Here's a selection of useful information to make your trip to Egypt as easy and enjoyable as possible.
Immigration formalities – What you need to know before you travel to Egypt
There are just a few things that you should be aware of when planning your trip to Egypt and it’s worth bearing the following in mind to save any stress when starting your Egypt vacations.
Your passport must be valid for at least six months when crossing the Egyptian border as you are required to have six months remaining when you depart the country. Tourists are required to purchase a tourist visa, which is valid for 30 days. You can arrange this online before your trip to Egypt via the website www.visa2egypt.gov.eg. You will need to register on the given website, complete the application in electronic form in English, and pay a fee of $25 per person. It is recommended to submit the visa request at least 7 days before your departure. The printed visa must be presented with your passport at border control.
An alternative is to purchase the visa at the airport on arrival in Egypt. You need to buy a visa in the form of a sticker that is stuck into your passport and the cost for this is also $25 per person. Visas are sold at the Egyptian bank desks in the arrivals hall before the passport control line. After the expiry date of the visa, if required, it can be extended in one of the offices of the Ministry of the Interior in Egypt.
People who intend to spend time in Egypt only on the Sinai Peninsula can get a free pass called "Sinai Only", which is issued at the airport at the same window as the normal visa. However, it should be remembered that such a pass is only valid for a period of two weeks and you are not able to leave the Sinai Peninsula. In practice, if we intend to explore Sinai only, and the stay is limited to 2 weeks, it makes no sense to spend $25. However, if you are planning to take an Egypt tour and add a trip to Cairo or Luxor as part of your vacation in Sinai, you will need to get the paid visa.
In addition to obtaining the visa, after arriving in Egypt, before the passport control, you should complete a small piece of paper, which is your immigration entry form. Theoretically, you should enter the address of your stay in Egypt on it, in practice it is enough to enter the name of the city in which you intend to stay at the beginning of the trip. The remaining fields contain standard questions about personal data, occupation, flight number and the airport from which you arrived from.
When moving around Egypt, it is always worth having your passport with you. There are checkpoints located throughout the cities, where this will be asked for. A passport is also required for check-in at a hotel or for a Nile river cruise. You should have a photocopy of your passport pages containing: personal data, photo and Egyptian visa, but this should be kept away from your original passport. By doing this it will help to facilitate formalities in the event of a lost or stolen passport.
Egypt, like all other countries, apply strict customs rules about bringing items such us alcohol and cigarettes into the country, so to avoid any misunderstandings it is probably advisable to buy at airport shop.
Drones are forbidden in Egypt and cannot be brought into the country. If you do try to bring a drone into Egypt this will be taken from you at immigration at the airport.
Export of cultural goods and other items
There are severe punishments and fines for attempting to take the items listed below from Egypt.
Customs officers in your own country may also be interested in the contents of your baggage on arrival.
- Fragments of coral, jewelry and other products made from reef-forming corals.
- Sea shells – both small and large.
- Objects made from protected species of animals, for example, leather products: crocodiles, lizards, and snakes, also, any products made from turtle shell.
- Monuments in various forms - ceramics, figurines, some reliefs...
- Minerals found in the desert
Vaccinations for travel to Egypt
No vaccinations are mandatory when entering Egypt. However, the World Health Organization recommends that you are vaccinated against Hepatitis A and B, typhoid and polio before you travel.
Hepatitis A is contagious and can be transmitted by eating food or drinking water that has been handled by a person who has the virus. Infection also occurs through direct contact and even through sexual intercourse with an infected person. A public hospital is also a place where people can become infected by the virus.
Mosquitoes and flies
There are many mosquitoes in Egypt. However, the risk of contracting Anopheles mosquito-borne malaria is very, very low. Even without the risk of contracting malaria, mosquitoes can make your stay in Egypt unpleasant. In summer, they are everywhere, and you can't ever get rid of them completely. You should always take precautions to avoid mosquito bites. Use insect repellents such as spray, silicone wristbands or patches soaked in essential oil, such as lavender, which you stick to your clothes. Make sure to cover your skin after dark, especially your feet and ankles.
Flies are equally as common and troublesome in Egypt. Only insecticides, fans and air conditioning protect against intrusive flies.
Sunburn and dehydration
Sunburn and dehydration can be avoided by using plenty of sunscreen, wearing light clothing and a hat and drinking lots of water. The health care facilities in Egypt are generally good and it is advisable to have health insurance.
A negative PCR test certificate for COVID-19
From 01/09/2020, all travelers crossing the Egyptian border are required to show a negative PCR test certificate for Covid-19 issued in the country of departure, up to 72 hours (3 days) before flight departure time. Passengers traveling from Japan, China, Thailand, North America, South America, Canada, London Heathrow, Paris and Frankfurt will be allowed to provide certificates from tests performed up to 96 hours (4 days) prior to flight time.
The certificate of the test result must be presented in English. IMPORTANT - Results that are written/modified by hand will not be accepted.
If arriving into the Red Sea resorts of Sharm El Sheikh, Hurghada or Marsa Alam a PCR test can be completed on arrival in the airport for a cost of $30.
Passengers with a COVID-19 vaccination certificate stating full vaccination has been received at least 14 days before travel are exempt from PCR testing before arrival. Accepted vaccines are AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen, Moderna, Pfizer, BioNTech, Sinopharm, Sinovac, and Sputnik V. (Please note these details are subject to change.)
Each hotel and ship sailing on the Nile has received the government's "Hygiene Safety Certificate" confirming compliance with sanitary requirements, violation of any of the established regulations will result in the suspension of the facility's license and a financial penalty.
Transfer - In transfer vehicles, only 50% of the seats may be occupied, the seat next to each passenger must be free if not traveling together. It is not allowed to occupy the first seats of the vehicle. All transport vehicles are thoroughly disinfected and cleaned before and after each trip. The passengers and driver must wear masks during the entire transfer.
Reception and check-in – All guests will have a mandatory body temperature test on arrival. Luggage will be disinfected before check-in. All guests should maintain the correct distance using special markings on the floor
Hotel room/cabin on the ship and cleaning - The rooms are disinfected and adequately ventilated for 12 hours from the check-out of the guest to the next guests’ arrival. Each guest will receive a personal protection kit including protective equipment such as masks, gloves and hand disinfectant. Furniture and fabrics are disinfected using steam machines. Room capacity is max. 2 adults + 2 children (under 12).
Food - Guests temperature is checked before entering the restaurant. Meals will be served by the restaurant staff (no buffet). Tables are spaced 2 meters apart, and the maximum number of guests at one table is 6 people. It is recommended to use disposable cutlery as often as possible. Availability of hand sanitizers on tables. Fabric tablecloths are replaced and washed thoroughly after each use. Shisha (hookah) is prohibited and there is a ban on meetings and social events. The children's areas have been closed.
Pool and beach - Regular disinfection of pools. Cleaning the area around the beach and pool (including tables, loungers, sun loungers, etc.) after each use and also before and after hours of use. Maintaining a distance of 2m between the sun loungers. Beach and pool towels are delivered to the rooms sealed. Restriction of recreational activities.
Tours - Groups cannot exceed 25 people (until further notice). Guides are required to wear masks at all times. The headphones are sterilized after each use. Tour operators should provide face masks for tourists. Social distance is required.
Gyms and fitness clubs - Touch points and surfaces are regularly cleaned and disinfected. Equipment and equipment are properly spaced. It is forbidden to use the wellness area and shower in the gym or in the fitness club,
Others - Regular disinfection of common areas, toilets, elevators and all points of contact. Regular cleaning of furniture and fabrics in hotels and tourist facilities. Availability of hand sanitizers. Behavior and observance of distance in elevators (special markings). Guests must wear masks in the elevator. The staff are required to wear masks at all times. Discos, parties and social gatherings are not allowed. Each hotel has a co-operative on-call doctor and clinic
Official content of hygiene and safety regulations for resumed tourism CLICK.
Many tourists visiting Egypt suffer from “pharaoh's revenge.” The main symptoms are nausea, diarrhea and stomach cramps. It’s a common ailment that can be caused by a variety of factors, including the change in climate and the different foods that we are eating.
One of the things that we suggest to avoid spending all your time in the bathroom is to consume probiotics before your trip. This will help to improve immunity before you travel. Probiotics can be found in a number of foods and drinks (buttermilk, kefir, natural yogurt and pickles, among others). You can also buy probiotic supplements in your pharmacy.
When you arrive in Egypt, it is important to regulate your body temperature, avoiding extreme cold as well as the heat. You can do this by making sure that your drinks are not too cold with ice and that you do not have the air conditioning on a very low temperature in your accommodation.
When drinking water, brushing your teeth and rinsing your mouth, always use bottled water rather than tap water.
Carry hand sanitizer with you when going out and about and dealing with the local currency.
Following the above advice should help you to avoid pharaoh’s revenge. However, if you do find yourself feeling ill, please do not suffer in silence. You should contact our staff to get the correct treatment/medication for your condition so that you can continue to enjoy your Egypt vacation.
The curency of Egypt is the Egyptian pound, which is divided into 100 piasters. Cash is generally easily obtained from ATMs, which can be found in larger towns and cities. Most of the major hotels and stores accept credit cards, such as Visa and MasterCard, along with traveller's cheques and certain foreign currencies like euro, sterling and dollars. If venturing off the beaten track you will find that generally only the Egyptian pound in cash will be accepted.
Comfortable shoes are a must when sightseeing. Sneakers or strong leather shoes are ideal.
It is best to choose comfortable clothes for your trip. We suggest packing light, loose clothes made of natural fabrics like cotton, linen or cashmere. They allow your skin to breathe and will protect you from the sun.
When it comes to respecting Egyptian customs, men's clothing is not normally a problem; normal pants or long shorts paired with polo shirts or T-shirts are fine. In general, short shorts and tank tops or sleeveless shirts are not preferred.
Women should dress conservatively. Women's clothing should include loose linen or cotton pants or a below-the-knee skirt and a blouse or top with sleeves. Women should have a scarf to cover their head when visiting inside the Muhammad Ali Pasha Mosque in Cairo. (This is the only religious place on the tour where head coverings are required.) In the mosque men are also asked to wear long sleeves and long pants.
Don’t forget about sunglasses and something to cover your head like a hat or a scarf.
It can be quite cool in the mornings and evenings, so please bring a jacket or a sweater.
While visiting the sights around Egypt, there are endless opportunities to purchase souvenirs and gifts. You’ll find vendors at every monument, and they will try to get your attention to hawk their wares.
There’s no rush to shop as soon as you arrive, as you will have many opportunities to purchase what you would like during your stay. We advise you to wait a few days as you will then get to know and understand the bartering system. The products do not have prices listed – you must negotiate with the seller.
Also note that in some hotels and on the ship there will be shops that offer more elegant products and where you can buy high-end goods. We think the best shopping location is the Khan el-Khalili bazaar in Cairo, where you can buy almost anything. Learn more about buying souvenirs in Egypt,
Egypt is one of the hottest and sunniest countries in the world. It receives very little rain. The average temperature in the Nile Valley is over 100°F (38°C) from May through September. The average temperature in the region during the coldest months of the year is in the 60s (15°C-20°C). Egypt has two seasons: a mild winter from November to April and a hot summer from May to October. Along the Mediterranean coast, there is an average annual rainfall of approximately eight inches. Rainfall decreases rapidly toward the south. Cairo receives on average only one inch of rain a year, and in many desert locations it may rain only once every several years.
To ensure your trip to Egypt is as enjoyable as possible, we have organized our tours during the fall, winter and spring seasons to avoid the harsh summer sun. The weather during these times is more suitable for travel throughout Egypt and visiting historical sites. Read our blog:Best Time to Visit Egypt.
Egypt's electricity works on 220v with sockets being of the two-pin. European mainland variety. It's a good idea to pack an adaptor if planning to use personal items like mobile phone chargers.
The official language of Egypt is Arabic and other languages are widely spoken, especially in tourist areas.
Egypt is 2 hours ahead of GMT.
Egypt is full of armed police and you will find them on every street. In Cairo there are more police officers per 1,000 inhabitants than in any other capital city in the world. The police officers on the streets and the numerous police checkpoints on the main roads in every town or city can be perceived badly by visitors to Egypt as they look intimidating. However, constant police presence has been normal practice in Egypt since the 1960's and this is also normal throughout the Middle East.
Egyptians may fear the police and treat them with respect and foreign tourists are treated kindly by the majority of police officers in Egypt. Police officers generally trust the word of a foreign tourist, unless suspicion of drug smuggling or espionage is involved.
If you have a problem or need to report a crime you should contact the tourist police. You will find policemen of this formation at airports, stations, ports, museums, ancient sites and tourist resorts. They are trained to assist tourists and should theoretically speak at least a little English.
Junior policemen usually wear khaki uniforms with a "Tourist Police" armband on their arm. Officers wear black uniforms in winter and white in summer. You will certainly be able to communicate with a senior officer in English.
Baksheesh is a very popular form of tipping in Egypt given for services rendered.This is not alms (a charitable gift)! Baksheesh has its roots in tradition. Therefore it is highly recommended to be given by everyone (not only tourists) who visits a restaurant, coffee shop, hotel or ship. Even the smallest service deserves tipping called baksheesh. It is advisable to give smaller sums frequently. If you feel satisfied about the service given you can give a bigger tip, showing your appreciation.
In hotels, restaurants or coffee shops (regardless of the category) you should leave tips equivalent to 10-15% of the price. In addition to that you should give baksheesh for each service, even the minor ones. A baksheesh should not only be given to staff in hotels, coach/jeep drivers, boat captains, horse carriages and camel caretakers but also to workers in mosques, churches, ancient temples and tombs as well. They always try their best to show you, for example the most interesting places from where to take pictures. Usually a tip of $1-2 dollars is sufficient.
Small gifts like pens, colorful markers or sweets (chocolate) are appreciated by Egyptians. It is always a great idea to shop for these before coming to Egypt.
Please do not give any money to children or women begging in the street!
Unfortunately the concept of baksheesh is often manipulated and wrongly used by street beggars who hope for extra cash from tourists. These beggars usually have no understanding of how to make a living, so they treat begging as a way of earning money. Learn more about giving tips in Egypt.
Photography is a personal experience and in Egypt, as with everywhere in the world, you should not take photographs at military sites, bridges, stations, airports, harbors, and dams.
Egyptians themselves do not like to be captured on camera without asking, especially in more isolated rural regions. You may also meet people who will not like the photos showing Egypt as a "poor country" or "developing nation." Taking pictures of people you have become friends with (and sending them the photos) is very welcome - at least in larger cities.
In museums, tombs, and some temples, there is a special fee for taking pictures of the interior with a camera. If you have a tripod with your camera, you may also have to pay a small fee for this camera accessory.
Want to know more about photography in Egypt? Read our blog: Egypt Photography Tips.