10 items to pack for your trip to Egypt
You are going to Egypt to study belly dance with local teachers and you are maybe going to Luxor or Cairo. Lucky you! Learning raqs sharqi in Egypt is an amazing experience as you will not only learn about technique, moves and choreography but you will also experience the culture where this amazing art form originates.
You have booked the trip (maybe organized by your belly dance teacher), booked the flight, your passport is ready and you may be wondering if there are any specific items you need to pack for your belly dancing trip to Egypt. Below are some suggestions:
- Clothes which will keep you cool in a hot climate but at the same time cover you up, particularly if you are a woman. Women do not necessarily need to cover their head in Egypt, but they should wear loose clothing with long sleeves, and long skirts or trousers. Loose fitting linen or cotton clothes (but not transparent!) are ideal as these materials keep the body cool. Egypt is a Muslim country and people can be quite conservative in respect to how women dress, even more so in the South of the country. It does not matter if star belly dancers such as Dina or Randa wear skimpy costumes when dancing - they are given artistic licence while performing. You should still be careful when walking around.
- Warm clothing if you are going between November and March, as it can get chilly at night, especially in the north. Wearing layers is good.
- Good strength insect repellent lotion. I did not have many problems while in Luxor but some people were bitten badly by mosquitoes, so it is better to have some lotion with you.
- A money belt to hide under your clothes if you are going shopping in the crowded markets in Cairo - safer than a handbag.
- Ear plugs if you are a light sleeper and you are going to stay in the centre of Cairo. In Luxor you should not need them; I was there a few months ago and it was reasonably quiet.
- A hat or head scarf, sunglasses and good suntan lotion as the sun is fierce and more so in the south.
- Medicines against diarrhoea. Because of the new types of food you will try, the germs you will be exposed to that your body is not used to and the change in temperature, you may need it. If you are careful what you eat, take it easy and only drink bottled water you should be fine, but you never know. You do not want to miss the belly dance class you have waited for so long with Dina, Randa or Yasmina, because you are ill.
- Dance shoes (soft ballet ones or similar) if you are taking lots of dance classes, in case the venues have carpeted floors.
- If you are going to be performing, don't assume you can leave your costumes behind and buy a new one in Egypt. Outside Cairo, even in the major cities, there are virtually no places to buy a good quality belly dance costume. There are plenty of options in Cairo, but ask yourself, will you have time to shop? Also, get advice from belly dance teachers on where to go: ask your hotel or tour guide and they're likely to send you to places that sell costumes designed for tourists, not real dancers.
- Finally, it seems obvious but do not forget your camera and some video recording equipment (e.g. camera, ipod or even something more professional) as there are great photo and videos opportunities in Egypt, especially if you are going to watch a belly dance show where you will see amazing dancers, spinning tannoura and a lot of inspirational dance moves.