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Useful travel information

You can find a lot of travel information about Egypt in tourist guide books. Here we give you an insider’s view and sometimes even personal advice based on our experience. You will also find some links to useful web pages.
Getting to Egypt
Egypt has international airports in big cities like Cairo and Alexandria, and also in most tourist destinations: Luxor, Aswan, Sharm El-Sheikh, Taba, Hurghada and Marsa Alam. The national carrier Egypt Air operates direct or connecting flights to most of these destinations, a large number of major international airlines fly to Cairo and possibly some other towns and many cheap airlines offer flights to Egyptian tourist destinations. If you need advice on where and how to search for a flight for your country of departure, please contact us. You can also enter Egypt on land by public bus or taxi from Israel (the Taba border crossing), the Gaza Strip (the Rafah border crossing) or from Libya (the Al Burdi crossing). From Jordan you can get a daily ferry from Aqaba to either Taba or Nuweiba, while from Sudan there is a weekly ferry from Wadi Haifa up Lake Nasser to Aswan.
Travel Documents and Visas
To enter Egypt as a tourist, most nationalities (check the rules as they apply to you at need a passport valid for at least 6 months and with at least one empty page to apply the visa sticker. A single-entry visa sticker can be obtained at the port of entry for most nationalities (e.g. EU, US, Canadian) at a cost of USD 15. At airports you can get the visa sticker at any bank counter before passport control. Of course, if you travel with us and your package includes meeting & assisting at ports, our representative waiting for you at the airport will have the visa sticker ready for you. Please note that if you plan to cross into Egypt by land in the Sinai (Taba or Rafah), you can only obtain there a one-week Sinai visa and it is thus recommended that you get the visa in your home country before travelling. The tourist visa obtained at the port of entry is valid for 30 days and can be extended at immigration offices, but different rules apply to different nationalities. In order to avoid any problems with Egyptian bureaucracy, it is best to obtain the visa from Egyptian consular services in your home country if you plan to stay for more than 30 days. If you arrive in Sharm El-Sheikh and do not plan to travel beyond the town limits, most nationalities do not need a visa just to stay in town (to get updated information please check individually with us when planning your trip).
Passengers entering Egypt can bring in, without paying customs duty, up to 200 cigarettes and one litre of alcohol (they rarely check tourist bags). For video cameras, personal computers and other electronic equipment there is a rule that they should be declare on a D form, although in practice nobody really checks this for tourists. However, if you have new expensive equipment and want to play it safe, you may opt to declare it. Our representative can assist you with this.
Duty-Free Shops
There are duty-free shops at most international airports in Egypt, usually after customs control. There are also duty-free shops in some of the main tourist towns (you can ask our representative for the locations). Tourists can buy merchandise worth up to USD 200 within 48 hours of their arrival at any port in Egypt. Prices in duty-free shops in Egypt mostly compare favourably with European airports, although the selection is not as great and, for example, you rarely find spirits in smaller plastic bottles which are the most useful for travelling. For more information, go to
Frequent travellers are already used to security measures regarding hand baggage on international flights and the same applies to Egypt. For domestic flights, the rules regarding liquids and cosmetics are usually less strict. It is also worth knowing that at some airports they use full air-conditioning (it can even be below 20 C) and some passengers may find it cold, especially if they have to wait for a longer period. So it may be handy to have something to cover yourself.
Egypt has a large number of hotels and hostels in different locations and of different categories. Egypt uses the star rating system to categorise its hotels, however as a traveller you should be aware that standards vary in any given category and compared to European/US destinations you almost have to deduct one star to get a similar star category. We usually do not recommend that travellers use accommodation with less than 3 stars. In addition to hotels, there are privately-run pensions and many apartment complexes or individual apartments tourists can rent. As soon as you tell us your preferences, we will try to find suitable accommodation.
It is no surprise that nobody pays much attention to weather reports in Egypt as the weather is fairly stable and predictable and mostly sunny all year round. In general, there are two main seasons – summer and winter. Summers are very hot and in Cairo and in the Delta also humid. Winters are pleasant and especially in Upper Egypt the difference between day and night temperatures can be very big. March and April is the time when a hot wind from the desert “khamseen” brings sands from the Sahara and sandstorms can be really unpleasant. There are a few rainy days and, on average, the sun shines about 8 hours a day all year round in most places.
Time difference
In most of the year Egypt uses Central European Time + 1 hour (GMT + 2 hours). So, when it is 06:00 in New York, 11:00 in London and 12:00 in Paris or Vienna, it is 13:00 in Cairo. However, they have a different schedule to change from summer to winter time so check the time difference with us if you are travelling around that period.
National Holidays

Although the tourism industry operates all year round without stopping, it may be good to know when there are national holidays as some government and other services (e.g. banks, post offices) are closed on those days. These are:

January 1 – New Year’s Day
April 25 – Liberation Day
May 1 – Labour Day
July 23 – Revolution Day
October 6 – Armed Forces Day
October 23 – Suez Day
December 23 – Victory Day

Islamic holidays follow the Islamic calendar which is based on the lunar cycle and is 11 days shorter than the usual year. The calendar has 12 months and the most important is the holy month of Ramadan, when Muslims fast and do not eat, drink or smoke between sunrise and sunset. It is common to wish a Happy Ramadan (Ramadan Kareem) to your Muslim friends when the month starts and Happy Eid (Eid Kareem) when the month ends. If you travel during this month it is expected that you respect the customs and tradition by not eating during the day or drinking alcohol in public around Muslims, by not showing affection openly even to your spouse or partner and by not wearing sleeveless shirts or short pants/skirts. All through the month of Ramadan you can expect that business activity will be slower. The end of Ramadan (Eid el-fitr) is usually celebrated in a three-day holiday. The same applies to Bairam (Eid el-adhi) when a sheep is killed in memory of Abraham and best wishes such as Happy Eid are again common. Other holidays based on the Islamic calendar are: Moulid el-nabi (the Prophet Mohammed’s birthday), local celebrations of saints – Moulids, Ras-as sana (Islamic New Year). You can check the dates of these holidays here.

The most important Coptic holidays are Coptic Christmas (7 January) and Sham el-nasseem (Spring Day).

The official language in Egypt is Arabic and Egyptians use its colloquial form. In tourist places you can communicate in many international languages such as English, French, German, Italian, Spanish and Russian. Egyptians seem to learn languages quickly, however you cannot expect that most taxi drivers in Cairo speak English. Therefore, it is useful to learn some Egyptian words. If you need any help with communication in Arabic, you can always ask our representative.
Useful Egyptian Words and Phrases

Habibi (my dear) is probably the most popular Arabic word, both men and women use it as a term of endearment among friends and you will find it in many songs.

Inshallah (God willing) is often used almost at the end of any sentence referring to the future.

Al-hamdulilah (Thanks to God) is another word that you will hear frequently

Hello: salaam ‘alaykum or just salaam
Goodbye: masalama or just salaam
Hello/Welcome: ahlan wa sahlan
Thank you: shukran
Not at all/you’re welcome: afwan
No: la-a
Yes: aywa
OK: maashi
No problem: mish mushkila
No problems: mefish mashak
Not possible: mish mumkin
Is everything OK?: kullu tammam?
All OK: tammam
Excellent: maye maye or ashera ashera (ashera is 10, maye is 100)
Let’s go!: Yalla or Yallabina

How much does it cost?: Bee-kam?
May I look at it?: Mumkin ashuf?
For aggressive sellers:
No, thank you: la-a shukran
I don’t need it: shukran, mish awz for a man saying it and shukran, mish awza for a woman saying it
Go away: imshi!
Stop it: khalas

What is your name?: ismak eh? (for a man) or ismik eh? (for a woman)
My name is ...: Ismee ...

How are you?: Izayyak? (for a man) or Izayyik? (for a woman)
Fine: kwayiss (for a man) or kwayissa (for a woman), Egyptian reply “kwayiss al-hamdulilah”


If you want to learn Egyptian Arabic, you can look at some of these web pages:
Arabic Alphabet:

The official currency is the Egyptian pound (EGP or, as it is used when stating prices, LE); »giné« in the Egyptian language. The Egyptian pound consists of 100 piasters (PT), called »irsh« in Egyptian. There are banknotes ( for 25 and 50 piasters, and for 1, 5, 10, 20, 50, 100 and 200 pounds. Because the banknotes are similar in size you have to be careful to distinguish between 50 piasters and 50 pounds. Two years ago they introduced coins for piasters and one pound (the one with Tutankhamen’s image). The one pound coin looks similar to one euro coin so be careful when you get small change if you expect to get one euro coins. The exchange rate is changing so the current rates for your currency can be checked at or look at the website of the Egyptian Central Bank or a local Egyptian bank
If you plan to use foreign currency in shops it is better to have USD because they usually apply an unfavourable exchange rate for euros.
Banks are normally open Monday to Thursday and on Saturday from 8:30 to 13:00, sometimes also on Sundays from 10:00 to 12:00. Friday is the day off. You can change money at airport bank counters, in some hotels and in banks or exchange offices. The exchange rates are more or less the same, usually the best in banks, and unless you plan to exchange big sums of foreign currency it really does not matter which place you choose. In many places you can pay with US dollars or euros (hotels, boats, shops). However, it is always good to have some small Egyptian notes for small things, the use of toilets and for baksheesh. The number of places that accept credit cards (mostly Visa and Mastercard) is increasing, but it is worth knowing that Egypt is still a land of cash and you have to pay in cash for many things (including most excursions). ATMs can be found in many public places and most international cards are accepted. The electronic services of banks in Egypt are not always reliable, that is why we recommend that you use the machines owned by the National Bank of Egypt, Bank Misr or the Bank of Alexandria.
»Baksheesh« and Tipping
Baksheesh is something that is expected from tourists for any kind of small services, or by children even without doing anything for you, or by street beggars. Foreigners are believed to be rich and are a regular target to get something from, if not money then a pen or sweets or anything else will do. Many times foreigners feel overwhelmed by all these demands for baksheesh. Use your own judgement when it feels right for you to give baksheesh and keep small notes or Egyptian pound coins with you. Tipping is part of the culture and you can have a better experience travelling if you get used to giving small amounts of money (50 piasters or 1 pound) to those people who help you with luggage or to find a place. It is also customary to leave tips for guides.
Personal Safety
Egypt has a good safety record when it comes to theft and other criminal acts aimed at tourists. However, precaution is always recommended concerning the way you keep your money and documents. We recommend you make a copy of your passport and other travel documents and keep it at a separate place (keeping it in an electronic version accessible through the Internet is the best option as it can be accessed almost immediately if you need it, you can also mail it to us and we will store it for you). In most hotels there are safe boxes for valuables, either in the room or at reception (in this case ask for a receipt).
Any loss of documents or theft should be reported to the tourist police (you can ask our representative for assistance), which operate 24 hours in most tourist places.
Walking around after dark is usually not a risk, but general precautionary measures should be taken.
Travelling with children
Egyptians love children and they are welcomed everywhere. There are no special hazards other than the obvious unfriendly weather elements (heatstroke, dehydration), poisonous fish and corals in the Red Sea and dangerous traffic. All of these can be minimised by taking the right precautionary measures.
For women travellers
For women travellers, Egypt is mostly a safe place. But if you are travelling alone you can expect a lot of more or less harmless harassment from Egyptian men. The golden rule is that the amount of harassment is proportionate to the amount of naked skin exposed. So it is recommended to dress modestly and avoid eye contact as the latter could be understood as encouragement. Usually, men will understand a simple no (»la-a«), but if somebody is too persistent try using »imshi« (go away).
For disabled travellers
For disabled travellers Egypt may at first glance look like a difficult place with all kinds of obstacles to moving around if you travel independently. However, we can offer specialised vehicles and trained personnel who can help you enjoy your holiday in Egypt. Some five-star hotels and Nile cruise boats have rooms specially equipped for disabled travellers.
Emergency numbers

Police: 122
Tourism Police: 126
Medical: 123
Fire-fighters: 125

The only problem with the emergency number is that it is unlikely that you will find someone who speaks English there. The best chance in this regard is to try the tourist police. However, you can always count that many people on the street or around will be willing to help in the case of emergency. You can ask them with these Arabic phrases: It’s an emergency!: Fee tawari! Help: Ilha-ni! Call the police: Itassal bi bulees! Call a doctor: Itassal bi duktoor!

Information about consular services for your country in Egypt can be found at
If you need any kind of help, you can always ask our representative.

Traffic Safety
It is well known that Egypt has a poor record when it comes to traffic safety and the combination of poor road conditions, reckless driving and old vehicles causes many accidents. We select our drivers carefully and they all have clear directions to follow traffic rules and observe speed limits. Whenever possible we prefer to use vehicles with a mechanically set maximum speed limit. Despite all of this, it could still happen that some drivers speed and we urge you to ask them to slow down whenever you encounter excess speed. If you are travelling with a small child, let us know and we will arrange a child seat or baby booster cushion for your child in our vehicles.
You have to be very careful how you cross the street, especially in Cairo and other big towns. On a busy street it is best to wait and join some local people to cross because they know when it is safe to do it or how to slow the traffic down if needed. Traffic lights and pedestrian crossings are not observed so do not expect cars to stop in the way you are used to in your home country.
Public Transport
Most of the time you will probably use our transport, but if you decide to go around on your own there is some useful information you need to know. Inside towns or to cover short distances between towns, a taxi is an affordable way of travelling for foreign tourists. Just make sure that you make a deal regarding the fare before you enter the car because there are no taximeters. Taxis are usually old Peugeots or Fiats without air-conditioning (just open the windows) and not always clean. In Cairo there are yellow cabs and now also new white taxis that use taximeters. They are a little more expensive but have air-conditioning and the cars are newer.
Public microbuses are cheap and can get you from one place to another if you find the right stop (they usually do not have a fixed schedule and they move when the car is full) or you learn the signing inside towns. However, driving can sometimes be quite dangerous as earnings mostly depend on how fast they go from one place to another.
Public buses are only found in big cities and are usually very crowded. For foreigners not speaking the language it is not easy to find the right routes. Travelling between towns on a public bus can be an adventure; while they are generally quite comfortable they are almost never on time. If you want to cover a long distance, a night bus might be a better choice. There are also public tourist buses, for example from Cairo to Hurghada or Sharm El-Sheikh, and from Luxor to Hurghada. These are better quality and usually respect the schedule.
Train is a good way to cover the long distances between the north and south and there are several comfortable trains (first class or sleeper trains) tourists frequently use. For short distances trains are less reliable, they only have 2nd and 3rd class cars and no air-conditioning, they are crowded and tourists try to avoid them.
Domestic flights are mostly operated by Egypt Air (link) and sometimes one can get a good bargain by buying tickets far in advance.
Between Sharm El-Sheikh and Hurghada there is a ferry boat service, but it is cancelled frequently due to weather conditions (wind) and despite the claimed 2 hour journey you can expect more of a 3 to 5 hour journey.
Electricity is 220 V, with standard European plugs with two round sticks. If you come from other countries, bring converters with you
Most international mobile phone operators have contracts with Egyptian providers, but the price of calls can be relatively high (please check with your home provider). If you plan to call a lot internationally, it is worth buying a SIM card from an Egyptian provider (Mobinil, Vodafone, Etisalat) costing around EUR 5 and then you can charge it with pre-paid cards.
You can use the telephone in your hotel room, but the price is usually very high. It is also possible to call landlines from post offices, but there you can expect long lines and not always the best quality connection. The country code for Egypt is + 20.
The Internet and Computers
In most towns there are many Internet cafes and some free wi-fi places in the most touristic places. Using Internet in Internet cafes is usually cheap and costs less than 5 LE per hour. However, the connection may not always be fast and you should know that in most of such places smoking is allowed so often the air inside is really bad. In most of these places you can also download your photos or print any document you may need.
There are Internet spots in most hotels, but there the prices of using the Internet there can be quite high.
Postal services in Egypt are fairly reliable as concerns outgoing mail so you can expect your postcards to arrive at the designated destination. When buying postcards you have to be aware that shops try to make profit from stamps and they usually sell a 1 or 2 pound postcard together with a stamp for up to 7 pounds, while the stamp for international airmail is 2.50 LE. So if you plan to write a lot of postcards, it is worth going to the post office and getting stamps (you can ask our representative to help you with this). You will not find a lot of drop-off mail boxes, but you can leave your mail for posting at your hotel or give it to our representative and he/she will mail it for you. Most post offices are opened Saturdays to Thursdays, 8.30 to 15.00.
Egypt is a paradise for photographers and the light is magical. Usually it is very bright and therefore if you are using films low-sensitivity films are recommended, such as 100 ISO or 64 ISO. Bring enough films (you can buy them here but never know the quality), memory cards (you can also download pictures to a CD or any other device at many places) and batteries (again you might buy old ones) with you.
Taking photos or filming is prohibited at some places (bridges, dams, airports, railway stations, government buildings, military places, check-points etc.). Do not take any pictures of police or military personnel. If you are not sure if you are allowed to take a picture, it is better to ask than risk the loss of your film or camera.
In museums it is usually allowed to take photos (except in the National Museum in Cairo), but usually a small fee is charged for the camera and you are not allowed to use a flash.
Before you take pictures of people, ask them for their permission. For some people (especially women) it may be offensive and they may not want foreigners to look at their picture. Sometimes people will encourage you to take a photo and then ask for baksheesh so you have to be prepared to give them some small change.
There are several recommendations regarding clothing:
Egypt is an Islamic country and especially Upper Egypt (e.g. Luxor and Aswan) is very traditional and it is respectful to the local population that tourists observe their tradition. Despite the masses of tourists, some locals still find men in shorts funny and women with sleeveless tops, uncovered knees and wide-open tops indecent.
Because of the strong sun (mostly all year round) it is recommended that when sightseeing tourists wear long sleeves, wide, loose-fitting clothes from natural materials (e.g. cotton) and in bright colours. In the evenings the temperature drops and it is always good to have a sweater or shawl to cover yourself.
Because temperatures change depending on the strength of the sun, it is recommended that you dress in layers so you can adjust and feel comfortable at all times during the day.
Bring comfortable shoes. There is a lot of sand and dirt on many streets, especially in big towns, so maybe you would prefer closed shoes instead of sandals. When visiting archaeological sites you will sometimes have to walk on slippery, uneven stones so bring something with sturdy soles.
Sun protection, such as hats, sunglasses and sun-protection cream are a must because the Egyptian sun is very strong all year round.
For dinners at a five-star hotel and on boats it is expected that you do not wear sports clothing.
Sports Equipment
It is easy to rent sports equipment for snorkelling, diving and surfing in almost any tourist place along the Red Sea coast and prices are usually reasonable. Golf and tennis equipment is also readily available at facilities offering such services. However, if you need any special or high quality equipment it is better that you bring it with you.
Food and Drinks
There is a great variety of food and drinks in Egypt and you can enjoy a lot of seasonal locally grown vegetables and fruit with a rich taste. In most hotels and restaurants you can find both international and local dishes. But, if you want to try some real Egyptian flavours you should visit a typical Egyptian restaurant (our representative can help you select a good one).
When it comes to meat, Egyptians like it grilled and you can find »kofta« (seasoned minced meat on sticks), »kebab« (pieces of meat on a skewer) and grilled chicken (usually half a chicken flattened) in most restaurants. On the street you can try »shawarma«, rolled grilled meat served in bread rolls with vegetables and different kinds of sauces. A pigeon stuffed with rice is considered a real delicacy. The usual side dish is rice or mahsi – vegetables (e.g. eggplant, zucchini, and green pepper) and wine leaves stuffed with rice. Besides mixed salad (tomatoes, cucumbers, parsley), you will find dips like tahina (from sesame paste), humus (from chick peas), babaganug (from eggplants) and tomeya (from garlic). There are special street shops where you can get a traditional dish »kosheri«, a mix of macaroni, rice, lentils, chick peas, and fried onion. Of course, at the seaside you can get excellent fresh fish, shrimp and other seafood dishes. A typical Egyptian breakfast consists of »fuul« (baked beans) and »tameya« (falafel – fried balls of minced fava beans and spices). If you have more of a sweet tooth, you can try pancakes with different toppings. Of course, many would say that the best food of all is Egyptian sweets such as baklava, basboussa, kunafa or umm ali.
The typical drink is “shai” (black tea) that can be served either with fresh mint leaves (shai bi nanna) or with milk (shai bi laban). Also very refreshing is “karkade” (hibiscus drink) which can be either hot or cold. “Ahwa” (coffee) is strong and aromatic and served in small cups and you are usually asked how sweet you want it. Nescafe is also available at most places and many modern cafes serve “espresso”. There is a whole range of international and domestic soft drinks and natural juices. Especially good are freshly squeezed juices and juice cocktails (there are special shops in most towns and you can get them at most restaurants). You can also try juice from sugar cane (asir asab).
Regarding alcohol, local beer is a good choice (Stella, Sakkara, or Luxor). Local wine is a little more expensive and in general tourists agree that red wine (brands Omar Khayyam, Jardin du Nil and Chateau des Reves) is better than white one (Obelisk). Local sparkling wine is called Aida, and local spirits are usually extremely strong and do not taste so good. Of course, many tourist places have a good selection of (expensive) international alcoholic beverages.
The water in Egypt is in most places safe to drink for locals, but for tourists it is recommended to drink bottled water which is available almost everywhere. The best brands are Nestle, Safy and Siwa. When buying water be sure that it has the originally seal and the top is wrapped in plastic because on the street they often try to sell refills to tourists.
Egypt is an easy country for vegetarians as many Egyptians eat vegetables most of the time because meat and fish are regarded as luxury items, so you can find vegetarian dishes on most menus and also in buffet-style meals. However, people are not so aware of the concept of vegetarianism in Egypt and you may have a difficult time explaining to them what it means.
Smoking & Tobacco
A lot of Egyptian men (and an increasing number of women) smoke cigarettes and many are heavy smokers. There is an array of international and local brands of cigarettes available usually at a much lower cost than in the West, but generally the same brands may taste different, mostly stronger. There are still only a few non-smoking rules applied in Egypt, however international airports and many restaurants in tourist towns do not allow smoking in closed areas or have a separate non-smoking area. In most local places there are no restrictions on smoking and if you are easily bothered by smoke we suggest you pick an outdoor sitting area.
The sheesha (waterpipe) is famous in Egyptian café tradition and people can sit there for hours enjoying shai and sheesha and talking about business or general things. Sheesha is, of course, also very popular among tourists and you can find sheesha corners in most hotels and resorts, as well as restaurants, bars and especially coffee shops. A special kind of tobacco mixed with molasses comes in many flavours, from the favourite apple to many other fruits, mint, caramel ... Usually disposable mouth pieces are provided and the sheesha gets shared among friends.
Nightlife and entertainment
In Cairo and most other big cities as well as in tourist towns like Sharm El-Sheikh or Hurghada, there is an abundance of bars, restaurants, night clubs, disco clubs and casinos. You can ask our representative to suggest some of the best and most popular places in a particular area.
Culture and etiquette
Egypt is a traditional Muslim country and culturally very diverse. Traditions depend upon region and class. The high and middle classes have adopted a lot of Western lifestyle elements such as more liberal clothing, celebrating birthdays, mixed gender parties and dating. As a rule, Upper Egypt and some oases are the most traditional regions. While in Cairo you may find all kinds of dressing styles, as you move more to the south or in rural areas the traditional robe “gallabeya” prevails for both men and women.
When visiting a mosque it is expected to wear long pants or skirts and covered shoulders. If you do not, they will hand you a loose cover before you enter. Also, you have to take off your shoes (it is best that you carry them with you in your hands). Everywhere it is common to see men walking around holding hands – it is just a sign of friendship.
Men may not look into the eyes of a woman when introduced as a sign of respect.
With greetings it is common to always ask “how are you” and asking about health and the family is always welcomed.
The handshake is usually soft and brief among strangers, with people they know Egyptians normally exchange kisses and hugs.
Affectionate gestures or kissing in public are considered inappropriate and, except for married couples, you usually see men and women (boys and girls) walking in separate groups.
It is important to know the two different functions of hands as the left hand is used for “unclean” functions, so it is considered unhygienic to eat with your left hand. You should use your right hand when passing things to people.
It is impolite to show the bottoms of your feet or soles of your shoe to another person, so be careful how you seat or cross your legs when you are among locals.
Time is a relative term in Egypt and even in tourism it may be used in a relaxed way. This does not mean that our representatives will not meet you on time, but when time is out of our hands you may experience some delays.
People in Egypt like to talk to tourists and you will be asked many times where you are from, what your name is etc. For many, this may be the start of some business, for some it is just a polite gesture.
Egyptians have a good sense of humour and you will find them joking and laughing a lot.
Many prefer not to talk about politics or other sensitive issues.

There are no specific health risks in Egypt other than the normal ones associated with any travel to a new place.

Many visitors to Egypt experience digestive problems, also called a “pharaonic curse”. Mostly they blame the quality of food, however more often there are other reasons than food itself:
Dehydration: because of heat and the dry air it is recommended you drink at least 3 litres of fluid a day; it is important to drink even when you are not thirsty because thirst is already a sign of dehydration. Also, avoid drinking alcohol during the day.
Cold drinks and cold air-conditioned places: in hot weather it is a big shock for the body if we drink very cold drinks (usually what we get in restaurants) or if we move from the heat directly into a very cold room. We do not recommend drinking ice-cold beverages or setting the air-conditioning in your room to below 25 C.
Mixing of food: especially with buffet-type meals, many people tend to mix all kinds of food together and this may cause your stomach to protest no matter where you come from. We recommend that you are modest especially at the beginning and choose mostly food that you are used to eating in your normal diet – in this way your body will have a better chance of adapting to the new environment.
Hygiene: this could be a problem so it is really important to wash your hands and choose the places you eat at carefully. Street food is usually safe because it is freshly prepared; better grounds for bacteria are food that stays for a long time in serving pots so with buffet meals it is better to go for food early when everything is still fresh.

When it comes to food, avoid mayonnaise, creams and creamy salads, while the more sensitive should also avoid fresh fruits and vegetables that you cannot peel.
Light diarrhoea usually passes quickly if you rest, eat light food and drink lemon juice and water. In more severe cases you can try local medicine (Antinal or Drotazide) which is usually more effective than one you might bring with you.

Medical Services and Hospitals
Egypt has an extensive network of both private and public medical services and hospitals. Tourists in need of medical assistance due to health-related problems or injuries are usually taken to international hospitals which are found in most tourist towns or you can choose a private hospital (links:;; whose services are of a high standard and comparable to Europe or the USA (you can ask our representative for advice in choosing one in the area you need it). Private hospitals usually ask for payment on the spot. Although the prices for services are generally lower than in Europe or the USA, for more demanding procedures they may be quite high.
Health Insurance
We strongly recommend that you arrange international health insurance (covering medical expenses and transport in case you need them). Private medical facilities in Egypt, which are recommended over public ones, usually require payment on the spot and you can ask for reimbursement later.
There is a lot of dust everywhere in Egypt which certainly does not help make the place look clean. Also, locals are used to disposing of garbage anywhere on the street and dustbins are hard to find. In any case, it is important that you wash and clean your hands often during the time you spend outside.
We recommend you have with you refreshing towels or disinfection spray to maintain hand hygiene as this is most important for preventing infections.
Public Toilets
Public toilets are usually filthy and even those designated for tourists may be in poor condition. Sometimes there is no toilet paper, so have some with you. It is expected that you leave some a small amount of money (25 or 50 piasters) for the cleaning personnel.
In general, we recommend that you use them only if there is no other option. Usually any hotel or restaurant will let you use the toilet for free even if you are not staying there.
Insects and bugs
Populated areas are mostly near sources of water so mosquitoes are a normal occurrence, especially at sunset. If you easily attract them we recommend the use of repellents when you go out around sunset or after dark, along with plug-in vaporizer devices.
Flies also present a real nuisance and here even repellents usually do not help much so patience seems to be the only way to deal with them.
Among other bugs, ants and cockroaches are also common, but they are mostly successfully kept away from tourist facilities. Hotels and resorts regularly spray against insects and bugs so we hope that you will not encounter many.
Medicine and Cosmetics
There is a pharmacy shop on almost every corner in Egypt and there you can find most of the usual medical and cosmetics products. However, if you are used to certain brands it is better to bring them with you.
Egypt has many shopping opportunities and if you enjoy bargaining you can really find some real treasures at a good price. Some of the most common shopping items are:
gold, silver, carpets, spices, perfumes, karkade (dry hibiscus flowers), papyrus, artefacts from basalt of alabaster, clay or wooden items, mother of pearl products, water pipes (shisha) and tobacco, jewellery from semi-precious stones, leather and textiles (traditional wear, cotton products or high fashion from some modern stores).
Many like Egyptian music, but you have to be careful if buying pirate copies on the street because you will rarely get a good quality CD. Some of the more famous artists are: Mohamed Mounir, Amr Diab, El Hakim, Nancy, Ruby, and Elissa.
Egypt is a place where piracy is blooming and you can get a fake Rolex (for about EUR 10) and other types of watches, designer sunglasses, expensive perfumes and brand name textiles and accessories. Sometimes you will notice that it is Adidos and Aqua id Gio or similar alterations.
Some shops have fixed prices, but mostly you will have to bargain.
When buying at a market, you have to get used to some more or less aggressive behaviour from vendors seeking to make you buy from them. Almost everybody will want to know your name and where are you from and through this start of conversation they hope to get you to come to their shop.
The main part of shopping is bargaining and sellers really enjoy it and they are in no hurry to do a deal. Many like talking to tourists and may offer you tea and try to develop some kind of relationship. There is of course no rule as to what is a good price and how much below what is initially declared you may get at the end. Sellers are usually very skilled and they assess your potential and then start with a price – so the best advice for a good start is not to look too wealthy when you go shopping (e.g. hide your expensive sunglasses or jewellery). Then it is up to your bargaining skills. It is worth first looking around and getting a sense of what the prices are. Then just decide how much you are willing to pay for something and do not go above this number. If initially you do not get what you want, it usually helps to walk away and most of the time you will be called back and the price will be lowered. If you do not get something for the price you want, just go to another shop.
Scams are also part of Egyptian folklore and, of course, for a very good price you can get things from street vendors such as fake papyrus (in reality prints on dried banana leaves), artificial leather, plastic as alabaster, black painted plastic as basalt, plastic as mother of pearl etc. Also, you can get mixed coloured pepper which is just painted white pepper (not real green and red pepper), aromatic oil essences mixed with water etc.
In Upper Egypt they also employ a trick by advertising that things are ‘one pound’, only to later tell you that it is one Nubian pound (a currency that does not exist) and they may ask anything from 1 to 100 euros for it.
With the new 1 pound coins looking similar to a 1 euro coin, some use it to ask tourists to change euro coins for them because they say the bank only takes banknotes and then they slip pounds in instead of euro coins when the exchange happens.
For women travellers, it is also worth mentioning the “love scams” as some men see female tourists as a great opportunity for a better life, to get some money, free sex or a visa to get out of Egypt. So beware of a man telling you how much he loves you or calling you “habibty” soon after you meet.