Woman traveling solo to Egypt

34 Best Travel Tips For Egypt: Things to Know Before You Go

Grey Globetrotters contains affiliate links and is an Amazon Services LLC Associates Program member. If you make a purchase using one of these Amazon links, I may receive compensation at no extra cost to you. See my Disclosure Policy for more information.

Egypt has something for every traveller, from awe-inspiring ancient sites to vibrant markets. However, navigating this historically rich and culturally diverse country can be daunting for even the most seasoned globetrotter.

That’s why I’m sharing my best travel tips for Egypt, drawn from months of exploring this fascinating (and sometimes frustrating) country.

Whether you’re interested in exploring the iconic Pyramids of Giza, delving into Egyptian history in the Valley of the Kings, learning about the ancient Egyptians in Luxor, or relaxing on a Nile River cruise, these tips will help you make the most of your Egyptian adventure.

After visiting Egypt for nearly 30 years, the 34 helpful travel tips for Egypt travel in this article are the ones I wish I’d known before I visited Egypt for the first time.

You’ll find everything in this Egypt travel guide, from Egypt travel safety tips to what not to do in Egypt, packing tips for Egypt, and everything you need to know when travelling to Egypt, including what to do about tips in Egypt and how to deal with harassment.

Ready to get started? Let’s dive straight into these essential Egypt travel tips!

Practical Travel Tips For Egypt

Let’s get started with the absolute basics 🙂

1. Never (Ever) Drink The Water In Egypt!

travel tips for Egypt - don't drink the tap water

Of all the travel tips for Egypt, this is the top one – and you need to be very clear about it. Tap water in Egypt is unsafe for human consumption everywhere – on swanky cruise ships, in posh hotels or anywhere else.

No one drinks it, and it will likely make you as sick as a dog if you do – even if you only use it to brush your teeth in your hotel room.

Of course, you could rely on buying bottled water while visiting Egypt. But, I must tell you that the quality (and taste) of the bottled water brands available in Egypt is variable – while some are palatable, some are pretty horrid. And then there’s the environmental cost of plastic bottles!

Because of this, you’ll want to include a Water-To-Go Filterable Water Bottle on your packing list for Egypt (see below).

Our Pick
q? encoding=UTF8&ASIN=B07SNG43G8&Format= SL250 &ID=AsinImage&MarketPlace=GB&ServiceVersion=20070822&WS=1&tag=greyglobetr02 21&language=en GB

💦 FILTERABLE WATER BOTTLE

The Water-To-Go Bottle will keep you hydrated and filter out the nasties that often make people sick in Egypt.

The built-in, three-stage filter in Water-To-Go Bottles filters out 99.99999% of water-borne contaminants, including bacteria, parasites, toxins, chemicals, microplastics and heavy metals. It’s your best defence against getting sick in Egypt from the water. I carried mine everywhere 🙂

🤮 Need tips on what to do if you do get sick while visiting Egypt? Head to How to Deal With Delhi Belly

2. Get Travel Insurance for Egypt

travel tips for Egypt - travel insurance policy document
Protecting yourself with travel insurance is one of the most important (and often overlooked) travel tips for Egypt

Egypt is a fantastic country to visit, but it’s not a great place to be if something doesn’t go according to plan or you get sick! I don’t mean to scare you — just to make you think about these crucial things.

One of the most important travel tips for Egypt is to protect yourself from potential pitfalls on your vacation with travel insurance.

Just as you insure your car, home and health, you can also insure your luggage, belongings and health while travelling – and you absolutely should do this when travelling to Egypt!

🏆 Best Egypt Travel Insurance

What is the best travel insurance for Egypt? I only ever recommend Travel Insurance Master because they have outstanding customer service.

3. Check Your Passport

US passport over a map of Egypt

To visit Egypt, your passport must be valid for at least six months from when you arrive in Egypt. If you need to renew your passport before your trip, be sure to apply for a new passport in good time.

4. Pre-Book Your Tours in Egypt

UK Government travel tips for Egypt warn of a risk that “tourists at high-profile sites like the Giza Pyramids may be confronted aggressively for money or business, even while travelling by car or taxi.”

They also say that “visitors using a pre-booked guide or taking an organised tour to visit the Giza Pyramids are likely to face fewer difficulties.”

➡️ The best places to book your Nile cruise or tour of the great pyramids are Viator and GetYourGuide. Each tour carries a user rating, so it’s easy to see which ones other visitors have enjoyed the most – and you can read all the reviews before making your booking.

5. Sort Out Your Egyptian Visa Before You Travel

You need a visa to enter Egypt if you’re a citizen of the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, and many more countries.

How to get your visa for Egypt

  1. Apply before you travel using the official Visa2Egypt e-visa system. Your Egypt visa will be valid for a maximum of 3 months and will cost US$25 for a single entry to the country as a tourist.
  2. If you love standing in a queue after a long flight, you can get a visa on arrival in Egypt from one of the approved bank kiosks in the airport arrivals hall just before immigration. These visas cost US$25 (payable in US dollars) and are valid for 30 days.

⛔️ Do not buy a visa from an agent at the airport!! They will sting you with an additional fee of more than US$25 for your visa.

YOU DO NOT NEED TO PAY THIS.

If you feel harassed, it’s easy to report any agent’s behaviour to the tourist police officers at the airport.

Travel to Egypt requirements for visitors to South Sinai resorts

👀 If you’re visiting the Red Sea resorts of Dahab, Nuweiba, Sharm el Sheikh, or Taba for up to 15 days, you receive a free entry permission stamp when you arrive. However, you will need a visa if you plan to stay longer than 15 days or travel out of these areas.

👀 If you change your plans mid-trip and want to travel beyond one of the South Sinai resorts, you can usually buy a visa at Sharm el Sheikh airport, allowing you to travel beyond the Sinai Peninsula.

⚠️Leaving Egypt with an out-of-date visa is problematic, to say the least, and you’ll likely have to pay a fine if your visa is more than 14 days out of date.

➡️ Contact the Egyptian Consulate in your home country for further information and enquiries.

Safe Travel Tips For Egypt

6. Pre-book Your Transport From Cairo International Airport

One of the most important things to book before you arrive in Egypt is your airport transfer from Cairo Airport.

It’s the best way to avoid the masses of scammy taxi drivers badgering you for the chance to drive you to your hotel and the safest way to travel as a female traveller. 

7. Stay Safe Online & Protect Your Data With a VPN

use a VPN when travelling to protect your data
Always use a VPN when travelling to protect your data

Whenever you use an open network to access your information on the web, you’re sending out an invitation for others to steal your data – from any device you use to connect to the web. This includes passwords, debit card and credit card info, and many other things you need to keep private.

This is why you need a VPN!

👀 What is a VPN?

A VPN (Virtual Private Network) is essential in preventing cyber criminals from stealing your online and personal information. NordVPN is a trusted name in VPNs.

👀 How does a VPN work?

With a VPN, you create a secure (private) connection when you use a shared connection, for example, when you use a coffee shop WiFi. Without a VPN, you’re digitally connected to everyone else on the same shared network! And that’s risky!

⚠️ As you’ll likely need to use free, shared WiFi more when you’re travelling than at home, the risk of your information being accessed by criminals is higher – unless you use a trusted VPN.

I recommend purchasing NordVPN, one of the biggest and most-used VPNs, to keep your data safe while travelling.

▶︎ Get started now and protect your data with NordVPN – it’s easy to set up 🙂

8. Take Care On Microbuses

Egypt generally has a low crime rate; however, some visitors have been victims of crime – especially petty crimes. Be cautious if travelling alone to reduce the risk of unwanted attention or harassment.

✔️ Don’t be the last passenger left on a bus or microbus.

✔️ Be vigilant when travelling alone in taxis and microbuses, particularly at night.

✔️ Report any crimes to the tourist police immediately.

9. Don’t Swim in the Nile!

should you swim in the river nile

Can you swim in the Nile?” is one of the questions I’m most often asked about visiting Egypt! The simple answer is a resounding NO! The Nile River is contaminated with industrial, animal and human (!) waste. It’s also home to more than a few deadly snakes.

Read More: How Safe is Swimming in the Nile River?

10. Wear a Hat/Headscarf and Sunglasses

covered up in Egypt
Sporting a particularly fetching headscarf, courtesy of the local market!

Most Egyptian women cover their hair, so you’ll attract less attention if you wear a long, lightweight scarf that covers your hair and neck. I forgot to pack a scarf on my first visit to Egypt, but I found it easy and cheap to buy one from a local market.

😎 Top Tip: Sunglasses will help to disguise the colour of your eyes (not many Egyptians have blue or green eyes), and, like a mask, they can help you avoid eye contact.

11. Wear a Wedding Ring

wearing a wedding ring - one of the best travel tips for Egypt

Whether you’re married or not, wearing a simple gold band (or an inexpensive “fake wedding ring “) is a simple, inexpensive deterrent against unwanted male attention. I wore one on every trip to Egypt!

12. Respect Local Customs and Laws

I managed to get arrested in Siwa Oasis for swimming at the wrong time of day! It was a pretty scary time.

Cleopatra's Well Siwa Oasis
Swimming attire – Siwa style!

Fortunately, it was sorted out very quickly. Still, it was frightening at the time, and it made me realise how important it is to be aware of local customs and laws to stay safe.

Egyptians can’t share a room with someone of a different gender (other than a spouse), as sex outside marriage is illegal! Don’t be surprised if your host(s) conduct room checks in rural areas!

13. Look After Your Valuables

Leave valuable jewellery at home and be careful with your camera, phone and other valuables. I use an ancient Kipling cross-body bag and an anti-theft Pacsafe backpack with a zip closure and a clip to keep my valuables safe.

Top Tip: In crowded places, I wear my backpack on my front and my cross-body bag with the strap across my body. I also have an RFID travel belt to stash my cards, cash, passports, and important documents.

14. Be Careful with Your Cash

One way to keep your cash safe while travelling is to hide it in an RFID bra wallet! Remember you’ll need somewhere discreet, like a public loo or changing room, to extract your secret stash.

❌ Never put valuables in your pockets, even ones with a zip! It’s much too tempting (and easy) for pickpockets and thieves. You don’t want to attract that sort of attention!

15. Security Before and On Your Trip

Security has been a problem for tourists in Egypt; however, there is a robust and visible police presence. You’ll also see special “tourist police” hired to protect tourists. Bag checks and scans at tourist sites and hotels are also there to keep you safe, although these can be a bit haphazard.

Egypt is still a volatile country, with some areas unsafe to visit. Other sites are safe, and almost 320,000 British tourists visited the country in 2017, mostly without any problems.

Check the latest travel advice for Egypt here and purchase comprehensive travel and medical insurance before you travel. I always use Travel Insurance Master because their rates are competitive; you can extend coverage if you travel longer, and making claims online is easy.

Egypt Travel Fit Tips

16. Check Whether Your Medications Are Legal in Egypt

medications

Egypt’s rules about prescribed and over-the-counter medicines differ from those of many other countries.

Some widely used medications are considered controlled substances in Egypt and you can’t take them to Egypt without permission from Egypt’s Ministry of Health. You risk prosecution under Egyptian law if you arrive in Egypt without the necessary documentation.

⚠️ Travelling with prescription medications? Get an official letter from your physician confirming that the medicine is for a medical condition.

This should include details of your condition and how much medication you will be carrying. The letter should also state that the medicine is for personal use only.

➡️ Contact the Egyptian Embassy in your home country for more information and to find out which medicines are not permitted in Egypt.

17. Pack Plenty of Bug Spray

The mosquitoes in Egypt mean business and will soon make your life miserable if you’re not prepared for them!

I’ve always used Jungle Formula spray combined with this plug-in mosquito killer for my room. And if those nasty, itchy bites do happen, this inexpensive cream has been my go-to relief for decades!

18. Stock Up On Sun Protection Cream

Egypt is a hot country, where temperatures often soar well above 40°C (104°F) in the summer months. In addition to covering up and making sure to stay out of the sun, you’ll want lashings of high-SPF sun cream.

Cultural Travel Tips For Egypt

19. Pack Culturally Appropriate Clothes

Top tips for women traveling to Egypt

With my pale Northern European skin, blue eyes, and light coloured hair, I was a magnet for unwanted attention in Egypt.

From the irritating (constant offers of taxi rides, to change money or to buy things, and never-ending catcalls) to the offensive (blatant staring and leering, creepy handshakes, touching, and “accidental” brushing up against your breasts or bottom), there are lots of things to watch out for.

RELATED POST: Travel Packing List for Egypt

I remember looking at handmade rugs in a crowded souk, only to realise that the man behind me was rubbing his erection against my bum! Many people saw what he was doing, but no one did anything…

⚠️ You need to rethink your wardrobe for Egypt to avoid being harassed. Dressing modestly is important if you’re going anywhere outside the main tourist areas.

✔️ Leave tight, revealing, or form-fitting clothes at home. Forget the strappy tank tops and shorts for anywhere outside of the main tourist resorts

✔️ Think conservative, loose, and floating, with everything covered up from your neck to below your knees.

✔️ Covering up shows respect for the local culture and will help you avoid attracting unwanted attention.

❌ Don’t flash any bare flesh or “show off” the shape of your body.

While I found the unwanted attention annoying, I never felt unsafe, and most of the local people I met were delightful, welcoming, and kind.

20. Learn a Few Words in Arabic

Learn a few essential words in Arabic as a courtesy and to summon help.

✔️ Google Translate usually helps; however, I always feel safer when I have a few local words imprinted in my brain for emergencies.

21. Carry Small Bills For Tipping in the Local Currency

The custom of tipping or “baksheesh” is firmly embedded in Egyptian culture, and you should expect to tip a few Egyptian pounds in small change for most services.

While tipping is not mandatory in Egypt, it is customary as a way to thank an individual for great service. As a rough guide, here’s what to consider leaving when tipping in Egypt:

  • Restaurants: leave a 10-15% tip
  • Tour guides: Leave 10-15% of the tour price for the tour guide and 5-10% for the driver
  • Hotels: Leave 10-15 Egyptian pounds per day for housekeeping staff, 5-10 Egyptian pounds per bag for porters and bellhops, and 10-15% of the bill for room service.

Practical Egypt Travel Tips

22. Copy Important Documents Before You Travel

Before any trip, make copies of all essential travel documents.

✔️ Save a scanned copy of the documents online to access them while travelling if necessary. Just in case! Leave copies with trusted contacts at home and take one copy in your carry-on bag.

✔️ If your hotel has a safe space, consider using it for important documents.

✔️ Save a scanned copy of the documents online to access them while travelling if necessary. Just in case!

23. Make a Contacts List

What would you do if your phone got lost or stolen? I’d be pretty lost! Making a copy of your key contacts is an excellent way to protect yourself if your phone does get broken or goes AWOL.

✔️ Save all your complete contact list online, including the contact details for your Embassy.

✔️ Carry a paper copy of your contacts list in your hand luggage.

Hopefully, you’ll never need it, but being prepared is good.

24. Watch Out If You’re Offered Egyptian Bananas

Watch out if anyone offers you “Egyptian bananas”. While bananas are grown in Egypt, they may not be talking about the fruit but being suggestive!

25. Bring Earplugs (Egypt is Noisy)

Egypt is a fantastically vibrant Muslim country, which means it can be loud! You’ll likely hear muezzins calling the faithful to prayer from the minarets of multiple mosques – five times a day, from early morning until late.

Then there are the street vendors touting their wares, the incessant blaring of horns and general traffic noise! You get the idea, but if (like me) you like a good night’s sleep, you’ll need good noise-cancelling earbuds to cope with the cacophony of Egypt!

🎧 These noise-cancelling earbuds have thousands of positive reviews on Amazon and work perfectly! If you don’t have wireless headphones, travelling is the best time to treat yourself and upgrade.

26. Always Carry Toilet Paper

It’s a massive understatement to say that public conveniences in Egypt are not up to Western standards.

Restrooms/loos in museums, on coaches and on trains range from the tolerable to the downright grim, so be sure to have TP and wipes with you whenever you leave your hotel!

27. Camel and/or Donkey Rides

Animal welfare is not the same in Egypt as it is in most Western countries. You simply cannot be sure that any animals you’re offered a ride on are well-treated. In a horrifying number of cases, they are not.

Better and more ethical ways exist to get out and explore this amazing country. This incredible tour includes a hot air balloon ride and a felucca sailing boat adventure, while you could also have a magical ATV adventure into the desert on this tour.

28. Snake Charming

don't pay to see snake charmers in egypt

I don’t love snakes (I’m scared of them), but there is nothing charming about this barbaric practice. And it’s almost entirely driven by tourist interest.

Some (not all) snake charmers make their living by capturing wild cobras, ripping out their venomous fangs and then sewing their mouths closed. The snakes suffer horribly for months before dying of starvation – only to be replaced by newly caught victims.

Please don’t support this animal cruelty on your trip to Egypt. There are much better things to post on Instagram.

29. Don’t Take a Minibus Tour to Abu Simbel

abu simbel temple

Seriously, this was one of my worst travel mistakes in Egypt! Lured in by a cheap ticket, I handed over my cash. I spent over four miserable hours (each way) travelling through the baking desert from Aswan to Abu Simbel in a bone-shaker minibus without air conditioning.

While the Temple of Abu Simbel is one of the best tourist landmarks in Egypt, I was too dehydrated when I arrived to really appreciate it!

Here are the three best ways to visit Abu Simbel:

30. Egypt Swelters in the Summer – Other Times Are More Pleasant

To help you plan your dream trip to Egypt, here’s a quick look at what the weather is like for each season:

Spring (March – May)

Spring in Egypt is a delightful time for exploration as temperatures are moderate and pleasant. With warm days that average around 25-30°C (77-86°F), you can comfortably discover attractions like the Pyramids of Giza, and Luxor’s temples or cruise along the Nile without enduring extreme heat. Additionally, blooming flowers add splashes of colour to various regions across Egypt.

Summer (June – August)

Egypt’s summer brings scorching temperatures that might be challenging for some visitors but there will be fewer crowds and lower prices. Daytime temperatures soar above 35°C (95°F) in most parts of the country; however, coastal cities like Alexandria or Hurghada provide respite with slightly milder conditions due to sea breezes.

If you choose to visit Egypt during the summer, you’ll need to stock up on sun protection essentials such as hats and sunscreen.

Autumn (September – November)

Autumn is an ideal time to explore Egypt’s wonders, with more comfortable temperatures returning after summer’s blistering heat subsides.

Average daytime temperatures range between 25-30°C (77-86°F), making it an excellent season for sightseeing at popular destinations like Cairo or Aswan without feeling overwhelmed by crowds.

Winter (December – February)

Winter in Egypt provides ample warmth for outdoor activities. Daytime temperatures hover around 15-20°C (59-68°F) in most regions, making exploring sites like the Valley of the Kings or Abu Simbel pleasant.

Evenings can be cooler, especially in desert areas and Upper Egypt, so you’ll want to pack a light jacket or sweater.

31. Expect to Pay To Take Photographs at Key Tourist Destinations

Whether you’re visiting the Egyptian Museum, the Pyramids of Giza or the vast temple of Abu Simbel, be prepared to pay a small fee for the right to photograph at or on the site.

Camel drivers and others will likely also demand a fee if you want to take their photograph.

Best Food in Egypt Tips

32. Try The Incredible Street Food

Egyptian food is sublimely tasty. It’s well worth venturing out from your hotel to see what’s on offer from the local street stall street vendors and local restaurants. Kushari, baba ghanoush and hummus are all delicious!

In addition to the well-known sweet mint tea, why not sip some karkadeh (hibiscus juice)? It’s a very refreshing alternative!

33. Cover Up When Visiting Religious Sites

While some of Egypt’s ancient mosques allow tourist visits, it’s important to be respectful if you do visit.

When can I visit an Egyptian mosque?

Muslims pray five times a day, so it’s not appropriate to visit mosques during these times or to take photographs. 

How should I dress to visit a mosque in Egypt?

All visitors should remove their shoes before entering, and women should cover their hair with a scarf. A long-sleeved shirt is useful to cover up shoulders and arms, and you should wear a modest skirt or trousers.

What about visiting a Coptic monastery in Egypt?

The rules for entering an Egyptian Coptic monastery are similar in that you should dress conservatively and remove your shoes before entering. In addition, it’s not appropriate to visit during the period of Lent.

34. Always Pay in Local Currency When Making Digital Payments

Whether you’re using debit or credit cards to make payments when visiting Egypt, it’s important to make sure you always choose the option to pay in the local currency, not in your home currency.

Why?

If you choose to pay in the local currency, eg in Egyptian pounds, you will likely be stung with a worse currency exchange rate than your bank would charge you,

TRAVEL TIPS & RESOURCES

Here’s a quick look at all my favourite travel resources – the ones I use to plan every trip. Find more information on my travel resources page.

🏠 Need a place to stay? Browse Booking or VRBO
💃 How about fun experiences? Get Your Guide and Viator have it all
🚗 Considering renting a car? Use Rentalcars
🚂 If you need transfers, bus or train tickets, check Omio
🔒 Don’t forget about travel insurance from Travel Insurance Master

READ NEXT

Final Thoughts on Travel Tips for Egypt

Whether this is your first trip to Egypt or you’ve been before, these are my best travel in Egypt tips: I hope they help you when you visit Egypt.

Egypt is a remarkable destination offering travellers rich historical and cultural experiences. By following these travel tips, you can ensure a smooth and enjoyable trip to this fascinating country.

From planning your itinerary to respecting local customs and traditions, being aware of safety precautions, and embracing Egypt’s unique sights and sounds, you can make the most of your journey.

So pack your bags, immerse yourself in the wonders of ancient Egypt, explore bustling markets and tranquil oases, indulge in delicious cuisine, and create memories that will last a lifetime. Happy travels!

Pin this post for later!

essential egypt travel tips

Related Posts

Similar Posts