Travel Tips – Egypt

Passports/Visas

  • You will need a current passport with an expiration date valid for at least 6 months beyond your departure date from Egypt.
  • Keep a photocopy of the first two (2) pages of your passport in some safe place separate from your passport while on the trip.
  • Also, leave a copy of your passport at home where it can be reached by relatives or a friend.
  • A visa is required for Egypt; you will be able to obtain it once you reach Cairo Airport just before entering immigration.

Vaccinations/Health

Traveling to Egypt does not require any type of vaccinations or boosters by either the US Health Department or the Egyptian Government. The US Public Health Service recommends that all travelers have their adult immunizations up to date. These include tetanus/diphtheria. We recommend you discuss immunizations or any of your own health concerns with your physician.

The most current information about immunizations can be obtained by calling the
Centers for Disease Control toll free at 888- 232-3228 (888-CDC-FACTS) to listen to reports
or by calling 888-232-3299 (888-CDC-FAXX).

There are some doctors who specialize in preventive Travel Medicine. One such doctor is Brian G. Terry, MD at HEALTHY TRAVELER on 1250 Green Street, Pasadena, Suite 100, CA 91106, #626-584-1200 Web site: www.healthytraveler.com email: healthytvl@aol.com

Prescriptions

  • If you have prescription medicine, bring along an ample supply in the original containers with your physician’s name and directions on the bottle.
  • If you wear prescription glasses, bringing a spare pair may be a useful precaution.
  • Do remember to ask your physician about appropriate antibiotics for intestinal disorders.

International communication

  • Egypt is either nine or ten hours ahead of Pacific Standard Time depending on the time of the year. They implement Day Light Savings Time at different times of the year then we do in the USA. If anyone needs to contact you during your trip, the best connection will most likely be during the time we are at the hotels. Hotel phone and fax numbers are included in the itinerary.
  • Please leave a copy at home with a relative in case they need to get in touch with you. We have an emergency telephone number in Egypt with your tour guide at all times: #011-2-012-315-6080 —THIS IS ONLY TO BE USED IN CASE OF EMERGENCY.
  • It is less expensive to call Egypt from the US than to place a call from Egypt to the US and collect calls are usually not accepted.
  • Payment for telephone calls can be added to the room bills. This includes a service charge, which is often required for phone use. If you have a smart phone you can download one of the apps to call for free when you have internet. I personally use Viber or Kako.talk. I found both efficient and work on low signals.

Electricity

  • Standard voltage throughout Egypt is 220v. If you are bringing along any electrical appliances, please be aware that electrical outlets there only accept plugs with two round prongs. It will be advisable for you to buy adapters in the US prior to the trip.
  • Our guide throughout Egypt, Fadel Gad, has a wonderful radio communication system which we will be using throughout our trip. When you arrive you will be provided portable radios with an FM band that is compatible with most headphones. Please bring your own set of headphones to use throughout the tour. Bring them with you each day as they will be used throughout the tour, then the portable radio will returned on the last day.
  • Egypt has Mediterranean Weather. Here is a link to the weather in Cairo, Egypt. Please click the weather for Cairo and any other cities we may be visiting on this tour before you leave. It will help with the packing process.
    http://www.weather.com/weather/today/Cairo+Egypt+EGXX0004

What to Pack

  • Informal clothing will be adequate for the trip. PACK LIGHT! Clothes with blends of cotton and polyester wash easily and dry quickly and are comfortable. We encourage you to take only one suitcase and your carry-on. If you want an extra bag for your purchases, take a soft folding bag that can go inside your checked bag.
  • Laundry services are available in hotel and on the cruise where the price is comparable to the US. Clothes can be casual. However, tank tops and cut off shorts are not appropriate. Skirts and short sleeve blouses are acceptable. Ladies should also remember to bring a head scarf for Mosque visits. In Egypt we will be sharing meals with invited and honored guests. They understand that we are travelers and that we will not be able to dress up much. You may however want to bring a sports jacket or easy travel dress, in order to dress up at least for these dinners.

Money

  • Green U.S. dollars can be exchanged easily almost everywhere. You may wish to carry some portion of your spending money in this form. Don’t carry more in cash than you feel safe with, and if possible, carry small denominations ($1, $5 and $10 bills) since it will be useful in bargaining and tipping (“baksheesh”).
  • The Egyptian Pound is worth far less than the US Dollar. The exchange rate lately is approximately $1.00 for almost 6 Egyptian Pounds. The rate exchange is controlled by the Egyptian government, and therefore, is the same everywhere within the country.
  • There is no need to change money prior to the trip.
  • Traveler’s Checks are the safest way to carry money. They are easily cashed at banks and most hotels. Merchants will not accept personal checks.
  • Credit Cards such as Visa, MasterCard and American Express are accepted in many places (such as hotels and shops) in Egypt but expect the merchant to charge you a higher price (up to 4%) to cover his service charge from the card company. Also realize that there are few electronic terminals to make credit card purchases in an “instant.” The system is much slower than in the U.S., so please be patient with the merchant.
  • ATMs are more common now. However, it is not guaranteed that you will find them everywhere you go.
  • Shopping in Egypt is a wonderful experience. Expect bargaining. Don’t be afraid to make a low offer…you may be pleasantly surprised!

Food and Water

  • Water is provided with all the meals of the trip. Local red or white wine, beer, and other alcoholic beverages are available for you to purchase at most lunches and dinners, depending upon whether the establishment permits alcoholic beverages.
  • Water at many hotels is purified, however, we advise against drinking tap water in general. Bottled water will be provided daily during the tour. Drinking any beverages with ice is not recommended, unless we specify otherwise. Also, plan to brush your teeth with bottled water. To be on the safe side, stay away from raw or uncooked produce, except for fruits or vegetables which have been peeled or washed in purified water.
  • The mixture of Middle Eastern and continental cuisine will delight the palate, and you will have a chance to sample superb seafood to go along with marvelous traditional dishes of lamb, beef and chicken. The Middle East is famous for its generous hospitality. This extends outside of homes and into restaurant settings. Please do not expend unnecessary personal energy in being frustrated by the large amount of food that you will be served at every meal. This is a custom strongly engrained in the Egyptian and Middle Eastern cultures and virtually cannot be changed upon the request of tour groups. You can rest assured that left-over food is not wasted. It is given to the poor or collected for farm animals.

Hotel departure/Breakfast/Lunch

  • Please settle charges for such items as laundry, telephone and the like, with the hotel the night before departure.
  • PLEASE BE SURE YOU HAVE RETURNED YOUR ROOM KEY DAILY AND ESPECIALLY UPON DEPARTURE FROM A HOTEL. For security purposes, most hotels provide only one key per room. If you are sharing a room, please make sure to leave the key at the reception desk in coordination with your roommate.
  • Breakfasts are generally buffet style. We will stop for lunch each day at approximately 1:00 or 1:30. Lunch in Egypt is the main meal of the day and is often lengthy. We will TRY however to keep time spent in the restaurant midday to a minimum in order to have more time for sightseeing.
  • Smoking is not permitted during group activities. However, we will have a pit-stop if travel time in a bus is longer than 2 hours.

Airport check-in

  • Please check-in for your domestic connections at least 2 hours before your flight and arrive at the check-in desk at least 2 1/2 hours before departure for international. If you belong to a frequent flyer mileage club that is a partner with your carrier for this trip, please contact the airline and ask them to credit you for that mileage.
  • From your starting destination your luggage should be checked all the way through to your final destination.
  • During the tour, you will be notified when to have the bags outside your hotel room before departures. We strongly recommend that you personally verify that your own bags have been brought to the curb before boarding the bus.
  • On the trip we will generally depart each day between 8:00 and 9:00 a.m. Some domestic flights, however may require our departing extra early some mornings.
  • Departure time will be announced each evening before dinner. We almost always have dinner around 7:00 or 7:30.

US customs

You will clear immigration and customs at your first stop re-entering the US.

Desert Safari (if applicable)

  • Be advised this safari will take you into the heart of the desert far from civilization (300-400 miles). Therefore, medical emergency facilities are not available. There will be no doctors or medical professionals accompanying the tour group during the safari. Participating on this tour is at your own risk and responsibility. For example, the drive through the desert lasts from morning until dinner and is bumpy and upon occasion dusty. If you are sensitive to dust, we recommend you bring a dust mask.

Thinking of Others

Please remain aware that travel within a group situation invariably involves compromise to accommodate diverse desires, travel goals, personalities and physical abilities of group members. Remember that the tour leader may be required to improvise and exercise his or her good-faith discretion and/or make decisions based upon the consensus of the group which may not please each traveler, but will satisfy the larger desires of the group.

“Goodies” for Children

Prior tour participants have asked about bringing “goodies” to give to children along the way. Of course bringing such things is not required, but you are free to do so if you choose to. If time permits, we may visit a social service organization for children and they are always grateful for such things as:

  • Educational games
  • pens, pencils, erasers and notebooks
  • Crayons and coloring books
  • tennis shoes for ages 7-18 and outfits for playing sports
  • band-aids, toothbrushes and other toiletries
  • any material for arts and crafts

Pace

  • We will try to end our daytime activities at about 5:30 p.m. to rest before dinner.
  • We will try to maintain a comfortable and relaxed pace with some sense of freedom.
  • If you have back or neck problems or other health problems, please be aware of your own physical limitations and take care of yourself. If you have any reasons to be concerned, or you simply choose not to participate in this safari for any reason, you can still enjoy reading or resting at the hotel in the oasis.

Tips/Gratuities

All tips are included throughout the trip for waiters at meals, for the bus driver, etc. Naturally, if an additional courtesy or assistance is made to you, an additional tip is appropriate. And porters carrying your bags to the room at check-in usually do expect some extra baksheesh. $1- $2 is sufficient. At the end of the trip, an honorarium for the Egyptologist is customary. This might be done as a group or individually in a sealed envelope. A suggested amount is $5.00 per person per day.

General

  • We have the few “rules” outlined above so you never need to feel intimidated. Things will be relaxed. We have a small group of experienced travelers, and an experienced tour operator/guide, and we will do all that we can to see that you have a great trip. Feel free to approach us at anytime for any issues along the way. Egypt is a wonderful and magical place, and the destination alone is almost enough to guarantee a good journey. While not all parts of Egypt are like a Third World County, it is also not Western Europe. Occasional “glitches” may pop up as they often do in these parts of the world. With a little flexibility on your part, and some ingenuity on ours, these little “bumps in the road” will be quickly overcome.
  • As you can deduce, this is a very special, elite trip. We feel confident that you will come home from this journey full of much new knowledge and beautiful, distinctive and precious memories. Should you have further questions, please call us at Joy Travel International. #310 313 2588

Travel Checklist

Traveling in Egypt is easier with some pre-planning. Here is a list of things to remember before you go:

1. Mandatory

( ) Your passport – Make sure that your passport expiration date is valid 6 months before the date of departure

( ) Airline tickets

( ) Money

( ) Travel Alarm clock

2. Miscellaneous Medicines and Health aids

*We do not expect you to get sick, but recommend that you bring these “just in case” items:

( ) Stomach supplements (i.e. Acidophilus, Papaya Extract, Imodium, Pepto Bismol, etc.)

( ) Prescriptions and over the counter medicines (i.e. aspirin, an extra pair of eye glasses, cough syrup, etc.)

( ) Handy-wipes for washing your hands

( ) Band-aids and perhaps Tiger Balm or Arnica Cream for those sore walking muscles

( ) Ziploc bags (for hundreds of possible uses)

( ) Any sleeping aids like Melatonin you may use to help with jet lag

( ) Extra toilet paper, tissues or moist towelettes (Public toilets at some sites are not always well stocked.)

( ) Insect repellent (I suggest lemon eucalyptus—it can be found in travel stores.)

3. Clothing

( ) Sweater and light jacket

( ) Comfortable walking shoes are obviously a must.

( ) Long pants or skirts, and head scarf for women for inside the mosques

( ) Shorts and skirts, t-shirts for the day. Cotton is optimal for the dry desert heat.

( ) Hat and/or bandana for the sun, sunglasses and sunscreen!

( ) Bathing suit. You will be staying in the finest hotels, and they have swimming pools.

( ) At least one nice evening outfit

( ) Undergarments, socks, sleeping clothes

4. Day Pack

( ) Day pack, back pack or some kind of daily carrying bag to keep with you throughout the day for

munchies, water, journal, tape recorder, camera, film and room for small purchases at the temple sites.

( ) Small flashlight (optional)

5. Photography

( ) Plenty of film or memory cards

( ) A lead shield case (for those who are still using film) because the x-ray machines at airports are not well regulated.

You will want to develop your film at home.

( ) Carrying case to protect your camera from Egypt’s fine sand

6. Optional items

( ) Gifts for the children such as pens and pencils or other educational items.

( ) Snack food/protein bars, dried fruit and packets of lemonade or Gator-aid

( ) Electrical plug-in adapter (for video cameras, hair dryers, etc.)

( ) Plenty of film or extra memory card for digital

( ) Extra battery for your camera

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