15 Useful Things To Pack For Your Egypt Trip
Updated: Aug 15, 2019
So your trip to Egypt is fast approaching, and while you might feel tempted to just procrastinate packing until the last minute (we hear ya), it’s better to get your ducks in a row early -- there are a few super-useful and frequently overlooked items that you might want to pick up from Amazon or any nearby retailer before you skip off into the sandy sunset.
If you’re a woman, we already put together a long, detailed list of what exactly you should pack when it comes to clothes; this here list below is more unisex and functional, as opposed to totally clothes-centric.
1. Adapter strip
A lot of people make several common mistakes when it comes to the whole adapter situation in Egypt -- they either buy a bulky adapter which doesn’t fit in sunken sockets (rude) or they only get one per person and kind of screw themselves when it comes to all their other devices.
We’re a big fan of the adapter strip -- you can simultaneously charge your phone, tablet, laptop, camera, power bank and what-have-you overnight, or even when you’re out on the road and happen to find a free socket but only have limited charging time and a million competing devices.
So basically all you would need to charge every device on you simultaneously is just the adapter strip and the little plug for the socket (Egypt uses the round two prong plug, the same as most of Europe).
If you’re not feeling the whole adapter strip, then we recommend buying a pack of the small adapter plugs so you’re not stuck charging just one device at a time.
2. Bug spray
Mosquitoes are *the* most annoying buzzkill. You’re sitting there on the banks of the Nile, gazing out at a 7,000 year old civilization when... bzzz bzzz bzzz. Bite bite bite.
Bug spray is obviously sold in Egyptian pharmacies everywhere, but for some reason they only seem to sell the large can which is a) overkill, and b) annoying to carry around everywhere (plus it’s too big for carry-on luggage if you’re taking any Egyptian domestic flights).
I recommend bringing your own travel-sized bug spray from home because the size is convenient for carry-on luggage and and small enough to toss into your day bag, plus you can bring it back home with you (waste not, want not, people!).
3. Travel shampoo/conditioner and other travel-sized toiletries
I don’t know about you, but that liquid dishwashing soap that hotels try to pass off as shampoo/conditioner/body wash/shower gel does zero for my hair besides dry it out, and lots of Airbnbs don’t even offer shampoo or conditioner.
I recommend doing one of two things: you can either buy a full travel set of your most-needed toiletries and just toss it in your bag without a second thought (I love this full travel-sized pack for women which includes carry-on approved sizes of shampoo, conditioner, lotion, toothpaste and all other essentials, and this one for men), or you can buy reusable travel bottles and fill them with your own favorite products from home.
4. Hand sanitizer/wet wipes
It’s a fair guess to say that after traipsing around the Pyramids, and using public bathrooms in the museum, and just hopping in and out of Ubers and cabs, your hands are going to feel a bit grimy. So many tourists I’ve been with have descended upon my offered hand wipes like famished vultures on a particularly juicy carcass, so having your own will never go amiss.
I particularly like these individually wrapped ones, because they trap in the moisture (don’t you hate it when you have to toss out an almost full package of wet wipes because they dried out?), and you can just toss a handful in each bag you own, so that you never find yourself in an antibacterial pinch.
5. Sunglasses (good quality ones!)
So this one might seem a bit ‘duh’ to you, but good-quality, protective sunglasses are a must in Egypt, especially if you plan on going to Luxor, Aswan and the beach.
The sun in Egypt is extremely bright 99% of the time (even during winter months; the weather might be cool but that sun is still glaring away), and while your cheap-but-cute sunglasses might get the job done in pictures, they’re not protecting your vision at all.
These Oakley Flak men’s sunglasses were rated number 1 by Amazon for outdoor sunglasses. As for women, these Serengeti Aviator sunglasses are another bestseller, and their photochromic lenses lighten and darken throughout the day depending on how much light you’re exposed to.
6. Eyeglasses case
This item isn’t imperative, but it’s just super useful -- if you have more than a pair of glasses, whether eyeglasses or sunglasses, then this travel case is perfect for that. It keeps your things organized *plus* protected. You can also use it for accessories.
7. Some type of hat
Just driving the whole ‘the sun is super, super strong guys’ point home, it’s a good idea to have some form of protection for your head if you plan to spend any considerable amount of time outdoors in Egypt.
I personally am obsessed with the whole fedora/Panama hat feel, because it doesn’t look like you’re going to the Kentucky Derby but still has style. It also works for both normal outdoors and the beach.
8. A light, durable daypack or day bag
Every intrepid (and not-so-intrepid) traveler needs a trusty backpack/day pack/crossbody bag for when they’re exploring a new city or country, and Egypt is no exception.
The bag should be big enough to carry most of the stuff mentioned above: adapter strip, sunglasses, hat, bug spray, wet wipes and all your usual stuff (wallet, phone, etc).
This unisex travel bag comes in tons of different colors and got rave reviews -- it’s multi-purpose, durable and can carry laptops and other heavy things without being uncomfortable.
9. Beach bag
While you’re in Egypt, it’d be a shame if you don’t hit the beach at least once. Since I’m a local I might be viewed as biased to a certain degree, but let me tell you that Egyptian beaches easily compete with some of the best beaches in the world -- I’ve been to Thailand, the Philippines, Mexico, Zanzibar, Greece and a bunch of other beach heavy-hitters and Egypt’s beaches are easily just as good, if not better.
Egypt’s beaches aren’t fancy affairs, all you need to do it throw your stuff into a beach bag like this one (this one in particular is awesome because it comes with a cooling insulated section for drinks etc), or if you want a more waterproof bag, then this check out this one.
10. iPad/Kindle waterproof cover
Speaking of the beach (or pool for that matter), there’s no way to ruin your vacation faster than accidentally drowning your tablet or e-reader. These universal waterproof/sandproof/dustproof covers are practically required for kicking back and relaxing with your tablet in Egypt.
11. Power bank
So I talked a bit above about how useful adapter strips are, but sometimes you just want a good ol’ basic power bank to get the job done when you’re on the go. I hear ya.
My personal experience with power banks is that they’re pretty flimsy and don’t really last that long, but the one that we’d actually recommend (tried & tested!) is this super small and light (but surprisingly powerful Anker power bank. If you’re an iPhone user like me (although this power bank obviously works on all phones), you’ll get about 3.5 full phone charges in one go.
If you want to upgrade to the next model, this more powerful Anker power bank will give you around 6 full charges.
12. Lonely Planet Egypt
I don’t know about you guys, but before I travel somewhere new, I always promise myself I’ll read up on all the different things I’m going to see so I’m not standing like an open-mouthed toad waiting for a fly when I’m at touristic sights. No sirree, I want to actually understand what I’m gaping it.
And while websites and blogs (like yours truly) are helpful in the planning stage (uh, we hope), there’s nothing quite like a nitty-gritty Lonely Planet when it comes to explaining what the hell you’re looking at.
A caveat: I’ve gone through the Lonely Planet for Egypt, and while their historical descriptions of the different ancient sites are right on the money, as a local I don’t necessarily agree with everything they write about all the modern things, like restaurants and bars, etc, etc.
Like we said above, it’d be almost a crime to come to Egypt and not try at least one of our awesome beaches. Just bring a swimsuit, just in case. Chances are you won’t regret it.
And while I recommend just bringing whatever swimsuit you have in your drawer, if you’re a woman and in the market for a new swimsuit that holds in the goodies but you still look hawt while wearing it, check out this little monokini number.
In our article about what clothes women should plan on packing for Egypt, we said that the one most important item of clothing we’d recommend packing is a shawl. Why? Here’s what we said:
You can use it to cover your chest or shoulders in the street, you can use it to cover your hair if you plan on visiting a mosque, you can use it as sun protection, or something to sit on, or a way of staying warm if the night cools down and you don’t have a sweater on you. You can also wrap it around your nose and mouth if you’re in the desert and the wind picks up and things start getting sandy.
Basically, a million uses.
If you’re going in summer months, then I absolutely recommend this UPF 50+ sun shawl. Not only does it have all the usual functions of a shawl that I named above, but it protects you from 98% of all UVA and UVB rays. It’s also lightweight and dries super quick. It’s great for covering any area that you feel like might be too exposed to the sun or starting to burn.
If you’re going in the winter months, then I recommend getting a shawl that’s not only warm and super soft, but also large enough to also drape on your legs or any part of you that might get cold.
A lot of people don’t realize how cold it gets in Egypt in the winter, especially because most buildings don’t have any central heat. I love this cashmere/cotton pashmina because it feels great and is not too heavy/bulky (always an issue when packing). It also comes in a ton of colors.
15. Stomach meds
I’ve seen a surprisingly large amount of people online worry about their stomachs and potential issues in Egypt. Well, I have good news for you: if you eat at normal restaurants, then there’s very little risk of having any stomach upset, and *even* if for some reason you do, there’s a pharmacy on every corner in Egypt, and they sell really effective stomach meds over the counter.
That being said, no one wants to go search for a pharmacy in the middle of the night (especially if you have an unfortunate bout of diarrhea), so to keep your mind at ease, pack some Imodium or similar with you, just in case.