Packing for Egypt
Many people just really don't know how to pack for Egypt. Unlike many vacations, and even more than a few tours one might take to other countries, usually visitors must move around considerably. One may take a vacation, tour Paris, or London, and stay the entire time in one hotel. But for many touring Egypt, this is not so, and the amount of luggage one carries around can really become a burden. The one exception to this is possibly Nile Cruises, but only if that is all that is planned.
On many tours, luggage is for the most part taken care of by bellboys and the tour operator, but the traveler usually, handles their carry-on baggage. Typically, one must pack and unpack a minimum of four times, and this is just for a short stay. One originally lands in Cairo, then travels to Luxor (or Aswan) and then to Aswan (or Luxor) and finally back to Cairo, staying one or more nights in each location. This is the simplest of tours. Add a Sinai extension and many people will be packing and unpacking up to three more times. Add a Jordan or Israeli extension and soon, one is very, very tired of luggage.
At the very least, carry on baggage should be kept to a minimum, as it must often go with you wherever you go. However, very experienced travelers to Egypt often minimize everything, taking only a few changes of clothes. Each night they wash out their soiled cloths. Besides the baggage problem, there is another reason for this. Trying to carry a lot of clothes implies also having to get them laundered. It is very difficult to pack enough not to run out of clean clothes on a typical 10 to 14 day tour, but many hotels have rather high rates. In fact, a typical week's worth of laundry for a family can actually cost several hundred dollars. This need not be the case if one looks about for a local laundry, which are usually pretty cheap, but unfortunately, most people will have trouble finding them.
Simply put, since you would have to wash anyway, don't even attempt to take enough clothes for the whole trip. And, since you can't take enough clothing for the whole trip, don't take much at all, unless you have a specific reason or specific event for which you need a certain type of outfit. One very good pair of shoes will usually do, and two at most. One pair should be very comfortable walking shoes, and if you take another, it should probably be for more dressy occasions such as going out dancing or to a dressy restaurant. For women, the popular black knit travel dress will cover a multitude of occasions, as you can always bring an accessory to dress it up. But take no more than one set of formal clothes at most. Add to this several light, cool pairs of pants and several comfortable shirts or blouses, a pair of shorts, swimming suit, and a few changes of underwear. Cotton, linen, and blend items dry very quickly in the desert air. Be sure to bring a hat, and particularly for women, one long sleeve conservative blouse. Then simply wash what you take off each night. That may seem like a hassle, but it will not be nearly so much as carrying four or five large bags, and then having to have stuff laundered anyway.
Also, minimize your carry-on in anyway possible. Consider taking a zoom lens for your camera instead of two or three specialized lenses. Unless you really have a very specific need, forget the laptop. There are Internet cafe's everywhere there are Internet connections. If you must, consider buying compact curlers and hair dryers specifically for the trip. Reading material is often nice to have, but leave the hardbacks at home and don't over pack the paperbacks. Most anywhere you go will have English bookshops, and some hotels and cruise ships will even have libraries.
Remember, too, the season during which you are visiting. Lower Egypt (Cairo & Alexandria) can be quite chilly in the winter months. Prepare accordingly.
Wheeled luggage, both check-on and carry-on pieces are a real benefit for travelers and can make your trip more enjoyable.
Traveling all about Egypt can be tiring for most anyone, and excessive luggage just adds to the fatigue. So, think light and enjoy your trip.
The Mysteries of Qurna By Sonny Stengle
Traveling by Train in Egypt By Dr. Susan Wilson & Medhat A-Monem
The Charm of the Amulet By Anita Stratos
Egyptian Rock-Art Unveiled By Arnvid Aakre
Great Hair Days in Ancient Egypt By Ilene Springer
Touring With the Young, and Not-So-Young By Jimmy Dunn
A Tour in Egypt's Mohammed Ali's Mosque By Muhammad Hegab
Ancient Egyptian Agriculture By Catherine C. Harris
Why I Keep Going Back, and This is No 'Fish Story'! By Duncan McLean
Off the Beaten Path in the Sinai By Jimmy Dunn
Editor's Commentary By Jimmy Dunn
Ancient Beauty Secrets By Judith Illes
Book Reviews Various Editors
Hotel Reviews By Jimmy Dunn & Juergen Stryjak
Kid's Corner By Margo Wayman
Cooking with Tour Egypt By Mary K Radnich
The Month in Review By John Applegate
Egyptian Exhibitions By Staff
Egyptian View-Point By Adel Murad
Nightlife Various Editors
Egypt On Screen By Carolyn Patricia Scott
Restaurant Reviews Various Editors
Shopping Around By Juergen Stryjak
Web Reviews By Siri Bezdicek
June 1st, 2001
Last Updated: June 13th, 2011