What to Wear in Egypt as a Woman (+ Helpful Egypt Packing Tips!)

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When I was preparing for my tour in Egypt, I had so many questions about what to pack for Egypt as a woman.

This was going to be my first time in the Middle-East region (2 days in Istanbul back in 2012 doesn't really count), and I knew I would need to be more conscious about dressing conservatively than on most other trips I'd taken. But, as a non-Muslim woman, just how conservative did I need to dress in Egypt?

Did I need to cover my hair?

Were long sleeves required, or would t-shirts be acceptable in hotter cities?

Could I wear capris?

Did all my clothing have to be super baggy?

Would a cross-body purse accentuate my boobs too much?

It was easy to find the answers to some of these questions online, while other searches brought up nothing useful. So I decided to write my own guide to packing for a trip to Egypt as a woman, based on my own personal experience there.

Amanda from A Dangerous Business in front of the Great Temple of Abu Simbel
My favorite outfit at Abu Simbel

(And yes, I'm aware that some women might feel perfectly comfortable NOT dressing conservatively in Egypt, and I don't particularly like policing women's bodies or clothing. BUT, when visiting a place with different cultural norms, I generally find it makes for a more enjoyable travel experience if you do your best to respect those cultural differences. These tips are based on what I felt and witnessed while traveling to Egypt as a woman.)

First, let's address those questions about how to dress in Egypt as a woman! (Unless you just want to skip ahead to my full packing list – if so, just scroll down.)

RELATED: 7 Things That Surprised Me About Traveling in Egypt

Questions about what to wear in Egypt for women

1. As a non-Muslim woman, do I need to cover my hair in Egypt?

In short, no, you don't need to cover your hair as a female traveler in Egypt. As a tourist you aren't expected to wear a hijab or any other hair or facial covering in Egypt.

The only exception to this is if you're visiting a mosque – in that case, you do indeed need to respect the fact that you're entering a religious building and cover up. Usually just using a regular scarf to cover your hair will do.

Some female tourists choose to cover their hair at all times in Egypt, though, especially if they're traveling independently. This is definitely not necessary – but it's based on what you feel comfortable with!

2. Do I have to wear long sleeves all the time?

Again, no, you don't have to cover your arms as a woman in Egypt. Tank tops and strapless tops are generally frowned upon, as are tops that reveal too much cleavage. But as for arm coverage, the general rule is to just make sure your shoulders are covered.

Covering your elbows is polite, but you won't get too much unwanted attention if you go out in a normal t-shirt. I mostly wore tops with 3/4-length sleeves, but would have felt fine in short sleeves, too.

Amanda from A Dangerous Business showcasing different outfits for Egypt
Some of the other outfits I wore in Egypt: Left, my go-to outfit for dinner and other stuff at night; Center, an outfit I wore to a couple temples (sometimes paired with a lightweight scarf); Right, what I wore to the Valley of the Kings!

3. Can I wear capris in Egypt?

Yes, you can wear capris in Egypt! Just like you don't always need to wear long sleeves, you don't always need to wear long pants in Egypt. Capris are acceptable for women as long as they cover your knees. (For men, longer shorts are fine, but I personally wouldn't wear shorts as a woman outside of beach resorts.)

4. Does all my clothing have to be super baggy?

While skin-tight clothing isn't always considered modest, you don't have to pack baggy, shapeless clothes as a woman in Egypt.

Obviously the more you emphasize your curves, the more attention you might receive, but I know from experience that it's sometimes impossible to find clothing that will “hide” big boobs and a backside without making you look like you're wearing a sack. (And I don't know about you, but I wanted to look at least mildly cute in my Pyramid selfies!)

Pyramid selfie by Amanda
Pyramid selfie!

The good news is that most local Egyptian women dress quite modern – I saw skinny jeans everywhere! I tried to make sure that if I had on slightly more form-fitting bottoms that I wore a looser, more flowing top, but that's personal preference.

5. Can I wear a cross-body purse in Egypt?

Any woman with a larger chest will know that you can't wear a cross-body hand bag without the strap strongly emphasizing The Girls. It doesn't matter how heavy the bag is; if you have boobs, they're going to stand out when wearing a cross-body purse.

My go-to travel bag is, of course, usually a cross-body one (they're much more secure, as they're more difficult to steal while you're wearing them), but I wasn't sure I would feel comfortable wearing one in Egypt. I opted for a pickpocket-proof backpack instead, which made me feel more comfortable when out sightseeing.

I did bring a small cross-body bag with me, too, for going out to dinner or for instances where I didn't need to carry my camera or water bottle or other heavy things. I didn't experience any harassment wearing this bag, though I did often wear it paired up with a jacket or scarf.

Amanda in Egypt | What to wear in Egypt
Capris AND a cross-body bag in Cairo

I don't have a definitive answer on this one, but I would say that if you're worried about it, go with a theft-proof backpack instead. (Or maybe a cute sling/hip bag since these are back in-style now?)

6. Is there any time I can just wear what I want?

Generally speaking, I always try to adhere to local customs when I travel. It's just respectful, and also makes your travel experience more positive. This isn't to say that I didn't see tourists wearing tank tops or short shorts in Egypt – I did. I even saw one woman at a temple in a short, strapless romper!

But I wouldn't recommend wearing your normal American or European summer clothing in Egypt. It's just kind of rude.

The one exception to this is if you go on a Nile river cruise, or if you're planning to spend time at any of Egypt's seaside resorts.

Things are generally more relaxed on cruise ships and at resorts since you're surrounded by other tourists (you can, for example, wear your bathing suit on the sun deck and in the pool). BUT, remember on cruises especially that the crew will be all Egyptian, and that there may be Egyptian or other Muslim families on the boat, too. I found the topless sunbathing on my cruise boat to be a bit insensitive.

Hypostyle Hall at Karnak Temple
Me wearing a t-shirt over a long dress at Karnak

Interested in booking a tour in Egypt?

These are the two tours I recommend:

  • Egypt Adventure – An 8-day, budget-friendly tour of Egypt
  • Egypt Experience – A 12-day, slightly more upscale tour of Egypt (this is the one I did!)

Or you can combine Egypt and Jordan in this 15-day trip.

(And you can read my full review of the Egypt tour I took.)

Egypt packing list (for women)

Now that we've covered the packing FAQs, here's what I actually packed in my bag for my 12-day trip to Egypt.

I visited in November/December, which is “winter” in Egypt. Temperatures were mild (even cool in the evenings), but I would probably have packed similar things for a trip during the warmer months, since you can't really wear less clothing in such a conservative country!

My bag for Egypt

My bag for this trip was a hard-sided, carry-on size spinner from Delsey*, with an expandable zipper and TSA-friendly locks. Yes, this is a small bag, but I really didn't need anything bigger since I was mixing and matching my clothing and wearing things more than once!

For longer trips (or if you're just not a carry-on-only type of traveler), I'm a fan of Osprey's rolling bags. I've had an Osprey convertible bag for about 7 years now, and it's traveled to 4 different continents with me! This Osprey Fairview 65 is a good option (and will last you years and years!), or they make a larger 80L version, too.

And I always swear by packing cubes to help keep my luggage organized! (These compression packing cubes are so handy.)

*Note that you'll want to check carry-on luggage size requirements for the airline you're flying. The Delsey bag I use is slightly too large for some international carriers.

Feluccas on the Nile in Aswan
Feluccas on the Nile in Aswan

RELATED: 10 Tips for How to Pack Carry On Only for Your Next Trip

Clothing for Egypt

Note: This list is good for a 10-15 day trip, though I personally had laundry done once about halfway through my trip.

On top

  • 1-2 tunic tops
  • 1 long top with 3/4-length sleeves
  • 3 t-shirts (including at least one merino t-shirt, which you barely need to wash)
  • 1 tank top for layering
  • 1 flowy short-sleeved top for layering (the one I currently like is this one from Amazon)
  • 1 long-sleeved jersey wrap top (or a cardigan, depending on season)
  • 2-3 dresses (midi/maxi – I love this maxi dress with pockets, and this one which is very light)

On the bottom

  • 1-2 pair of thin flowy pants (I like these ones, which are super light, and these heavier, dressier-looking ones that come in lots of colors)
  • 1 pair of capris (like these or these)
  • 2 pairs of leggings, one long and one cropped
  • OPTIONAL: 1 pair of jeans for evenings (especially in winter)
  • OPTIONAL: 1 maxi skirt (if you like the flowy type of skirt, this one is an affordable option, though is very full; this one is shorter but will still cover your knees)
  • OPTIONAL: 1 flowy jumpsuit (I am currently obsessed with this soft jumpsuit. You do need to wear a t-shirt under it, but it's so comfy.)
Amanda at the Great Pyramid in Egypt
Yay pyramids!

Under things

  • 2 regular bras
  • 1 comfy sports bra
  • Breathable underwear (these ExOfficio ones are my favorite)
  • 1-2 pairs of Jockey Skimmies for wearing under dresses (my fellow curvy ladies will understand the need for these in warmer weather!)
  • 1 swimsuit (especially if visiting the Red Sea)


Shoes for Egypt

  • 1 pair of sneakers (I love my SUAVS, which are lightweight, breathable, AND washable; save 15% using the code DB15)
  • 1 pair of walking sandals or hiking sandals
  • OPTIONAL: A pair of flats or flip-flops

I also highly recommend packing a pair of light slippers for Egypt. Something like these will do the trick for cold hotel room floors.

Toiletries / first aid

This travel toiletry bag is currently my pick for what to use to pack this all!

  • Travel toilet paper rolls (they take up even less room than tissues, and you'll often need your own TP in public bathrooms) and perhaps some individual wipes
  • Hand sanitizer (crucial for bathrooms in Egypt)
  • Toiletries like sunscreen, contact solution, toothpaste, and moisturizer (OMG bring a good moisturizer or lotion – it is SO DRY in Egypt!)
  • Solid shampoo/conditioner – I like the solid bars by Ethique, and this shampoo bar by Garnier; they're eco-friendly, you don't have to worry about liquid rules, AND they won't explode in your suitcase (and I'm in love with these tiny waterproof soap bags)
  • Any skin care products you usually travel with
  • First aid kit with Band-Aids, motion sickness pills, pain killers, Imodium, and rehydration salts (and I sadly needed some of this – our group passed around a stomach bug!). You also may want to consider taking a probiotic in Egypt to help ward off any tummy troubles – I've used Travelan in the past and it seems to work!

Tech to pack

Need a good tech bag to help you organize all your cords, charger blocks, and adapters? I like this one! And inside it you'll want:

Portable wifi or eSIM

If you don't want to rely on patchy hotel wifi, you might want to look into traveling with a portable wifi hotspot like a Solis wifi hotspot. Solis works by connecting you to a local mobile network – but no SIM cards are required.

You can buy a device at home, and then purchase day passes or a monthly data plan for your Solis. (I like the day passes, since then you only pay for what you use.) You can connect up to 10 devices to a Solis, which is perfect if you're traveling as a couple or a family. Learn more about Solis here.

Temple of Hatshepsut in Luxor, Egypt
Lots of sites in Egypt are in full sun – pack accordingly!

The other option is to get an eSIM for your phone so you can easily use it abroad. (This is a better option if you're not traveling with any other devices.) Basically you purchase an eSIM before your trip with a certain amount of data allotted, and then you simply switch over to it when you arrive in Egypt. My go-to for eSIMs is Airalo, and they do offer options in Egypt!

Misc other things


I also highly recommend purchasing travel insurance for the entirety of your trip in Egypt. Travel insurance usually covers things like medical emergencies, but can also compensate you for things like travel delays and lost luggage.

(Most tour companies will require you to have travel insurance in Egypt.)

Free printable packing list for Egypt

What if I'm going to Egypt in summer?

If you're traveling to Egypt during the summer months (which can be extremely hot), you'll still want to cover up – so make sure to pack light, breathable fabrics, and some extra pieces in case you need to change outfits during the day.

For ladies like me who have never known what a thigh gap is, I recommend trying the following if you'll be wearing skirts or dresses to combat chafing:

  • Jockeys Skimmies – These moisture-wicking slip shorts are perfect for under just about anything; I wear them constantly in the summer! (Recently I've also been liking these yoga shorts by Baleaf – they don't ride up at all AND have pockets, but are heavier than the Skimmies.)
  • Megababe Thigh Rescue Anti-Chafe Stick Don't want to add an extra layer? Then pick up one of these anti-chafe sticks, which really do work wonders to combat chafing!

What were my Egypt packing must-haves?

I packed pretty well for this trip – I wore everything that I brought for Egypt and don't feel like I took anything unnecessary. That being said, I was happy to have a few specific things:

1. Hidden pocket scarf

I got two new hidden pocket travel scarves from Speakeasy Travel Supply, and took one of them to Egypt with me. I LOVE these scarves for travel – the pockets are large enough for your passport and money, making them excellent to wear on travel days.

And they make them in all sorts of materials, too, including a lightweight rayon, which doesn't make you super hot.

Amanda at Philae Temple
At Philae Temple with my hidden pocket scarf

I also used my scarf at temples when I needed a pocket (sadly not all women's clothing comes with pockets!). You'll want pockets in Egypt since nearly every temple, tomb, or other historic site you visit will give you a paper ticket that you may have to show more than once.

I also tucked my phone into my scarf once or twice when I was lacking a pocket but didn't want to have to keep digging in my backpack in order to do an Instagram Story.

2. Good shoes

I take my Teva Verra sandals with me almost everywhere as long as the weather isn't supposed to be cold. Not only are these sandals comfortable and supportive for walking, but they're also perfect for a destination like Egypt. Why? Because everything in Egypt is DUSTY (it is mostly a desert, after all), and I could easily rinse these sandals off in the shower every night. (Plus, even though they're technically “hiking sandals,” I don't think they're hideous!)

(I also love the Teva Hurricane XLT2 sandals – they have even more cushion and grip than the Verras.)

If you prefer covered shoes, check out the Zilker Knit shoe by SUAVS. I love these shoes because they're light and super easy to pack, AND they're machine washable, meaning you can easily wash all the dirt and sand off when you get home. 

(And, as a reader of A Dangerous Business, you can save 15% off a pair of SUAVS! Use the code DB15 at checkout.)

3. Pacsafe backpack

Lastly, taking my Pacsafe theft-proof backpack on this trip was a great idea. I didn't have to worry about the cross-body strap of a purse accentuating things I didn't want to accentuate, and I could fit everything I'd need for a day inside it (including my camera, wallet, sunscreen, hat, water bottle, and scarf), and I always had extra room for a souvenir or two.

The bonus of taking a Pacsafe bag is that you don't have to stress about pickpockets since all the zippers are lockable and the material is slash-proof. Even when we were in areas where our guide told us to keep an eye on our bags, I wasn't worried about anyone getting into mine.

I usually travel with a camera-specific Pacsafe backpack, but the following ones are great too:

(And yes, I'm a crazy Pacsafe fangirl and do actually personally own all of these backpacks, so I can vouch for them being great; I've not had to replace one yet!)

And if you want to keep your things *even safer* (or, if like me you usually travel with a laptop and expensive camera that don't fit into hotel safes)? Consider taking a packable, portable safe with you, so you can lock things up in your hotel room.

PS – Don't forget to use a VPN (Virtual Private Network) when you're traveling, too. It helps keep your private details (like passwords and other sensitive data) safe when you're using public wifi networks. I use Express VPN, which is easy to install and use.

RELATED: How to Keep Your Money and Valuables Safe on Your Travels

Interested in visiting Egypt for yourself? Check out these posts about my trip there:

I hope this has answered some questions for you about how to dress in Egypt, and what to wear in Egypt as a woman!

Have you ever been to Egypt? If not, do you have questions about traveling there? Feel free to ask me in the comments below!

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Egypt packing list for women

"It's a dangerous business, going out your door. You step onto the road, and, if you don't keep your feet, there's no telling where you might get swept off to." - JRR Tolkien

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149 Comments on “What to Wear in Egypt as a Woman (+ Helpful Egypt Packing Tips!)

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  1. I was just wondering where you were going next Amanda. Next summer I am going to Jordan and Israel. I plan to take a few days at the end of the tour to go snorkeling in the Red Sea and swimming with the dolphins. You should come there

    It’s me again, Amanda. Thank you for responding to all my questions so promptly. I have another question. I read that in Egypt, tipping is expected for everything. How did you handle this situation? Did you change some American money into Egyptian money, and give out small tips or did you just use American money and hand out dollar bills? How many times a day did you have to tip people?

      Tipping is indeed expected for almost everything in Egypt. I was on a tour, and our guide often handled the tipping for us (we all gave him $35 at the beginning of the tour, and he handled the main stuff like tipping drivers and such). Otherwise, I just had a stack of $1 US bills, and used those to tip.

    For me, packing is always very stressful and I go through a lot of anxiety just to get my stuff packed. I remember one trip I just threw everything into the suitcase at the last minute. So I was wondering, how long does it take you to pack? Do you prepare things in advance, if so, when do you start preparing? Your list really help me a lot and I’m gathering my travel stuff even now. I leave for Egypt on December 26.

    I have one more question. Do you Have just a wash and wear hair style that you don’t have to spend a lot of time on? How much time do you spend on doing your hair every day? I just plan on taking a small travel hairdryer and a round brush. What’s the best way to look good with minimal time and effort?

    I love your blog! Your information is so helpful and makes traveling easier when we know what to take and what to expect. Thanks again

      For bigger trips, I’ll start setting clothing items aside and making a list of all the things I need to pack about a week before I leave. For shorter trips, I usually start packing 2 days before I leave – or sometimes the day before!

      As for hair styles, my hair is extremely straight, so it really only does two things: it either hangs down straight, or goes up into the ponytail in hot weather. I don’t spend a lot of time on my hair at home, so it’s the same when I travel! I usually travel with a brush and travel hair dryer and that’s it!

    Did you have to purchase airfare and then meet up for the tour? It looks like you had a great time.

      Yes, generally with tours like this you make your own way to the meeting point (though some tour companies can help you book your flights, too, if you need them to).

    Hi Amanda, do you take wrinkle free clothing or do you take what you like and pack an iron, or maybe a few wrinkles aren’t that big of a deal. I have some cotton shirts but they would be wrinkled after spending days in my suitcase. Does it matter whether I iron or not? I bought a couple of wrinkle free tunic tops, but I hate the fabric so I’m returning them.

    Thanks again for providing all this excellent information which is making my trip so much easier. Oh one more question, I was told the hotels in Egypt do not have Laundry facilities and that I will have to do my own. Is that true? I’m hoping I won’t have to do much laundry. What do you do about that? What do you think of those portable washing Bags like Scrubba?


      Hey Diana! I tend to travel with clothing made of materials that don’t wrinkle a lot – but in general I don’t worry about it. Unless I’m going to a really fancy dinner somewhere (which isn’t something I did in Egypt), I don’t fret over a wrinkle or two. Then again, I barely ever iron things at home! Haha.

      When going to conferences or other things, I travel with a little bottle of Downy Wrinkle Release, which usually helps get rid of the big creases.

      As for laundry in Egypt, the only thing I did was wash some underwear in the sink in my room; I packed enough other clothing that I didn’t need to wash anything. I *think* there were laundry facilities at one or two of the hotels we stayed at, and maybe on the cruise ship as well? But again, I didn’t do any laundry while I was there! I also don’t worry about wearing things more than once when I travel – as long as they aren’t smelly, who cares?

        Good advice. You and I are on the same page! Thank you. Shukran.

    What shoes are you wearing in your picture by the pyramid? They don’t look like TiVo sandals, but they look really cool.

      They’re the Teva Verra sandals recommended in this post! I wear these things everywhere.

        Thank you for answering so quickly. I’m going to Egypt at Christmas time and your travel packing list has greatly helped me; I’ve gotten a lot of great ideas. I love the secret scarf. I went on a shopping spree last night because of you! I was just wondering how much cash you recommend I take and where should I stash it?

          Great to hear, Diana! I wrote this post in hopes of helping people just like you! As for your question about cash, because I went on a tour where many things were included, I didn’t take a whole lot of cash with me to Egypt. Maybe $200 USD total? Whenever I travel with cash, I usually keep most of it tucked away inside my luggage (one of my bags has an inside pocket that I usually use), and only carry smaller notes on me when I go out. When I went shopping for alabaster and papyrus, those stores accepted credit card, so I didn’t need a ton of cash.

    I want to thank you again Amanda for letting us know what to wear over there. I was looking at their cultural and traditional to see what was allowed. Will be leaving Oct. 15th.

    Thanks for this very informative blog. I’m traveling to Egypt in April and am browsing around early to see what may be needed on the trip; specifically, appropriate clothing to pack considering weather and cultural expectations.

    Thank you so much for your informative and honest postings. This is exactly what I was looking for. I will be traveling to Egypt next month and I am wondering about budgeting; particularly if credit cards were widely accepted in the tourist spots? You mentioned the tipping in another article can be in Egyptian pounds or American dollars. Was wondering any recommendations you might have for a 10 day trip and budgeting? Any insight is greatly appreciated.

      Hey Steph! I went on a tour where many things were included (including entrance to most tourist sites), so I didn’t have need to pay for a lot beyond food and souvenirs. I found it definitely easier to use cash for those things, though. Egypt is pretty affordable – even when tipping, I was only tipping a dollar or less (USD) per interaction, so you don’t need a ton of cash on-hand.

    Hi, so shorts are a “no”? I have to. Cover to the knee is this correct ? I know you said people wear them but I would like to go with the norm.
    We are going in 4 weeks

      That’s correct. You of course can wear whatever you want, but if you want to be respectful of the local culture and not invite unwanted attention, I would definitely make sure your knees and shoulders are covered.

    I am travelling to Egypt in September. I have been googling like crazy and every piece of clothing I buy is with Egypt in mind. This is by far the BEST and most helpful thing I have read so far. Thank you so much. I am so glad I came across this. Excuse me while I read everything else you’ve written on Egypt!

      I’m SO glad to hear that, Hayley! I tried to make this as comprehensive as possible, because I couldn’t easily find the answers to many of the questions I had before my own Egypt trip!

    We just booked a trip for this November! Your posts have been so helpful. Can’t wait for our adventure!

      That’s great! I went at the end of November last year, and it was a great time of year to visit! Hope you enjoy your trip.

    THANK YOU!!!! This was so informative! We are heading to Egypt for our honeymoon next month, and I has no idea what to wear. You helped me tremendously! Thanks again!!!

      So glad to be able to help!!

    Very nice article! Did you require a visa to be in Egypt? Even just for a week?

      Yes, I did need a visa, but as an American I was allowed to just get the visa when I arrived in Cairo.

    Hi Amanda!

    You saved me with your article! I was so desperate for looking for a quite honest and straight what-to-pack-list. My concern is I am going in July! (oh yeah), although I love long skirts, my thighs are pretty closed to each other and when sweating it’s not a funny thing, and I don’t know how comfy it will be for visiting tombs. A question I have, as you went to the cruise in the Nile, how is it dinner for dressing? Cause I am going for honey moon, and I would love to wear something nice for dinner (not too glam, I am not like that). Thanks again!

      Happy to be able to help! It will be HOT in July, so I definitely recommend the lightest layers you can manage. As for skirts, I combat thigh rub with either a pair of compression-type shorts (Jockeys makes moisture-wicking shorts called Skimmies that are my go-to), or a deodorant-style stick (Gold Bond makes a “Friction Defense” stick that works great!).

      As for the Nile, some people did put on a nicer outfit for dinner, but it’s not required.

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