Page update - Aug 18, 2023
What to take for vacation in Egypt? Which items will be useful and which will be useless? What items will make life easier? Read the answers on this page.
The prices on this page were updated in August 2023. We give prices for different items in Egypt in case you need to buy something locally.
We will not talk about trivial things. We think that our readers will definitely not forget to bring their passport, insurance, casual clothing and swimsuit. We will talk about the things that tourists often forget or do not even think to take.
Before packing your suitcase, you need to know what items are allowed and prohibited to bring into Egypt. Read our detailed review "What you can and can't bring into Egypt".
Egypt still has a system of migration cards (arrival and departure cards). It is a small card which is filled in by foreigners arriving in the country. You have to enter your name, passport number, destination, flight number, and similar information into the card.
Some airlines stock these cards and give them to passengers during the flight, which is very convenient. But more often, tourists fill in these cards at the airport building before the migration control.
There are plenty of cards, but there is a shortage of pens. Tourists stand in lines for pens. The problem of pens is not so important, but agree, who likes to start a vacation with a queue? It's better to have your own pen to fill up the card. And it's better to get a cheap pen, so you won't be sorry to share it. After all, you'll probably want to help those people in line who didn't know and haven't read the good websites on the Internet such as our website.
Also, don't forget to read the instructions on how to fill it out. The card is in English and Arabic.
When arriving in Egypt you need to pay for the visa. The price of a visa is USD 25. You can get a free "Sinai stamp", but only at Sharm El Sheikh and Taba airports.
It's best to have USD 25 without change. There may be no change at the visa window, and then you will stand and wait for the change to appear. And who wants to wait? And don't forget to take that money with you instead of putting it in your luggage.
It is no secret that staff in some hotels purposely try to allocate tourists in worse rooms, and better rooms are kept. Then you can always move for a bribe or by the urgent request.
We are against corruption in all forms! But if this phenomenon takes place, then we are obliged to write about it. This is our job.
The fastest and easiest way to get a good room is to reward the person at the front desk. Most often you just need to ask the person about relocating, and he/she will nicely hint.
The fee is usually low - 10 or 20 dollars or euros. It is better to give the banknote, enclosed in your passport, so as not to "shine". The change is not given in this situation, so stock up the money without change.
Fortunately, not all hotels do that. Probably about half of the hotels in Egypt practice relocation for bribes to the staff. There are honest hotels, but it is better to be prepared for the worst.
And another important point! When we talk with tourists, we often hear that people give these 10 or 20 dollars (euros) immediately upon check-in. WHY WOULD YOU DO THAT? YOU DON'T HAVE TO DO THAT! First, see what kind of room you will have without the bribe. And if you do not like it, then go resolve the problem.
And by the way, you can explain what does not suit you immediately. For example, if too far from the restaurant or pool, then ask for a room closer. Or if you do not like the first floor, then ask for a room on the second or third floor. Fortunately, all staff at the hotel reception in Egyptian resorts know English at sufficient level.
There are often sharp shells in the sand on Red Sea beaches. There are also corals and sharp stones at the bottom. Shells, corals, and rocks can hurt your feet.
Tourists need protective shoes usually called "aqua shoes". In different countries such shoes can be called differently - "aqua socks", "wet shoes", "water shoes", "coral slippers", and similar names.
However, if you forget the protective shoes, then the big problem will not be. You can buy it right at the hotel. The prices are usually affordable - USD 10-20 for a pair. But the range in the hotel store will obviously be much less.
Aqua shoes sometimes fly off your feet while swimming. And unfortunately, most of shoes sink. If you find aqua shoes that float, it will be great - you'll have a chance to catch them back.
Flip-flops can be necessary not only on a beach, but also at a pool.
During the summer months, the pool tile and sand at the beach get so hot that it hurts to walk on them. To show how hot it is, here is a figure - the temperature record in Hurghada is 115°F (+46°C). And this record was set recently - in June 2013.
In this case, it is better to have good flip-flops with thick soles. In winter, spring, and autumn the problem is not so acute. For the detailed weather statistics read our review "Weather in Egypt by months".
And most importantly! Choose shoes with ribbed soles, so that they are less slippery. Hundreds of tourists get injuries from falls on wet and slippery tiles. Moreover, if you drank even a little bit of alcohol, then the case is definitely NOT insured, and you will have to treat it at your own expense.
Mosquitoes in Egypt are active all year round. However, there are more in summer and fewer in winter. In the Nile Delta there are more, at the Red Sea resorts less.
To quote Professor Hassan Abou Bakr, biologist at Cairo University, "Egyptian mosquitoes have no hibernation periods. In winter, their life cycle lengthens, but they lay fewer eggs".
There are rarely mosquito abundances at the resorts. It's a big lottery, depending on weather conditions. However, it's better to reassure yourself and take a fumigator or/and mosquito repellent. These things will not take much room in your luggage and are inexpensive in stores.
The good news! There have been no cases of malaria in Egypt for over 8 years (the last case was recorded on June 14, 2014). Malaria mosquitoes can not be afraid.
Tourists are more afraid of cockroaches ("Turkmenistan cockroach", Blatta lateralis), which are twice as big as our usual. Fortunately, they do not pose a threat to humans. We hope that your hotel room will be cockroach-free.
Internet on Egyptian SIM-cards is several times cheaper than roaming. We looked at all the options and prices in detail on our page "Internet in Egypt".
The situation with prices for calls is the opposite. Calls from Egyptian SIM-cards are much more expensive than in roaming (with options). You should not count on WhatsApp or Skype calls in Egypt, because VOIP is blocked.
In such a situation, if you decide to use the Internet with an Egyptian SIM-card, it is convenient to take a second smartphone with you. Or take a smartphone with two SIM-cards.
Smoking in Egypt has recently become more expensive. The last price increase was in July 2023. A pack of Marlboro now costs from 55 Egyptian pounds.
But 50-60 pounds is the price in cities. And in stores at resorts, the same cigarettes can cost 2 or 3 times as much. Compare the prices with prices in your home country and decide - is it make sense to take a supply of cigarettes with you or not. You can bring in up to 200 cigarettes (1 carton), it's enough for your vacation.
In addition, all cigarettes in Egyptian stores (except DutyFree) are local. The taste can be quite unusual, and it may be unpleasant to smoke them. It's better to take your usual cigarettes.
Another option is to buy imported cigarettes at one of DutyFree shops, which can be found at airports or in shopping centers at the resorts. Tourists are allowed to buy at DutyFree within 48 hours of arrival.
The situation with alcohol in Egypt is complicated. Local alcohol can be bought without restrictions. Local alcohol is safe, but do not expect good taste. It is local alcohol that is poured in hotels on All Inclusive. Read more in our review "Local alcohol in Egypt".
Imported alcohol is better to take with you. Unfortunately, you can take through the border very little - not more than 1 liter per person. We recommend using this opportunity.
You can buy imported alcohol in Egypt only in Duty Free stores, only within 48 hours from the time of arrival, only not more than 3 liters per person. The prices in these Duty Free stores are rather high. Read more in our review "Alcohol in Egypt - prices and rules".
In Egypt, baby food is rather expensive compared with most countries. A jar of apple puree costs starting 20 Egyptian pounds. A pack of dry baby porridge costs starting 35 pounds. But these are prices in Carrefour and other large supermarkets. In resort stores, prepare to pay 1.5-2 times as much. For the current exchange rate see our review "Money in Egypt".
The range of goods in stores is very narrow. The only baby food available in abundance is powdered milk formula. In addition, you can't guess if your child will like Egyptian baby food.
In this situation, it is better to take a full supply of baby food with you. Of course, a full supply takes a lot of space and weighs a lot. But it can't be helped. There are ways to cut the weight and size almost in half, as we told in detail in our review "To Egypt with children".
You can bring many interesting and colorful gifts from Egypt. Some gifts and souvenirs are fragile, such as sand paintings in bottles, ceramic canopies, bottles with aromatic oils, and of course fruits. For the list of the best gifts and the prices, see our page "What to bring from Egypt".
Obviously, you want to bring all of this safely. And what if for example the fruits will be squeezed in the suitcase and give the juice? Then the content of the suitcase and maybe the suitcase itself will be spoiled. We all know how the movers at the airports treat our luggage.
That's why it's best to bring your own packing if possible. The best choice is bubble wrap, but it's pretty hard to find. Corrugated cardboard is not as good, but it's readily available. For fruit, it's best to stock up on sturdy plastic bags, and tie these bags tightly.
Red Sea resorts are year-round. But that doesn't mean you can walk around in a T-shirt and shorts 24 hours a day in any month. In winter evenings and nights the temperature drops to 53-57°F (+12-14°C) and many tourists are freezing at the evening show. For the detailed weather statistics read our review "Weather in Egypt by months".
So take warm clothes with you if you go on vacation in the winter season. A light sweater or jacket will not take much room in your luggage.
If you're going on excursions to mosques, monasteries, or Coptic churches. Take clothes according to the dress-code. Knees and shoulders should be covered, women's heads should be covered. Pants on women are not forbidden in any religious places. Coptic churches are not very strict about the dress code, mosques are strict.
Take note! Right now, due to covid-security measures, mosques do not issue appropriate clothing to tourists. Dress-code clothing is necessary to have your own.
Almost half of the tourists in Egypt get sunburns of varying degrees. Some through negligence, some through ignorance of methods of protection. Do not forget the simple rules.
Headgear must be worn to avoid sunstroke. And the wider the hat, the better.
Remember that it is your shoulders that burn first. No matter how actively you move, your shoulders are always exposed to direct sunlight. Take clothing that covers your shoulders.
Use sunscreen cream or lotion. For adults the optimal is SPF 20-30, for children is SPF 50-60. Do not forget that creams have a temporary effect, they must be re-applied after a couple of hours.
It is better to buy the sun protection items in advance and bring them with you, so as not to pay three times the price in the hotel stores.
A lightweight scarf is an extremely useful travel item. Comes in handy in many situations.
If you're going on a tour to a religious institution, a scarf can cover your head to meet the dress-code.
If you feel your shoulders or another part of your body is getting burned, the scarf can quickly cover it up.
Egypt often has a nasty wind that picks up sand. To keep this sand out of your nose and mouth, it is convenient to cover yourself with a scarf as a mask.
Unfortunately, a scarf does not count as a protective mask against coronavirus. Therefore, even by wearing a scarf, you are still breaking the law. However, there are no fines for violations in Egypt now, so you don't have to worry.
Antiseptic wipes are very useful, and not even because of the coronavirus. Even before the pandemic, we advised to take and use them in all our reviews.
The new country is new bacteria that our bodies are not adapted to. And it's better to protect yourself from these bacteria. If you look closely at some tourists, you will notice that some of them even wipe cutlery before eating. This is not paranoia, it's just a precaution.
A set of medications are usual: antiseptics, anti-allergy, antipyretic, analgesic, activated charcoal, and something to normalize the stomach and intestines.
Plus take "your" medications to that list, you know the list yourself. All of these medications fit into a small first aid kit the size of a school pencil case. It is highly recommended to keep the medicines in their original packaging, so that there will be fewer questions at customs. Also the quantities should be reasonable, so that there will be fewer questions at customs.
- It is highly recommended to bring your own beach towel. It often happens that the hotel towel is lost and you have to pay for it to the hotel at three times the price;
- Take any swimsuit. In Egypt, there are no restrictions, but the main thing is to have a bathing suit. On private beaches of some hotels (not all) female tourists sunbathe even topless, there are no problems;
- If you do not want to overpay for a cab, then stock up on Uber and Careem apps in advance. See our review "Taxis in Egypt" for details;
- About what currency is better to take and how to change currency, read in our detailed review "Currency exchange in Egypt".
- About how much money to take, read the detailed review "How much money to take to Egypt".
Have a great vacation in Egyptian resorts, and read our interesting pages for tourists about Egypt (see the list of the pages below).
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