10 essential tips for traveling to Egypt

This list of essential tips for traveling to Egypt will help you prepare your trip to one of the most fascinating countries in the world, which we are sure you will never forget.
Known as the land of the pharaohs and marked by the passage of the Nile, Egypt will allow you to discover one of the oldest and most advanced civilizations in history through many of its most famous places. Cairo, where you will be speechless when standing in front of the Pyramids of Egypt, touring the mythical Nile visiting ancient temples, looking for tombs of pharaohs in the Valley of the Kings or reaching the wonderful Abu Simbel, the perfect end to any trip to Egypt.
Based on the experience of our trip to Egypt in 11 days we have made a list of what we believe are the best tips for traveling to Egypt.
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1. What is the best time?

The best time to travel to Egypt is from March to May and from September to November. In this period, you will avoid the hottest and coldest months since although the climate is hot and dry for most of the year, in the months of July and August, the thermometers soar above 40 degrees.
If you can only travel in summer, we recommend concentrating all visits during the first hours of the day, when temperatures are still bearable. Also, keep in mind that visits to the temples are not long, there are parts of the temples where you are in the shade, and buses and cars are air-conditioned.
If you include the Red Sea area to spend the last days relaxing on the beach or diving, the best time is from May to September.

2. Security

The current situation in the country has stabilized after a few years in which, unfortunately, tourism completely disappeared due to insecurity due to terrorist attacks and the Arab Spring. In recent years, tourism has been recovering until reaching quotas that are beginning to resemble those of its best years, so in principle, we can say that traveling to Egypt is safe.
In addition, it must be taken into account that tourism is one of the largest sources of income in the country and the government allocates many resources to guarantee security in all tourist places and hotels.
If you travel by yourself, it is advisable to follow the traditional road routes set by agencies and the government to always travel safely.
In cities like Cairo, you can move around freely on foot, although you have to be careful with the traffic when crossing the roads and if you take a taxi, agree on the price beforehand.

3. Requirements for entering the country

To enter the country, in addition to having a passport with a minimum validity of 6 months, you need a visa that lasts 30 days. You can process the visa at the airport of arrival or in advance online on this page. In both cases, the price is 25 dollars and if you pay it in euros they will return the change in Egyptian pounds.
One of the best tips for traveling to Egypt and other countries is to always carry one or more copies of the passport on paper and another in the cloud, either in an email account, in Google Drive, or in Dropbox.

4. Vaccines and travel insurance

In the case of vaccines, in principle, there is no mandatory to travel to Egypt, although we always recommend (and we believe it is very necessary) to make an appointment at an International Vaccination Center and bring the book with the vaccines you are wearing.
Another of the best tips for traveling to Egypt is to have good travel insurance. We always travel insured with Mondo, with whom we carry an insurance totally adequate to the needs that we are going to have on the trip.
In addition to insurance, it is advisable to follow a series of basic precautions such as drinking bottled water to avoid the usual stomach problems, always carry sunscreen and mosquito repellent in the Nile area.

5. How to start the trip

To get to Cairo, you can take a direct flight from Madrid or Barcelona with the EgyptAir company that takes just over 4 hours. If you opt for other companies and do not mind making stops, we recommend you fly to Luxor, an option that allows you to start the trip with the Nile cruise and end in Cairo, with a visit to the Pyramids, ending the trip for everything top.
From Cairo, you can also catch an internal flight to Luxor or make the journey on a night train.
To make the transfer from the airport to the hotel, if you travel on your own, you can take a taxi, Uber or book this comfortable transfer, in which a driver will wait for you at the airport exit.

6. Money exchange

To get Egyptian pounds, one euro is equivalent to about 20 pounds, we recommend withdrawing money at ATMs, rather than opting for the exchange houses. To avoid paying commissions and always having the current exchange rate, we recommend using the N26 card to pay and the Bnext and Revolut cards to withdraw money at ATMs. They are the ones we use, they are free and will save you a lot.
You can find more information in this article about the best cards to travel without commissions.
Also, remember to always carry a good amount of coins and pound notes, for the usual tips.

7. How to have the internet in Egypt?

If you want to have internet in Egypt, something very necessary today, especially considering the number of applications we use on our trips and the need to be in contact with our family and friends, you can choose several options:
·         Buy a SIM card at the airport or at a telephone store in the city.
·         Buy a Holafly SIM card, with which you will have internet from the moment you land, saving you all the time of the procedures and making the whole process to have the internet in Egypt much more comfortable, fast, and easy.
In this case, with Holafly’s SIM you will have several Gb to surf the Internet (depending on the option you choose), they will send it to you for free, you will keep your WhatsApp number and you will have assistance service in Spanish.

8. Travel to Egypt on your own or with an agency

Egypt is one of the few cases in which an agency trip can be much cheaper than going on your own. It must be borne in mind that the prices that travel agencies get in this country for good hotels, transport and guides can hardly be matched by an individual.
Saving time is also one of the main reasons to take an agency, not having to worry about all the logistics of transfers and hotels. Remember that by going on your own you will have to invest time in looking for a trusted taxi or driver in each city to take you to the temples and hotels, with the usual haggling and anger. You will also have the difficulty of finding a good guide, ideally being an Egyptologist, in Spanish, if you don’t speak English, taking into account that in a country like Egypt, it is essential or highly recommended, to be accompanied by an expert to understand the history of each temple and know how to decipher the interesting hieroglyphs.
The experience during our organized trip to Egypt was positive and we recommend it, although some aspects for us can be improved, such as the little time we spent in some of the most important places in the country such as the Pyramids of Egypt and the Valley of the Kings. For this reason, it is advisable before hiring any trip, read the itinerary carefully, see the hotels in which it includes and the times you will spend in each place.

9. Visit all your essentials

The list of essential places to visit in Egypt is endless, especially due to the large number of temples that were built on the banks of the Nile in the time of the pharaohs. Among the most prominent are the Temple of Karnak, with huge columns filled with hieroglyphs, the Temple of Hatshepsut dedicated to the only female pharaoh, and Abu Simbel, with two temples honoring the great Pharaoh Ramses II and his favorite wife, Nefertari.
Keep in mind that this temple is located 3 hours from Aswan and for safety, all cars and buses must go together in a convoy, which leaves at 4 in the morning.
A good option is to book this tour to Abu Simbel with a guide in Spanish, which includes entrance fees and hotel transfer.
Besides visiting all these impressive temples, during the Nile cruise, you can see other interesting ones such as the Temple of Horus, the Temple of Kom Ombo, the Temple of Philae, and the Temple of Luxor.
On the banks of the Nile, there is also the Valley of the Kings, which was the cemetery of the great pharaohs, where in 1922 Howard Carter discovered the famous tomb of Tutankhamun. Near the Valley of the Kings are the Colossi of Memnon, two gigantic stone statues representing Pharaoh Amenhotep III.
Although no temple or monument can overshadow the only one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World that is preserved today, the Pyramids of Egypt. Located less than 20 kilometers from Cairo, the 3 great pyramids with the tombs of the pharaohs Cheops, Khafre, and Menkaure, will always be the great dream of any traveler where you can also see the beautiful Sphinx, more than 20 meters high, and another reason to travel to Egypt.
You can get to the pyramids of Pyramids of Egypt from Cairo by taxi, Uber, bus or book this tour with a guide in Spanish with which you will be picked up at the hotel and which is the most comfortable option. In addition, this tour includes two other essential places such as the Step Pyramid of Djoser, the first to be built in Egypt and Memphis, the ancient capital of Egypt.
A route through Egypt ends or begins in Cairo, a chaotic city in which we recommend you get lost in the endless Khan Al-Khalili market, visit the Egyptian Museum, go up to the Saladin Citadel and enter the Ibn Tulun Mosque, between many other things. A good option to not miss anything of the city and learn about its interesting history is to book this tour with a guide in Spanish.

10. Take a cruise on the Nile

One of the best tips for traveling to Egypt is to take a cruise on the mythical Nile, the second-longest river in the world. Keep in mind that most temples, except for Abu Simbel who moved it, are located on the banks of the Nile, so in addition to enjoying the navigation you will have incredible visits every day. Most ships make the route from Aswan to Luxor in 3 or 4 days, sailing at night and stopping at the most interesting points during the day.
If you travel by agency, the cruise will be included, and if you do it on your own, we recommend you book it in advance since it is an experience that we would say is carried out by 99% of the travelers who go to Egypt.
Approaching the port to hire a cruise can be a haggling odyssey and in the end you may get an unpleasant surprise such as that the excursions or the guide are not included or the ship does not have the comforts that you had been assured.
Therefore, a great option, if you are traveling on your own, is to book this 4-night cruise from Luxor to Aswan or book the 3-night cruise from Aswan to Luxor, both with good opinions and recommended by travelers.

More tips for traveling to Egypt

Other of the best tips for traveling to Egypt are:
·         Haggle for each item you want to buy or service you want to hire. In tourist markets like Khan Al-Khalili, they can multiply up to 10 the real value. In these cases, a good option is to ask the guide, if you are organized, for the price range in which they move to have a reference.
After this, you also have to be prudent and maintain a line that is never intended to make the seller lose money. In the end, haggling is also a game and it is best to take it easy and above all, education.
·         In Egypt, it is common to tip, in addition to restaurants that can reach 10%, any help that a local gives you in a tourist place will be accompanied by a request for money.
·         It is important to wear appropriate clothing, especially if you are a woman and in the special case of visiting a mosque.
·         Remember that you do not need to carry adapters for the plugs, since these are the same as in Spain.
·         Don’t forget to try some of Egypt’s most delicious dishes like baba ganoush, kebab, mezze, shawarma, tabbouleh, or fetir, among others.
·         Buy a nice souvenir like an Anj or key to life, papyri or a djellaba, forgetting about some classics like perfumes, which usually do not end up being what you expect.

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