FAQ's and Further Information
Do I need a visa and if so, how do I get my tourist visa? Yes, you do need a visa to enter Egypt. Usually you need to apply to your local Egyptian Embassy or Consulate General for a pre-entry tourist visa, but if you are from North America, Western Europe, Australia/New Zealand, Brazil/Argentina or Hong Kong/Japan/Macau/Malaysia or Singapore you can get your tourist visa upon arrival in Egypt. Please check with your local Egyptian Embassy to confirm this. How do I get my tourist visa if I live in a different country to that of my passport? If you hold a residence permit in the country you live in you can apply to the Egyptian Embassy/Consulate General in that country, otherwise you have to apply to the country that issued your passport.
Is Egypt safe to visit? Egypt is very safe to visit and the police, tourist police and army are in prominence wherever you go, giving you a feel of being in secure surroundings. Egypt prides itself on its high safety record for tourists and will do all it can to maintain this. Although there have been struggles in the inner city through times of political unrest, this has been localized to one area, and the sacred sites and temples famous to Egypt have continued to be able to be visited by tourists with ease and grace. In fact it is less crowded than before, due to the unrest in the inner city, so it is a perfect time to visit the sites.
Is it safe for women to travel alone? Many women travel alone and have found that they have been safe. The police, tourist police and army are always close by and the Egyptians themselves are generally safe and will try to protect solo travellers. On the whole, it is generally safer for a solo female traveller in Egypt than places like Greece, Italy or Spain.
Although the chances of being confronted are almost negligible, please ensure that you take the same precautions that you would anywhere else and do not be tempted to walk in deserted areas alone: instead get a taxi back to your abode! You may receive some invitations, which on the whole are innocent, but do not accept any of these from strangers.
We generally use the Buffet restaurants in the hotels as this enables everyone to find the type of food they prefer to eat. The Egyptians are usually overwhelmingly generous in their selection of fresh and delicious food they provide us with, so no matter what your dietary preferences are, you should be able to easily find something to suit you. There are local restaurants that we may be visiting for group meals also. Please note there are no health food stores in Egypt.
Drink bottled water only. It is easy to buy and good to carry around with you. Make sure when you purchase it, the cap and seal are unbroken.
Is it safe to brush my teeth with tap water? Although Egyptian water is highly chlorinated, it is recommended that you use bottled water at all times. If you wish to be sure of not picking up a bug and developing diarrhea on your journey as many who first visit Egypt often experience, ensure you only use bottled water and that you do not eat anything from the street that may have non-bottled spring water in it. Some people are guided to make sure they clean their teeth only with bottled water due to this. It is best to travel with charcoal tablets or other diarrhea medications just in case.
The currency in Egypt is the Egyptian Pound and for travelers from most parts of the world, there is a very good exchange rate. American Dollars and Egyptian Pounds are the favoured currencies, so bring these with you.
I have some expensive items that I do not want to leave in my room. What should I do? All hotels have safety deposit boxes, sometimes even in your room/cabin. All you need do is ask at reception and they will give you instructions on how to use them, or will safely put away your valuables until you need them.
Tipping is a way of life in Egypt and for many people they could not live without it. If you wish to simplify things, all have the option to contribute a large sum to cover all tips, to a TIPPING KITTY upon arrival.
Can I use my credit/debit cards easily? Yes. Most places accept these nowadays, including all decent hotels. You are advised to carry cash when shopping in the many street markets (souks) though the larger malls and street shops can accept plastic.
Are there plenty of ATM's? Almost every bank has an ATM outside it, or just inside the front doors, and you will normally find that they are guarded by a policeman. Many shopping malls have stand alone ATM's and you can also find them located along a busy pavement (sidewalk), or where two busy pavements meet. Airports and railway stations also have ATM's as do the larger tour company offices.
Yes, we do get time to go to the colourful markets or Bazaars. Also most hotels have their own shops.
Egyptians dress modestly and appreciate it when we do the same. Comfortable, lightweight, easy to wash fabric that does not need to be ironed, is the easiest wardrobe to travel with. Most hotels have laundry services if you do not want to do it yourself. They provide a laundry service for items to be washed, dried and ironed and returned to your room.
What clothes should I wear walking around towns? When walking around the towns, dress modestly as you would for a hot summer's day back home. Long shorts and t shirts are actually worn by many locals.
What clothes should I wear when visiting sites? This really depends on which site you are visiting and at what time of the day. Some offer little shade and so you should ensure that you do not have too much skin available for the sun to burn (the Giza Pyramids, in the afternoon is a prime example of this). Temples are well shaded so you do not have to cover so much, but remember that even though they are shaded well, tombs tend to accumulate the heat from the sun as well as from the many visitors so try to wear something lightweight, especially cotton fabrics. Though many people like to wear open toed sandals, please note that many of the floors are exceedingly rough and not level and so it can be easy to stub your toes.
For ladies, lightweight full length pants or three quarter pants with tops that cover the shoulders, breasts and upper arms are best. You do not need to wear a head scarf.
In order to respect the culture, it is recommended that you do not wear short shorts, or see-through clothing. Conservative clothing is the preferred dress. Ladies please note you will get unwanted attention from men if you wear figure hugging clothing, halter tops etc.
For men, lightweight pants or trousers or long shorts that come to the knees, with a shirt or t-shirt is fine.
CLIMATE AND WEATHER
Egypt generally has warm / hot days and cooler nights. In fact some early mornings and night time temperatures can be surprisingly cool, so bring a light jacket or a jumper with you. When it is hot it is a dry heat, so much easier to deal with than humidity.
220 volts 50 HZ. Round pronged plugs. Easily bought in shops selling luggage or other travel goods.
Hairdryers are usually found in the bathrooms of hotels, but they might not be as fancy as the one you have at home, so if you cannot live without it, bring it with you with an adaptor plug.
Yes, you will have the option to ride a camel at the Pyramids as it offers you a wonderful view of the Giza site.
Hotels have swimming pools and it is ok to wear your regular swimming costume within the confines of the hotel.
THE EGYPTIAN PEOPLE
Are welcoming and helpful and those who work in the hospitality industry generally speak good English. They are happy to have tourists come to see the many wonders of their beautiful country and most will go out of their way to make sure that you enjoy every minute of your stay.
SOME OTHER THINGS YOU MAY WISH TO BRING
Do I need to take anti-malaria tablets/injections?