Image by Claus Rebler, used under Creative Comms license

The ancient wonders of Egypt, cruising down the River Nile, and the adventure of diving into the deep Red Sea waters have long attracted tourists from all over the world. While Egypt is an easy country to travel around, it’s essential to know the practicalities and differences in culture before you go. Here are some travel tips to help you enjoy a hassle-free holiday in Egypt.

Money

The currency in Egypt is the Egyptian pound. As long as you take care with your money, you can bring sufficient amounts of cash with you, to cover things like the cost of transport to your hotel.

As a general rule however, carrying credit cards in Egypt is a safer and convenient way to get by. This way, you can also avoid the hassle and high rates that can come with exchanging your money and credit cards are accepted in major hotels, restaurants and tourist destinations. Before you travel, let your credit card company know that you’ll be using your credit card abroad.

Another way to get cash is from an automated teller machine (ATM). ATMs are common in large cities and tourist destinations. Making withdrawal overseas can be expensive, so make sure you find out about the fees charged by your bank if you use your card at another bank’s ATM and make overseas withdrawals.

Visa

All U.S. citizens must have proper visa and passport requirements for entry into Egypt. Your passport must have an expiration date of six months after the end of your trip.

If you’re visiting Egypt as a tourist, you can purchase a 30-day visa for $15 USD at the Egyptian airport. You can renew this visa if you intend to stay longer than 30 days. If you’re travelling to Egypt by land, you need to apply for a visa at an Egyptian Embassy or Egyptian Consulate prior to arrival.

Weather

Throughout Egypt, day temperature is usually warm or hot while nights are cool. Mild winter runs from November to April while hot summer runs from May to October. The best time to visit Egypt is between October and May when temperatures generally average 250C.

Avoid the extreme heat of summer. During summer, temperatures in the desert vary from 70C at night to 430C during the day. In contrast, temperatures during winter can drop to as low at 00C at night to 180C during the day.

Culture and religion

While several aspects of Egyptian economy may have been modernized, the culture of Egypt still retains its traditional characteristics. As a traveller, you should learn about the culture differences in order to show respect for the country’s customs and culture. For instance, Friday is a prayer day so many shops, restaurants and tourist attractions are closed.

Clothing

Egypt is a Muslim country. It’s considered inappropriate to wear certain types of clothing so the best default position is to dress conservatively.

Women should avoid wearing shorts and low-cut tops while holidaying in cities and if you wear short-sleeved shirts or tank tops in tourist destinations or the beach, bring a scarf or shawl to cover up in other public places such as restaurants and shopping malls. It’s not necessary to cover your hair except when you visit a mosque or other religious buildings.

Men should wear t-shirts and long pants. In general, it’s advisable to bring a sweater or light coat for the cool evenings.

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