Before our trip to Egypt, I was a maniac, researching Cairo travel essentials and guides. I wanted to know all the things we would need to pack for Egypt, what types of clothes we should wear and generally what to expect during our visit. After all that research, stress and preparation, I’ve concluded that there are 10 things you must pack for Egypt. So double check your suitcase and don’t leave home without these items!
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Cairo Travel Essentials:
Anti-diarrheal – Yep, I’m gonna just come right out and list anti-diarrheal as #1. You need to have an anti-diarrheal medication (such as Imodium) in your bag as well as have a variety suitable for kids if you’re traveling with little ones. As careful as we were during our visit, not drinking the water, refusing ice, not eating any uncooked fruits and vegetables that may have been washed in said water, and hand sanitizing often, we still ended up with, well, you know what! I’m told the anti-diarrheal medication sold in Egypt is best, but you should also bring your own.
Sunscreen – You definitely don’t want to visit without having sunscreen to lather on before heading out to explore. The African sun is strong and you can easily burn being out for even a short time. Plus, attractions such as the pyramids are out in the open with little coverage available. In fact, the only shade I could find was standing in my son’s shadow! Even if you “don’t burn,” you’re gonna need sunscreen.
Packing moisturizer and lip balm is also advisable.
Loose fit, conservative clothing – The heat can feel rather oppressive, so having loose clothing is a must. I borrowed a few tops from a friend and was sooo glad that I did! You should also ensure that you pack only conservative clothing. Covering cleavage, shoulders and knees is necessary as you are visiting a Muslim country. Avoid tank tops and sleeveless tops/dresses and pack pants, dresses and skirts that cover your knees. The more of your arms and legs you cover, the better. Men have less restrictions and are fine in longer shorts, slacks and t-shirts. Though men should still avoid tank tops as well.
Sunglasses – Definitely bring a pair of sunglasses to protect your eyes against the strong rays. Even K, who doesn’t like wearing his sunglasses (I have no idea why), was glad he had them on this trip.
Hat and scarf – Oh yes. More sun protection gear. A hat will be great for keeping the sun off your face and neck. A scarf will also serve double duty by using it to cover your head when entering the mosque. It wasn’t required as I’d actually left mine in the car, but you should cover your head to be respectful.
US Dollars for visa entry – A tourist visa is required for entry into Egypt. The fee is $25 USD and is paid in cash. Exact change is recommended. They also accept Euros and Pound Sterling, but I’m told there is a high conversion fee.
Closed-toe shoes – Shoes with a closed-toe and good traction are beneficial, as the streets are dusty and have uneven surfaces. It’s even better if they are made from breathable material. I tried wearing my sandals out for a short walk and hated it. While they are much cooler than my tennis shoes, dust and dirt kept getting under my feet as I walked. I came back to the hotel and immediately showered all the dirt off.
Tissues or to-go toilet tissues – There isn’t always toilet tissue available, so you’ll want to be prepared and have something in your bag.
Hand sanitizer – There are 19.5 million people in Cairo. That’s a whole lot of people touching door handles and money, so you’ll want to use hand sanitizer often. Additionally, you’ll likely need it after using a public toilet.
Adaptors – Lucky for us, Egypt uses European adaptors (the same as in France), so we didn’t need anything extra. If you need to purchase something new, I suggest adaptors that can converted for the different outlets of several countries. We travel with two types, a universal adaptor and a 4-port USB adaptor for our electronics such as phones and iPads.
Of course, you’ll also want to have a camera. You don’t want to miss out on those fun photos pinching the tip of the pyramids 🙂
Ensure all these Cairo travel essentials are in your suitcase before heading off on your grand adventure. We also had our typical travel gear and first aid kit, but I’ve listed things you may not have considered and will be sorry you didn’t pack. We’d love for you to comment with your top Cairo travel essentials, tips or questions.