Travelling to Egypt

A tourist hotspot for thousands of years; the ancient Greeks and Romans started holidaying here back in the 4th century BC, whilst in more recent years, tourist numbers peaked in 2010 at 14.7 million visitors. That said, political unrest and violence in 2011 has put tourists off over the last few years and numbers have dropped significantly.

The Egyptian authorities are doing their best to encourage tourists back to the country.  Of course, it still holds huge attractions to those in search of sun, beautiful beaches and world class diving, as well as those looking to learn about the country’s rich history.  You can also find some fantastic deals at the moment which make it a great destination for value for money.

If you are considering Egypt, here are a few things you might want to know before you set off:

The sun is strong in Egypt all year round but it can get extremely hot in the summer months. The best time of year to visit tends to be November – March, with April also being popular. Whatever time of year, it can get cool in the evenings so take layers and be prepared for it to get quite windy in coastal areas.
Egypt is two hours ahead of the UK.
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) advises that over 900,000 British nationals visit Egypt every year and most of these visits are trouble free. However, there are current security risks in Egypt and there is a high threat of terrorism in certain areas. It is essential therefore to keep up to date with the latest advice from the FCO by checking their website:

Don’t forget to check with your insurance provider whether you are covered for travel within the region you would like to visit:
You should have an awareness of local customs so as not to offend, or get yourself into more serious trouble.  For example, intimate behaviour such as kissing in public is not approved of and you should dress modestly when out in public, especially if you are visiting religious or ancient sites. The right and left hands are used for different functions in Egypt, with the left hand used for ‘unclean’ functions. It would therefore be impolite if you are sharing food to eat with your left hand. Tipping is an important part of people’s livelihoods and so there is little point in getting offended if you find there is an expectation when being provided with some kind of service. Finally, female travellers have often reported issues with harassment from local men. Without compromising your freedom, you should think about the image you present of yourself, dressing modestly and acting with confidence both help to alleviate the problem.
This is a religious festival dedicated to one of the five pillars of Islam, fasting. As with most religious festivals, it may affect your trip. Whilst you won’t be expected to observe the rules of fasting yourself, eating or drinking in public could be offensive. It will also mean that some businesses operate under reduced hours or offer reduced services, so it is essential to plan ahead. It can be a great time to visit though; after sun down, there’s a long night of socialising and eating ahead, non-muslims are almost always welcome to join in.

Check out our quick guide to the some of the most interesting places you shouldn’t miss in Egypt.

Click here for: Things to do in Egypt