What you need to know before visiting Egypt on holiday

From the iconic Pyramids to the Valley of the Kings, the beauty of Cairo to a cruise down the Nile, it is little wonder that more than one million Britons head for Egypt every year. For the vast majority, it will be a wonderful experience and you can make sure that this is the case for you if you prepare sensibly for your trip and take some common-sense precautions when you’re there. Here is a useful guide to making sure you have a great trip to Egypt.

Getting in
First of all, if you are a UK passport holder, entering Egypt should not be a problem as long as your passport is valid for at least six months. If you are just planning to visit the South Sinai Red Sea resort area, such as Sharm El Sheikh, you will receive free entry for up to 15 days on arrival. However, if you are planning to travel around the country or stay for longer than 15 days, you will have to apply for a visa. This can be done at an Egyptian consulate prior to your visit or by paying for one upon arrival. If you enter under the free 15-day dispensation, you can always apply for a full visa at Sharm El Sheikh Airport should you wish to stay longer or travel more widely.

When you are in the country, it is advisable to carry photographic identification with you at all times – a photocopy of your passport is usually sufficient for this.

Money
It’s always advisable to have some local currency before visiting a foreign country for smaller purchases but these days a credit card is one of the handiest things you can carry with you, particularly if it is from a globally recognised bank, for example an HSBC credit card. A credit card allows you to make payment easily, more securely and offers you increased protection if something does go wrong. It also allows you to use ATMs in Egypt, pay for larger purchases with more peace of mind and also limits the amount of cash that you will have to carry with you.

The same rules apply in Egypt as they would anywhere else when using a credit card: try to avoid using it at market stalls, smaller restaurants or anywhere that insists on removing your card from view.

Health
In terms of health, make sure you contact your GP a couple of months before your trip to make sure you don’t need any specific vaccinations. In Egypt itself, particularly in Cairo and the popular resorts, healthcare is good. Make sure you have travel insurance before you go to ensure that you are covered in the unlikely event of something going wrong.

Culture and customs
Although a liberal society, be aware that Egypt is primarily an Islamic country and as such you should respect local customs and behave appropriately at all times. You should dress modestly, men ensuring they cover their chests and women their legs and upper arms. Pay special attention to any dress codes at religious sites as these may be very different from those in tourist resorts. You should also refrain from drinking alcohol outside the resorts or licensed bars and restaurants.

Egypt is an amazing mix of modern and ancient and the perfect place for a holiday. Adopt a little common sense and it’ll be a trip you remember forever.

You can find out further details about travelling to Egypt from the UK Government’s foreign travel advice service.

Why visit Sharm el Sheikh in winter

Egypt is a fast growing destination for holidaymakers on a budget, with Sharm el Sheikh being its most popular resort, and it’s not hard to see why. With its stunning sparkling white beaches alongside clear waters perfect for diving, and all types of activity on offer, Sharm el Sheikh is the perfect place for a holiday.

In summer, temperatures in the resort can soar to more than 38C and remain there for weeks at a time. Coupled with dazzling sunshine and dry skies, Sharm el Sheikh attracts thousands of sun-seekers a year. For this reason, it is a good idea to book your trip there during the winter season. During this time, the schools will still be in so you won’t be surrounded by screaming kids and temperatures only ever drop to around 20C, even in December and January, meaning you’ll still get your tan at a fraction of the price.

In addition to all the winter sun, there are plenty of attractions in Sharm el Sheikh which you’ll be able to visit year round. Of course, even the beach activities such as diving and snorkelling amongst the exotic marine life will still be available. For the best of this, head 25km south of Sharm el Sheikh to the stunningly beautiful Ras Mohammed National Park.

Even better, being a country rich in history, the cultural and historic attractions never shut down. Egypt’s pyramids at Giza have attracted visitors for thousands of years, even Herodotus, the father of ancient history, is known to have ‘holidayed’ there. They are, inevitably, the most popular thing to see when visiting Egypt, but holidays in Sharm el Sheikh wouldn’t be the same without them.

Winter is also the perfect time of year for hikers to take on Mount Sinai. With the cooler weather, a trip up the infamous mountain, which is mentioned in the Bible and the Quran, will be far easier. Setting off at 1am, it is a trip more suitable for night owls, but you will be rewarded with a spectacular sunrise like no other. Another night time excursion which is known as being one of the most fantastic experiences you can have in Egypt is to take a camel ride across the desert. These trips are also available during the day time, but are a fantastic opportunity to see more stars than you’ve ever seen in your life when done at night.

An experience that is not to be missed when in Sharm el Sheikh is visiting the Old Market. A maze packed to the brim with stalls offering everything from handmade traditional Egyptian jewellery to rugs and clothing, there’ll be something to interest everybody. Make sure to try out your haggling skills with the stall-owners so that you can grab a few bargains.

And if none of the above are your ‘thing’, there’s still the sun, sea and sand on offer. You can spend your days lazing on beach and round the pool while your friends are at home struggling through the snow.

Tips for saving money during an Egypt tour

Egypt is a fun filled destination and traveling here can be a little expensive and this can also dampen the amount of fun you have on your trip. Holiday travel expenses can be contemptible and high airfares can burn a hole in your pocket, so make sure you do a little research before getting your plane tickets done and save big for the rest of your trip. With a little creativity, sacrifice and determination, you can cut down on your expenses while holidaying in Egypt and help feed your piggy bank. There are a variety of things that you can do on your trip to Egypt and save money, read down to know more about them.

Low Airfares – The biggest way to save money on your holiday travel to Egypt is by planning your trip well in advance and picking up the best deal that covers all your needs. Be flexible with your travel dates and try flying during the week as then you tend to get low airfares as compared to weekends. One method is to book months in advance if you know the exact date and time of your travel.

Cheap Accommodation – Once you have arrived in Egypt aim at saving on lodging, find a comfortable and inexpensive room that suits all your requirements and yet fits in your budget. Top hotels found in Egypt offering cheap rates are Days Inn Egypt Airport, Knights Inn Egypt, Economy Inn, Super 8 Egypt and much more.

Free Activities – Every city has museums and monuments that offer free admission and provide a lot of knowledge and entertainment.

Plan your meals – Find economical restaurants that offer great food as eating out during a trip can be very expensive. One way to help cut down on the food expenses is to pack your own food, trust us a lot of people do this.

Make Egypt Travel Plans Beforehand and Enjoy

Egypt is not Singapore you can traverse and enjoy in a couple of days. It is a vast land. It is also chaotic at times and if you do not plan, you might become frustrated, give it all up and go elsewhere. That need not be the case if you make Egypt travel plans beforehand to have a truly enjoyable vacation and come away fulfilled.

Pick Popular Tour Packages from Reputed Tour Operators
An Egypt based tour operator is your best bet. With years of experience and with vast knowledge of the country they will offer popular tour packages to suit your convenience and your budget. They know what gives full value for money and will make all travel arrangements leaving you free to enjoy the sights and experiences. You may be offered a selection of tour packages covering these four areas:

– The Nile Valley: covers Cairo, Luxor, Aswan dam and Abu Simbel areas. Home to civilization since millenia, the Nile Valley should be on your itinerary.

– If your tastes are different you can plan a tour of what is known as the White Med area comprising the North Coast of Egypt, the historic city of Alexandria, El-Alamein and Marsa Matrouh.

– The Red Sea is equally fascinating, the Riviera of Egypt and you have popular places like Hurghada city, Sharm El Sheikh, Dahab, Taba and Taba Heights, Nuweiba, Ain Sukhna, Soma Bay, and Makadi Bay among others to keep you immersed in a blend of Egyptian cultures.

– A journey in the Western Desert with its miles of golden sand dunes can be an eye opener. The Black desert, the White Desert and the Dakhla Oasis, Farafra Oasis offer a unique experience like no other.

You may or may not have the time to take in everything Egypt has to offer. A fine way to start is to take the Nile tour. You can do this on a luxury sleeper train on a five day trip or take a leisurely nine days trip aboard a luxury boat and cover popular spots like the temples of Luxor and Karnak, the High Dam, the temple of Philae, stop by Kitchener’s Island on a trip that includes fascinating Cairo and Aswan.

Time and Budget
These are the two main constraints. Happily, Egypt trip packages are available in different categories and budgets. You can pick a 3 nights, 4 nights, 7 nights Nile cruise only, go in for a week long holiday or a ten day fascinating tour of popular places in Egypt. If you have the time and inclination, you can stop over for two weeks or even three and have an extended and leisurely holiday. For instance if you opt for the Grand Egypt Tour Package you have a delightful journey of 16 nights and 17 days covering Cairo, Luxor, the Nile cruise, Aswan, Alexandria and Sharm El Sheikh. A trip like this covers the ancient civilization and sites where Pharaohs once ruled to Alexandria, replete with Roman and Coptic Christian influences, to Cairo and the Citadel of Saladin to view Muslim cultures. If you are visiting a number of countries in the region, a three day Nile cruise may be one way to whet your appetite for a possible extended visit in the future.

In any case it is more enjoyable, affordable and safer to opt for packaged tours that get you a taste of Egypt in delectable slices.

Amazing Natural Sites In Egypt

You’ll almost certainly remember school history lessons about the great temples and pyramids of Egypt. You might even have heard about the bustling markets and bazaars in this fascinating part of the world. However, there is a wild side to Egypt, which is definitely worth exploring during the course of your Holidays. You could even start off by visiting some of the natural sites highlighted in this article.

Agiba Beach

This white sand beach is situated along the Mediterranean coastline, just a short distance from the city of Masra Matrouh. You are encouraged to come and take a look at the mysteriously shaped cliffs and revel in the Egyptian sun. You might even be tempted to take a scuba diving trip to one of the interesting local sites. Finish up the day with a glass of mango juice while watching the sunset.

The Coloured Canyon

If you’re a keen rock climber then it would be worth scheduling a trip to the coloured canyon as part of your holidays in Egypt. You might well be taken aback by the scale of the red, magenta and gold rocks of this place in Sinai. Some stand 40 metres tall and are not worth clambering about on unless you’re wearing the right gear. After exploring this site you may be treated to an authentic Egyptian lunch with the local Bedouin people.

Oasis Of Siwa

If you have an interest in Egyptian history then it would be worth taking a guided tour of this splendid natural site. Located right next to the Great Sand Sea, this place was visited by Alexander The Great in 331 BC. It was also the death place of some 50,000 Persian soldiers. After learning about the history you may like to sample some of the locally produced olive oil with some delicious
Eesh baladi bread. Alternatively you could make a splash in Cleopatra’s famous pool.

Jackson Reef

There are numerous opportunities for diving trips from the popular coastal resort of Sharm El Sheikh. However, Jackson Reef really stands out as an underwater environment of outstanding beauty. You might like to have a look around the hull of the Million Hope ship, which sunk in 1996. Then continue to the multicoloured reef, where shark, barracuda and jacks can be seen.

Ras Mohamed

The fishy fun can continue with a guided underwater tour of Ras Mohammed Reefs. You could even be swept along by the current on a drift dive. Along the way you can expect to encounter a wide variety of pelagic and schooling fish. There might even be time for a swim through the caves of Jackfish Alley. Alternatively you can stick to the safety of dry land and visit the Abu Tig marina.

All Inclusive Egypt Holidays Are as Popular as Ever with Budget Conscious Travellers

Egypt has attracted visitors for much of its long history; Herodotus, the father of history, travelled through Egypt in the 5th century BC, and Julius Caesar took a pleasure cruise up the Nile on Cleopatra’s royal yacht. From Renaissance explorers and Victorian treasure-hunters to today’s budget-conscious traveller, people from around the world have always found themselves drawn to this ancient nation. Egypt has something for every visitor, whether they want to soak up sun at a Red-Sea beach resort or soak up history at the Cairo Museum.

Egypt today is one of the most desirable tourist destinations in the world, and the new trend in all inclusive booking has brought a visit to exotic Egypt within the budget of many who might not have thought it possible. All inclusive booking is the choice of many savvy travellers who want to take advantage of an affordable, safe, and trouble-free way to handle all their holiday plans at once. All inclusive means just that; everything from flights, transportation, and accommodation to meals, drinks, and excursions. Best of all, these arrangements are made in advance with reputable and fully vetted local businesses and vendors. Visit this website to find a range of all-inclusive deals to Egypt.

All inclusive is certainly the way to go for anyone with safety concerns, although these are less serious than most prospective travellers realise. Egypt’s occasional political turbulence is seldom allowed to interfere with the tourist trade, which accounts for 12% of the country’s GDP and is a major source of employment. Hospitality is a cornerstone of Egyptian culture, and is taken especially seriously by the reliable and honest professionals with whom you will undoubtedly develop a relationship with while there. Tourists are an essential part of national economic recovery and their presence is appreciated and, unlike in some other countries, valued.

Winter is Egypt’s busiest season, when sun-seekers fleeing the UK flock to the warm beaches of resort town likes Taba, Sharm al-Sheikh, and Hurghada. Floating above flawless Red Sea reefs while your neighbours back home shovel snow may feel like a beautiful dream, but true scuba fans will want to return in fall when the water is clearest. Beach resorts are very popular, but all inclusive holidays are available that cater to every interest, budget, and travel-style. Desert adventures, Nile cruises, and whirlwind tours of Egypt’s great cities might seem to require intense planning and high prices, but all inclusive packages take the headache out of the holiday and leave tourists with only the positive experiences.

A good start for anyone on holiday is the Cairo Museum, one of the world’s greatest, which may help make sense of thousands of years of history. Cairo is as well known for its daily bustle and buzzing nightlife as for the nearby Giza pyramids, but those interested in Egypt’s religious and spiritual history won’t want to miss the Coptic Quarter or Muhammad Ali-Pasha Mosque. Visitors will have to leave the city to understand Egypt’s true scope, however. Excursions by bus, jeep or camel are all possibilities, but some like to follow the example of Caesar and Cleopatra with an all inclusive cruise through the Nile valley. Floating gently along the eternal river and passing Luxor, Aswan, and the Valley of the Kings, travellers will experience Egypt; a land of fabulous cultural wealth, and home to some of the greatest and most mysterious works of man.

Top Luxury Resorts in Egypt

Perhaps nowhere on Earth is the traveler presented with such an array of stark beauty, cultural significance and a vast wealth of history. Egypt has been a destination of wonders for millennia and each successive generation finds new things to appreciate in this old and glorious land.

Here are five of the most luxurious hotels and resorts that cater to guests while paying tribute to Egypt’s historical wonders.

• Four Seasons Resort, Sharm El Sheikh

Four Seasons Resort, Sharm El Sheikh

Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula creates the stunning backdrop for this five-star resort. The Four Seasons four swimming pools help visitors to stay cool and refreshed, while camel safaris into the nearby dunes give guests an insight into Egypt’s natural beauty. The deep blue waters of the Red Sea reflect the desert sky and provide some of the most haunting underwater seascapes to explore. 

• Club Med Egypt, Sinai Bay

Club Med Egypt, Sinai Bay

A private beach on the Red Sea is the focal point of this all inclusive resort. Lush gardens provide contrast with the desert sands and the resort’s master chef treats visitors to exquisite cuisine in the many restaurants and bars. Snorkeling and scuba diving are available to savor the Red Sea’s impressive array of coral reefs and unusual fish. Enjoy the long history of this iconic location with excursions to the nearby St. Catherine’s Monastery or to the rose-colored sandstone city of Petra in Jordan. 

• Le Meridien Pyramids, Cairo

Le Meridien Pyramids, Cairo

Each exquisitely appointed room of this sumptuous hotel only serves as a backdrop for the breathtaking view of the pyramids on the Giza Plateau. Enjoy every luxury in this resort nestled near the bustling city of Cairo and walking distance from Egypt’s unparalleled Sphinx and Giza pyramids. A fitness center, outdoor pool and tennis courts provide tempting diversions for those looking to relax after their explorations. 

• Sofitel Karnak Luxor, Luxor

Sofitel Karnak Luxor, Luxor

This resort lies in a resplendent location on the east bank of the Nile River, near the ancient Temple of Karnak. With its views of the Nile and the convenient location just minutes from the center of Luxor, visitors will enjoy the very best of modern amenities as they explore a location steeped in historic significance.

• Kempinski Hotel Soma Bay, Hurghada 

Kempinski Hotel Soma Bay, Hurghada

Moorish architecture characterizes this beautiful resort located on the shores of the Red Sea. Known for its healing mineral waters for centuries, this location offers lovely views over the water, desert landscapes and a place for visitors to truly unwind with healing spa treatments.

Taking a holiday in the wonder of Egypt

One of the things everybody imagines about Egypt is the hot sun and the ancient treasures it provides. But in fact there is much more to savour in the land of history and culture. There is plenty to do for those who love to go on an adventure holiday, by coral reef diving or just lazing around on a beach with soft yellow sands. The days you will spend wandering round the ancient treasures will burn in the memory for a lifetime. The royal tombs buried in the Pyramids are a true wonder of the world as is the delightfully mystical Great Sphinx.

The lifeblood of Egypt however is the long African river known as The Nile. Many people would love to simply relax on its soft and golden sandy beaches and soak up the hot sun, but for many others a trip to the Pyramids and the Great Sphinx is a must do trip when in Egypt. Some of the multi-coloured coral reefs are like a natural version of an aquarium. Scuba diving in Sharm-el-Sheik provides the tourist with a theme style park which happens to be underneath the sea.

The Nile Valley is a long stretch of river where any holiday maker can go down by boat and experience the Valley of the Kings and several more temples to sightsee after you have enjoyed the Pyramids at Giza. The famous and ancient Temple of Horus is another amazing and haunting place to see on the Nile River. It has ancient shrines and two massive falcons to greet you into this piece of magical history.

The Temple of Karnak will impress the first time visitor as there are three large shrines here and as you head to the Temple of Luxor you’ll notice the hot sun has become considerably hotter and drier. There are some beautiful ancient cities to wander around in Egypt too before you take on your trip down the Nile and the capital of Cairo has bazaar (markets) where you haggle with the traders to buy some fascinating rugs or boutique items.

Flight Tips For Travelers On A Budget

There is no doubt that air travel can be a little stressful. Long airport lines and crowded planes are hardly anyone’s definition of a great time, but flying is indisputably the quickest and most convenient way to travel anywhere in the world. Whether you are a frequent flyer or an occasional traveler, following a few simple tips can help you stay calm, safe and comfortable on every flight.

Booking Your Flight
• Use price predictors to figure out when you should buy your tickets to save the most money. Ticket prices fluctuate from month to month, so it’s impossible to know if you are getting a good deal when you buy tickets too far in advance. In most cases, the best time to buy tickets is anywhere between six and 24 weeks before the flight date. If you think tickets are too expensive and are willing to wait, you can sign up for price alerts from discount travel websites.

• Think about purchasing a package deal that includes plane tickets and accommodations. Travel bundles are becoming increasingly popular because they make the planning process affordable and simple. Just remember to research what the package includes before purchasing it to make sure that you really are getting a good deal. While most travel packages offer discounts, some are actually more expensive than if you were to book the same trip independently.

Getting Ready
• Most airlines allow passengers to print their own boarding passes at home or at the airport. After printing out your tickets, put your passport and anything else you need to bring with you in one place. Getting all of your paperwork ready before you even get to the airport can help you feel more organized and less stressed out. Make sure that you put everything in a place where you won’t forget to grab it on the way out.

• Read the airport’s security rules and guidelines. Know what you can and can’t bring on the plane. If you need to bring medication or liquids on the plane, use leak-proof containers that are in compliance with standard carry-on regulations. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has a helpful online guide you can use to figure out what you can include in your carry-on bag.

• Pack wisely. Research the weather patterns where you are going to figure out what you need to bring. Plan your outfits ahead of time to avoid bringing extra clothes that won’t even make it out of your suitcase. Bring your prescriptions in your carry-on bag. You don’t want to end up without your medication if there is an unexpected delay or if your luggage gets misplaced.

At the Airport and on the Plane
• If you are taking a taxi to the airport, make your appointment in advance instead of calling when you are ready to go. Make sure that you are ready to leave when the car arrives because most drivers charge extra when their passengers are running late. If you plan to take your own car to the airport, write down where you park it. Airport parking lots are usually enormous, and the last thing you want to do when you land back at home is trying to figure out where you parked your car when you left.

• Metal detectors can sometimes go off because of jewelry or keys, so be conscious of what you wear to the airport. It’s a good idea to throw on slip-on shoes if you have a pair to get through the security line quicker.

• Bring some headphones with you to drown out noise, listen to music or watch television. Some airlines offer headphones on board, but they tend to be cheap and uncomfortable.

• Call the flight attendant if you are unhappy with your seat. You might be able to get a new seat if the plane isn’t full.

• Take good care of your health. Some common germ zones in airplanes include trays, seat pockets, pillows and blankets. Bring your own neck pillow, extra sweatshirt and a package of anti-bacterial wipes. Try to get as much rest as possible if you are on a long flight. If you are a light sleeper, bring a sleeping mask and a pair of ear plugs. Remember to stand up and stretch to keep your muscles relaxed and prevent blood clots. If you have ongoing health problems, discuss your upcoming trip with your doctor to make sure that you stay healthy and safe throughout your flight.

Sources
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/15935328/ns/travel-travel_tips/t/tips-better-flight/
http://travel.nytimes.com/2012/04/15/travel/book-well-ahead-to-save-money-on-airfare.html
http://www.tsa.gov/travelers/airtravel/prohibited/permitted-prohibited-items.shtm
http://www.everydayhealth.com/dvt/blood-clot-risk-and-air-travel.aspx
http://www.cnn.com/2010/TRAVEL/12/22/bt.germs.breed.on.plane/index.html

What to do in Sharm el Sheikh

With a growing number of resorts and hotels in Sharm el Sheikh and more people, therefore, deciding to spend their vacation there it makes sense to know in advance some of the main tourist attractions and things to do before you even travel there.

What follows are just five things that you really should look at doing during your stay; however, there are clearly a whole host of other activities and places to check out whilst staying there.

Kitesurfing in Sharm el Sheikh
If you are looking for something that is quite adventurous to do during your stay, then how about hanging on to a kite whilst on a surfboard? This is something that has certainly gained in popularity in the area and there are courses available for beginners so if you are brave enough, then have a go and see if you can master both sea and air.

Diving in the Red Sea
It goes without saying that you really must try diving in the Red Sea and perhaps the best place for you to visit is the Ras Mohamed National Park where you can check out simply thousands of different species of fish as well as a wide range of coral. It also gives you the opportunity to try some snorkeling if full on diving is not something that appeals to you.

Tented hospitality in the desert and a camel safari
If you would prefer to do something that is a bit more romantic, then consider going on a trip into the desert so you can enjoy some local hospitality in a traditional tent and experience being on a camel. Here you will be wined and dined and if you do this at night, then you will be amazed at the stars on show and your hosts will be able to tell you all about them and explain how important they have been in this area for thousands of years.

Sunrise on Mount Sinai
If you are an early riser, then you really should try to experience the beauty of sunrise from Mount Sinai. This experience can only really be described as being quite moving as the valley is flooded by a range of colors that will leap out at you from your vantage point on top of the mountain. Do note that you need to be reasonably fit to get there on time.

Glass bottom boat cruise
If you prefer to keep your feet dry, then a perfect way to explore the water is by going on a boat that has been especially adapted to include a glass bottom so you can see what lies below you. This will open your eyes to the wealth of marine life that does exist and with the cruise only generally taking around ninety minutes to complete it is an ideal way to spend part of a day.

So those are just five things that you may wish to do when staying in a resort in Sharm el Sheikh, but there are a number of other activities that are just as popular as the ones listed here. It should also be added that some people will go on day trips to Cairo when staying here, but do check out the prices well in advance as there can be a huge difference in what you pay depending upon who you book with so there is a chance of being ripped off if you are not careful.