Top 10 Tips For Visiting Egypt
In my capacity as the UK Director of Operations for One World Tours Limited, one of my jobs is to ensure every client has the best tour possible, so here’s my top 10 tips if you are considering holidays in Egypt
1. Consider your dress. Egypt is a largely Muslim country and with this in mind, men and women should consider what they wear. You certainly do not have to be over the top, lets face it, it’s a hot climate. But you should avoid shorts and short sleeved shirts. Women may also want to consider taking a head scarf too, not for general use, but just in case they visit particularly important Mosques, etc.
2. Pens. Offer a child an Egyptian pound or a pen and they will take the pen every time. Pens for children are like gold-dust. So if you want to give the kids a treat, pack a box of cheap pens and give them out whenever you get the chance. Do note though, that you need to do this not too openly as if you don’t you may have a very good natured riot on your hands as kids will appear out of nowhere when you start handing them out.
3. Toilet Paper. Toilet paper is often at a premium at historical sites and so it’s a really good idea to take a roll out of your hotel and take it in your back whenever you are out for the day. It should also be noted here that toilets at many historical sites are not of a “western standard” so arranging toilet visits in hotels, restaurant stops etc is not a bad idea.
4. Water. Like with any other hot climates, you should look to take plenty of water with you on your days out and make sure it’s sealed of course.
5. Avoid Ice / Salads etc. This related partly to number 4. People generally know not to drink non bottled water (to avoid possible upset stomachs), but often they over look that ice is frozen water and that salads have often been washed in water. Keep these things in mind when ordering food and drinks.
6. Take small notes. If you are going to tip, it’s a good idea and it avoids embarrassment to change up some bigger notes for a number of 1 LE (Egyptian Pound) notes
7. Be Strong. This applies to people begging. Egypt is a relatively financially poor country and with that comes the fact that people (children and adults) will beg. This is obviously a very personal issue, but obviously it’s possible to personally sort out all of Egypt’s financial problems. So feel free to help out where you can and when you feel comfortable, but realise, it’s just not possible to give to everyone who asks.
8. When in Rome. This again partly relates to tip 1. You are ultimately holidaying in a more reserved country and therefore you need to just think about things like public shows of affection. Obviously we want you to have a good time, just be respectful to a different culture and you’ll be just fine.
9. Haggle. As a tourist, when you buy almost anything, anywhere, the price will be marked up. You therefore HAVE to bargain your socks off. We generally suggest offering a maximum of 1/3 to 1/2 of the asking price and work up. If you can do it, you are even better to not offer a price at all, but just keep saying no and let them lower the price. The best tip is to just keep saying no until the person selling stops and lets you walk. At that point, you just won’t get a better price and then you have the option to go back and say – OK, I’ll take it at that price !
10. Baksheesh. If you do not know what this is, by the end of your holidays you will ! Baksheesh is a tip in Egypt for just about anything. From carrying your bags at the airport to offering to have a picture with you or showing around a tomb. So just be aware. If you chose to pay (it’s completely optional) pay with the smallest bills / nots possible (1 LE will be just fine).