What to Pack for Travel to Egypt and Jordan

Traveling to Egypt or Jordan is a dream for many. Seeing the pyramids – the only Wonder of the Ancient World still standing. Cruising the Nile. Exploring the incredible, multicultural city of Cairo. There’s so much culture and history to absorb! If you’re really lucky, you add in a visit to the Kingdom of Jordan where you walk in biblical lands, camp in Wadi Rum and explore the astonishing city of Petra. Our days in Petra were the highlight of our trip! Choosing the right clothing to pack for a trip to Egypt and Jordan will make your trip easier.
As travelers we believe it is important to be respectful of local cultures. Both Egypt and Jordan are Islamic countries where women (and men!) dress modestly. Jordan is more tolerant of western dress, but it’s better to be more respectful rather than less.
The weather in these countries is generally hot and dry. We traveled in March when there was some rain in Cairo but the Nile and the deserts in Jordan were extremely hot.

Recommended Packing List for Egypt and Jordan

Gear:

  • Camera and lenses – highly recommend a camera with a viewfinder, whether a dSLR or a bridge camera. I traveled with a basic point-and-shoot and regretted not having a real viewfinder. The sun is very bright and made the LCD panel impossible to use.
    • Dust cover for camera
    • Lots of memory cards!

Include a travel tripod in you Packing List for Egypt and Jordan to get some night images

  • Binoculars – our guide was thrilled to use our binoculars to examine the hieroglyphs on monuments. We recommend the compact Swarovski CL line.

  Best Binoculars for Travel and home

  • External charger ( bonus points if it has SD card backup capability like the RAVPower FileHub)
  • Headlamp – if you’re going to Petra, DO go to Petra By Night, an exceptional experience where you walk the narrow siq lit only by luminaries. It’s an uneven path so a headlamp would have been a great help.

Clothing:

The culture in both countries requires women to dress modestly. Though as a tourist you’re exempt from the dress code, it is always good to be respectful of the residents of a country you visit.

Recommended for men and women:

  • Shirts, light colored*, long sleeves which roll up if necessary (Columbia Sportswear offers affordable convertible shirts for men and women)
  • Pants, light colored, with fold up or zip off to knee length (women – look for the slimmer fitting versions of these pants – i.e., Columbia Aruba, which will work best transitioning from touring to dining)
  • Tees and a light sweater, merino wool recommended for its lightness and odor resistance
  • sturdy shoes*
  • sun hat
  • sunscreen!
Recommended for women:
  • midi or maxi skirt in lightweight material
  • a lightweight scarf – brightens any outfit and covers your head in places of worship
  • avoid short shorts and form fitting clothing unless on private boats or at resorts
  • * we chose to wear black in Cairo as to better assimilate to the culture

My favorite easy-to-pack travel clothing for women.

Shoes

All travelers need good walking shoes. Sneakers will do, but will immediately identify you as a tourist. To blend in better (and not get ripped off by touts!), bring shoes that are more fashionable or subtle.

        

Two of my favorites –

  • Ecco Damara gladiator sandals are remarkably comfortable with a cushioned footbed, yet are elegant enough for dinner.
  • Chaco Outcross is an athletic shoe, but has the advantage of being waterproof. Perfect for exploring temples!

Note: showing the bottom of your feet, shoe-d or shoe-less, is considered an insult in Arab countries. 

Our experience packing for travel to the Middle East

We found the Egyptian and Jordanian people very friendly and appreciative of our efforts to respect their culture. We wore our shorts and tees on board our Nile boat but covered our shoulders and knees when out and about. A scarf works well for the inevitable dust AND serves as a head cover when you visit sacred sites. (One unfortunate confrontation on the streets of Cairo convinced us that covering our blond hair was a good idea so, after that, those scarves came with us everywhere…)
We traveled through Egypt with Abercrombie & Kent, but did the days in Jordan on our own. So very glad we had the opportunity to visit these storied lands. If you have the chance to see and explore Jordan and/or Egypt, GO, don’t put it off!!
packing for travel to Egypt and Jordan
What to pack for Egypt and Jordan, a packing guide for women traveling to an Islamic country
featuring Lakira jewelry , Scottevest Trench and Standard Jacket, Panasonic Lumix FZ200, Tom Bihn packing cube shoulder bag, Sunday Afternoon sun hat, Patagonia Kamala skirt, Columbia convertible shirt.

 

Packing for a trip to Egypt, a luxury cruise on the Nilewhat to pack for travel to Egypt Jordan


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