Advice to make your trip to Egypt smoother and more hassle-free, Some destinations appear overwhelming notwithstanding however, you examine them, and Egypt is one in all those places. the majority take tours, thinking which will take all the trouble out of a visit. And don’t you want that were true? however, the truth is that some places need a small amount of additional advance homework than others. Soon, you’ll notice that your pre-trip preparations create everything higher, although the preparation is simply in your mind.
You’ll want a Visa, however, you’ll be able to catch on on Arrival
Egypt is one in all the countries wherever Americans should have a visa, and whereas you’ll be able to obtain one before of your trip, there’s no want for Yankee, British, or Canadian guests to try to that. You can
You can get a 30-day single-entry visa on arrival in Egypt for USD 25 in cash.
get a 30-day single-entry visa on arrival in Egypt for USD 25 in money (multiple-entry visas square measure offered ahead just for $60). once you land, seek for the bank windows labeled “Visa on Arrival” before you line up to travel through immigration. They’re to the left and behind you. get your visa stamp from one amongst those windows, affix it to your passport, and so bear the immigration line. Some tour corporations embody the visa price in your tour package, during which case your guide can probably meet you before immigration and give out the visa stamps. It’s as straightforward as that.
Security Is Tight
You’ll see security all over in Egypt. As buses approach hotels, they’re stopped till they’ll be inspected. in the least massive hotels, you need to taste a sensing element each time you get the lobby (though the checks themselves don’t seem to be continually therefore thorough). and each tourer bus comes with Associate in Nursing armed guard, World Health Organization accompanies you all over you go. particularly in city, armed MP square measure visible. will all this mean you’re feeling safe? To be honest, you’re most likely additional in danger in Cairo from traffic than criminals or terrorists, and you’ll feel safe walking outside your building, even at the hours of darkness. The Egyptian government is acutely conscious of its security problems, and whereas some places in Egypt don’t seem to be safe (in specific elements of the Sinai apart from Sharm El swayer likewise as elements of the Western Desert), most tourer areas feel as safe as the other a part of the globe.
Tipping is very inspired
Because there’s loads of non-public service in Egypt, you’ll end up tipping usually. the general public don’t expect giant amounts, therefore a tip of five or ten Egyptian pounds is usually enough. You’ll have to be compelled to basketball shot public restrooms (you won’t get tissue paper till when you tip), and therefore the attendant expects a minimum of five pounds per person. Don’t be shocked if your bedroom attendant knocks on your door some minutes when you arrive with some recent towels or one thing you didn’t request; he’s most likely trying to find a tip. offer him a touch if you wish to determine a rapport (20 Egyptian pounds—about $1—is quite sufficient), and you would possibly get your space clean a small amount quicker than everybody else. you must additionally leave a little tip each morning. try and keep tiny bills for tips, and tip solely in native currency if you’ll.
You’ll want money, particularly tiny Bills—Lots of Them
Egypt could be a country wherever money remains king, therefore you’ll want money for many tiny purchases and even some giant ones. you’ll obtain your bedroom and a few giant purchases in stores with a MasterCard, however, most of your transactions are going to be in money. ATMs square measure common, however not all U.S. debit cards can add all of them, therefore you will need to strive quite one (Banque Misr ATMs typically work). Most giant hotels (especially in Cairo) have a bank branch that may amendment U.S. currency. For that reason, bring a minimum of $200 in U.S. currency with you, ideally in $20 bills, therefore you’ll exchange it if necessary. If you’re taking Egyptian currency from AN ATM (still your best bet), you’ll most likely get principally larger bills, therefore you’ll get amendment only if you purchase one thing. you’ll typically exchange larger bills for smaller ones during a bank or at the front table. If all else fails, guides recognize you’ll want native currency to tip and for tiny purchases, and therefore the higher ones can keep scores of tiny bills to be had to interrupt your larger ones. however, strive to not basketball shot foreign currency if you’ll avoid it. There’s continually a value to exchange U.S. bucks back to Egyptian pounds, and U.S. currency can’t be spent by locals in Egypt.
If you are approached by locals who want you to change a wad of $1 USD bills (or even €1 coins) into local currency or larger U.S. bills, try to accommodate them if you can. No one counterfeits $1 bills, so it’s a pretty safe bet they received the bill as a tip, and money-changers will not take small bills or coins.
Pack for the Heat
One cannot underestimate the effect of the Egyptian heat, particularly if you are traveling during the hottest parts of the summer from June through August, when daytime temperatures in Luxor and Aswan are routinely at least 40°C (104°F) and hotter (up to 48°C/118°F) in the Western Desert. Even then, it may be 32°C (90°F) in Cairo, and somewhat hotter at the pyramids. Winter temperatures are pleasant and occasionally cold at night but very tolerable, and there is very little rain. Sandstorms are more common in April but can occur anytime from March through May. So how do you deal with these extremes? Ironically, the answer is to cover up more, as the Egyptians do. Avoid shorts and perhaps even short sleeves (exposed skin burns quicker and gets hot quicker, and then there’s the whole modesty thing, especially for women), wear a shirt with a collar (to protect the back of your neck), bring a hat (ideally one with a brim), and a bandana (with which you can mop your brow but also cover your nose if a sandstorm erupts). For fabrics, linen and lightweight cotton are your friends, but some of the newer moisture-wicking fabrics may be just as good. Be sure to pack plenty of sunscreen because good, high-quality sunscreen is difficult to find in Egypt (and when you do find it, it’s wildly expensive). And pack a refillable water bottle; you’ll be able to find bottled water everywhere, but it’s nice to do the planet a favor and refill from a bigger (and likely cheaper) large bottle.
You May Not Be Happy if You Are an Animal Advocate
Despite a lot of big talk about improving standards, the lives of Egyptian animals have not improved much in the past decade. Stray dogs and cats still roam the streets; horses work in hot and crowded conditions, especially at the pyramids and at the docks in Edfu; and exhausted camels stand by to give tourists rides almost everywhere. The situation at Edfu affects tourists the most because the magnificent Temple of Horus is deep in the city and far from the docks where cruise ships dock, so almost all tour guides arrange for their guests to take the horse carts to the temple. Guides will choose the best middlemen to help them find reliable operators, but there’s no doubt that the horses all look the worse for wear. It may be possible to take a tuk-tuk, but they are not generally allowed to approach the cruise docking areas. The best thing tourists can do is to insist that animals be treated humanely and complain to tour operators when they are not, especially when animals are a part of a tour activity. You may choose not to ride a camel or horse, but there are times when one or the other is unavoidable.
You Will Be Able to Drink Alcohol, but You May Not Drink Well
Although Egypt is a religiously conservative society, alcohol is readily available, especially in big hotels and also in some restaurants. Even modest hotels in Cairo likely have a rooftop bar, and while many upscale cafés do not serve alcohol, most restaurants do (though likely only beer and wine). As you go south, the atmosphere is more conservative, and when you get to Aswan, you’ll likely find fewer options for drinking outside of the big hotels and their restaurants. Of course, you pay for the privilege. Imported alcohol of any kind is expensive, so you may find that you want to try the local beers and wines instead. Three local brands are widely available, but you’ll see other brands. The best of the lot is Cape Bay (produced in Egypt from South African grapes), then Omar Khayyam, then Obelisk; any of these will do in a pinch, but you won’t want to take any bottles home with you. Two beers are found almost everywhere: Stella and Sakara, and they are both pretty good. You might be safer sticking to imported gin and tonic. But there are also some no-nos. Drinking on the street is always unacceptable. Local alcohol stores include Drinkies and Cheers, and they deliver. Whatever you do, stay away from any of the very cheap, local, hard alcohol.
Choose Your Foods Carefully
Food poisoning is a frequent complaint of visitors to Egypt. The origin is often from food that has not been stored and refrigerated properly. If you want to be safe, stick with the rule of boil it, peel it, or forget it; but in upscale hotels, you may be tempted by fresh tomatoes, cucumbers, and other salads (most vegetables in luxury hotels are rinsed in filtered water and are OK to eat, but you are always taking a chance). You will undoubtedly be tempted by fresh hummus and baba ghanoush (cold meze are unavoidable at Egyptian restaurants), and it’s probably safe to eat these dips in most decent spots. Avoid actual street food, but you do not need to avoid all grilled meat in restaurants as long as it’s cooked thoroughly. A lot of Egyptian food is fried, so although it not a healthy option, it does increase the likelihood that you won’t get sick. Western fast-food chains are abundant in Cairo and tourist spots and maintain good food-safety standards. Even if you are willing to take a chance with fresh vegetables, never drink anything but bottled water, even in the nicest hotel. Use it to brush your teeth as well. If you are concerned, one precaution is to take a Pepto-Bismal tablet daily. If you do become ill, pharmacies are widely available, and pharmacists can and do prescribe antibiotics and other remedies without a doctor’s input.
Egypt Is Multifaceted
While Egypt is growing increasingly religious and conservative, it’s still a very worldly country. It’s the center for the biggest movie business in the Arabic-speaking world. You’ll undoubtedly see women covered in hijab (headscarves), niqab (face veils that leave the eyes exposed), and even burka (a full-body and face covering). But you are just as likely to see locals dressed in modest Western styles. During Ramadan, alcohol sales are not completely forbidden, as they are in some Arab countries, and foreign tourists may notice few differences other than busier than normal streets after sundown. Women may still find unwelcome attention, especially if they are not dressed modestly. And both men and women are expected to wear long pants in mosques, but women should have some kind of head covering or scarf. The south is more conservative than the north, especially as you get farther away from highly touristed areas.
Be Prepared to Bargain
As in most Middle Eastern countries, prices for most things you’ll buy (other than goods in grocery and convenience stores and a few fix-price stores) are not set, and you are expected to bargain with the seller until you agree on a price which theoretically satisfies both parties. So goes the theory, but the reality is that this is perhaps the most frustrating part of shopping in Egypt since
Just don’t be surprised if the seller reconsiders and chases you all the way to the door of your bus.
nothing happens quickly. As a tourist, you’ll almost inevitably overpay, so the best you can do is bargain hard and refuse to buy something if you do think the price is not worth it. If a seller offers a price, counter with no more than half (and likely no more than a quarter). That will at least put you on a solid footing for your negotiation. You may need to steel yourself because sellers can be aggressive, so if you aren’t interested in an item, it’s probably best not to inquire about it. Just keep your head down and move on. If you stop to touch or admire something, you’ll inevitably be asked to name your price. However, if you can’t agree on one, it’s also ok to walk away without regrets. Just don’t be surprised if the seller reconsiders and chases you all the way to the door of your bus. Cairo has the widest selection of goods, but many are imported and not of very high quality. The touts at some of the post-temple markets along the Nile are among the pushiest sellers, especially in Edfu and Esna. Many people think it’s more pleasant to shop in Aswan, but you’ll still need to bargain hard.