10 Things You Should Know Before Going to Egypt

  1. Guides and drivers get a commission from wherever they take you. Some of them are up front about it and don’t try to hide this fact while others not so much. Wages in Egypt are poor and workers are just trying to provide for their families.
  2. Most people speak English.
  3. Two of the top tourist destinations are The Giza Pyramids (Cairo) and the Valley of the Kings (Luxor). These two places are 7 hours apart by car. You can also take an overnight train from Cairo to Luxor or hop on a one-hour flight.
  4. Practice your haggling skills. You will haggle for everything in Egypt.
  5. Although I still recommend that women dress on the more conservative side, it is not necessary to cover yourself up so much so that you are uncomfortable. On a particularly warm day a man that I had met asked me why I would wear long pants and long sleeves on a day like today.
  6. It’s worth it to spend the money to ensure your safety. Stay at a nice hotel. Hire a driver or a guide to go with you wherever you want to go. They know the ins and outs of the cities and can often tell you if you’re receiving a good deal for something or not. It may seem like a lot of money at the time but as of right now 1 Egyptian pound is equal to almost 9 US dollars.
  7. Don’t drink the tap water. Only drink sealed bottled water particularly from trusted sources (hotels, restaurants, etc)
  8. Stick to recommendations from sources like Trip Advisor, Yelp, friends, etc for food choices. If you are determined to go off the beaten path be aware that you may get sick from the food. Everyone’s stomach is equipped to handle different kinds of food differently and the food of Egypt may upset yours. I recommend bringing some Imodium on your trip regardless.
  9. During Ramadan, nobody expects you to abstain from food and drink. It is nice to try to be respectful of one’s religious customs but it is not absolutely necessary. If you need to grab a bite to eat, grab a bite to eat. If you’re thirsty, drink. You should always carry water on you to avoid dehydration. Believe me, it’s better to drink water in public than to get heat stroke on a camel in the middle of the desert (not that that happened to me…)
  10. Egypt is not the unstable, dangerous environment that the media makes it out to be. Very rarely did I feel unsafe in Egypt. People are friendly, the food is good… what is there to complain about.
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