Egypt is mind-blowing, intense, frustrating, exhausting, difficult to digest, and one of the most fascinating destinations in the world! When you lean in it will reward you a thousand times over!
Nothing can prepare you for the attack on all senses, but you can make your stay much more pleasant in this incredible country by learning a few things before you arrive there. Here is everything you need to know to make the most of your trip.
You will need a visa for traveling to Egypt. You can get an online visa or buy it on arrival at the airport.
The visa is valid for 30 days and you must have a passport with at least 6 months of validity beyond your scheduled return date.
Get travel insurance
Driving is crazy
Make sure to check your home government’s travel advice before traveling to Egypt, this will make you aware of any possible political disturbance.
Cover yourself and dress conservatively
Don’t expect things to happen on time
Learn how to haggle
The vendor will probably quote a price that is quite high and he is expecting you to give a lower counter-offer. Then, you can go back and forth and reach a price that works for both of you. The price is always negotiable and if you don’t haggle, you will end up paying over the odds for nearly everything you purchase. Plus, word will quickly spread to all of the vendors that you are an easy target and everyone will try to charge you more.
Many Egyptian people are at a point of financial desperation
A tip is expected for anything and everything
Egypt has developed a culture where a tip (baksheesh) is expected for anything and everything. Expect to pay 10 LE for the guards hanging out at the temples. Public bathrooms 2 LE. Pay the bellboy 10 – 20 LE for carrying your luggage to your room.
Nile River cruises are expensive
Beware that everything has an additional fee
Weather and temperatures
The best time to visit Egypt is between October and April, when temperatures are cooler, but still pleasantly warm across the country. Temperatures are around 25 °C. This makes exploring the busy streets of Cairo, visiting the Pyramids in the desert, and exploring ancient Pharaonic tombs more comfortable and enjoyable.
The summer season from May to September is hot with temperatures around 45 °C. During the summer season, there are far fewer visitors and lower prices.