Egypt is an enchanting country full of archaeological wonders, sites of important human history, and bustling metropolises. That being said, it can also be a confusing and overwhelming country at times, which is why it’s great to come prepared.
Like any new country you travel to, it’s important to have a basic understanding of the countries cultures and norms and what is expected of visitors. Religious or cultural differences, body language and gestures, and even ways of eating and using the washroom can differ greatly from place to place.
To help keep your vacation stress free and permit you to enjoy the magical, bustling country that is Egypt, we offer these five useful tips and pieces of knowledge you can use when traveling to Egypt.
1. Bring your haggling skills
Egyptian souks and markets are a true sight to behold and a definite “must visit” when you’re in country. That being said, you’ll want to bring your A-game when it comes to haggling if you want to enjoy your time in Egypt.
Everything is negotiable in Egypt and haggling is expected, so don’t worry about offending anyone. You won’t only encounter this at the markets, but will also see it at the corner store, in non-metered taxis, and while shopping for souvenirs.
2. Respect the local dress code
Even if you’re a tourist, it is a sign of respect to the country you are visiting to honor and respect their dress codes and culture. It’s important to research the country’s norms before landing on their soil, since sometimes our casual wear can come across as downright disrespectful in other, more conservative countries.
In Egypt, women are asked to keep their knees and shoulders covered, to have a scarf on hand to cover their hair when visiting religious sites, and to always remove your shoes before entering a mosque.
Don’t worry! Bikinis and Western swimwear are perfectly acceptable at resorts along places like the Red Sea.
For men, shorts are permitted in the city but you’ll want to have a pair of longer pants on hand for visiting someone’s home or when you’re invited to an event.
Sleeveless shirts, gym wear and tank tops are not acceptable.
3. Eat with the locals
This advice applies to any country, but Egypt is such a foodie’s wonderland that you will definitely want to abide by this rule there: eat where the locals eat.
Only eat at street stalls and restaurants that are full of locals. One or two tourists is fine, but if you spot a chain restaurant you have at home, avoid it at all costs! You’re here to immerse yourself in a new country, and food is a huge part of that experience.
4. Bring toilet paper
You may be laughing to read this now, but you won’t be when you’re in a public washroom with no toilet paper in sight!
You will be hard pressed to find toilet paper in most bathrooms in Egypt. Many will have a built in bidet spray nozzle, but that will leave you with a wet behind. So when you’re heading out to explore, stop in a local shop and pick up a roll.
Don’t worry about toilet paper being available in hotels though! Swanky set ups like the JW Marriott Hotel Cairo will have all your amenities (including toilet paper) cared for.
5. Always ask for prices first
Taking a cab? Buying a bottle of water? Candy? Anything else? Always ask for the price before purchasing so you don’t get “tourist pricing” and sticker shock. Again, haggling over high prices is permitted.
We are happy to present this collaborative post to offer valuable information to our readers.