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This is another post I’m writing for my family who is considering a trip to Egypt for one week.
As I have said many times before, I recommend traveling with a carry-on only all over the world (I have used this Osprey for years). They also take forever to get bags in Egypt. The most important thing is that all of your clothes should be lightweight and breathable. Bring one pair of sandals (these are my favorite Birkenstocks) and think less is more… but keep yourself covered!
Also, keep in mind local traditions and keep your knees and shoulders covered as much as possible. Don’t wear short pants, tank tops, and crop tops. Bring capris, knee-length shorts, skirts, and knee-length dresses (just bring a shrug or scarf to cover your shoulders). Linen and cotton are your friends. Lightweight merino wool and other sports fabrics are also good because they are breathable, wick the sweat away, and keep you dry.
When going to temples and mosques it is especially important to cover your shoulders so bringing a scarf or lightweight cardigan is also handy. A hat and sunglasses will be useful to protect your face and eyes from the strong sun.
The Nile cruise and some of the 5* hotels will have pools that you could get away with wearing a bikini, but many people will go in wearing very modest tankinis or a full burkini. The last time I went to the beach in Alexandria I saw women in a burkini with a sarong also wrapped around their waists. I usually wear a one-piece bathing suit and a beachy dress when I’m out of the water at a beach. I still get lots of looks at the beach but nobody bats an eye at the big tourist hotels.
Boys and some adults will just wear street shorts and cotton t-shirts. A note for the guys, I only see children wearing shorts, unless at the beach, otherwise, lightweight pants are popular for guys year-round. I choose to put my son into a long sleeve rashguard swimming shirt and shorts because he doesn’t like staying still long enough to douse him in sunscreen.
I usually bring enough clothes for 4 or 5 days to keep my backpack light. I make sure all of my items can match with multiple outfits created so I don’t feel stuck. When packing remember that you can easily wash your own clothes in the shower (my son thinks this is the best thing to do since we don’t bring bath toys on vacation) or have a hotel clean them for you. If worse comes to worst and you just don’t have time to wash up, you can always buy stuff upon arrival (I think clothes and accessories make some of the best souvenirs).
I like to use these ebags packing cubes to roll each outfit together since I often have one cube for myself and one for my son in my backpack. However, when single I used to have one cube for tops and dresses, and the other for bottoms and pajamas. Now I am eyeing these compression cubes so I can use a smaller bag.
Packing List for Carry-On Only to Egypt
1 pair of bike shorts to wear under dresses to prevent chafing
1 pair of capri pants
1 swimsuit coverup/poolside dress/sarong
1 pair of flip flops for wearing by the pool/shower (optional)
1 set of pajamas if sharing a room
3 pairs of socks if you plan on bringing sneakers
1 extra bra
1 pair of comfy walking sandals (I like Birkenstocks for me or Chaco sandals if I am feeling sporty)- I usually wear these as my only sandals for the trip, but if you plan on bringing sneakers wear those on travel days instead
1 toiletry bag with travel size shampoo, conditioner, facewash bar, lotion, toothbrush, travel-sized toothpaste, and any medicine you need. I like to use these minimalist hanging one so I can hang it on a towel bar or a shower rod if there is no counter space.
Sunscreen– I try to stay in the shade, use a hat, and cover what I can so that I usually only travel with a sunscreen stick so it doesn’t push me over my liquids allowance for carry-on only. If I wanted to go to the beach or plan on spending more time at the pool I would get a larger container of sunscreen on-site.
Wide-brimmed hat– I don’t remember the exact one I got, but I love the one that I have that I just roll up and plop on if I will be in the sun for long periods.
Sunglasses- I usually travel with whatever cheap pair I pick up at Ross or on the side of the road from a beach vendor!
Optional- I always bring extra snacks especially in Covid times because you never know if you will find decent food when you land late at night. I also have a toddler who snacks all the time! Trader Joe’s trail mix and fruit leather are two favorites!
Again, think lightweight stuff that covers the shoulders and knees but will keep you cool in the strong sun. Pack light because you are on vacation and don’t want to hurt your back lugging around heavy suitcases.