Travel TipsPeople often ask for tips when travelling in Egypt. From my short experience here are some to consider:
Before you leave:
- Get all your shots.
- Take a first aid kit that includes prescription antibiotics, anti-nausea and anti-diarrhoea drugs. Hope you'll never need them.
- Buy water purification tablets - again just in case.
- Make two photocopies of passport, tickets, credit cards etc and leave one at home with someone and the other separate from the real thing.
- Think about money. Don't expect to be able to use your credit card just any where - and forget EFTPOS. Changing travellers' cheques may not be that straightforward out of tourist areas - even in hotels.
- Consider at least learning the Arabic symbols for the numbers.
- Drink only bottled water. Yes, most of the water is "safe" to drink - but chances are your digestive system will first have to "adapt" - out of 25 of us only two escaped mild to serious problems.
- "Water" includes ice and what your wash your teeth in.
- Buying water at shops rather than hotels is much cheaper - just remember to check the seal. It is not unknown for empty bottles to be filled at the tap and sold.
- Avoid raw vegetables - no salads - they would have been washed in local water.
- Avoid fruit you don't peel yourself and water melon (skin is permeable) and oranges (can be "pumped" up with water)
Getting around:I went as part of a tour - and would again. Here are some of the reasons why:
- Using local transport is fraught (we have difficulty even getting a taxi without an Arabic speaker).
- Although there is some English in tourist areas it is often limited.
- Street signs are non-existent.
- Cultural norms are different - especially if you are without a male protector.
- Khan el Khalili is well worth a visit - or two. Just do not get lost!
- In most places bargain - it is part of the culture and is expected and built into the offered price. No-one will sell below a price which gives some return.
- However, Madame Abla doe not bargain - at least for individuals. Nor does she take credit cards. A cash deposit will be expected for custom-made costumes and expect it to take 10-15 days. Leave at least one free day after your costume is supposed to be ready in case of problems.
- Meissoun has a comprehensive list of places to shop for belly dance goodies at www.meissoun.ch
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