Travelling to Cairo – 10 Things Travelers Need to Know Before GoingTourism in Egypt is one of the most important professions for the local people around there. Cairo, the capital city is specifically one of the most attractive tourist destinations; however, since the revolution of 2011, there has been some decline in the tourism sector because of the heavy travel warnings. Despite all these unrest and turbulent history, the country has continued to attract tourists from all across the globe. The wonders of the ancient world have brought international tourists and for many, and the country is on top of their travel bucket list.
However, before you are travelling to Cairo, there are certain things you should know because the place can seem different than that of your home destination.
1. Avoid drinking from the tap water
The packaged water bottles have become one of the most common things for tourists. It is very important to remember this while you are in Egypt, especially Cairo. The water standards are not up to the mark and is not even properly filtered. Sometimes, this is why tourists are often seen to fall ill because of diarrhea. It is also advisable not to even use the tap water to brush their teeth. There is bottled water available and you can ask the local guide or the hotel you are staying in if it is safe to use the tap water for the minimal sanitation purposes.
See also Travel Health in Egypt
2. The traffic is difficult
Explaining the traffic situation in Egypt is actually overwhelming. In most of the cases, there are no traffic lights and also no specified speed limit. So the potential for dangerous driving is too much. Also, noise pollution because of the rampant honking can make it difficult for you. There are no crosswalks for the pedestrians which is why you need to be very careful while crossing a main street.
See also Cairo Transportation
3. Always carry hand sanitizer and toilet paperEgypt is a third world country. Even as its capital city, the sanitary standards are not up to the standard. So if you have to go to a public bathroom, it is always advisable to have your own toilet paper and sanitizers. You can find both these in the shops in the city.
4. Carry bug spraySince Cairo has a warm climate, it festers bugs and it is inevitable. If you are going down the Chambers in tombs you might find some bugs or small insects, make sure to have a proper bug spray to save you from any form of such infection.
5. Carry sunscreen, hat and drink plenty of waterKeeping yourself hydrated is vital while travelling to Cairo. Make sure that you protect yourself from the sun and drink plenty of glucose or even plain water to stay healthy during the tour. Heat stroke is a major concern and is certainly not a fun thing to happen.
6. Show respect to their culture and religion
As Egypt is predominantly an Islamic country, it has a conservative culture than most of the Western countries. It is very important that you respect the local culture while travelling to Cairo. This includes dressing properly while you are visiting the mosques or even the other places because you would not like to invite some unnecessary comments. There are certain areas which has a more relaxed ambience where you can roam around with the beachwear.
See also 5 Most Popular Events in Cairo
7. Do not expect not much high accommodation standards
Even in Cairo, you will find most of the places as budget accommodation places. There are some high end hotels but they are not as sophisticated as you find in the western countries. However, if you have any issues with things such as AC not working or water not coming, you can definitely reach out to the Hotel Manager to help you.
8. Be very careful about the visa requirements
All visitors to Egypt need a visa and it is requested to get the visa much in advance of arrival. For Americans, there is an allowance to purchase a 30 day tourist visa at the airport which costs 25 USD. Check about the specific requirements to avoid any complications upon reaching.
9. Ramadan and alcohol are two important concernsThe holy month of the Muslims is Ramadan where the city and by extension the entire country follows a strict fast for the whole month from dawn until sunset. Being in Egypt, during this month can be a very different experience. The self-restrained behavior of the people should be encouraged and respected. It is advised to avoid this month for visiting the place for the first time as many of the places will not be working in the same zeal as they do for the rest of the months in the year.
10. Tipping or bakhshish is a very crucial part
This you have to include in your budget because every place you go - from hotel to the tourist attractions, the guide, waiter and everybody in between who is serving you will be expecting bakhshish. Depending on the establishment, the tipping can be around 30 to 40% of the entire bill.
See also Tipping in Egypt