Top 5 Practical Tips for Travellers going to Egypt (2018 Edition)
So you’ve been to all the major travel destinations that most of your friends have been to - taken a stroll down the beaches of Bali, gone for a quick getaway in Bangkok and of course a trip down the streets of Korea where your favourite K-pop drama idols film their latest love scene. For those who are still considering whether Egypt should be the next on your travel bucket list, Syaz Khan has written a great article about why you should visit but for those of you adventurers who have made up your mind, here are 5 tips that no other travel guide will give you.
1. Taxi Fares
Flagging taxis off the road can be both an extremely daunting and expensive experience, with many taxi drivers charging you double, if not triple the price for a single trip. Our first time in Cairo, we were charged over 10 USD for a 10 minute taxi ride but we had no choice as most taxis had a poor command of english and were not willing to take us for cheaper, knowing that we were foreigners.
Tip: In the Capital of Cairo, download apps such as Uber and Careem either before arriving or in the hotel. This saves you a lot of uncertainty in communicating where you want to go, haggling for prices and convenience. In other major cities including Luxor and Aswan, these apps are still banned but source for options of a private car hire to save money!
2. Always Tip in Egyptian PoundsExpect to get plenty of Egyptians approach you to help you with minor tasks, especially in areas with high tourist volumes including Airports and the Pyramids. As with most things though, things often don’t come free. Many of them require you to tip them and they frequently ask you to tip them in USD or Euro, stating that their own local currency is weak and they don’t accept it.
Here’s our advice. If you’re the type who gets easily pressurized, only tip in Egyptian Pounds and never give more than 30 Egyptian pounds.Opening your wallet in front of them with stacks of 100 Egyptian pounds often induces them to push you further to tip more so be sure to split your money and only put what you absolutely need in your main notes section of your wallet.
3. Take a local train rideTravelling from Cairo to Luxor often takes over 10 hours and getting proper rest is of utmost importance if you don’t want to feel like a zombie the next day. Tourists often get pushed to take the Sleeper train which is a comfortable way to travel but can be a little heavy on the wallet at USD$84 (approx 115 SGD) per person per trip.
Consider getting a ticket at the train station and get the First Class seats which most of the locals choose to take. The tickets are a lot more affordable at SGD$20 and they come with plenty of sitting room with reclining seats. There are also cheaper Second Class tickets but unless you can drown out the cries of babies with an aisle of chatting individuals, I’d recommend paying that little bit extra so you get a good night’s rest.
4. Give yourself plenty of lead time for trainsIt’s often tempting for us to plan our trips to a tee and hope that everything goes as planned. Well, we have bad news. Murphy’s law certainly applies to train timings and you can often find yourself standing in the middle of the train platform waiting for well over an hour without a clue on when your train is coming or worse, the fear of missing your only train out of the city.
The same goes for train arrivals, with our train due to arrive at 6am but only to find ourselves close to 3 hours later. Be sure not to plan your hot air balloon ride lest the train gets delayed!
5. It’s okay to wear shortsOur final tip for those travelling to Egypt is this - It’s really okay to wear shorts. We travelled in Egypt during the summer period and trust me, wearing covered pants with the blistering hot sun at over 40 degrees celsius makes travelling really uncomfortable. Imagine posing beside the Pyramid on a camel to take your commemorative shot but only to find yourself sweating and feeling really uncomfortable.
With that said, in key areas such as the airport and mosques, you’ll probably have to wear covered pants to be safe.
That marks the end of our tips for you adventurers looking to cancel the Pyramids off your bucket list! If you’ll like to see more tips and photos of what we managed to see in Egypt, be sure to check out our Instagram @revelationtheory and at the official Travel Made Different instagram account @travelmadedifferent. Till next time!
This article is meant purely for informational purposes and should not be relied upon as financial advice. The precise terms, conditions and exclusions of any Income products mentioned are specified in their respective policy contracts. For customised advice to suit your specific needs, consult an Income insurance advisor.