The Traveler’s Guide To Building The Ultimate First Aid Kit

Whether you’re building libraries in Zambia or adventuring around Madrid, any trip warrants a first aid kit. While it’s hardly the sexiest of travel topics, having basic first aid items on hand can mean the difference between a minor inconvenience and a major catastrophe. Here’s how to build a travel first aid kit for maximum health and safety—no matter where you are in the world.

1. Prepare personal medications

If you have a preexisting condition, be sure to pack all medications in their original containers with the labels intact. Pack enough medication for the trip as well as some extra to cover unforeseen circumstances. The CDC recommends bringing along copies of any prescriptions as well as a note from the prescribing physician on letterhead stationery—ideally, translate these materials into the language of your destination. In certain countries, some medications are simply not allowed—contact the appropriate embassy or consulate to find out if this is an issue

2. Consider your needs

Take stock of the length of the trip, the destination, and any planned activities. A remote trekker in the Himalayas will face a very different situation than a Berlin tourist, for example. The more remote or physical the trip, the more comprehensive a first aid kit should be (more on that later). Another big consideration is whether you’ll be traveling solo or going on a family trip, as kids are all but guaranteed to have accidents that may result in cuts or bruises (more on this later, as well)

3. Gather documents

In addition to medications and first aid supplies, a quality kit should include a contact card, proof of insurance coverage, and an immunization record (particularly if traveling in areas where infectious diseases are common) for every traveler. The contact card is meant to be used in case of a medical emergency and should include:

  •      The name and contact information for an emergency contact back home
  •      The name and contact info for your health care provider
  •      The address and phone number for wherever you’re staying
  •      The address and phone number for your country’s embassy or consulate
  •      The emergency contact phone number from your travel health insurance provider, if applicable

Additionally, people with preexisting conditions (such as diabetes or severe allergies) may want to wear an alert bracelet and carry a card in their wallet that explains the condition—ideally, the card will be written in the language of your destination.

4. Select a container(s)

Choose a hard, waterproof, and durable container for the first aid kit so as to ensure the items don’t get ruined in transit or bad weather. Choose a larger container for longer trips, and a smaller container for shorter trips. It’s also a good idea to pack a small first aid kit in a carry-on and a more comprehensive kit in checked baggage. Once you’ve unpacked at a destination, carry the small kit with you at all times and re-supply from the large kit if necessary.

5. Pack the basics

At a minimum, any first aid kit worth its salt should include the following:

  •      Band-aids
  •      Antiseptic wipes
  •      Antibiotic ointment
  •      Gauze pads
  •      Medical tape
  •      Tweezers
  •      Scissors (keep in mind that these will need to be packed in checked baggage)
  •      Painkillers/fever reducers (ibuprofen or acetaminophen)
  •      Ace bandages
  •      Digital thermometer
  •      Disposable, latex-free gloves
  •      Alcohol-based hand sanitizer (make sure it’s less than 3.4 ounces if transporting it in

carry-on luggage)

Other handy items include:

  •      Antihistamine medication
  •      Anti-motion sickness medication
  •      Antidiarrheal medication
  •      Mild laxative
  •      Cough suppressant/expectorant
  •      Cough drops
  •      Antacids
  •      Sunscreen
  •      Moleskin for blisters
  •      Lubricating eye drops (again, remember the 3.4-ounce rule for liquid carry-ons)
  •      Aloe gel for sunburns (ditto the 3.4-ounce rule)
  •      Condoms

6. Up the ante where applicable

Remember when you took stock of the trip’s specifics (#2)? Now it’s time to apply that information to your first aid packing list. Anyone traveling to the tropics, for example, should be sure to consider insect bite precautions (such as bed nets) and pack anti-malarial medications. If traveling in a remote area, consider bringing water purification tabletsand electrolyte replacements. Spending time in high-altitude areas might warrant packing medication to combat high-altitude sickness. If traveling in a developing country, it’s a good idea to pack oral rehydration salts and medications to treat food poisoning, giardia, and/or amoebic dysentery.

Consult a medical professional to develop the ideal packing list for your needs and destination.

Finally, if traveling with children, consider packing kid-friendly first aid items such as Band-aids featuring popular cartoon characters, kid-sized bandages, a couple of disposable instant cold packs, and a tooth preservation kit. Since children will be exposed to new foods and objects while traveling, read up on how to administer first aid in the event of choking. The ability to respond quickly to any hurts a child experiences may have the added bonus of preventing tantrums on vacation.

A few notes on packing choices

Whenever possible, choose tablets instead of liquids, gels, or creams. If that’s not possible, be sure to adhere to the 3.4-ounces-or-less rule for carry-ons in order to breeze through security.

To save space in baggage, opt for sachets and flat-packed tablets in lieu of bottles and tubes. Also look for travel or sample-size packaging whenever possible (your doctor may be able to help out).

The Takeaway

No matter where in the world you’re traveling, it’s worth taking the time to build a quality first aid kit that’s tailored to your destination and activities. In an ideal scenario, the kit will remain untouched during the entire vacation. But in the unfortunate event that you or a companion needs first aid? It is really, really nice (and potentially life-saving) to have proper supplies on hand.

his post was posted by thehipmunk on Hipmunk’s
Tailwind blog on August 28, 2015.

Voluntourism: Helpful or Hurtful?

Jet to an exotic country. Get immersed in local customs. Help build a house or dig a well. Make buddies with fascinating people you’d never meet otherwise. A “voluntourism” trip seems like a great way to give back or improve the world in a small way. It can be, but you should ask a lot of questions before signing up and plunking down cash.

Over the last several years, this well-meaning market has grown quickly, with studies estimating 1.6 million volunteer tourists per year and growing. About 33 percent of volunteer travelers are between the ages of 20 and 40. Another 34 percent are slightly older, between 41 and 60. Overall, the travelers are more likely to be female. However, the impact of these trips is hard to quantify. A large majority of the tourists take them because they want to help alleviate poverty and find joy in the camaraderie.

Voluntourism: Helpful or Hurtful?

In a piece for the Guardian called “Beware the ‘Voluntourists’ Doing Good,” Ossob Mohamud writes that there are more effective ways to help the needy than take a trip. His concern is that very often the helpers come off as patronizing and condescending, with little understanding of the local culture and the people’s actual needs.

Other critics complain that high-paying volunteers take jobs away from local laborers. The engagement between volunteers and Cambodian orphans may seem endearing — until you discover some of these children have families, and are just being hired out to entertain big-hearted tourists with sob stories. In other reported cases, an orphanage may keep the conditions of an institution squalid to ply more money from tourists primed to donate. Even if the orphans do connect with the volunteers, they’re once again faced with feelings of abandonment when the tour is over.

Not all NGOs think voluntourism is bad. Chris Johnson, director of communications for the Fuller Center of Housing, is less concerned about a volunteer’s impetus for choosing to build homes for families in the mountains of Peru or Nepal “as long as the work gets done.” In a New York Times article, he explained that the families who benefit from the new residence probably don’t care if the builders are doing it for selfish reasons.

How Do You Know If Your Program Is Effective?

So, how do you know if the program you’re paying for is actually helping people? There are several important details to consider that will help uncover the impact of the tour, outlined by the editors of the site Ethical Volunteering.

1. Bigger Isn’t Always Better

While you might think the more you pay for a tour, the more impact it will have, a more expensive tour may have less impact because it has fewer connections to local organizations.

2. Watch out for Grand Promises

As much as you want to think you’re “changing the world,” the reality is you’re giving a small boost to an organization that needs a hand. Be mindful of marketing that promises more.

3. Don’t be swayed by pictures of children

It’s great to help children, but if you’re looking at a brochure that tugs at your heartstrings rather than demonstrates what impact you’re making, be wary.

4. Check if the organization screens volunteers

Is this organization of change hoping to capitalize on your skills, or does it just need your money? Take heed if it doesn’t care about what capabilities you have.

According to a study by the Adventure Travel Trade Organization, the most popular volunteer programs offer the opportunity to work with children, support education, protect the environment, create local jobs, and assist clean water projects.

While the popular voluntourism destinations are in Asia, Africa and Latin America, it’s also possible to assist NGOs in cities such as New Orleansand Orlando. Some hotels in Denver, like the Four Seasons Hotel Denver, have been known to offer a discount to guests willing to spend half a dayworking with charity.

Find a project that makes for a great experience while also positively impacting the world.

This post was posted by thehipmunk on Hipmunk’s Tailwind blog on August 28, 2015.

The Best Airlines For In-Flight Entertainment

Long flights can be a drag, but there’s nothing better to make the time fly and take your mind off cramped economy quarters than a good inflight entertainment system. These airlines have taken pains to make sure that your journey is about more than getting you from Point A to Point B, and have stocked their systems with so many distractions that you’ll forget you’re in the air.

1. Virgin

Virgin Atlantic flights come equipped with seatback monitors chock full of recent releases, popular TV shows (including current Netflix and HBO faves), kids’ content, games, music, and even audiobooks. With a special platform dubbed Vera, you won’t be bored and can play whatever your heart desires even before and after take off. Meanwhile, sister airline Virgin America sports a similar seat-back system called Red, equipped with a very special extra feature: seat-to-seat chat, which allows you to make new friends or even anonymously send a glass of champagne to the cutie in 16C.

2. IcelandAir

IcelandAir takes its contribution to the island nation’s growing tourism industry seriously. A great selection of Iceland-centric content introduces visitors to the country’s unique culture through a seatback personal entertainment system. Learn about volcanic eruptions and culinary legacies through short episodic content, listen to music by various local artists (turns out there are many besides Björk), or watch movies directed by Icelanders or shot in the country’s rugged landscapes alongside Hollywood blockbusters and American television shows.

3. JetBlue

You’ll never have to curse your ill-timed flight again for causing you to miss a game—JetBlue streams DirecTV to every seat for free, allowing for appointment viewing and live channel surfing. With 36 channels on most planes and over 100 channels on A321s, it’s as good as a session on your couch. Actually, it’s even better, since you don’t even have to stand up to get your hands on some free chips and soft drinks. Add in free SiriusXM, $5 on-demand movies, and free Wi-Fi that supports on- and off-line access to media from such sources as Vice and the Wall Street Journal on your devices, and you’ve got yourself a winner.

4. Qantas

Consistently voted among the top ten airlines for inflight entertainment, Qantas makes the cut for the sheer scale of its offerings. International flights have between 300-1500 entertainment options for passengers to choose from depending on plane type. Movies, shows, music, games, radio, and a dedicated Kids Zone keep folks occupied, and a quick download of the PressReader app on your devices before you board gives you a twelve hour window of complimentary access to thousands of newspapers and magazines.

5. Qatar Airways

Qatar’s Oryx One system offers a whopping 2000 ways to distract yourself and boasts featured collections including the “Al Pacino Collection” and the complete set of films from the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Content comes in a range of languages and also includes plenty that will introduce visitors to Qatari and Middle Eastern culture. Listen to a live concert recording of a Yemeni singer, then switch to a movie for a dose of Hulk smash… talk about eclectic.

6. Emirates

Emirates can boast that it’s won Best Inflight Entertainment from the Skytrax World Airline Awards for eleven years running, and basically combines everything that the aforementioned airlines offer into one crazy comprehensive package. The airline’s Ice system boasts digital widescreens in every seatback plus game controllers with their own miniature screens, 2000 channels organized by genre from which passengers can create custom playlists, email and texting capabilities, seat-to-seat chatting, and a feature that lets you see the view from cameras mounted on the plane’s exterior. Certain flights also offer live satellite TV. What more could any 21st century traveler possibly ask for?

This post was posted by thehipmunk on Hipmunk’s Tailwind blog on August 16, 2015.

Insider Tips For A Trip To Egypt

Egypt is a magical country. With so much culture, magnificent historical attractions and a wonderful year round climate it attracts visitors from all over the world.

There are some magnificent resorts all over the country with a large cluster grouped along the Red Sea at Sharm El Sheikh. You can find some great deals on holidays here particularly if you book well in advance or wait until the last minute.

You may have friends who have already visited Egypt and given you some tips, or you may have bought a guide book and done your research but here we have rounded up some insider tips that will help your holiday be even better than you ever dreamed of.

Bartering Tip- Don’t Ever Say This Is The First Time You Have Visited Egypt
This gives the seller a head start as they think that you will be unaware of how things should be priced. Always say you have visited before and never pay the first price that is quoted to you if you are buying at a market. If you are prepared to haggle and barter then you will always get a better deal!

Health- Carry Toilet Paper In Your Bag
You will be extremely lucky if most of the toilets you visit in Egypt have any kind of paper. Carry some around with you or a pack of pocket tissues so you don’t get caught out! If you forget to take some from home then take some from the hotel! It can also be a good idea to have some hand sanitizer/wet wipes to wash your hands as well as there may not always be soap.

Wining and Dining – Don’t Be Afraid Of All Inclusive
Many people don’t like the idea of being in an all-inclusive hotel, restricted to only eating their meals in the resort. It doesn’t have to be like this though! Just because you have an all-inclusive deal, nobody is stopping you from venturing out for an alternative meal and sampling some of the local restaurants and a change of scenery. This is a great way to find out more about the culture as well and you can try some authentic food whilst supporting the local community.

Transport- Use The Metro If You are Visiting Cairo
There are very few tourists on the Metro in Cairo, but it is a very efficient system and can be a great way to get around. Before booking on to any tours or booking taxis, consider the Metro as a transport option.

Prices – Consider Service Charge and VAT
Be wary in restaurants that the prices that are advertised may be 25% more when the final bill comes. Most restaurants will add a service charge of 10-15% and then VAT will be added as well. Tot up the prices before making any decisions on where you eat so you don’t end up running out of money!

Sharm el Sheikh: What Makes It Perfect for a Summer Getaway?

Sharm el Sheikh: What Makes It Perfect for a Summer Getaway?

Have you been to Sharm el Sheikh before? If not, it is time to get to know the resort a little bit better! Located on the Red Sea coast in Egypt, Sharm el Sheikh is a resort that attracts those looking for sunshine, entertainment, and a stunning coastline. And when it comes to summer holidays, this involves pretty much everyone, which is why so many tourists return year after year.

So if you think that a holiday to Egypt sounds right up your street, read on to find out what makes Sharm el Sheikh the perfect resort for a summer getaway…

The weather
Sharm el Sheikh boasts a year-round dry, temperate climate, and the summer months will not disappoint sun-seeking travellers. In fact, you are looking at temperatures topping at 40 degrees Celsius, so you will want to have some air conditioning in your hotel room! However, you can be virtually guaranteed that you will not experience even a drop of rain during your stay, something which cannot be said for the summer months in the UK!

The activities
Whether you are travelling with a group of friends or your family members, there will be plenty for you to do when you arrive. As the temperatures will be a good 10 or 20 degrees above those back home, you will want to take to the sea as much as possible to keep cool. Luckily there are many activities based in the Red Sea; just some of these include scuba diving, snorkelling and swimming. Scuba diving is popular here as there is some amazing marine life for you to explore further – it is hardly surprising as Sharm el Sheikh is home to a wondrous coral reef.

The nightlife
The fun doesn’t stop in Sharm el Sheikh when the sun goes down as it is absolutely teeming with cafes, restaurants, bars, pubs and night clubs. This is all part of the appeal for those who are going on cheap Sharm el Sheikh holidays for a bit of fun. It is said that parties here start at 11pm and don’t finish until dawn, meaning that the nights can be just as enjoyable as the days – it might be necessary to take a couple of naps at some point though.

The shopping
A summer holiday just isn’t complete without a bit of shopping, and Sharm el Sheikh is a bit of a paradise when it comes to places to splash your cash. You will become a pro when it comes to haggling for the best price as this is commonplace in Egypt resorts. So whether you want a few treats for yourself or want to get your hands on some souvenirs for your nearest and dearest, you will be totally spoiled for choice. Just remember to keep by enough of your cash to use for food and drinks for the rest of your trip (or at least find the closest ATM…)!

Shopping Tips for Egypt

Egypt has been one of the most popular destinations for travellers for many years, especially those from European Countries. There are many reasons why holidays to Egypt are so popular with tourists. The country benefits from having year round sunshine and a very warm and dry climate. The most popular times for visitors are throughout the cooler months from late October through to May. People do visit in the summertime also but due to the high heat most tend to come in the winter months. The places or attractions we normally see at the top of most peoples to do list are Luxor where trips to The Valley of the Kings and The Valley of the Queens are available. Giza is another common haunt for tourists as a visit to Egypt would not be complete without a trip to see The Great Sphinx or The World Famous Great Pyramids of Giza. The Sinai Peninsula has come to be one of the most visited places in the world for scuba divers, due to the marine life found there and the natural reefs.

Shopping Tips for Egypt
[Image by Walwyn]

Guide to Cairo
Cairo is the capital city of Egypt and is by far the most popular city in the country. The city has been the heart of the Egyptian economy for many years with most industries either based there or have their products transported through the city before any onward journeys. With this in mind it is not surprising that Cairo has a thriving street market economy, and unlike many so called traditional markets this one really is as if time has stood still and not just a quirky gimmick to gain more tourists. One of the best illustrations of this is in Khan el-Khalili, which is an outdoor market place, or Souk as it is known in the local dialect. This market was originally constructed in the fourteenth century and has been operating in one way or another since then so could be one of the oldest market places in the world. The market is a great place to do some shopping or just to have wander around and take in the sights and sounds of a traditional Arabic Market place. The market is frequented by locals as much as it is tourists. The small shops or stalls have a variety of products on offer like Chandeliers, Silk Slippers, spices and jewelry. Nestled in amongst the shops and stalls are many Arabic Coffee houses selling Coffee and Shisha’s for the weary shoppers. As with any traditional styled market there are an abundance of arts and crafts for offer, so if you are looking for a new belt, wallet or a pair of sandals you will have a large choice of styles and designs. If you are a little apprehensive of going it alone in Cairo’s bustling streets, you find there are a number of quality travel and tour agencies, which cater for tours in Cairo. They will also be able to help when it comes to dreaded haggling with the market traders.

Shopping Around the Country
Although Cairo is the capital city of Egypt, not all travellers transit through. This because the country is so big with vast swathes of empty desert in between major built up areas so many tourists will fly direct to their destination such as Sharm El Sheik which I son the southern tip of the Sinai Peninsula or Alexandria on the Northern shore in the Mediterranean Sea. Sharm El Sheik has flourished in recent years, with scuba divers coming from across the globe, to see the unique marine life around the coast. It is an ever popular destination for European holiday makers looking for two weeks of sun, food and shopping. It has a modern vibrant feel to the town and caters for western travellers so finding somewhere to eat good food and have a few drinks is easy. The arts and crafts on offer are mainly of Bedouin origin and are reasonably priced even for the inexperienced barterer. Up in Alexandria you find a thriving shopping district offering everything from Gold Jewellery to the latest I-pad. There are many small off the beaten track markets, and for the antique hunter with a keen eye there are bargains to be had for Oriental Furnishings, Beautiful wooden tables inlaid with carvings and many quirky items like maps, pottery and soft furnishings. For those who are not really looking to bag a bargain there are other small markets that offer all sorts of food items like grapes, dates and spices.

Author Bio:
Ariana Louis is a teacher by profession, who worked out 5 years of savings to begin her globetrotting adventure. She has travelled more than half-way across the world and has written this article as a rough guide to would be shoppers in Egypt to what is available. Ariana has visited Egypt and the Middle East on numerous occasions and has an interest in Antiques and crafts of Middle East origin. She also likes to showcase her favourite destinations in the articles and blogs that she writes.

Plan Your Vacation to Egypt

Most people think of Pyramids when they hear the word Egypt. The pyramids are magnificent pieces of architecture, but there are several other great sites to see in Egypt. Millions of people vacation in Egypt every year. Besides the pyramids, Egypt has the seas and deserts to explore.

While you are in Egypt, you can rent a car and drive to the Gulf of Suez. While you are at the Gulf you can go scuba diving or snorkeling. You can also relax on the white sand beach and soak up the sun. When you leave the beach, you can drive to the desert and visit people from the local Bedouin tribe.

Next, you can visit the interior area of the Sinai Peninsula. This area of Egypt has strong religious associations. The area is a desert, but it has several marvelous sites. You can visit sites that were home to Pharaohs. The remains of their kingdoms are located along the Nile River. The Pyramids of Giza and the Cairo Museum are some of the most popular attractions in the Sinai Peninsula.

When you leave the Sinai Peninsula, you can take a cruise along the Nile River. While on your cruse, you might see the temples that are in the Aswan area of Egypt. You might also travel along the Mediterranean coast to visit the famous library in Alexandria. Archaeologists are constantly finding new historical information in the neighborhoods throughout the city of Alexandria.

If you want to visit a large city, you should visit the city of Fayoum in Western Egypt. The city of Fayoum has a mild climate. It has beautiful scenery and several underground springs. Most tourists to the area love to go bird watching. Tourists can also try some of the locally grown tomatoes. Vendors in the city sell gold, pottery, and spices throughout the week.

When you leave Fayoum, you can rent a car and drive to Baharyia. This is the smallest oasis, and it is made up of sand and volcanic ash. The area has warm springs and beautiful scenery. While you are in the area you will find several tropical fruit trees. Mango and Guava tree are native to the area.

If you have been dreaming of Cleopatra, you should visit the city of Siwa. While you are in Siwa, you can visit the village where the Cleopatra once lived. You can also visit sites that were once visited by Alexander the Great. If you want to visit a small village, you should visit Farafra. The villages in the city have small streets that are lined with palm trees. The city also has several beautiful gardens. Plan your trip to Egypt today to experience old and new marvels.

If you like the idea of road tripping through north Africa, check out Skedaddle Car Hire’s website for more cool ideas on four wheels.

Egypt Attractions – Top 5 Tourist Attractions of Egypt

sphinx
[sphinx by schnetler75, on Flickr]

Egypt, also referred to as the gift of Nile would not have been what its without the beautiful river. It is with its power and presence that the residents have figured out means of living, food and shelter, and to harness the resources of this beautiful country now. The oldest legacy of the country for which it is the most known, its pyramids are a traveler’s delight to visit. Read on to know the list of 5 must go to places in Egypt.

1. The Valley Of Kings

Situated on the banks of the city, Luxor, the Valley of Kings is also called the Biban el Moluk. It has about 62 tombs that have been discovered here of which one, which is probably the most known is Tutankhamen. A few more tombs have been discovered only recently, but none as important that could pull in a lot of eye balls. It is one of the most visited places in Egypt and has a strong cultural connect. The tombs leave you in an awe and are a perfect day out for people who like to spend capturing things in their cameras worth remembering.

2. The Red Sea Coast

For the crazy adventurers who look for adrenaline rush everywhere you head to, the red sea coast has a lot to offer. The mineral sea, which is famous for its coral reefs has a lot of watersports on offer. Snorkelling in the crystal and pristine waters here is an experience of a lifetime. There are also the infamous glass bottom boat tours that give you a tete-a-tete feel with the coral reefs and beautifully colored fishes. WHile touring the place, heading off to one of the offshore islands is a complete MUST.

3. Karnak Temple

The Karnak Temple, supposed to be built over a span of a whopping 1300 years, is a massive architectural complex that is encompassed of 3 different temples, namely Mut, Amun and Khonsu. The Hypostyle Room present in the temple of Amun is the most impressive structure and the beauty startles you.

4.The Pyramids and the Pyramid of Giza

Egypt would lose its identity if it weren’t for the pyramids that define the country. The biggest crowd pullers, the pyramids’ structures are state of the art. Discovered over a hundred of them, the 3 most famous ones are the Cheops, Khefren and Mikerinos. Their strength and structural abilities are supreme and everlasting and instill an inquisitiveness on how advanced the times were in terms of building them up.

The Pyramid of Giza, one of the seven wonders of the world is situated in the city of Cairo. This 481 foot tall structure cannot be described in words and one has to see it to feel the goosebumps run over your skin thinking of the capabilities their ancestors had.

5. The Temples of Abu Simbel

Travelling 80 kilometers from Sudan brings you to the beautiful temples of Abu Simbel. DIrectly built into the mountains, they are very near by to the river Nile. The attraction while entering these temples are the 4 gigantic stone figures of Ramses II.

Author Bio:

Sheila Kurdinger is a travel blogger and blogs about Casamundo Holiday rentals on her blog.

What to expect when visiting Egypt

Egypt is an ancient and mystical land filled with incredible attractions and a rich cultural heritage. From the iconic Pyramids of Giza to the Sphinx and the beauty of the Nile, its little wonder millions of people flock to visit this wondrous land year after year. In order to get the most out of your trip to Egypt there are a couple of things you need to know:

Plan your wardrobe
Even in winter the temperature sits at around 29C and the tombs and pyramids can be even hotter inside. Pack cool, light clothes that you can layer and that will dry quickly to save yourself space and baggage constraints. Women may want to dress more conservatively as the attentions of Egyptian men can be relentless and unwanted. Out of respect for Egyptians it is recommended that more conservative clothes and a scarf or hat are worn when visiting religious sites.

Buy an Egyptian SIM card
To avoid International roaming charges on your mobile buy an Egyptian SIM card at the airport. You will find there is signal in most places and you can even access the internet and play your favourite games at http://www.gamingclub.co.uk when you are relaxing by the pool or lazing in bed. Purchase prepaid credit for your mobile as needed and simply discard the SIM when you leave.

Prepare for poor hygiene
Egypt is not the cleanest of countries so prepare yourself for some less than sanitary conditions. There is a very sporadic refuse collection and rubbish litters many areas, especially as you leave the city centre. Squat toilets are in abundance and at the pyramids you will need to pay to use the western bathrooms. Take a toilet roll with you wherever you go and invest in some mini hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes.

Haggling is expected
Egypt is a fun filled destination that has a huge tourist influx every year and locals expect you to haggle for goods and services every step of the way. Haggling in markets or for souvenirs is common practice and the first price you are given is never the selling price. Taxis or a Caleche (horse carriage) both require haggling before you settle on a fare and Egyptians seems to think haggling is a requirement for purchase, and the better you get at it the more bargains you will strike.

Top attractions in Egypt

Egypt is endowed with a myriad of tourist attraction sites, monuments and grand resorts. From ancient towns to grandiose pyramids and museums, holidays in Egypt are a mash up of magic, mystery and pleasure. It is a world of wonder that will provide you with pure escapism. Away from the magic and mysteries, the dazzling Riviera on the red sea with their turquoise waters are quite rejuvenating. There are more than just a few must see sights in Egypt, conspicuously among them being: the karnak temples, Luxor, st. Simeons monastery in Aswan, Abu Simbel and museums, pyramids and sphinx in Cairo. Activity Holidays from Explore offer trips to these highlights.

Luxor
Located in southern Egypt, Luxor town is considered to be one of the world largest open air museums. Now a modern city, it houses the ruins of temples and lies in the vicinity of several monuments and tombs. The city lies on one side of the river Nile across the valley of kings and queens. Formerly known as Thebes, Luxor was the capital of the new kingdom of Egypt well known as a centre of art, religion, political supremacy, luxury and high social status. The town has a rich history of wars and buildings most of them built by pharaohs. Buildings such as the hypostyle hall, mummification museums and the Luxor temples are the main attractions. Tourist’s arrivals in the thousands are evidence of the stature of this city as a world renowned tourist attraction.

Karnak temple
The Karnak temple complex is a vast mix of ancient and decaying temples pylons and chapels. It was built in the Ptolemaic and middle kingdom periods. The area was used as the main worship center of the eighteenth dynasty. It is part of the city of Thebes. With several temples and sanctuaries this city is a vas open air museum. The precinct of Amun-re in the Karnak also harbors the hypostyle hall. Apart from the temples and sanctuaries Karnak is also dotted with several statues.

St Simeon’s monastery
Known as deir anba sim’an, the monastery is one of the main attractions in the Aswan area. The ruins of the monastery are usually accessed by a camel ride. Formerly known as anba hatre by coptics and Arabs, it was renamed to st. Simeon by travelers and archaeologists. Its naming has a rich historical background just as its ancient buildings. Among its main attractions are the monastery ruins, paintings and pottery kilns located in the southern area of the monastery.

Abu Simbel
Abu Simbel in Nubia houses two large temples. Originally carved out of a mountain side, the twin temples form part of the UNESCO heritage site called the Nubian mountains. The temple was built during the reign of Ramesses and was completed after 20 years. Due to flooding threats the temple was relocated to a higher ground 65 meters off the original location. Among its main attractions are the statues of king Ramesses.

Cairo pyramids, museums and sphinx
The pyramids and sphinx at Giza make some of Cairo’s most attractive sites. With a heritage of over 6000 years, the museums and pyramids in Cairo are full of antiquities with several attractions such as the tomb of Tutankhamen. Among the attractions also include magnificent citadels that are quite a sight for tourists.