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Travel Tips to Egypt
Best time to Visit Egypt
You can vacation in Egypt year round, but if you can choose the time of year to visit you find the most enjoyable weather from September to May. Summers are very hot. Make sure you take extra precautions when travelling in the summer months by drinking plenty of water, wearing proper clothing, using sun protection, and slow down when necessary.
Passport and Visa Requirements
You need a valid Canadian or American Passport to enter Egypt, it must be valid for 6 months past your return date, a tourist visa is also required and is easily obtained upon arrival in Egypt at a cost of $25.00 USD cash per person. The airport Visa Office is near customs and immigration, once you pay the fee they will give you a sticker to be applied to your passport then continue to the Customs and Immigration booth.
Passports holders of other nationalities must contact the Egyptian Consulate for advise on entry requirements.
Your passport will also be registered within one week of your arrival in Cairo, this is done by the Hotel's front desk, you will be asked for your passport upon check in.
Airline Fees
Airline seat assignment. Advance seat selection is subject to airline fees, paid directly to the airline at the time you select your seats.
Please note that airlines reserve the right to change/cancel the pre-selected seats due to schedule changes or Flight equipment change.
Note that there also some airlines that they do not allow advance seat selection.
Checked Baggage Fees. Many airlines have checked baggage fees; once you receive your tickets contact the airline with your airline reservation code for specific charges + terms and conditions.
You can also visit the airline's website, for more details: Click Here >>
Airline tickets are 100% non-refundable/ unchangeable. If the airline allows a change, the change is always subject to change fees that vary from USD250 and up + the difference in fare; charges are per ticket, and every airline has specific policies and fees.
Airline flight schedules are always subject to change, we will always try our best to accommodate to these changes, but we are not responsible for any losses incurred due to missed-connections, flight cancellations or flight schedule changes. Is strongly recommended you purchase Travel insurance to cover these circumstances.
Health Regulations and Medical Requirements
They are no vaccinations required to travel to Egypt, unless you come from a high risk infected area. If you would like to take precautionary measures you should visit your local travel clinic and they will advise you based on your personal medical history.
Some Tips to keep you healthy while travelling in Egypt
Only drink water bottle, inspect the seal cap before drinking it. To be in the safe side you should brush your teeth with bottle water as well. Although tempting do not eat food from street vendors. If you know your system is very sensitive take extra precautions like eating only fruits you can peel and making sure your food is freshly made and well cooked. Fruit juices may not be advisable to drink unless they are bottled. Wash your hands frequently, do not touch any stray animals. Do not overload your stomach specially on the first days of your arrival give your body time to acclimatize, if you keep a special diet back home continue while on your trip. Drink more water than you usually do at home specially while touring the sites on hot days. Bring a small medic kit with headache tablets, allergy and stomach medication, etc. Public hospitals are available at most major Cities and are open to tourist most doctors speak English, but you will be asked to pay for your treatment, medical travel insurance that covers hospital bills and repatriation to your Country is strongly recommended.
Bring sunblock with you specially if you are fair skinned, SPF lip balm is also a good idea.
Language
Arabic is Egypt's official language. But English and French are widely spoken.
Currency
The national currency is the Egyptian Pound (LE) Genaeh in Arabic. Each pound is divided into 100 Piasters (1LE= 100 Piasters) with different banknotes.
ATMs are only found in big Cities such as Cairo. Credit Cards such as Visa and Mastercard are mostly accepted at your Hotel and some large shopping stores. Cash is the favourite and many times the only form of payment at many small shops and restaurants.
American Express is not widely accepted.
If you are paying cash, the preferred currency is USD, sterling pounds, or Euros. Traveller's cheques are not accepted. Banks are open Sunday to Thursday 08:30 to 2:00 pm. Banks and Money exchange Houses are only found at the Airport or in large Towns such as Luxor. If you are taking a Nile River Cruise be prepared to cover your bill for incidentals by cash since many time the credit card connections may not work. Western Union locations are only found in Cairo, in case you need to receive money from home.
Is recommended to take with you plenty of small notes (1 and 5 USD notes) for you to tip small amounts frequently (especially the 1.00) Small currency is also very useful if you want to purchase souvenirs.
Clothing
Egypt, being a predominantly Muslim country, is naturally conservative (not like the Gulf States or Saudi Arabia) but the average people are careful in what they wear. The dress code in Egypt for women is considered conservative by western standards.
Bring light colored clothing, loose linen/cotton trousers or a below knee skirt and sleeved blouse. (If you're planning to ride a camel, a skirt is not a good idea). A good hat and sunscreen are a must, you should also bring sunglasses.
Swimming suits and shorts are reserved for the beach or swimming pools only.
Restaurants require you to wear shirt/Tshirt, trousers/dress shorts and shoes/sandals. Evenings are smart casual.
It is advisable to bring a light sweater for the evening if you are visiting Egypt from November to April.
If visiting a religious site such as a Mosque, monasteries or churches wear long trousers or skirts, remove your shoes, and for women is advisable to wear a headscarf and a conservative blouse.
Comfortable, strong shoes are a must. Sandals can be worn, but you will suffer from dust/sand and the streets of Cairo are not clean; there are often mud puddles too, so in general, having closed shoes is the better option. It will be difficult to see sights in heels of any sort, as the desert is sandy. In the winter months, long slacks or long walking shorts are recommended, as well as sweaters since you may encounter some cold evenings. Is good to bring one or two casual dressy outfits for special occasions aboard the Nile Cruise or at one of the major Hotels in Cairo.
When entering a mosque is to leave the shoes with the mosque guard, who usually has a desk at the entrance and a place to store shoes. He will keep an eye on them. When leaving you can give him 1 Egyptian pound.
Bring a small flash light (pocket size) it becomes useful when visiting some of the underground archeological sites. Small binoculars can be useful.
Electricity - Time Zone
You need to bring an electricity converter since electricity is 220 volts and uses rounded plugs. Egypt is GMT +2 (+3 during the summertime) or 7 hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time.
Telephone and Internet
Long distance charges can be expensive at most hotels, calling cards are widely available and you should try that instead. Internet is usually reliable, WI-FI is generally available, extra charges apply for both. Internet Cafes are always found in most major Cities and Towns.
Mail
Regular mail will take over a week to reach USA or Canada.
Shopping
The best things to buy in Egypt are Egyptian handicrafts, carpets, blown glass also known as Muski glass, papyrus, antique jewelry, leather goods, cotton goods, perfumes, silver and gold jewelry, and textiles. And of course you can have a gold or silver cartouche made with your name written in hieroglyphics! El Khalili Bazaar in Cairo is a favorite place for shopping is unique and offers great variety of interesting and artistic goods. In Luxor The Souk is a popular place for tourists. To bargain is always accepted at these bazaar markets and small shops.
Bringing Children on an Egypt Tour
Egypt offers a great holiday for children, to have the opportunity to see Egyptian ancient history first hand is invaluable, all the excursions to the archeological sites are guided by a licensed Egyptologist great opportunity for children to get full details from an expert. There is no children's activities while on the Nile River Cruises therefore bring some activities to keep them occupied while on board, some boats have television but the broadcast are in Arabic. Fortunately you do not expend too much time aboard and when you do you sail thru the Nile while passing small villages which makes for interesting observation. Beach resorts like Hurghada do offer a variety of activities for children and young teenagers with theme parks, swimming and snorkeling. Back in Cairo visiting the Giza Plateau, the Egyptian Museum and the downtown bazaars are exciting tours for children and adults alike. You do need to be vigilant to keep children hydrated and with proper sun protection, dress them comfortable wearing sturdy shoes. Making sure they get proper nourishment and plenty of sleep is definitely necessary.
Cuisine
Egyptian food is an exotic combination of Middle East, Mediterranean and African cuisines, some of the most popular dishes are grilled lamb kebabs (Kufta) with Egyptian bread (Aysh), stuffed vine leaves, falafel, Dips like babaganoush, soups made of beans tomato and spices (Fool), and for desert pastries filled with dates and rose water. Olives and Egyptian bread accompany many of the dishes. Tea flavored with mint and very strong coffee are very popular. If you are a vegetarian Egyptian cuisine definitely has dishes that will accommodate you. While on the Nile River Cruise you will find most of the food caters to tourists, speak to your Guide if you are interested in sampling real Egyptian food he/she will take you to a good restaurant. In regards to drinks wine, spirits and beer are usually found at major hotels and restaurants catering to tourists. Legal drinking age is 21.
Photography
Keep your camera well protected from sand and dust while travelling to the archeological sites, please note that many Museums and historic sites restrict video or photography in order to protect the antiquities, you may be asked to leave them at the entrance. Other outdoor sites may charge a fee to use them, expect to pay 10 Egyptian pounds for a camera and 100 Egyptian pounds for video cameras. But at the majority of the outdoor sites you are free to take pictures and video. Many sites will not allow Flash photography, be careful to comply.
Tour Guides
Always stay with your tour guide, if you would like to visit something outside the scheduled tour always consult him/her, be mindful of times to return to the tour buses.
Nile River Cruise Travel Information and Tips
Travel Discounters packages include all meals on board, usually in an open buffet manner at a fixed time each day.
Soft drinks, wine, bottled water, coffee, tea and other drinks from the Bar are not included but available at an extra cost.
Local beer is around $5 USD and the exported beer can be a dollar or two more. Soft drinks, bottled water, hot beverages, and juices are between $2 to $5 dollars. Many drinks are sold by the glass.
Travel discounters packages include all your excursions on shore (as per detailed itinerary provided) fully guided by a licensed Egyptologist.
The dress code for dinner time is smart casual. Swimming suits and shorts are reserved for swimming pools only. At lunch time Restaurants require you to wear shirt/T-shirt, trousers or dress shorts and shoes/sandals.
The Cruise offers entertainment on a couple of nights, one night will be a Galabeya Party where you wear the local Egyptian you can purchase one on board (approx 20 USD) or rent it.
Be prepare to cover the bill for your extras in cash, credit cards although accepted at many Ships cannot always be processed due to poor communication connection. USD, Sterling Pounds, and Euros are the preferred currency.
The Cruise does offer laundry service but it may be expensive.
Telephone and internet facilities are not very reliable on board, and can be expensive. There is always a charge for internet services.
Tipping to the Cruise staff is not included, you can leave it an envelope at reception is suggested $30 USD per person for a 3 night Cruise, $40 USD per person for a 4 night Cruise and $60 for a seven day cruise.
Travel Insurance
Having Travel insurance is essential for any vacation, and Egypt is not an exception, the cost of medical emergencies or home repatriation can be extremely high, make sure you read your policy carefully and understand all the applicable exclusions and limitations. Usually you pay for small medical bills while on destination and claim upon arrival, but in the case of a major emergency you must call the insurance company immediately (or have someone call on your behalf), not doing so affects the eligibility of your claim. Is always a good idea to give details of your policy to a close relative back home and to your travel companion. Protect your investment by also having trip cancellation/interruption insurance.
Tipping
Tipping is expected in Egypt. Take with you plenty of small notes (1 and 5 USD notes) for you to tip small amounts frequently (specially the 1.00) refrain from giving coins since they are not easy to exchange.
Guidelines for Tipping aboard Nile Cruise: is suggested $30 USD per person for a 3 night Cruise, $40 USD per person for a 4 night Cruise and $60 for a seven day cruise.
For the Tour guides you can leave $10 to $20 dollars per person per day.
For the drivers $2 per person per day.
For the Meet/Greet Representatives around $5 per person per day.
Camel Ride Man $1 USD per person.
Horse Carriage in Edfu 10 Egyptian Pounds per person.
Motor Boat to Philae 10 Egyptian Pounds per person.
Felucca in Aswan 10 Egyptian Pounds per person.
Restaurants in Cairo and other Cities $1 USD per person.
Hotel Staff $2 USD.
Luggage $1 USD per person In/Out in each destination.
Ramadan
Ramadan is a period of Islamic religious fasting, there is alcohol restrictions during that time but Nile Cruises and major Hotels do not get affected.
Same applies for Cruise activities and off shore excursions.
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