Egypt has been a popular tourist destination for decades, but it’s seemingly increased in prominence over the last couple of years. Go ahead and plan your trip, but make sure you’re aware of some of the things that make Egyptian travel unique. In particular, make note of the following:
1. You’ll Need These Documents
When compared to other foreign countries, Egypt is fairly easy and accessible from a documentation standpoint. There are, however, a few slips of paper you’ll need.
“If you are an American or a Canadian, you will need a passport that is valid for at least 6 months after the day you plan to return from Egypt,” Osiris Tours explains. “You must also provide proof that you intend to return or continue your travels elsewhere. You are responsible to ensure your passport is current and that your name on your passport matches all other travel documents we will issue. If you find that your name differs between any documents, please let us know right away.”
A visa is also necessary for Americans traveling to the country. You can obtain your visa ahead of time, or simply purchase it when you go through immigration at the airport. It requires $25 in cash.
2. Be Cognizant of Your Safety
By and large, Egypt is a safe place for Americans to travel. However, it does have a Level 2 Advisory from the U.S. Department of State. That simply means you should exercise increased caution.
Any time you travel to another country, you have to be cognizant of your safety. Egypt is no different. As long as you’re smart about your interactions and you don’t go too far off the beaten path, you’ll have a great time. The locals are kind, friendly, and welcoming. They’re happy to see you enjoying yourself in their country.
3. Purchase the Right Travel Insurance
Whenever you’re planning a trip to a foreign country, it’s smart to purchase travel insurance. For the small upfront cost, you get protection against unforeseen circumstances like trip cancellations, missed connections, canceled flights, hurricane damage, terrorist events, sickness, lost baggage, lost passport, emergency assistance services, and more. It’s definitely worth grabbing a quote.
4. Be Prepared to Tip
You might think we tip a lot in America, but it takes on a whole new meaning in Egypt. Referred to as Backsheesh, tips are expected from tourists and locals alike in a variety of settings and situations.
According to one travel blogger, “The common complaint you hear from tourists upon their return from Egypt is how you are constantly approached or expected to give tips. It can be extremely overwhelming, but understanding who to tip, how much and most importantly WHY can help make your experience better.”
Generally speaking, you’ll be asked/expected to tip whenever someone does something for you. Whether it’s serving you a meal or giving you verbal directions on the side of the road, don’t be surprised if you’re asked for Backsheesh. While you’ll definitely want to tip service providers, you’ll have to use your own discretion when it comes to random strangers who want a fee for taking your picture.
5. The Summer Months are Hot
“For many people, weather is a crucial factor in deciding when to visit Egypt,” international traveler Anouk Zijlma explains. “The climate is typically hot and sunny throughout the year, and there is very little precipitation south of Cairo. Even in the wettest places (Alexandria and Rafah), it only rains on an average of 46 days per year.”
Winters, on the other hand, are much milder. Daytime temperatures in Cairo will typically land in the upper 60s. Still, layering is important, as mornings can be chilly during this time of year.
6. Don’t Drink the Water
This is one of the first things a travel guide will tell you. It’s highly chlorinated and could make you sick. However, it’s very important that you stay hydrated. Sealed bottles are your friend. (You should even use them for brushing teeth.)
Add Egypt to Your Travel Bucket List
Egypt is an exciting place that’s unlike anywhere you’ve ever been. It’s rich in history, yet decidedly modern. The people are nice, the food is delicious, and the experience is one of a kind. Add it to your bucket list – you won’t regret it!