Planning a Trip to Egypt

By: Stuart Cheese

In my capacity as the UK Director of Operations for One World Tours Limited, I am often asked all kinds of travel questions. With that in mind I have put together some things that you might like to consider on a trip to Egypt.
1 Flights - obviously this will depend upon where you are coming in from, but Egypt is served by numerous airlines from all over the world and there are international airports in Cairo, Luxor, Hurghada, Sharm el Sheikh and to a lesser degree, Alexandria). North American clients have the choice to fly direct by Egypt Air or via a number of airports in Europe, such as London, Paris, Rome etc using a whole list of International Carriers such as BA, Air France, Air Canada, Alitalia etc.

2 Visas - For most major nationalities obtaining a visa to visit Egypt is very easy indeed and in the case of residents of the US, Canada, Australia, EU etc, you will actually be able to get your visa on arrival. You do not need any extra paperwork, photos etc. its just a two minute process at the airport and you are set.

3 Accommodation. Hotels in Egypt are generally of a slightly lower standard that western cities, but this having been said, the yare much cheaper and therefore even if you are working on a budget, you will still be able to get a comfortable hotel for the night and not break the bank. The hotels are available in 1,2,3,4 and 5 star categories but also include 5 star deluxe. These include hotels like the Four Seasons in Cairo, The Cataract Hotel in Aswan and the Old Winter Palace in Luxor. For those of you who cannot run to this sort of expense, then we suggest visiting the Old Winter Palace in Luxor, where you can take in afternoon tea as a guest but without out the shock to your wallet !

4 Tours / Getting around - Egypt is a bit of a minefield for getting around. If you do go independently, you will get lots of misleading / mis information, mainly aimed at getting you to take up the services of local guides. Theres nothing actually wrong with this system and almost all of the guides are fine, it just means that your trip is likely to come with a few more hassles and arguments then you may ultimately want. I would suggest booking your tours in advance. That way you will be met at the airport and from then on, each morning you'll be picked up from your hotel for your days touring and you will not be faced with what otherwise can be very daunting tasks such as buying entry tickets. Something that should in fact be very easy, but is not when you are alone and being told, the place is closed or that you need a special permit etc. Having a guide with you to tell the locals your are spoken for, is worth its weight in gold.

5 What to take - Finally, here are a few things you may or nay not have thought of. Electric. You'll need an adapter for electrical items / laptops, phone chargers etc as Egypt has European type 2 pin sockets and also runs similar currency. For currency, you can only take in 1,000 LE or Egyptian pounds, however, Australian Dollars, British Sterling, American and Canadian Dollars and travellers cheques are all gladly accepted and all major credits cards are of course taken and there are plenty of ATMs too, so you'll have no problems is obtaining cash to spend on all those souvenirs. Last of all - take pens. Pens are like currency to children. They loves them. So take a boxof 50 pens with you and give them out whenever you can. Do this subtly though as if you took a whole box out and tried to hand them out, you would have a good natured riot on your hands, this is just how popular pens are with Egyptian youngsters

Have great holiday or vacation in Egypt

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