trip anyway tho!!
Traveling to the Middle East next week. Tips are so helpful in packing and staying respectful of other cultures.
I am going to Egypt next year and this is very helpful. Thank you for sharing!
We are heading to Egypt in November and your packing tips are critical for dressing conservatively. I will have plenty of time to build my capsule wardrobe. Thank you for your open view of the world. I can always find at least one important tip in every one of your posts. Travel on!!!
We are also going to Egypt in November so the packing tips are very helpful for me as well! Thanks for this – many good suggestions! I’ll use for future trips, too!
Going to Egypt in October. Thanks for the great tips!
Love these tips! Traveling soon to Egypt and needed some help with what to pack. Thanks Alex!
Thanks for sharing the information…this required for whole Middle East specially for Saudi Arabia(complete desert area)
Thanks for the awesome post.
This has been extremely helpful especially for my guests who are visiting Egypt. All the best!
Good tips! I think it’s so important to dress modestly and be mindful of the local culture. I’ve seen far too many foreigners walking around in booty shorts in countries where some of the local women don’t even show their ankles – big no no.
I agree, in very bad taste to be inconsiderate of the local culture. I wonder if it’s mostly from lack of knowledge on their part? Hope so!
I really enjoyed this article and couldn’t agree more with the points made. I was an intern in Alexandria, Egypt in 2010 and really appreciated point three. ABSOLUTELY take your queues from those around you. As noted, if you are in Sharm el-Sheikh or Dahab, you’ll see that it is perfectly appropriate to dress less modestly, but elsewhere you will find different. Even taking note of the neighborhoods you are wandering through in cities such as Cairo and Alexandria may clue you into the need to add a scarf or other additional layer. I did quite well, dress wise, whilst there and stuck to modest clothes, layered a lot, and learned to appreciate linen. There were, however, plenty of tourists I encountered who, although not scantily clad by Western standards, were not dressed appropriately by Egyptian standards. Great article, I wish I would have read one similar prior to my trip!
Thanks for your tips! I’m glad you liked the article and Maria’s awesome clothing advice 🙂
I just returned from a week in Egypt and did a blog post on my packing list.
awesome packing list and great choices of clothing!