What Do Travelers Really Wear When Visiting Egypt?

It’s 4 am here. Last night we arrived back in Cairo, having completed the Aswan-Abu Simble part of our trip. I can’t wait to go through all the photos I’ve taken to share some of the highlights of this tour across Egypt! It will take some time to go through all the photos I’ve taken and to organize them for a post, but I hope to share those soon.

I’ve received a few comments here and on Instagram requesting I share our itinerary. I will do that also, including some of the detours/additions we’ve made along the way.

What Do Travelers Really Wear When Visiting Egypt?

Before I left for Egypt, I created a post where I shared some of the clothes I planned to take. Mostly I packed a few pairs of jeans (white, blue and black) and a lot of linen and cotton long sleeve shirts with roll-up sleeves. I ignored a lot of the bad advice I read in blog posts online and didn’t spend money purchasing baggy long skirts/pants and long, baggy loose tops that I knew I would immediately donate once I returned home.

Here’s what you need to know for travel to Egypt: If you’re going to spend all of your time walking down streets in the big cities like Cairo, you may want to wear long pants and casual tops…otherwise, wear the typical clothing you would wear when traveling to very, very hot destinations on vacation.

Take a look at the crowd photos I took at the sites we visited. This is the reality, this is how travelers REALLY dress when visiting the Pyramids and other ancient ruins around Egypt. You see some long pants, tons of linen/cotton shirts, a lot of capris, shorts and sundresses.

 

Do not listen to folks who tell you not to ever wear shorts or short-sleeved shirts. Wear whatever you like to wear when out in 90+ degree weather. I preferred long-sleeve, breathable linen or cotton shirts because that kept my arms protected from the sun. It actually felt cooler to me than having the sun beating down directly on my skin. I often wore the sleeves rolled up but sometimes I did roll them down if we were out in the open sun. I also wore a hat every single day to protect my face.

The day we visited the pyramids was hot, but not exceedingly so. But after we headed further south to Luxor, that’s when things really heated up. Some days were literally the hottest I’ve ever experienced in my entire life. I don’t ever recall sweating that profusely, to the point where my shirt was completely soaked through all over. So gross! It was so hot one day, I thought I might pass out, but fortunately, that never happened.

 

After one particularly hot day out touring the sites, I developed a lot of red splotches on the inner part of both my legs, just a few inches up from my ankles. I took several photos, as did my guide, in case I had to consult a doctor back home. He didn’t know what caused the “rash” either.

After a bit of research I figured out I have Golfer’s Rash or Disney Rash, something that can happen when you are outside in extremely hot conditions, like walking the roads/paths in Disney World or playing golf. Google the words, “Golfer’s Rash” or “Disney Rash” to read more and see photos. I’ll spare you the pictures I took of my scary white legs covered in red splotches because there are plenty online that look just like mine.

The red splotches are actually blood leaking out of the capillaries because the body gets so hot/overheated it can’t circulate the blood back upward through the body as it should. That’s a rough summation of what I read online. My red splotches are better now, fading away fast. They never hurt or itched, so it’s not really like a rash at all…just looks like a lot of blood under the skin…like red bruises.

 

Also, I highly, highly, highly recommend wearing really good sandals that are designed for hiking like these below. These sandals are the BEST article of clothing I took with me to Egypt. As hot as I already was in my white jeans and cotton/linen shirts, I think I would have died wearing regular shoes or sneakers across Egypt. I tried that one day and it was miserable! That may be the day I developed the Disney Rash.

Make sure whatever sandals you wear have thick soles and are designed for heavy walking/hiking. This isn’t the time for pretty, fashion-oriented sandals because the soles will be too thin and will not offer the support you need. These below are perfect! You’ll find them here: Sandals for Travel.

Regarding the clothing, if you’re not comfortable wearing shorts, wear capris. I’m short so I don’t like how I look in Capris, but they sure were comfortable the day I wore them to Abu Simbel. If you wear pants/capris, make them white or a light color, if possible. Jeans, even white jeans, can be hot.

If you know you’ll be going into a temple, not a temple ruin but an actual modern temple, wear long pants, a long sleeve shirt that has sleeves that can be rolled up once you’re finished, and take along a scarf to cover your head. So far, we haven’t gone into any temples, so I haven’t had to worry about that. Update: Never needed a scarf at all on this trip.

For hanging out on the beach, wear any bathing suit you like. At the beach resort where we stayed in for 3-4 days in Hurghada, everyone one was wearing two-piece suits, bikinis, etc… It looked like any typical beach in America.

Ditto for around the pool at a resort and on our Nile Cruise…everyone wore bathing suits, including bikinis. I didn’t take along a swimsuit since I’m not a water fan and don’t really enjoy swimming–though I can swim. I wore shorts on the beach in Hurghada and on the sundeck during our Nile Cruise, though most folks were wearing bathing suits since they were enjoying the pool on the boat.

 

In summary, wear thick-soled hiking sandals, a hat, sunglasses, shorts, capris or light-weight pants, preferably in light colors (no black, navy or dark colors that absorb the sun/heat) and pack a million long-sleeve cotton or linen shirts that are very breathable and can be rolled up when in the shady areas.

If you don’t want to wash clothes on a trip to Egypt, pack at least one shirt for each day you’ll be there (plus a few extras) because you will sweat like you’ve never sweated before while touring some of the sites. Every shirt you take will be good for 1 wearing because it will be soaked through with sweat after one wearing in the heat here in Egypt…at least at the sites we visited at Valley of the Kings and Aswan/Abu Simbel. You really need two shirts for each day you’re in Egypt, one to wear to the sites where you’ll sweat like crazy and another one to change into after your blissful shower at the end of that day’s tours.

This is the first trip where I’ve ever had to wash clothes to get through the trip. That’s because I couldn’t wear any shirt more than once because it was drenched in sweat after one wearing. I packed about 9-10 shirts, but when you’re changing clothes several times a day, you go through your tops very fast.

I don’t trust anyone to wash my shirts so I hand-washed them in the bathroom sink with detergent I purchased on the trip. Then I hung them up to dry on the shower lines that were installed above all the bathtubs in the hotels where we stayed. Apparently, they know their guests will be washing clothes a lot since they have the clothesline already installed. Then I handed my shirts over to the staff on the boat/hotel to iron them. (They won’t let you use an iron in your room on a ship and I didn’t see them in the hotel rooms, either.)

I’m going to go ahead and put this post up now since it’s almost time for breakfast, but I’ll add more “crowd” shots to the post later today. Seeing is believing and this is the true reality of how people really dress when traveling to the iconic sites and ruins in Egypt.

Update: Here are a few more crowds shots showing how folks dress for travel to Egypt in middle to late October.

 

 

Hope you found this post helpful if you’re planning a trip to Egypt or another super hot destination.

 

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Comments

  1. Fascinating post! So informative.
    The crowd photos were interesting. I love to buy new items of clothing to take on vacation, but maybe it’s better to go with tried and true clothing you know will be comfortable. I was surprised by the number of people in the crowds without hats or sunglasses. I can barely go outside without a hat and sunglasses and I live in Oregon, I can’t imagine touring all day with the sun on my face.

    • Barbara Suiter says:

      I just read your blog about what to wear in Egypt. I think your dress attire should be respectful and per advise perhaps from experienced travel agents.
      I know that Europeans think Americans can always be spotted by their kaki shorts,baseball caps and ugly shoes.
      It’s like a uniform with us!
      I personally find a skirt much cooler than shorts. I would be the oddball out-in flowing shirt and loose flowing blouse.
      I would also have a shade providing hat!
      Just another opinion!

      • Shorts are not disrespectful to me. In hindsight, I wish I had taken more than one pair and had worn them each day instead of pants. I would have been much, much cooler and maybe I wouldn’t have gotten “Disney Rash” every time I went out to tour a site with our guide. I love to wear skirts in the summer, too.

    • I did wear my hat and sunglasses every day. I can’t survive in the sun without sunglasses…can’t even keep my eyes open.

  2. Wow! What great tips for those thinking of a trip to Egypt! And I’m so glad I am not the only person who isn’t a water fan. The last 15 years or so that I lived in the Caribbean I didn’t even own a swimming suit but then, I never could learn to swim. Hope you get to cool off. It may make the idea of fall and winter in Atlanta more appealing.

  3. Thank you for all your good info, Susan. Your posts have tempted me to look into an Egypt trip while previously I was hesitant. It looks like an incredible adventure. I have a question: is there humidity on top of the high temps? What would have been a better time of year to travel, if not now? Your photos are wonderful. It truly must be a trip of a lifetime. Continue to enjoy yourself……and HYDRATE!!!

  4. Excellent advice on the wardrobe choices. I’m definitely going to get those sandals! We will be in Egypt in March and I want to be as comfortable as possible. Thanks so much for this information, Susan!

  5. Rosie M. It was early May when we went. Temps were much the same as reported here. I would not go in between these dates. The humidity is not a factor with the average rainfall being 1/4 of an inch a year. Egypt is a country you can fall in love with. And, yes, if you love your eyes wear a wide brimmed hat and good sunglasses. And, if you read nothing else, pay attention to the thick soled sandals. My good leather sandals with a thin sole, but good support ended up with the inner sole melting. They didn’t leave Egypt with me.

  6. Excellent advise Susan. I wore only cotton. I don’t wear linen because I am short and I look like a wrinkled mess in no time.
    My only advise is to not wear heavy rucksacks. There are better ways to carry your valuables with you.

  7. The crowd shots are so helpful to see what typical; what a great idea to share those. Do the temps drop significantly after sundown?

  8. Martie Noll says:

    Ive been there (it was June!) and so hot! I wore linen capris and a white T-shirt. It was perfect. Hat of course. It was so worth the sweat to actually touch a pyramid! Wow.
    How were the Egyptians selling stuff at the pyramids? I had a very scary incident there. I even had guards with bazookas come out to save me. However, that was 6 years ago and I know things change all the time in countries so hopefully it was calmer now! Can’t wait to see more photos!!

  9. Marni Nixon says:

    Absolutely love the pictures! Just think, you are standing in the place of ancient ruins! You are not just reading about it,but actually touching it!

  10. Snowflake281 says:

    Your advice is certainly spot on. When my husband & I were there 33 years ago, I can’t remember what I wore but it was most likely shorts & a tee shirt as it was in June. I remember one lady in our tour group, perhaps in her mid 30’s, who wore shorts with nylon stockings underneath every day and could not for the life of me figure out why. I don’t think she had any medical issues for it but all I know is just looking at her made me sweat! Your photos are bringing back lots of memories. And I’m betting that you’re glad you brought that new water bottle! Enjoy the remainder of your trip!

  11. Jane Franks says:

    I’ll enjoy hot climates from your photos! I do NOT like hot weather!! I can take sub zero and being buried in snow!! Guess it’s Scandinavia, England (in early spring, late fall) for me! I could take Mediterranean and upper Middle East in winter. Lived in Southern California, and loved winter there. Glad you are enjoying all the fantastic antiquity of Egypt. I wonder if winter travel (Jan/Feb) in Egypt is cooler, or is it always that hot? Just curious.

  12. So resourceful! I was surprised at how many women were hatless in the heat!

  13. cleo headley says:

    Great pics and info!! I can’t imagine not wearing a hat and serious sunglasses….. How exciting to be walking through history!!

  14. Pam Matheson says:

    Would you have wanted a long sleeved shirt with SPF? I wear one when walking on the beach these days. And I kinda hate to say this, but those sandals were just too ugly, there’s just got to be something better!

    • Regality (aka The Quing) says:

      Yup! *L*

    • No, didn’t really need that…just a light-weight, long sleeve shirt works great. Well, don’t knock it until you’ve tried it. I tried them after another customer in Dillards was raving about them to me several years ago when I was searching for comfortable sandals. I finally bought a pair for hiking and now these are all I wear when I will be on my feet the majority of the day and/or walking a lot. They are the most supportive, comfortable shoes I’ve worn. When I’m having a party or it’s Thanksgiving or a holiday where I’ll be in the kitchen cooking all day, I wear these shoes the whole day and it makes a HUGE difference in how I feel. I don’t think they look bad on, either. Try on a pair sometime when you run across them in a store and I think you’ll be amazed. My son loves his pair, as well.

      • Pam Matheson says:

        I like what you said about the times you are on your feet all day cooking—that does make for sore feet!

  15. Cyndi Raines says:

    So glad that you are medically o.k. and still enjoying your trip. Don’t want any medical issues like Germany. Happy for you that you are having a historical adventure in seeing all those awesome ruins! I would not be able to take that kind of heat as I have a condition where my body doesn’t perspire no matter how hot I get, (well actually a tiny bit at the nape of my neck ), which means I then can build up toxins so I have to be really careful to not get over heated. I discovered it when I lived in Texas and walked 5 miles a day even in very hot weather, like 112.(Young and dumb, thinking if I walked around 6 or 7 p.m. it wouldn’t be that bad.) I came home with huge raised welts on the top of my thighs, and when I showered they stung. Had to go to the doctor and that’s when I had to drink gallons of Gatorade to pull the toxins out of me and the swelling eventualy went down, took over a week to become normal. After reading what you said about your legs, I will look that up to see if it looks anything like what I experienced. Glad your body allows you to perspire, lol. Thanks for the clothing update important to know what really is allowed and acceptable and I TOTALLY agree with you regarding the sandals, those look great. Anytime a person will be doing an amount of extensive walking and especially in the heat you want very good, strong supportive footware, no time to try to be a fasion-esta there. I have a similar pair by Sketchers and I love them, like walking on air. Can’t wait to see more pics. Thanks Susan!

  16. Thanks for the run down. We are headed there in 2020. Packing the right clothes and shoes is so important when walking alot and for the heat or cold. Washing out light weight clothing like linen was also the advice I got from another veteran traveler. Nice to know about the ironing. When traveling in China I often wore capris and light weight long pants because it was so dusty and dirty in some places it helped me not feel so uncomfortable. Shoes? I didn’t care how ugly they were I bought for my feet for our Europe trip! Ill be looking into your sandal suggestion. Seems crazy but I started looking months out and returned quite a few beofre I found the right pairs.

  17. Jennifer H says:

    Thanks for sharing the info about Disney rash. I’ve had this a few times before and could never figure out what it was. I can’t wait to tell my aunt as she has had it too. Thank you!!

  18. Reesibits says:

    Hi Susan,
    Your Ecco sandals were not as ugly as you think especially with your pedicured pink pretty toes.
    The clothes were a surprise and of course, I too packed only long sleeve cotton tops and took Columbia pants. One thing i did was leave tops along the way in hotel rooms or gifted to our guides. This meant one less suitcase on my return. I was also happy to just have 2 loads of laundry to complete.
    One fantastic Traveler bonus in Egypt is their speedy and inexpensive laundry service. At the Steigenberger Al Dau, they launder 6 pieces of clothes for free with a Steigenberger (free) membership.
    On our MS Farah Nile Cruise, it was less than $8 to launder 5 pieces. The job was completed in hours and the items were perfect. Getting the service was my best option so I didn’t have to carry stinky sweat soaked clothes in my bag or on my body.
    Great shots, I’m so glad you took amazing pics as I just rely on your reviews for our trip.
    Your Texas travel junkie friend, Teresa

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