Visiting Egypt is a part of many bucket lists. The Pyramids, temples, local markets and people are amazing. Nothing in the world can compare with this beautiful country. But before you visit Egypt, there are a couple of things you should know. Read on to know how you should mentally and physically prepare yourself for your Egypt vacations.
It’s a safe place, but you’ll still be nervous – and that’s OK
The moment you decide about visiting Egypt, people will tell you many things like “There are better places to go” or “Why Egypt?” Because of political issues, war, and lack of security, Egypt has seen a huge fall in tourism. But it doesn’t mean that the place is not safe to visit. Egypt is a safe place, but you can’t be careless or feel free like how you would do in the Western world. Egypt is a very different land. Be ready to be joined by military convoy anytime during your stay. Seeing armed men around yourself can make you feel uncomfortable, especially for children, it’s not comfortable. But don’t fear because they are there to protect you. Don’t compare this place with Somalia, but some areas in Egypt are no different than Mogadishu, so be careful.
Try traveling in groups and avoid planning a solo trip to Egypt. Many couples visit Egypt and enjoy the new experiences this country offers. It can sometimes be risky, especially when you have no one else to help you. For female travelers, visiting Egypt alone is a big NO. This is risky and planning a solo trip is dangerous.
Forget luxury, you can’t even expect basic facilities
Drinking tap water is not safe in Egypt. In places like Cairo, you may find purified water, but in most of the places, you won’t. You cannot even think of brushing your teeth with tap water. The drinking water in many places is not pure. If you are not careful about your eating and drinking habits in Egypt, you may fall sick.
Hotel rooms are cheap here. In fact, for someone coming from the western world, hotels are dirt cheap. But leave your demands for luxury at home because you can’t even expect basic amenities in hotel rooms. Good hotels are available in many places but you can’t rely on what they advertise. Make your advance bookings carefully. If you are not booking hotels in advance, make sure visiting the place first before paying money. Cab drivers may promise that they can get you good rooms in a hotel. Most of them work as a middleman and may charge you more so visit the hotel directly.
Nothing is FREE here, not even advice
People, even in the big cities in Egypt, are suffering due to lack of work. Tourism is one of the major sources of earning. And these days when tourism is low, people want money for almost everything. Tourists are an easy target and are considered the only source to earn bread and butter. People want baksheesh or extra money for almost everything. Shockingly, the local administration is no exception.
There are incidents where tourists had to pay money to the local police for small things. If you’re visiting Egypt, prepare yourself to be surrounded by people asking for money. Even advice is not free in Egypt. Don’t be surprised if you find people misleading you when you ask for directions. They are probably trying to make you a victim of their organized scam. Be very careful and don’t trust everyone.
Dress conservatively when visiting Egypt
You may have seen female tourists wearing shorts at the Pyramids of Egypt. There’s no official guideline for the same but to avoid unwanted attention, cover up. Female travelers should keep their arms and legs covered as much as possible. It’s not mandatory, but don’t start a fight for such things. It’s their country and you should respect their conservative culture.
People in certain areas in Egypt are very open-minded. Many locals living in beach areas have adopted the western culture. You can see women in beachwear in Egypt. But before you go out with the “free soul” mindset, ask the locals or your travel guide. Always make sure that you’re respectful to the local culture.
Wear sunscreen, stay hydrated and use insect repellent lotion
Egypt has a hot and dry climate. If you’re traveling in summer, drink plenty of water. Use hat, sunscreen, and insect repellent cream. Heat stroke is a major concern here. It affects more to the tourists who come from a different climate. Keep yourself covered as much as possible not because of the sun, but insects and mosquitoes.
Yellow fever is a mosquito-borne disease and it’s common in Egypt. Many tourists suffer mild to severe infection due to mosquito bites. Rabies is also a big challenge for tourists as you can see some animals roaming through the streets. Vaccination is the best protection against these health problems. Falling sick on a vacation is not fun, so take this advice seriously.
Be careful about alcohol consumption when visiting Egypt
If you’re visiting Egypt during Ramadan, which is considered a holy month in Islam, finding liquor can be challenging. Many liquor shops don’t get the license for selling alcohol during this month. Many restaurants and even some hotels don’t serve alcohol during Ramadan. So check before you consume alcohol and if possible, ask your travel guide to find the right places to buy and drink.
Even if you’re traveling before or after Ramadan, check if it is safe to consume alcohol in certain places. People in Egypt consume alcohol, but in Muslim countries, it is not very common. People, especially restaurants, don’t consider drinking as a cool thing to do.
The traffic is crazy in Egypt
In Egypt, you’ll rarely find traffic signals. There are no proper arrangements for pedestrian crossing. People drive like crazy here and many of them don’t even turn on their vehicle’s headlight when driving at night. Driving in Egypt may feel challenging to you if you’ve lived in places where people respect the rules.
If you’re traveling in a group, don’t try crossing roads alone. Form a chain and then cross those busy streets of Egypt. As much as possible, don’t let your child walk on the streets. If you’re traveling with teenagers, don’t let them go anywhere alone. Egypt is not a place where your children can freely walk on the streets.
Sanitary standards are very low, so be prepared
When in Egypt, always carry a hand sanitizer in your bag because you won’t find it everywhere. Local restaurants don’t even put hand sanitizers in the washing area. Some of them use soaps that get touched by hundreds of people every day and is not a safe option to maintain hygiene.
That being said, you should also carry toilet papers with you. In most places, you will rarely find these basic things. Even if you’re not traveling with a toddler, keep toilet papers and basic things in your bag. That way you can avoid many unwanted problems and health problems.