Egypt Travel Tips
A visa is required for Egypt and may be obtained from the Egyptian Consulate Office in your area. A visa may also be obtained upon arrival in Egypt.
No immunizations are required, unless you have visited an area infected with smallpox, yellow fever or cholera before arriving in Egypt.
It is important that you register with the Passport department within one week of your arrival in Cairo. Your hotel will normally register your passport and return it within 24 hours.
The local currency is the Egyptian pound (LE) LE 1=100 Piasters. Exchange your money at banks or at the counter of your hotel. Black market exchanges are illegal and can cause you much trouble.
The best season is from September through June, when the temperature in Cairo is comfortable in the daytime, and cool or even cold at night. Weather in Upper Egypt, Luxor, Aswan and Abu Simbel is comfortably warm. During the summer months Cairo is hot and dry, Upper Egypt is extremely hot, and sightseeing should be done early mornings.
WHAT TO WEAR: Winter months: Bring sweaters and a light coat for cool evenings. Women should bring slacks or walking (long) shorts for sightseeing, long sleeved dress, Men should bring a jacket for nightclub visits. Pack a bathing suit if visiting Aswan and Luxor or if taking a Nile Cruise. Summer months: Lightweight clothing, a sweater for cool Cairo evenings. AT ALL TIMES: Modesty in clothing should be observed, wear bathing suits and shorts at the beach or swimming pools only. A good rule is to cover your back and shoulders outside of the hotel area. Women should cover their arms when visiting mosques. Bring comfortable walking shoes for sightseeing and walking on desert sand. Sunglasses, as well as sun visors, hats and scarves are recommended as protection against the strong sun. On a Nile cruise dress is strictly informal.
REMEMBER TO PACK:
Talcum powder to help keep you cool. Mosquito repellent. Sun Block. A flashlight will come in handy for the dim light of the tombs and museums.
Drink only bottled water with no ice! Eat in the hotel restaurants or in the leading restaurants. Be sure your food is well cooked. Peel all your fruits and eat only vegetables that have been cooked or that you can peel. In the summer months drink plenty of bottled water, carry some with you at all times while sightseeing. Be careful of fruit juices as they may be diluted with local water. Carry a bottle of medication for upset stomachs. Pack sunscreen!
If you are planning to ride camels by the Pyramids, wear slacks or jeans. Do not be tempted to have pictures taken with borrowed headdress.
220 volts, 50 cycles AC in Cairo and most areas except in Alexandria, in Heliopolis and in Maadi where the electricity is 110 volts AC 50 cycles. Wall plugs are the round, two pronged European type. Bring a converter with you to charge electric razors, camera batteries, etc…
Cairo is a shopping adventure. Buy brass, copper, and inlaid wooden articles, silver and gold jewelry, leather shoes, bags and belts, cotton goods and perfumes, have a gold cartouche made with your name written in hieroglyphics. Be sure that the letters are soldered and not glued on. Have a kaftan of pure Egyptian cotton tailor made in two days. Shop at the Khan El Khalili Bazaar for a better variety of interesting and artistic goods. You should be able to bargain prices that were originally quoted to you.
Take plenty of film with you and all the necessary photographic equipment, as these are very expensive in Egypt. You will need flash to photograph inside monuments. The sun is very bright, for outdoor pictures take a light meter and low ASA film. Take high ASA film for indoor shots. You need special permission from the Ministry of Culture and information to take pictures in the EgyptianMuseum, some of the Tombs and the CopticMuseum. Keep your camera in a plastic bag to protect it from the fine sand and dust. You cannot photograph bridges, dams, ports, airports and other restricted areas, that are clearly marked. Expect to pay small tips for pictures or video filming.
The weekly day of rest is Friday. Islam is the principal religion of Egypt. Islamic holidays are based on the lunar calendar and change every year.
9:00 am to 5:00 pm everyday except Friday. Many businesses also remain closed on Saturday.
9:00AM to 1:00PM and 4:30PM to 7:30PM. Most shops in the Khan El Khalili Bazaar remain open until 9:00PM. Most shops are closed on Sundays.
8:30AM to 1:00PM and 4:30PM to 7:30PM, everyday except Sunday
When hours are 10:00AM to 12NOON. Banks are closed Fridays and Saturdays.
American Express, Master Card, and Visa are accepted in major hotels and shops, however, most of the Nile Cruises will not accept Credit Cards, SO please make sure to have Egyptian Pounds from any ATM machine the nigh before you check out of the Nile Cruise.
Egypt is seven hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time; i.e. If it is 9:00am in New York, it will be 4:00pm in Cairo.