If you’re a part of any travel groups, I am sure you have witnessed the great divide between people who loved visiting Egypt and those who vow never to go back. I think the quality of your experience varies on your expectations, your tour guides, and the type of traveler you are. Regardless, I think Egypt is definitely a bucketlist trip.m Here’s a few things you should know before your trip.
- Egypt is huge and everything is spread out. Most people fly into Cairo, and while the Giza pyramids, Sphinx, and museum are located there, the more extravagant temples are located in Southern Egypt, between Luxor and Aswan. Hurghada and Sharm El-Sheikh are located on the coastline and is the perfect place for snorkeling and water activities. I wouldn’t spend more than 3 days in Cairo. Cairo can be a bit overwhelming.
- The trains suck. I’m from NY. I know a thing or two about trying to catch a train during rush hour. This was one of the most stressful parts of my trip. The train isn’t super clean and I didn’t see any outlets. I ended up buying a portable charger that didn’t work. The food sold onboard wasn’t very interesting and you won’t have enough time to stop and buy anything else. Pack 2 portable chargers, snacks, and hide your valuables. Someone on board asked my mom for her jewelry. Got a little hectic lol.
- Tips are expected. I would bring maybe $100 usd in dollar bills to give out as tips. Your taxi driver, hotel staff, tour guide, the guy who puts you on a camel, the guy who takes you off the camel, the guy who owns the camel, and a random person who gives you directions will all expect a tip.
- Choose your tour guide wisely. At this point I will only go with a tour guide that someone refers. The reviews on Trip Advisor are often fake or travelers are pressured to write them. I know this because my tour guide tried to pressure me into writing a very good review for him, even saying that anything less than 5 stars can make him loose his job.
- The decrease of tourism due to COVID and previous political unrest has been really hard on people who make a living within tourism. Expect for vendors to be extra pushy. Someone warned me but I really didn’t think the pushiness would get to me. I was wrong and you probably are too. The Heat + someone in your face + early wake ups + bad cruise food will have you ready to go to jail. Okay maybe not jail but you will think about it.
- The Nile Cruise is worth it but again, do your research and don’t trust Trip Advisor reviews. Many of the Nile Cruise tours are advertised as different but they share the same raggedy boat. The food onboard wasn’t very good. Pastries were stale and the rooms were outdated. Staff were super cool though. The itinerary was a mystery until the night before which lead to a very grumpy and hungry Meeka. Don’t be too cheap when it comes to the cruises. Also, many of the cruises come with an option to take a train from Cairo to Luxor to join the cruise. Fly instead.
- Dress Modestly. Catcalling is an issue in Cairo plus you’re respecting the culture. It’s a win win.
- The Nubians in Aswan are very kind and hospitable. I found the non-Nubians in Cairo to be less warm than the Nubians. There’s also little to no cat-calling in Aswan, there’s more breeze, and it’s less crowded. Definitely stay in Aswan a few days and check out the Nubian museum.
- Egyptian Gold is really beautiful. If you decide to get something made, don’t wait until the last minute.