The Pyramids and Sphinx in Egypt.

What Not To Wear In Egypt (+ What Not To Pack) 2022

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Wondering if Cairo has a dress code? What should you not wear when visiting Egypt?

Egypt is a country with some of the oldest and most fascinating landmarks and monuments in the world and it’s an amazing place that everyone should visit. However, it seems the list of “what not to wear in Egypt” is confusing for people who are not used to Middle Eastern cultures.

Egypt is a conservative and predominately Muslim country. It also has very hot and dry weather so packing can be tricky. You want to be respectful but also stay cool and comfortable at the same time.

Standing in front of a castle in Cairo wearing a long dress and pants.

This post will go over what not to wear in Egypt and will also give you a great list of what you should pack for your trip. Let’s dive in.

What Not To Wear In Egypt 2022

When you travel, you should respect the local traditions and culture. While Egypt doesn’t have a specific dress code, we always try not to draw too much attention to ourselves because it can make people feel uncomfortable.

As mentioned, there is no official dress code in Egypt for tourists, but there are certain clothing items you should leave at home or only wear at certain places on your trip.

Although Egypt is a safe country and the people are friendly and welcoming, dressing
appropriately will prevent unwanted attention and keep you safer overall.

Here are some clothing items for both men and women that you should not wear while visiting Egypt:

1. Shorts

Unless you are in any of the beach towns or resorts along the Red Sea like Hurghada or Sharm El-Sheik, you should not wear shorts in public. Technically, men can get away with wearing longer shorts if they really want to, but most local men do not wear them and you will stand out immediately as a tourist.

Overall, shorts should be avoided unless you are at the beach or in an expat community where it is more common and acceptable for people to wear them. If you want to play it safe, don’t pack them.

What You Should Wear Instead

➡️ Long pants and trousers

Trousers and pants are perfectly acceptable for both men and women to wear in Egypt. Definitely consider bringing ones that are made of a lighter, breathable material.

Standing in front of Valley of the Kings in Egypt.

2. Mini skirts

Just like shorts, mini skirts are something you should leave at home when you visit Egypt. They are not something any of the locals wear and if you do choose to wear them, you will attract a lot of attention (and not the good kind).

Local women tend to keep their legs covered at least to their knees if not all the way covered, so having a lot of your legs exposed could be considered disrespectful.

What You Should Wear Instead

➡️ Maxi dresses / long skirts

For women, a great clothing option that is modest and also keeps you cool is a maxi dress or long skirt. There are so many options out there that you can mix and match and they pack really well too.

Sitting at Philae Temple in Egypt, wearing long pants and a hat.

3. Strapless shirts & tank tops

Men and women should avoid wearing clothing that doesn’t cover their shoulders. Regular t-shirts are fine, but you should leave your spaghetti straps, tank tops, and strapless tops at home.

The only exception to this is at the beach resorts – lots of people wear them there and it is acceptable to do so if you wish. Again, that’s up to you if you want to pack these items for your time at the beach, but you shouldn’t wear them anywhere else.

What You Should Wear Instead

➡️ Jacket

Believe it or not, the evenings can get a little chilly in Egypt, especially if you visit in the winter.

Having some kind of jacket will be nice to have just in case it gets cold.

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    4. Tight-fitting clothes

    Any items of clothing that are tight-fitting should not be worn. The exception to this is skinny jeans as many locals do wear them, so you shouldn’t stand out too much if you want to wear these.

    You can also get away with wearing leggings if you pair them with a shorter dress or skirt, but they should not be worn exclusively as pants.

    What You Should Wear Instead

    ➡️ Light, breezy clothes

    In order to keep yourself cool in the hot Egypt sun but also be respectful to the conservative culture, you’ll want to bring lots of clothing that is a lighter material, loose-fitting, and comfy.

    Walking through the market in Egypt.

    Cotton is a good material as well as linen, performance fabric, and light wool.
    Make sure you include at least a few long-sleeve items so you can protect your skin from the midday sun – it can be brutal, even in the winter.

    Related Post: How To Teach English In Egypt

    5. See-through or revealing clothing

    Most people in Egypt dress conservatively, so you will not see any locals wearing revealing clothing. Women should make sure they do not show any cleavage, and you would also be wise to avoid wearing items that have an open back or sheer sections.

    Basically, if you can see any skin around your torso between your neck and hips, you should wear something else.

    6. Clothes that show your midriff

    You should also avoid tops and outfits that might expose your stomach while you’re moving around and exploring.

    Hot Air Balloons Over Egypt - What Not To Wear In Egypt.

    Do a quick test with your clothes before you pack them for your trip to Egypt. If you raise your arms and your shirt rides up and reveals your midriff, consider packing a different one.

    7. White clothes

    While the photos you’ve seen of Egypt make the sand look beautiful, it can stain your white and light-colored clothing. The desert can be windy and the dust and sand will blow everywhere.

    Play it safe and try to pack dark and neutral colors to prevent staining.

    What You Should Wear Instead

    ➡️ Scarf

    This item is a necessity for women if you visit any mosques – you will be required to cover your head. But a scarf also comes in handy to protect your face and neck from the desert sand and wind.

    8. Flashy jewelry

    This suggestion is more a general rule for traveling than for Egypt specifically. Flashy,
    expensive-looking necklaces, bracelets, rings, and watches can draw attention to yourself and make you a target for beggars and pickpockets.

    If you’d be devastated to lose it, don’t bring it.

    Camals in Dahab, Egypt

    More Things You Should Pack For Egypt

    Now that we’ve gone over what not to wear in Egypt and what you can wear instead, here’s an extension of that Egypt packing guide we started in the above paragraphs:

    ✔️ Sturdy, comfy shoes

    More than likely you came to Egypt to see the Great Pyramids and wander around the ancient temples, so you’ll probably be doing a lot of walking.

    A closed-toed shoe option is best when you are in the cities and if you don’t want dusty feet.

    There are also a lot of uneven steps and walkways at the sites, so something practical is going to be more important than something stylish.

    I’d also recommend adding a pair of sandals to your Egypt packing list if you plan to spend any time in the water.

    ✔️ Socks

    While this might seem like an obvious item to pack, I mention it because you’ll have to take off your shoes when you are in the mosques, so you’ll probably want to have socks on when you visit.

    ✔️ Swimsuit

    Many people like to spend some time on their Egypt trip swimming and taking part in water activities. Swimsuits are fine to wear at many hotel pools, beach resorts, and on Nile River cruises, so make sure you bring one if you’d like to get in the water.

    Sunset In Dahab, Egypt over a pool. Be sure to pack your swimsuit for Egypt!

    Bikinis are perfectly fine at these places as well, but I’d also suggest packing a cover-up for when you travel to and from the pool or beach, just to be more respectful.

    ✔️ Rashguard

    The Egypt sun is no joke! Sunscreen is good to wear, but if you are more susceptible to sunburn, I’d highly suggest wearing a rashguard or a long-sleeve swim shirt for extra protection when you’re in the water.

    ✔️ Brimmed hat

    Give your scalp and neck some extra protection too when you are outside – pack a hat with a wide brim that will keep the sun off your face and head.

    ✔️ Sunglasses

    Don’t forget to protect your eyes as well.

    Views at Abu Simbel in Egypt.

    ✔️ Sunscreen and chapstick

    Wear sunscreen all day when you are in Egypt, and make sure you carry around some chapstick too – the air is dry and your lips can get burnt and chapped very easily.

    ✔️ Medications

    Besides any doctor-prescribed meds, I highly recommend packing along medications for diarrhea, upset stomach, headaches, motion sickness, etc. These can be hard to find in Egypt and it’s better to have them and not need them than wish you did.

    ✔️ Hand sanitizer

    I’ll be honest, you probably will encounter some toilets in Egypt that have no soap and water to wash your hands. Pack some hand sanitizer for peace of mind and to keep yourself healthy.

    ✔️ After-sun lotion

    Even if you think you won’t need it, bring it anyway. If you don’t need it, no big deal, but you’ll be glad you have it if you do get burnt – you don’t want that ruining your trip.

    ✔️ Bug spray

    You might not think there are any bugs in the desert, but it can get buggy during certain times of the year along the Nile and in Cairo and Alexandria. Pack a small bottle just in case.

    Mosque of Muhammed Ali in Egypt.

    ✔️ Power adapter

    Egypt uses type C and F power plugs and operates on 220V supply voltage and 50Hz. Make sure you bring along a plug and power adapter so you can charge your devices.

    ✔️ Power bank

    If you are using your phone to take a million photos of all the amazing sites you’ll see in Egypt, you should bring along a power bank to keep your phone charged throughout the day. These also make a great gift for the traveler in your life.

    ✔️ Passport

    Last but certainly not least, don’t forget your passport!

    The Wrap-Up: What Not To Wear In Egypt

    Determining what not to wear in Egypt doesn’t have to be stressful or confusing. Plan to dress conservatively and be respectful of the culture and you’ll be just fine! Now you’re ready to pack for your trip to Egypt.

    Huge thanks to Stefanie from Open Road Odysseys for writing such a beautiful piece about her experience in Egypt!