There was a time when packing was nothing to me.  In fact it was rather fun.  I would lay everything out on the bed in the spare room a few days prior to travel, look at it, make a list of missing items I considered important and go shopping.  I used to travel quite a bit between the US, Egypt and Ireland so when I would arrive back in Ireland I would take two bags from the top shelf of the wardrobe – one marked “US” and the other marked “EGYPT” and into those bags would go the various items such as power adapters, currency etc that I would not need again until going to either country.  In those days I had much more energy and was super organized.

Recently I find it stressful to look at the wardrobe and bathroom seeking answers to “what to take and what not to take”.  I get tired just thinking about it.  I find myself wishing I could just get up, get dressed, grab my laptop, money, passport and drive to the airport – no packing for travel is now my dream. 


Clothing is dealt with in my What Should I Wear in Egypt post.

  • Power Converter and electrical socket adapters.  Most hotels only have one or two sockets so a small extension cord with 3 or 4 extra sockets that suit your appliances is best if you are going to need to charge laptop/tablet, phones and whatever – especially if sharing a room.  Mara House is the exception to the rule in that – when I was building it, I bowed to the advice of the electrician.  I didn’t know that my final bill for his work would be partly based on how many sockets, switches etc. he installed.  Hence every room at Mara House has a LOT of sockets!  We also have LOTS of lights – for the same reason!  In Luxor most places wall sockets will be for 2 pin round plugs.  Some Cairo hotels take the same 2 pin round plugs but may have one or two 3 pin wall sockets.

  • Hairdryerif you absolutely feel you cannot be seen without using one after washing your hair.  They are only sometimes supplied in the hotels.
  • Really good Ear-Plugs   Practice using them at home first as they can be annoying when first using them.  I am not writing this to put you off coming to Egypt – not at all, I really want you to come and especially to stay at Mara House 🙂  but, seriously every city has it’s noises and we learn to live with them and mostly tune them out….so here is why you need to bring ear-plugs to Egypt.
  • Good walking shoes – you might be surprised to hear that not everyone thinks about that – remember the ground at many sites is sandy, rocky and uneven.  Going into some of the tombs in the Valley of the Kings can be challenging if you don’t have good fitting, secure shoes.

Your Carry-On Bag for Flights to Egypt

Put everything you can’t do without in your carry-on bag.  I don’t just mean jewellery/money.  I mean whatever you need to get you through the first 24 hours in Egypt, as lost luggage can be a really uncomfortable and upsetting problem if you don’t

  • your medicines
  • one change of clothes
  • lap-top
  • some toiletries (not all hotels supply toiletries.  If arriving late you might not want to go to nearest chemist to buy).  But I recommend bringing only the bare necessities as you can buy everything easily and relatively cheaply in Egypt.
  • ladies – if you are going to need tampons, bring them with you. Not readily available everywhere in Egypt but panti pads and towels are easy to get in every chemist/pharmacy.  LOTS of pharmacy shops here.
  • electrical equipment
  • cameras etc – they are expensive here.

Apart from a carry-on bag, most airlines allow you to have a handbag and these days that is quite often a back-back type of bag for many ladies. I call this my “go-everywhere-with-me” bag

Your “Go-Everywhere-With-Me” Bag

You can buy some of these items in Egypt but I am going to list them for your bag here anyway.

  • Your “Go-Everywhere-With-Me” bag.  This is the bag that goes out with you everywhere.  It should contain
    • your bottle of water,
    • Antinal tablets,
    • sanitary wipes or spray,
    • anti-histamine cream,
    • insect-repellant,
    • sun screen,
    • sun glasses,
    • headache tablets,
    • plenty of small notes for tipping (my post on Tipping in Egypt),
    • business card for the hotels etc. you are staying (in case you get lost!),
    • tissues,
    • phone.
    • Spritzer bottle – a small spray bottle which you can keep refilling with cold water could turn out to be your best friend!  Funny enough, if you use a little fan to cool down your face you will actually get hotter because your body is getting the message that your face is colder than the rest of your body so your face will get even hotter, while a spray of water gives you instant relief and acts the same as your body when it sends moisture to your skin to cool you down.

Other items you might consider would be

      • a small torch,
      • pens for children you may want to give gifts to,
      • a disinfectant spray for cuts & grazes and
      • some plasters.

I used to be one of those women you see frantically searching her bag for her keys, wallet etc.  until I came across a “baby bag for mom”.  The one here is not the one I have but my one is identical to this.  It’s perfect for travel and keeps everything in it’s place and easy to find.  It’s a great “go-with-me-everywhere-bag” and I can even fit my laptop into it – an essential for me when out and about.  One feature I particularly like about my bag is that when I open it to look for something, it can stay open – no floppy sides obscuring my view, so I can see everything inside the bag – kind of like looking into a box.

Ladies – don’t we all dread finding ourselves abroad without our usual and sometimes extensive array of personal toiletries? 

Here is a list of items you can buy in any local shop, supermarket or pharmacy in Egypt.  In some cases, I am giving a brand name – shampoo for example, taking the brands available in Egypt into account, I really prefer to stick with L’Oreal as being the best here.  

What do I NOT need to take to EGYPT?

You don’t need to bring these TOILETRIES – you can easily buy them anywhere:

  • shampoo and conditioner – L’Oreal, combs, hairbrushes
  • shower gel, loofah
  • toothpaste – Sensodyne or Colgate, toothbrush, dental floss, mouthwash
  • tweezers – how many times has airport security taken you best tweezers?!
  • nail clippers, nail cream, nail polish remover, clear nail polish
  • hand cream – Vaseline Intensive Care
  • face moisturizer – Nivea.  Getting a great product in the duty free or from the plane duty free might be a good spend.
  • face masks, peeling and moisturizing, makeup wipes
  • body lotion
  • Talc – Johnson’s Baby Powder
  • deodorant for men and women – Nivea
  • aftershave – Lynx, shaving foam, disposable razors
  • lip balm
  • insect repellent – Off
  • antiseptic cream for insect bites – Antisan
  • hand sanitizer,
  • peroxide
  • ear-buds
  • tissues
  • bandages, plasters, Dettol
  • feminine personal hygiene products, pads and mini-pads
  • sunscreen
  • medicine for Tummy Bug – Antinal
  • pain relievers – Panadol
  • lubricant eyedrops – Systane Ultra
  • vitamins – let us know what you want.
  • foot spray for tired feet –
  • nappies – pampers

Other items you can purchase locally instead of packing

  • T-Shirts, scarves, baseball caps, hats, rucksacks and ladies’ bags
  • personal water bottle
  • flip-flops – for use in-hotel room and in bathrooms.  In Egypt most bathrooms are wet-rooms and we wear non-slip flip-flops in the bathrooms while showering to avoid slipping.  

Wi-Fi 24 hours

I am putting this here to remind you to have your phone unlocked for use in Egypt and if you have to be in contact with home or family 24 hours a day I would suggest some kind of small handy mobile router that is also unlocked to take an Egyptian SIM card.  While wi-fi is free in some places it is expensive in others and not always reliable or fast.  So having your own mini-router might be good for you. 

Related Posts