Essential Egypt Travel Tips

Essential Egypt Travel Tips

When planning a trip to Egypt, knowing some essential Egypt travel tips, can help you to avoid common pitfalls so that you can make the most of your trip to this absolutely mesmerizing country.

Known for its pyramids, temples, and ancient artifacts, Egypt is a fascinating country to visit. However, navigating its unique culture and finding your way around can be challenging without proper guidance. That’s why it’s important to arm yourself with useful travel tips to ensure a smooth and enjoyable journey.

Whether you’re a first-time visitor or returning to Egypt, there are important tips that can greatly enhance your travel experience. From understanding local customs to knowing the best time to visit iconic sites, these tips will help you make the most of your trip and create memories that will last a lifetime. So, before you pack your bags, here are some essential Egypt travel tips to keep in mind.

Essential Egypt Travel Tips for Non-Muslims

Many non-Muslim travelers may not be familiar with Islamic culture and traditions, so we have compiled a short list of tips to help non-Muslim visitors avoid accidentally offending the locals when they visit Egypt, bearing in mind that Egypt is a Muslim country. Some of the below mentioned tips can also help you to have a more enjoyable vacation in the Land of the Pharaohs.

Familiarize yourself with a few basic Arabic phrases

As they say, it is never too late to learn new things. With this in mind, we strongly suggest that you try to learn a few basic Arabic phrases before you travel to Egypt. Not only can this be very helpful in certain situations given that very few Egyptians can speak any English, but the locals will also appreciate the fact that you have taken the time to learn some Arabic. 

Be respectful of Islam at all times

Religion is something which is very close to the heart of nearly all Egyptians. Since nearly all Egyptians are Muslim, it is very important for visitors to avoid insulting Islam and/or the Prophet Muhammad. Insulting either can lead to very serious consequences in Egypt, just as it can in all other Arab countries.

Visiting mosques in Egypt

Unlike in many Muslim majority countries, many mosques in Egypt welcome tourists, including non-Muslim tourists. Several mosques in Egypt, and especially in Cairo, are actually popular tourist attractions including among non-Muslim visitors. Non-Muslim visitors should however avoid entering any mosques during prayer times. Female tourists should also bear in mind that they will need to cover their hair, neck and shoulders when entering a mosque.

Essential Egypt Travel Tips for all Visitors

Familiarizing yourself with a few essential Egypt travel tips can go a long way in helping you to have a fantastic hassle-free vacation, no matter where about in Egypt you are. Continue reading to discover some great tips before you travel to the Land of the Pharaohs.

Check the Validity of your Passport

In order to enter Egypt you need a valid passport with at least 6 months validity remaining after your intended date of departure from Egypt. If it has slightly less validity remaining you may still be allowed into the country, but if you ask us, it is simply not worth the risk of being denied entry.

Obtaining your Tourist Visa

Depending on your nationality, you may need to obtain your Egyptian visa from an Egyptian embassy or consulate prior to traveling to the country. With that having been said, the citizens of many countries are able to obtain a visa on arrival when they arrive at Cairo Airport or any other port of entry. Many nationalities can also apply for their tourist visa online before they travel. Obtaining an online e-visa is by far your easiest and most convenient option, so we recommend that you determine if your nationality qualifies or not.

Consider a professionally designed Egypt tour package

For a totally unforgettable and 100% hassle-free vacation, you may want to consider booking a professionally designed package tour from a well-established and reputable Egypt tour operator. Most well-established Egypt tour operators are more than happy to customize the tours which they offer on their websites, thereby insuring that you really can enjoy an unforgettable vacation that suits your needs and requirements perfectly. Most will also help you to design your own unique tailor-made tour from scratch.

Avoid disappointing hotel accommodation

Any good list of essential Egypt travel tips should mention the quality of hotels. Staying in good accommodation that is clean and comfortable can make a world of difference to your vacation. For the best possible experience we highly recommend that you focus on staying in four star or five star hotels only. Anything less than this will almost certainly disappoint you unless you are a backpacker traveling on a shoestring budget.

Avoid disappointing Nile River cruises

As is the case with hotel accommodation, anything less than a five-star Nile River cruise is likely to be disappointing. You may get to visit the same great tourist sites during your cruise but your stay on board the cruise ship won’t be anything like it is on a five-star cruise ship where you are guaranteed clean, comfortable, and spacious accommodation and three excellent meals per, along with some great on board entertainment.

Consider a Felucca Ride on the River Nile

A short 1 or 2 hour Felucca ride on the Nile River in Cairo and/or Aswan is something which we believe all visitors should try to experience. In Cairo a ride on one of these traditional wooden sailing boats will allow you to see the city’s skyline from a completely different perspective. With that having been said, the banks of the Nile River in Aswan are considerably more scenic which makes for a more relaxing experience.

Hire a tour guide for sightseeing

Having a professional tour guide by your side can take your vacation in Egypt to a whole new level. Egypt is an incredible country with countless archaeological sites that have so much fascinating ancient Egyptian history. Experienced and knowledgeable tour guides can share this history with you when you are out sightseeing. We also recommend that you use tour guides supplied by a reputable tour operator rather than using guides which can often be found loitering around popular tourist attractions.

Agree on a fair price before getting on a camel at the pyramids

Camel rides at the pyramids are very popular but you will need to haggle in order to get a fair price. Whatever you do, do not get on a camel before a price has been agreed on or else you will almost certainly get overcharged.

Egypt travel tips

Expect to give tips for everything

In Egypt, tipping is not mandatory but it is expected and it is an important part of the local Egyptian culture. It is customary to tip service providers such as waitstaff, taxi drivers, hotel staff, and tour guides. Tipping is seen as a way of showing appreciation for good service and is expected in many situations. The general guideline for tipping in Egypt is around 10-15% of the total bill or service charge. When traveling in Egypt, it is always advisable to carry small change (Egyptian Pounds) to facilitate tipping.

Conceal your purse or wallet

Essential Egypt travel tips should also offer advice on how to avoid petty crime. Pickpockets are typically not a major problem in Egypt, but pickpocketing does still happen, usually in very crowded areas. To be on the safe side we recommend that you keep your purse or your wallet concealed rather than just keeping it in one of your pockets.

Only drink bottled water

Tap water in Egypt is not safe for drinking. Even in some high-end hotels or Nile cruise ships that may have signs in place declaring that the tap water is safe to drink, we would advise against doing so. Bottled water is cheap and plentiful in Egypt so there really is no need to take any chances by drinking tap water. As a side note, always carry some bottled water with you when visiting Egypt’s ancient sites because most of them offer very little in the way of shade and it is easy to become dehydrated especially during the warmer months of the year. Drinking an adequate amount of water when you are outdoors will also help you to avoid heat exhaustion.

Take Precautions against sunburn

This is one of the most essential Egypt travel tips. Whenever you head out, we highly recommend that you apply a good quality sunscreen lotion to all exposed areas of skin. For added protection you may also want to consider wearing long loose-fitting pants and loose-fitting long sleeve tops when you are out sightseeing. A wide brimmed hat can also help to protect your face and neck from the sun.

Pack in a good quality pair of sunglasses

At many of the popular archaeological attractions, and also on Nile River cruises, the glare from the sun can be blinding so it’s important that you have a good pair of Polaroid sunglasses when traveling in Egypt, regardless of when in the year you choose to visit.

Be prepared for scorching heat during the summer months

No list of essential Egypt travel tips is complete without mention of the country’s warm weather there’s a reason why most people choose to visit Egypt at some point between the beginning of October and the end of May because this is when the weather in Egypt is at its most pleasant. During the low season, which includes the summer months the heat in Egypt can be absolutely scorching, with temperatures often reaching as high as 40 degrees Celsius. If you cannot tolerate very warm weather it is best to avoid visiting Egypt during the low season, and especially during any of the summer months.

Always carry some anti-diarrhea medication with you

It is not all that uncommon to experience an upset stomach after eating food from street vendors, especially among people who have a sensitive stomach. There is even a name for it: Mummy Tummy. In all fairness, however, many people experience an upset stomach after eating foreign food, so it is not a problem that is confined to Egypt only. A lot of street food in Egypt is delicious and we strongly encourage visitors to try some. However, you should stick to food from street vendors who also get a steady flow of local customers.

Dealing with taxi drivers

As is to be expected, some taxi drivers will try to overcharge foreign tourists. If you want to avoid this we suggest that you always insist on having the taxi meter turned on. However, some taxi drivers simply won’t turn on their meters. In such a scenario, it is essential to agree on a fair price before you get in the vehicle. You are generally not expected to tip taxi drivers although giving them a tip is usually much appreciated.

Using public toilets

Public toilets in Egypt tend to be few and far between and if you do find any they will most likely be squat toilets, and very often, not very hygienic. If you are lucky you may come across some western style public toilets but again don’t expect to find toilet paper or a high standard of hygiene. Regardless of the level of hygiene, expect to pay a small entrance fee at any and all public toilets.

Make sure your vaccinations are up to date

No vaccinations are mandatory for tourists in Egypt, although some are definitely recommended. For example, it is probably best to get vaccinated against certain strains of Hepatitis, and especially Hepatitis C. It is estimated that roughly 10% of the Egyptian population are infected. The disease is typically passed on through contaminated food and water and you can become infected regardless of where you eat or where you stay, so it’s best to get vaccinated before you travel to Egypt.

Purchase travel insurance

One of the most essential Egypt travel tips would be that you should purchase good travel medical insurance prior to visiting the country. You probably won’t end up needing it, but it can give you great peace of mind knowing that if a medical emergency arises, you will be covered. We recommend insurance that also covers the cost of emergency medical evacuation in the unlikely event that it is required. 

Enjoy the Best of Egypt in Comfort and Style

Are you longing to visit Egypt? If you are then contact us now to begin planning your dream holiday or to book one of our epic Egypt tour packages today. Whether you choose one of our high quality private guided tours or one of our high quality group tours, you can be sure that you’ll be experiencing Egypt in absolute comfort and style, from the moment you arrive, to the time you leave. And, if you have read through all the essential Egypt travel tips listed in this blog post, you won’t encounter any unexpected surprises during your stay in the Land of the Pharaohs.

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Explore Egypt your way by selecting only the attractions you want to visit

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