I recently found a copy of my original packing list from a 2010 trip to Egypt. It was a 10-day trip and scorching hot. Just for a laugh, this is apparently what I thought was appropriate clothing.
- Jeans (!!!)
- Cargo Pants
- Yoga pants
- Denim skirt
- 2 knee-length skirts
- Capri-length shorts
- Pyjama bottoms
- 7 tank tops
- 6 tight short-sleeve tops
- 1 long shirt
- 1 sweatshirt
- 1 cardigan
Just what on earth was I thinking?! JEANS?! In Egypt?! That’s 6 bottoms (plus pyjamas), 14 tops and 2 outerwear. For 10 days. I actually wore very few items, mostly sticking to the capris, two skirts and tank tops. Nothing actually suited me and I looked like a sweaty white whale all the time thanks to the (completely inappropriate and culturally insensitive) tight clothing. A lovely lady on the tour kept trying to put a scarf around me to protect my skin from the sun. Should have listened!
But, at least there was a silver lining. By packing so poorly I learnt for next time what is required.
- In the heat, go for light, airy tops. Nothing too tight.
- Opt for clothing that wicks moisture because you will sweat. A lot.
- Choose colours that complement your skin tone. (If you’re fair skinned, be prepared to turn pink. Not necessarily from sunburn, just the heat in general).
- Take a maxi-skirt or dress if you’re intending to head into mosques etc. In fact maxi skirts in general are a good idea – but keep the material light.
- Cover your shoulders, both to respect cultural sensitivities and to protect them from sunburn.
- If you’re taking the train between Cairo and Aswan/Luxor, take a couple of warm layers as they really crank the air conditioning and it can get icy cold.
In hot climates, you really don’t need to take much at all. The above list is definitely overkill, but live and learn right?
What were your biggest packing mistakes?