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Egypt Useful Information

Eighty percent of tourists to Egypt take guided tours, usually involving buses, vans, or Nile River cruises (or some combination). While independent travel is possible, taking a guided trip is easier, with arrangements made, sites interpreted, and security provided.

Climate and Clothing in Egypt

Winter is high season and the most comfortable time to travel to Egypt. Temperatures vary from the milder, slightly damper Mediterranean climate of the Delta (About 70 degrees Fahrenheit daytime winter temperatures) to the dry Upper Nile (80s in winter). Summers can be unbearably hot, and even Egyptians flee to the coast. No matter what the season, bring sunscreen, a hat, and sunglasses.


Coverage is important for cultural reasons and comfort. Mornings and evenings are chilly. For a sunrise felucca sail or hot air balloon ride, take a sweater or jacket.


The air is dry, so bring mositurizer and conditioner (not provided on some Nile cruises).

Food, Health, Sanitary, and Safety Concerns in Egypt

In tourist and hotel restaurants, food is generally safe to eat, although those with sensitive stomachs should avoid raw fruits and vegetables. Drink bottled water. Malaria is not an issue in Egypt. Talk to a doctor about standard immunizations being up to date, as well as typhoid and Hepatitis C. In heavily traveled tourist areas, these are not usually a problem. Toilets at tourist sites are generally western-style (for women; men’s toilets can be either western-style or holes in the ground). Attendants clean toilets in tourist areas and provide toilet paper; a tip (one Egyptian pound; about 20 American cents) is expected. Carry toilet paper in case none is available (or in case you have no small currency). Most hotels have metal detectors and X-ray machines at the entrance. Tour buses are escorted by armed security guards.

Motorist Rules

Cameras: There is no such thing as having too many memory cards or too many batteries. At museums and tombs where photography is prohibited, cameras may have to be checked. Check guidebooks; if photography is prohibited, consider leaving cameras at the hotel. Photography (but not tripods) is generally permitted outdoors. Expect to bargain for souvenirs, and don’t be afraid to make a low offer. Vendors' initial prices are often multiples higher than the "real" price. Engage in the process with good humor. Egyptian vendors enjoy bargaining; with practice, visitors can, too. Beads, scarves, and knock-off souvenirs are imported from China for sale to unsuspecting tourists. Goods made on site, such as in carpet and alabaster “factories” are probably local in origin; ask the guides. Baksheesh is a part of Egyptian life. Most commonly, it means giving small tips. Bring a stash of single American dollar bills. (Coins can’t be changed in Egyptian banks). It can be difficult to find small Egyptian banknotes at tourist hotels, even at banks that change money. American dollars can be used until smaller Egyptian currency is found.

Egyptians are extremely friendly to visitors. By following these tips, travelers can maximize their enjoyment of this fascinating country and its people.