Thinking of joining one of our upcoming Solo Travellers trips to Egypt? Or maybe you’ve already signed up… either way, here is some useful information to know before you go!
First things first, you will need to apply for a visa to enter Egypt. This is a quick and simple process that can be done online here. Please get in touch for the local information required for your application. The cost of the visa is around £19.00.
It’s a well known fact that tourists in Egypt sometimes end up with upset stomachs. We’ve recently returned and can reassuringly say, if you follow the basic rules of good hygiene, you won’t have any such problems. So what are the key things to do?
- Make sure your vaccinations are up to date by booking an appointment with your doctor or travel nurse a minimum of 8 weeks before departure.
- Don’t drink the tap water. Ever. Not even to brush your teeth. Always buy bottled water and make sure that the tops are sealed before you buy.
- Always stay hydrated and wear adequate sun protection. Egypt gets incredibly hot and during the day temperatures can reach 40 degrees. Always wear a hat, high factor sun cream, and keep drinking water to prevent sun and heat stroke.
- Whilst there is no risk of malaria in Egypt, mosquitos are still a nuisance. Take deet or other insect repellent with you to avoid bites.
- Always wash your hands with soap before meals. It’s a good idea to carry a small bottle of hand sanitiser with you for when you’re on the move.
- In the unfortunate event that you do suffer a stomach upset, make sure you have appropriate medication with you to counteract it – imodium and rehydration sachets will do the trick. The latter is also recommended for sunstroke sufferers.
Taking Medication into Egypt
If you are taking prescription medication into Egypt you will need an official letter from your doctor explaining details of your condition, how much medication you are taking in, and that the medication is for personal use only. If you don’t have the required documentation you will not be allowed to take your medication into the country, and in extreme circumstances may be prosecuted.
Money & Costs
You will be using Egyptian Pounds for the duration of the trip, although most places will also accept credit card. ATM’s are widely available in all the towns you will visit. We recommend a budget of £30 a day for dinners/lunches and drinks or snacks. Please also see below for recommended tipping amounts to budget for.
Paying Extra for Photos
There are a couple of places that you’ll visit on the trip that require you to pay extra to take photos. This includes The Egyptian Museum and The Valley of the Kings, whilst at Abu Simbel, photography is not allowed inside the temples at all.
Tipping is expected in this part of the world. From tour guides to toilet attendants, most people you come across in Egypt will expect a tip. Of course tipping is a personal thing, but if you feel you have received good service, here’s a rough idea of suggested tipping amounts (please also ask your guide if you are ever unsure about tipping):
Tour Guide USD5.00 per person per day
Drivers USD2.00 per person per day
Airport Reps USD2.00 per person per day
Cruise Workers USD5.00 per person per night
All transportation will be in private (very well) air-conditioned vehicles with professional drivers. There will be big buses for trips to the airport and minivans for all other excursions. Airport transfers will be included if you are travelling on the suggested group flights.
During the trip there will be 6 dinners and 4 lunches included, as well as all breakfasts. Most of the dinners will be buffet style meals, with a wide selection of dishes. Lunches, you’ll generally get to choose from a set menu. Breakfasts will again be buffet style with both western and local options.
An absolute highlight of this trip. The 3 days you’ll spend on the Nile will be the most tranquil and relaxing days you’ve spent in a long time. The boat comes fully equipped with a swimming pool with sun loungers, large seating area on the top deck for magnificent views of the Nile, a lounge bar, large restaurant area, and laundry services. The rooms themselves are lovely, with a large sliding window so that you can sit and watch the world go by as you cruise, air-conditioning, private bathroom with bath and shower, TV, and a mini-fridge to keep your drinks cold. WiFi is available to buy on board the boat, but can only be used in communal areas and is rather pricey at £7.00 for the day. It might be a good time for a digital detox!
There are a couple of early starts required for this trip. The most notable is to make the journey from Aswan to the incredible temples of Abu Simbel, which is 300km by road. For this, you will need to be up at around 3.30am for a 4.00am departure. Don’t worry – you can take your pillows and sleep on the bus. You will also be provided with a take-away breakfast for when you do properly wake up. Please don’t let this put you off – Abu Simbel is one of the absolute highlights of this trip, a truly magnificent monument to Rameses II and his wife, Nefertari. Don’t miss it!!
The sleeper train included in this trip is a real Egyptian experience. As with most sleeper trains in poorer parts of the world, the cabins are small and basic. They have two seats which fold away and turn into one of the beds, a small sink area, and a compartment overhead where you can store your luggage. The cabins do have the luxury of air-conditioning which is amazing, because it gets super hot outside! If you have paid the single supplement for the trip, you will have a cabin to yourself. If you are sharing a twin room, you will be bunking with your roomie. All cabins are fitted with door locks so you can lock yourselves in when you’re ready to get some shut eye. The train can be a little noisy, so if you’re a light sleeper, ear-plugs will definitely come in handy! You will be given air plane style meals for dinner and breakfast, so if that’s not your thing, it’s advisable to take your own food. All carriages have at least two western-style toilets with sinks and running water.
It’s worth remembering that Egypt is a predominantly muslim country, and whilst covering from head to toe isn’t customary, it is advised to dress modestly. Women should keep their shoulders, chest and knees covered, whilst men should keep their chests covered. This will help to avoid unwanted attention.
Do not take photos of military or police officials. If you are in any doubt about taking photographs, please ask your guide.
Best time to go
Egypt is best avoided during the very hot summer months of May through August. Even the shoulder months of April and September see temperatures over 40 degrees. The best time to visit is between November and March when temperatures are at their coolest (but still hot by UK standards!), so that you can enjoy the incredible sites without having to get up at 6am everyday to avoid the heat.
Get yourself booked onto our next Egypt Trip if you haven’t already, this trip sells out fast! Still need convincing? Check out our Egyptian Photo Diary from our last trip – guaranteed to have you reaching for your passport!