Visit Egypt and Allow the Flow of the Nile and the Stature of the Pyramids to Draw You In
Commune with the Ancient and the Living
When it comes to fascinating history, Egypt is perhaps the most outstanding country in the world. This is the country where legends such as Cleopatra and Tutankhamen once walked, and where monuments built thousands of years ago still stand.
There is enough here to keep history buffs happy for weeks.
Then there is the natural beauty, with the lush beauty of the Nile River Valley contrasting with the stark allure of the desert. Not to mention the distinct culture, delicious food and beaches on the Mediterranean and the Red Sea.
The list of reasons to love Egypt just goes on and on. Ready to fall for an incredible country? Check out this guide to Egypt travel advice to help make it happen.
Handy Things to Know Before You Go
Tourism is well-established in Egypt, so traveling there is usually straightforward, however there are a couple of things you should be prepared for before you leave home.
As a Muslim country, Egypt is quite conservative in its attitudes toward women.
- Women should respect the local culture and dress modestly, covering up shoulders and knees, without showing cleavage. Long skirts or dresses are the easiest choice of apparel, but loose-fitting pants are also fine. Although it may feel frustrating at times, adapting to the local dress code can save you a lot of unwanted attention.
- Tipping is appreciated, so carry around some small bills or coins in the local currency so you can dole them out when appropriate. Every tip you give is helping to supplement the meager salaries of local workers.
- Be wary of chatting to locals. While some are just being friendly, most will be trying to get you to buy something. The touts can be aggressive and demanding, so be prepared to say a firm but polite “no” over and over again.
- When you go shopping, be aware that haggling over the price is normal. The vendors will easily spot you as a tourist, so be ready to barter down the price they first name for you. This also applies in transactions such as in non-metered taxis and when you hire the services of a tour guide.
What to See Once You’re There
You’re spoiled for choice with sights in Egypt. Here are just a few of the highlights to include in your itinerary.
- A Nile cruise can be the best way to see the country. Not only will you get to float down a river that is practically mythic, but it will also take you past most of the greatest monuments and sights in Egypt. The country at times seems to be structured around the Nile, as it brings fertility and electricity to the land.
- The towering temples of the Pharaohs and the legendary pyramids appeal to the imagination, conjuring up a mysterious past. Indulge your inner explorer by seeking out Tutankhamen’s tomb, the Egyptian Museum in Cairo, or the remnants of Roman trading posts in the desert.
- Then, when you’re ready to relax, make your way to the glorious coastline along the Red Sea, where you can snorkel or dive coral reefs every bit as enchanting as the pyramids themselves.
Is It Safe to Travel to Egypt?
Like every other country, it’s impossible to say that Egypt is completely “safe.” In general, you won’t run into any major safety issues while traveling there if you stick to the main tourist centers and practice typical common sense.
The political situation has been known to be volatile, however, and there may be a risk of terrorism at times. The best thing to do is to check with the foreign affairs department in your home country before departure, and heed any advice or warnings they have about travel to the region.
The Cost of Traveling to Egypt
Egypt is incredibly budget-friendly, making it easily accessible for people wanting to travel on the cheap. After floating its currency in 2016, the Egyptian pound has remained low, leading to favorable exchange rates for tourists from places like the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom.
For less than $1 you will be able to buy goodies such as juicy shawarma, gorgeous scarves and spices straight from the markets.
Of course, if you want to splash out, you can. With a healthy tourist trade, there are also plenty of options to suit travelers with lavish tastes. You can find uber luxe resorts along the Red Sea, world-class restaurants serving gourmet local cuisine, and tour packages that will deliver all the highlights of the country to you in utmost comfort and style.
Egypt has a distinct culture that may be different to what you are used to. Keep an open mind and embrace learning about the different ways of life you’ll encounter.
Here are some things to bear in mind when traveling to Egypt.
- As Friday is the Muslim holy day, you may notice that many businesses are closed that day.
- If you happen to be traveling through Egypt during Ramadan, be prepared for irregular opening times and reduced business hours. You shouldn’t have too much difficulty finding places to eat, but it always pays to be respectful and not eat openly in the streets during this time.
- You might get lucky, and be invited over for dinner with a local Egyptian family. In this case, it pays to remember a few key differences! Taking a second helping is considered a compliment for the food, but asking for salt to put on your meal can be taken as rude. Leaving a little food on your plate when you’ve had enough to eat is acceptable — if you eat everything, they will think you’re still hungry and add more food for you!
- In shops or people’s houses, you may be offered tea. You should always accept the beverage even if you don’t plan on drinking it, as refusing it can be seen as rejecting the person offering it.