You’ve probably seen how amazing Egypt from a documentary, a magazine, a TV show, or from other people online or offline. It is considered as the cradle of civilisation because from this country came one of the first organised societies.
Ancient Egyptians have contributed so much to many fields of knowledge, such as history, science, mathematics, geometry, and even literature. Moreover, experts say that they were the ones who invented paper and ink.
These fantastic things plus the pyramids and The Great Sphinx of Giza must be some of the reasons why you wanted to explore this country. Well, you’re in the right place because we’ll talk about what to know before travelling to Egypt. We’ve got a lot of things to cover, so let’s get started.
THINGS TO KNOW BEFORE TRAVELLING TO EGYPT
Egypt is a great country, and there’s so much for you to explore here. But before you go on touring the country, it wouldn’t hurt if you’ll check out the following things that’ll help you on your journey to this fascinating region at the heart of Northeast Africa.
Before we get deep into this guide, the most important thing you have to check is if you need a visa or if you can get one with a minimal hassle. Below is a list of nationalities who don’t need a visa, those who can get a visa on arrival, and how to get an evisa online.
Check if your home country grants you the privilege to enter Egypt visa-free. Here’s the list of the lucky countries:
- Hong Kong
- Lebanon – at Borg El Arab Airport, Hurghada Airport, or Sharm el-sheik Airport if arriving on a charter flight.
- Saudi Arabia
- United Arab Emirates
- Malaysia (14 days)
Visa on arrival
Visa on arrival is also available to the following countries which can be acquired at any entry point or Egyptian airport:
- South Korea
- New Zealand
- North Macedonia
- United States
- All European Union citizens
The only downside to visa on arrival is that you must strictly pay precisely $25. Other currencies and credit cards are not accepted at the immigration office.
The more comfortable option is to go for an evisa. All you need to do is to choose where you’ll apply online. It typically takes around 3-4 days to get your application approved, though it would be wise to apply at least a week before your target departure date to avoid the hassle. The fee for getting an evisa is $25. You can apply for Egypt evisa online, read this guide.
Also, if you hold a passport from the US, Israeli, or a European citizen entering Egypt from Sharm el-sheik, Dahab, Taba or Nuweiba and you’re only looking to visit Sinai, you’re privileged to a free 15-day visa.
Essential Things To Pack
Egypt is known to be a hot country, but it can also be freezing in the evening due to its desert location. Be sure to bring clothes that will keep you comfortable whether the climate is cold or hot. Here are other things that you should consider bringing with you when you go to Egypt:
- cash (probably the most essential thing to bring with you)
- credit/debit card (in case you run out of money)
- power bank
- sun hat
- scarf (handy when visiting mosques)
- a pair of casual and comfortable shoes (you’ll likely walk around very often, so make sure your feet are as comfy as possible!)
- toiletries and other hygiene products
- long trousers and long sleeves that are lightweight- very handy when visiting sacred places
Best Time To Go To Egypt
The best time to visit Egypt is the spring season, between October and April because the temperatures are lower during this period, which makes it a bit more bearable to go outdoors.
If the hot climate is something that you can bear, and what you worry about is the crowd of tourists from different parts of the globe as well as avoiding the surge of prices, it’d be best to avoid the peak season which starts in December and ends in January.
The summer season in the country starts in June and ends in August. Going to Egypt between these months is not advisable, however, if you’re visiting the Red Sea, then this season is perfect because it is cooler here than the rest of Egypt.
Average Cost Per Person Per Day / Travel Budget
Another thing that you need to take into consideration before travelling to Egypt is your budget. To give you an idea of how to manage your expenses, here’s a rough estimate of the average cost per person in Egypt each day:
On the budget
- Food: there are many eateries in Egypt where you can get cheap but tasty food. A budget of $3 per day would be sufficient
- Transportation: riding public utility vehicles instead of hiring a cab when going from one place to another will cost you around $2-$3 per day around the city and $4 and up for bus ticket to other cities/towns
- Accommodation: if you’re on a budget, you can get a decent room to stay at for only $5-$10 per day
- Total estimated cost per day: $15-25, excluding tours
- Food: the cost of eating in a fast-food restaurant per day on average is around $6 per person
- Transportation: if you choose the convenience of a taxi over the economic advantage of public transport, you should allot about $4 of transportation allowance per day, $60 for a domestic one-way flight
- Accommodation: mid-range accommodations in Egypt cost around $25-$30
- Total estimated cost per day: a mid-range budget per day costs between $35-$40, excluding tours
- Food: if you want to experience the luxurious side of Egyptian cuisine through 5-star restaurants, allot a budget of $25 per day
- Transportation: the average intercity transportation cost in Egypt per day is around $12 on a taxi and $70 for domestic flight
- Accommodation: 5-start hotels and accommodations in Egypt averages at about $70 per day
- Total estimated cost per day: we’re looking at around $100 budget per day for a luxurious Egyptian experience excluding tours
Accommodation In Egypt
I recommend booking accommodation in advance, so when you arrive in Egypt, you’ll have a place where you can leave the things that you won’t need when you explore Egypt, especially during peak season.
With the technology that we have today, you can easily book an apartment at least a week before you go to Egypt. Check out booking.com for affordable apartments and hotels. Other accommodation-booking sites to get some of the best deals from Hostels Worldwide and HotelsCombined.
Transportation And Getting Around
Most towns in Egypt are relatively small and can be explored by food, especially if you will choose a centrally-located apartment. When you go to big cities such as Cairo, you’ll need to get a taxi or ride a bus or other public mode of transportation to get around.
If you’re travelling far distances, domestic flights and trains are also an option. The Nile River is one of Egypt’s most visited attractions, and you will surely be riding a boat should you decide to visit this world-famous river.
Other modes of transportation in Egypt that you should experience are the Tuk-tuk, a three-wheeler type of scooter similar to Thailand’s Tuk-Tuk; Caleche, Egypt’s own version of a horse carriage; and the Felucca, a traditional sailing boat used in the Middle East, which is still used in The Nile River until today, mostly as a tourist attraction.
While you can also use Uber in big cities such as Cairo.
Overcome The Language Barrier
Although there are not so many people in Egypt who can speak English except for the people who are working in the tourism industry (e.g., tour guides), you can still get around perfectly fine using non-verbal communication such as hand gestures, facial expressions.
Also, signs are typically written in both Arabic and English, which makes it easy for tourists to get around.
Many locals understand some words in English; the more touristy an area you’ll be visiting, the higher the number of people who can communicate in English.
If you’re a language lover, you might also take this chance to learn a couple of phrases in Arabic, too. Simple Arabic phrases such as ‘shukrān’ (thank you), ‘is salām ‘alaykum’ (hello), and ‘ma’is salāma’ (goodbye) can be handy.
Following The Rules And Regulations
Egypt is predominantly a Muslim country, which means most people here dress modestly. To show respect to the local custom and traditions, make sure that you bring modest clothing to use when going out to avoid getting unwanted attention.
Remember, as a guest, the last thing that you want to do is to offend the locals. Furthermore, drinking alcohol in the streets and other places save for the licensed bars is prohibited.
Likewise, illegal drugs, taking photos without prior permission, and flying a drone can all give you years of jail time, and you don’t want that.
Do’s and Don’ts
Here’s a list of what to know before travelling to Egypt to make your stay in the country as pleasant as it can be:
- When asking for direction, ask 2 or more people; locals are known to be helpful, so they will try to be helpful by answering you even if they don’t know the answer, so to be sure, ask the same question from different people.
- When dining in a restaurant, riding a taxi, and other services, give people a small tip; it is part of the Egyptian culture, so the same is expected from the visitors.
- Take off your shoes and cover your head, shoulder, and knees when visiting mosques to show respect.
- Do not take photos inside monuments; the paintings on the walls of these ancient structures are very delicate and taking pictures of them might affect the colour.
- Do not drink tap water.
- Don’t smoke in the streets, especially if you are a woman.
- Do not eat or drink in public places during Ramadan as a respect for the locals.
- Avoid public display of affection; kiss, hug, holding hands together
- Do not talk to people offering you “good deals or services”, there are many scams in the tourist area in Egypt
- Do not put your feet on the table. This is considered a bad manner in many countries, Egypt included.
WHAT TO SEE IN EGYPT
You might already have an idea of what to see in this country, and these might be the least of what to know before travelling to Egypt. However, to remind you of the things that you should prioritize seeing, here’s a list for you:
- The Pyramids of Giza
- Abu Simbel
- Egyptian Museum
- Siwa Oasis
- Abydos Temple
- The Nile River
- Diving at Hurghada
- Hurghada Sunset on Quad (ATV)
These are some of the places you shouldn’t miss when you’re in Egypt, and of course, there are still more, but I’ll leave further discovering in your adventurous heart.
So, we’ve covered a lot of things to get you ready for your upcoming Egyptian trip! From acquiring your Visa to the rules and regulations that you should follow. I realize that this is a lot of information to take, but you can always refer to this website should you need to review an item or two.
I hope you have a great time in Egypt. I would appreciate it if you could share with us through the comment section below, your experiences and more useful tips that you’ll discover during your time in Egypt.