If you're planning a vacation to Egypt then you're in store for an amazing trip where you'll be make memories that will last a lifetime. This is a land that is steeped in ancient marvels and cultural traditions that go back for generations, so you might experience culture shock! The first thing to take into account is that Egypt is a Muslim country. While the vast majority of Egyptians are happy to welcome tourists you should still respect their customs. This means you'll want to curtail public displays of affection or wearing revealing outfits.
As you travel the streets, you'll going to run across a lot of locals looking for a handout or trying to sell you something. You might hear the word, "baksheesh" a lot as request for money. Simply tell them "No thank you" and move on. The phrase in Egyptian for "no thank you" is "La Shukran."
At your hotel, your concierge will be your best friend. They should help you get around town, book excursions and tell you what places to avoid. In fact, making sure the hotel has concierge services is a very important question to ask before booking. Along with the concierge, don't hesitate to make friends with other guests. Anyone who has been in Egypt will know the good spots to eat and visit.
The official currency of Egypt is the Egyptian pound. You'll see this written as LE or the Livre Egyptienne. Each LE is made up of 100 piasters. There are 25 and 50-piaster notes and coins as small as a 5 piaster. Banking hours in Egypt are Sunday through Thursday 8:30 to 3:00. At the airports you'll find banking centers that are opened around the clock. Your best bet for converting currency would be when you arrive at the Cairo airport. You'll get a better rate and can make the exchange while you're waiting for your bags to be unloaded. All major credit and debit cards are accepted throughout the country.
As you would expect, traffic in downtown Cairo is often a major snarl. Egyptians drive on the right so be careful stepping off the curb especially when coming from a country that drives on the left. If you plan on taking a taxi from your hotel, get t he concierge to arrange for the trip. Before getting into the cab, you should work out where you're going and the fare. While riding, jot down the taxi's information in case you leave anything behind. For the more adventurous, there are many buses working in the city but if you don't know where you're headed it might be best to stick to the taxi or a tour group. The Cairo Airport is about a 45-minute ride from the downtown. Coming into the country, you're only allowed to bring 2 cartons of cigarettes and/or one liter of alcohol.
Seeing The Ancient Wonders
It's hard to imagine going to Egypt without making the trek out to see the Great Pyramids. Beyond those marvelous wonders you'll have the opportunity to visit many other ancient structures and museums. Think about taking a small flashlight along with you because the interior of those tombs rely on natural light alone. Sensible shoes as in no heels or open toes are best for touring these sites. You might see the occasional "No Flash Photography" sign. Pay attention to that warning because you could get kicked out if your camera goes off. Make sure you cell phone settings are on automatic flash.
Have A Healthy Vacation
The last thing you want to do is have your vacation ruined by getting sick. Even if you're staying in a four-star hotel, the real attractions are out in the country and not being cooped up in your room. As with many foreign countries, you should avoid drinking water from the tap. Your body might not be used to Egyptian water. Because of the arid weather, you could find yourself getting dehydrated more often in Egypt. The moment you become thirsty, you're dehydrated. Drink even more bottled water than you would at home. As you make your way around the various temples and tombs you might be compelled to reach out and touch a hieroglyph. Just make sure you have some hand sanitizer for a quick cleanse afterwards. You should also pack a mini-first aid kit that includes aspirins, band-aids, sunscreen and any prescriptions. For added peace of mind you might consider holiday insurance. These special policies can protect your trip from such mishaps as cancelled flights, cruises or other calamities that might be out of your control. Often when you travel to a foreign country you're at the mercy of the whims of local government who might close an exhibit or extreme weather that could keep you trapped inside. Those are things you can't control no matter how much you plan. This isn't to say that traveling to a destination like Egypt is going to be fraught with trouble but if there is a distruption in your travel plans wouldn't it be nice to know you could be reimbursed through a travel insurance policy? These are very affordable policies that can insure you'll come out ahead on your vacation.