Welcome dear reader! This is Gamila here. Since having moved to Egypt there were some things that myself and several others thought would be useful to bring if you are coming on a trip, and even more so if you’re coming to live. Another post on that later. Keep in mind that this may vary from person to person, but there were some common things that can be very helpful.
Now don’t worry, if you’re coming to Cairo or another city like Alexandria, you won’t be in the middle of the desert, but there is a certain measure of comfort in knowing that you tried to prepare as best you could for a trip of a lifetime! Here are your top ten things to pack in your bag when traveling to Egypt!
1. Hand sanitizer/ Hand wipes/ Tissues
Now you won’t have to worry too much about this if you’re staying at a nice hotel or Airbnb, BUT better safe than sorry in this regard. You will be exploring the city and other areas and some bathrooms are perfect, with women cleaning the toilets and a fresh scent right before you go in them, while others…..not so much. Save your inner germaphobe, and bring supplies! You’ll thank me later.
2. Sun Protection
It gets hot here, like REALLY hot. In the summer it can be 100 degrees Fahrenheit (+40 Celsius) on a daily basis. Even in the winter it doesn’t get too too cold and it is sunny almost everyday. The places you’ll be going you’ll need some SPF, sunglasses, and an umbrella or a hat. Long-sleeved SPF shirts are good too. The pyramids have no nearby trees, and in general, Cairo gets a lot of sun, so you’ll want to make sure that you’re protected.
3. Backpack/ mini backpack
When you’re traveling out and about there are so many useful little things we need to bring with us that a mini backpack can be SOOO handy. For all those tissues, sanitizer, cameras, phones, snacks, water, and SPF that you’re going to bring you need something that will allow you to get the full experience while carrying your stuff. Cairo is a MEGA busy city, having a backpack for all your belongings can be a protection from pick-pockets or from dropping something as you go. So with everything you have, it should be relatively no hassle.
4. Cash in Egyptian Pounds and US Dollars
Egypt is still a country that deals in cash extensively. Upon arrival in the airport, you have to get a visa. The visa currently costs $25 USD. You can get it in a little office on your way to pick your luggage. Now this may seem obvious to some, but not if you’re accustomed to putting your life on a credit card. You may explore Khan Al Khalili market, or go to a local “Ahwa” Egyptian coffeeshop, or just need something small, and you’re going to need some Egyptian pounds to cover it. Also here, small tips are expected in a lot of settings, so it’s always good to have cash.
The water here is a bit of a tricky situation. Drink only filtered or bottled water, and tap water is just for washing. However, if you’re a person who really likes cold water and needs it. I highly HIGHLY recommend investing in a Hydroflask. Of course you can buy water anywhere, but it doesn’t stay cold for very long, and trust me, there’s nothing more unsatisfying than drinking lukewarm water from a hot, plastic bottle. With the Hydroflask, this will never be a problem, you can be out all day in severely hot weather and the water will be the same temperature as when you put it in there.
6. Conservative Clothing
This one is more for the ladies, but Egypt is a predominantly Muslim country, and while you will find some other foreigners wearing shorts around, you will feel more comfortable if you don’t at the sights. Opt for clothing on bottom that’s not too tight, or too short, like some nice capris. Also cleavage, and spaghetti straps/ tank tops are a bit scandalous, so try to avoid it. If you’re going to a very tourist/ foreigner destination bikinis are OK, but you may want to bring a t-shirt to wear over it just in case for any given situation.
7. Defense Against Food Poisoning
In Egypt, there is a chance that you may get sick from the food. This is unlikely in hotels, and very nice restaurants, but always a possibility while travelling. Make sure to consult a local that you trust about good and clean places to eat. Now there are different things you can take, Imodium being one of them, but if you’re looking for something more natural that can help you with an upset stomach/ diarrhea, a friend recommended to me grapefruit seed extract.
8. Good Walking Shoes
Now there may be times you want to sport some flip flops or sandals, but in Cairo and around, you NEED to bring some good walking shoes. These will get dusty, and dirty but also protect your feet from uneven, crooked sidewalks with at times sharp, metal things sticking up. Make sure they’re comfortable, and that you don’t mind that get dusty or are washable.
I don’t know about you, but who doesn’t need their phone constantly? Stay charged and fresh with this handy little device. Especially if you’re doing some self navigating and need Google Maps or UBER, this is so so helpful.
10. Universal/ European Adapters
This also goes in the area of technology. Egypt uses European outlets, which also means they have a higher voltage of 220V than the US ones (110V). So don’t bother bringing your blow dryer or anything else that doesn’t work on 220V because you’ll fry it, or else bring a transformer. I have used my curling iron and straightener with an adapter with no problems here.