If you are fed up of the winter weather or are at your wit’s end staying at home saving money, you may start to think about sunnier climates for your holiday. But when you start to look at the places with blazing sunshine like Egypt it isn’t just a perfect opportunity to get your fair share of vitamin D! It’s one of the best ways to truly get to grips with some of the most fascinating monuments up close and personal. But travelling to Egypt for some people can seem a bit of a scary prospect. But Egypt is one of the most rewarding holiday destinations. All you need to do is know the right things. Let’s provide you with a guide on how to prepare and what to expect.
When we think about Egypt our minds usually go to the temples or the pharaohs if you’re wondering “what major attractions can I see in Egypt?” this is merely scratching the surface! The most important thing to think about before you go is to do some digging. You might need to have an understanding of the ancient sites and temples before you set off, and while there are fantastic resources for each tourist at each site if you do a little bit of reading about the Egyptian deities and pharaohs before going on holiday it’s going to help you make the most of your visit!
If you’ve been thinking about going to Egypt on a summer holiday you may want to think twice! Between the months of June and August, the temperature is incredibly sweltering and that is an underestimation! Choose the spring months as the weather is more bearable but the big attractions are quite quiet. Because if you choose to go between December and February you can get hit by the higher hotel prices. This is the peak season for Egypt and if you’re looking to get some bang for your back try and go around April or may so you can enjoy the quietude of the pyramids like the Luxor and the Giza. And even if you think you want to chance it during the summer months it’s important to remember that this is a country that predominantly observes Ramadan. As such you may find the most places go into temporary shut down. You won’t be able to get many opportunities to visit or even to eat until after sundown!
A lot of people believe that Egypt isn’t a particularly safe place. But it’s a lot safer than people would have you believe! But if you have any concerns it’s worth looking at the government website regularly for any updates. A lot of people think that Egypt, in general, isn’t safe but if we were to think that about any country we wouldn’t even go travelling around Britain! There are so many ways to make sure that you are confident and safe but while there’s been a lot of scaremongering in the media about Egypt this means that there are fewer tourists which gives you the opportunity to benefit!
Any foreign country comes with concerns over health especially in terms of the water. In Egypt, the tap water is heavily chlorinated. Ideally, if you have a sensitive stomach you should purchase bottled water, but at least it is very cheap! You can use tap water to brush your teeth but don’t go downing pints of it! And if you have any concerns over infections or vaccinations it’s important to check with your GP but while visitors don’t require any vaccinations make sure that your tetanus and polio are up-to-date. One of the bigger issues in Egypt is rabies. So you should make sure you avoid touching animals like dogs or cats. And if you are particularly sensitive to the heat you could be exposing yourself to the potential for sunburn or heat exhaustion and dehydration. Make sure that you wear loose fit clothes and keep electrolyte tablets to hand. If you sweat a lot, it’s worth adding a little bit of extra salt to each meal. And if you have a particularly sensitive stomach make sure that you avoid raw vegetables and food that’s not been cooked thoroughly.
Tipping is customary and if you plan on learning the lingo the term to listen out for is “baksheesh” which translates as “tip.” As a tourist, you may feel that you are already spending more than your budget but it’s important to remember that while many Egyptians are paid low salaries so they rely on tips, it’s not necessary to tip a lot. In a restaurant, you need to give approximately 10% to the person that served you but it’s predominantly small tips roughly 0.25 Piastres to 1 EGP to porters or lavatory attendants. If you go to a souk market, which is one of the undisputed highlights of Egypt, be prepared to bargain hard. The term “bi-kam da?” (how much is it?) will serve you well. But remember to offer one-third of the asking price and bargain upwards to about 50%.
Be careful with taking photos because you may think that you are entitled to do it wherever you want but if you take a camera with you around the tombs, temples, and museums, there will be a small fee. It could be anything from 50 to 100 EGP but when you go into a lot of the locations you have to remember that flash photography is forbidden. You could face a hefty fine if you are caught taking a picture.
It’s part of the experience but it’s definitely worth noting that if you choose to go on a camel that you need to pay a fair price. It can be a scam for some people. And it’s also worth considering that some camels are not treated right. You could very well discover how badly treated and malnourished these camels are. It’s something for you to decide. A lot of people feel that it is not a trip to Egypt without getting on a camel.
Taxis can be quite cheap. If you want to get around Cairo you will pay roughly 50 to 80 EGP but be prepared to bargain. You should also think that the roads can be quite busy. This means that a journey that takes roughly 30 minutes can be upwards of 60 to 90 minutes in peak travel time! It’s also worth noting that crossing the road can be quite a task! It’s unsurprising that some people feel too nervous to cross the road by themselves, especially with such an onslaught of traffic! But there are ways to cross the road. It’s important to wait for a gap but you could easily ask someone if you could join them as they cross the road. And when in doubt, there are plenty of police around!
Egypt is certainly somewhere that we should all go to at least once. And it’s something you can get so much out of. Unsurprisingly, it could be quite overwhelming if you go there for the first time. It’s not just about the sheer scale of the places; it’s about the cultural differences as well. If you are looking for an ideal holiday this year, Egypt can give you the holiday of a lifetime, just as long as you know where you want to go and are prepared for adventure!