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How to Vacation in Egypt

Updated on May 28, 2012
The pyramids of Giza are one of Egypt's most recognizable monuments.
The pyramids of Giza are one of Egypt's most recognizable monuments. | Source
Downtown Cairo.
Downtown Cairo. | Source
A more rural Egyptian shop.
A more rural Egyptian shop. | Source
Traffic in Cairo is a big problem so having a car driver you trust is important.
Traffic in Cairo is a big problem so having a car driver you trust is important. | Source

Get a travel guide to answer your questions along the way

Plan Ahead for Travels

1. Research:

If you are planning to visit Egypt, the best place to start is by researching. Here are a few good questions (and their answers) to start.

· Is this a good time to travel to Egypt?

Like most countries, Egypt has had its times of change. A relatively peaceful country, it is currently going through a change in government leadership. If you are planning to travel and want to check if traveling to Egypt is recommended by the U.S. government, visit the State Departments website.

· What are Egypt seasons and average temperatures?

Egypt has two seasons. The first is a mild winter lasting from November to April and the second is a hot summer from May to October. Egypt is a desert with warm to hot day time temperatures and cooler nights. The summer temperatures can be real scorchers, soaring above 100 degree F (38 degrees C) by day. The winters range from 65 degrees F (about 18 degrees C) by day but can drop as low as 45 degrees F (about 7 degrees C) at night.

· Is it better to buy a package or to buy tickets, hotel and attraction prices separately?

This question has a lot to do with preference. If you want your trip to smooth and predictable, go with a package. If you are more interested in spontaneity and flexibility, plan it yourself. Pricewise, there is no clear answer.


2. Save:

Once you have researched and decided a reasonable cost for your trip, begin saving immediately. Egypt is full of sights, sounds, tastes and many souvenirs. You will want to have as much available cash as you are able to save for.


3. Details:

Have you gotten a passport? Will you need a visa? Are there shots you need to get? These are the kinds of details that if you’re planning a trip to Egypt you need to ask yourself. Making a checklist of steps you need to take before you leave is a great way to keep you on track.


4. Packing:

When traveling abroad, it is always best to pack as little as possible and leave room for all the goodies you are sure to bring back. When packing for Egyptian travel, be sure to bring plenty of light clothing, a couple of outfits for more formal evening events, comfortable shoes (that you don’t mind getting dusty) and travel sized versions of your favorite toiletries.


5. Keeping in touch:

Before leaving it is important to think about how you will stay in touch with family and friends. I found that having a laptop or Ipad was great. Internet can be used at local cafes for a small price or you can even buy a traveling modem where you can pay one fee for a certain amount of internet time (and it’s refillable!).

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Travel to Egypt

Flights to Egypt vary depending on the time of year and when you buy them. Summer prices are usually lower considering many tourists opt not to deal with the steamy temperatures. If you’re looking for a deal and feel you can bare it, go for it! Otherwise, buy your ticket at least 6 months before travel to ensure the lowest price.

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Hotels in Egypt

Whether you are looking for inexpensive accommodations or a five star hotel, you will find it in Egypt. There are over 1,000 hotels in Cairo alone! I suggest using a variety of hotel search sites to find the best deal on the type of hotel you are looking for. Three good start points?

· www.hotels.com

· www.expedia.com

· www.kayak.com

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A Nile cruise might include a large ship such as this one I spotted while I was on a much smaller boat.
A Nile cruise might include a large ship such as this one I spotted while I was on a much smaller boat. | Source

Nile Cruises

Nile cruises are a common and fun way to see and enjoy Egypt. A cruise can be as short as a few hours for a dinner cruise to a week or more to travel from Cairo to other cities such as Aswan. You can also choose cruises that travel to and from southern European countries such as Greece and Italy. Nile cruises, like hotels can vary in price and quality. For small boats to huge cruise ships, you can find whatever fits your taste and time frame best. Three good start points?

· www.touregypt.net

· www.vikingrivercruises.com

· www.keytours.com

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The Sphinx at a distance.
The Sphinx at a distance. | Source
In front of the tomb of Mereruka and Ankmahor at Saqqara.
In front of the tomb of Mereruka and Ankmahor at Saqqara. | Source
Outside the step pyramid at Saqqara.
Outside the step pyramid at Saqqara. | Source
A shop at Khan el-Khalili.
A shop at Khan el-Khalili. | Source

Popular Sights in Cairo: 5 Must See Attractions

1. The Pyramids of Giza

The pyramids of Giza are one of those places that are simply indicative with Egypt. The size, stature and permanence are truly not worth missing. Taking an opportunity to go inside is like stepping back in time. Located in downtown Cairo, you will want to bring a hat because there is little shade here.

2. The Sphinx

Alongside the pyramids of Egypt, the Sphinx is another wonder e often think of when we hear “Egypt.” Thankfully they are located literally side by side. Enjoy this wonder up close or from far for best pictures.

3. Khan el-Khalili

One of the oldest market places in the world, Khan el-Khalili is filled with exotic sights and sounds. The smell of fresh curries and the sound of tabla drums id sure to delight any tourist! This is a great place to look around, shop and eat.

4. Saqqara: Step Pyramids, Tombs of Mereruka & Ankhmahor, Pyramid of Unas, and much more

Located 32 km (about 20 miles) outside of Cairo, this sight will be well worth the travel. Packed full of history, you can plan to see everything from a step pyramid designed by Imhotep in 2650 BC to tombs built for the pharaoh’s overseers. I found this to be my most educational sight by far. For more on this area visit www.ancient-egypt.org, where you are sure to be excited by this off the beaten path sight.

5. Cairo Museum

The Cairo Museum is full of history! From well-known artifacts such as the burial mask of Tutankhamen to ancient jewelry, statues, boats and artwork, this museum will give you the feeling that you are traveling through Egypt’s history.

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Library of Alexandria
Library of Alexandria | Source

Alexandria

The second largest city in Egypt, located along the coast of the Mediterranean Sea, Alexandria is full of history, modern pleasures and yes, beautiful beaches. Most notable sights:

· Library of Alexandria

· Catacombs of Kom el Shoqafa

· Agamy (see popular beaches below)



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Luxor

Known as the ancient city of Thebes and often called “the world’s only open air museum,” Luxor is a very popular tourist attraction. Most notable sights:

· Luxor Temple

· Karnak Temple

· Valley of the Kings

· Valley of the Queens

· The Ramesseum (memorial temple of Ramesses II)

· Tombs of the Nobles


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Aswan

Located on the east bank of the Nile River in the South of Egypt, Aswan is a lively market city. Known as Swenet in ancient times, this was Egypt’s first city. Most notable sights:

· a trip to Elephantine Island on a wooden felucca

· the ruins of the Temple of Khnum

· Nubian villages

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Ain Soukhna

Located on the western shore of the Red Sea, Ain Soukhna (meaning “hot spring”), is a beautiful beach with temperate waters most of the year. Imagine the sea feeling like a jacuzzi with very few waves and you have a good picture of this cozy beach. Many hotels and resorts line the shore offering you several options for accommodations.


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Sharm el-Sheikh

One of Egypt’s most popular beaches, Sharm el-Sheikh (or Sharm for short) is full of hotels, resorts and tourists. Located on the Sinai peninsula, Sharm is modern and trendy with lots of oprions for shopping, dancing, eating, diving, snorkeling and wind surfing.


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Agamy

Located in Alexandria, is along the Mediterranean Sea. Truly a beach town where many Egyptians choose to vacation, you will see many resorts and homes with fewer hotels. The beaches have private entrances and you can be served food and drinks while lounging on the beach.


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My friend enjoys the solitude of Dahab's deserts.
My friend enjoys the solitude of Dahab's deserts. | Source

Dahab

Once a Bedouin fishing village, Dahab is one of Sinai peninsula’s premiere diving locations. It is a much smaller, slower option compared to Sharm el-Sheikh which is located nearby. Tourists enjoy wind surfing, diving, camel rides into the nearest desert and lying along the beach. Other options for accommodations in this area include hostels and camps along with more traditional (and costly) hotels and resorts.


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Nothing beats the privacy of Marsa Alam.
Nothing beats the privacy of Marsa Alam. | Source

Marsa Alam

Located on the south east coast of Egypt, alongside the Red Sea, Marsa Alam is just recently become a popular vacation town. Divers, snorkelers and naturalist have enjoyed this more secluded beach for years. Attractions include Wadi Gamel (Valley of the Camels) National Park where you can take a traditional journey into the desert to see how Bedouins once lived and Abu Dabab beach here you can swim with sea turtles. My personal favorite vacation spot, you can enjoy communal camp groups such as Deep South (www.deep-south-diving.com) or newer resorts and hotels.

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Keep your passport on you at all times.
Keep your passport on you at all times. | Source

5 Travel Tips for Egypt Tourist

  1. Always have your passport available (you might be asked to show it)
  2. Keep tissues with you at all times (they are not given away free and easy at restaurants or even at some bathrooms)
  3. If you’re going to be in the area for any length of time, build a relationship with one cab driver (this cuts down on the frustration of finding one, trying to communicate and possibly being cheated)
  4. Be flexible with time (as my friend’s and I called it, “Cairo time” is quite relaxed)
  5. Always tip (whether at a restaurant, in a cab or with someone handling your luggage, tipping is kind and expected)

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    • profile image

      Yuki 2 years ago

      Give Obama another four years and see how you like this ctunory- THAT is what this post is all aboutUnbridled by re-election concerns, he'd make Pol Pot look like a piker- what do people think the DHS ammo-buys, FEMA camps, and desired domestic "militia as well funded and armed as the US Army" are all about

    • KrystalD profile image
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      KrystalD 5 years ago from Los Angeles

      ripplemaker, I think the most rewarding trips are those that take us out of our comfort zone :)

    • ripplemaker profile image

      Michelle Simtoco 5 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

      Egypt sounds very interesting. Hmmmm.... and because it is so different from my own life, all things will be wonderful to experience! Thanks for sharing Egypt with us. :)

    • KrystalD profile image
      Author

      KrystalD 5 years ago from Los Angeles

      Thanks teaches12345. I'll show you around when you get there :)

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 5 years ago

      I would love to visit the library and the outdoor shops. Your photos are such a great tour of the country and present interesting views. The travel tips are priceless for those who plan to visit.