Traveling to Egypt can be an exciting and enriching experience. Egypt is undoubtedly one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world. Home to the majestic Pyramids of Giza, the world-renowned Sphinx, and the sparkling Nile River, it’s no wonder so many people flock to this North African country year after year.
However, Egypt is also known for its strict customs and traditions that visitors should take note of to avoid offending locals and facing legal repercussions. In this article, we’ll cover some things you shouldn’t do when traveling to Egypt.
1-When traveling to Egypt Don't Go Alone
Travelling to Egypt can be challenging even for experienced travelers, and solo travelers, particularly women, may find it difficult to navigate the country alone. It’s better to travel with a trusted friend or family member, or join a tour group which is specifically tailored for a trip to Egypt.
2-While traveling to Egypt Don't Ignore Dress Codes
Before traveling to Egypt keep in mind that Egypt is a Muslim country, and while it’s home to some of the world’s most stunning archaeological sites, it’s important to respect the culture and traditions of the people who live there. Dress codes are one of the most significant elements of Egyptian customs and should not be ignored. Women traveling to Egypt should dress modestly and cover their shoulders and knees, It is also advisable to carry a scarf or shawl to cover your head if you’re visiting religious sites. On the other hand men should refrain from wearing shorts.
3-Don't Drink Tap Water
While traveling to Egypt, avoid drinking tap water or any ice cubes made from tap water. The water in Egypt is not always safe to drink, and even locals usually drink bottled water. Stomach problems are prevalent in Egypt, and the last thing you want is to be hampered by certain ailments while travelling. Therefore, it is always better to buy bottled water and carry it with you throughout the day.
4-Don't Be Indiscriminate With Tipping
Tipping is customary in Egypt and is usually expected for most services. From hotel employees and restaurant staff to guides and drivers, everybody expects a tipping culture. However, there is no standard amount, which can make things relatively confusing.
Therefore, when tipping in Egypt, it’s best to observe and follow local customs and norms. You don’t want to be excessive and simultaneously don’t want to appear like a cheapskate. Appropriate tips will require you to be attentive without being indecisive. When traveling to Egypt it is recommended to carry small notes and coins with you to avoid the embarrassment of not being able to tip.
5-Don't Be Afraid To Bargain
Egyptians are known for their bargaining skills, and haggling over prices is a way of life in the country. Even if you’re not used to haggling, you’ll quickly learn the ropes when you start shopping in Egypt. However, it is essential to know how to barter, as not bargaining can lead to overpaying for products.
It is always best to research the standard prices for goods and services before traveling to Egypt to know how to haggle adequately. Keep in mind that goods and services in tourist areas will almost always be more expensive than in local markets and streets.
6-Don't Be Naive
Egypt is a relatively safe country, but like any developed country, there are still certain risks that you need to be aware of. Scams and pickpocketing are common in tourist areas, and you must always remain vigilant and aware of your surroundings.
Never accept any unsolicited services, such as guiding you around with no specific purpose or benefit. Never give money to someone who you think is in actual need without appropriate verification. Avoid travelling to non-tourist areas without knowing your way, especially at night.
7-Don't Book Your Flight or Hotel at the Last Minute
If you’re planning a trip to Egypt, please do not wait until the last minute to book your flight or hotel. During peak tourism seasons, flight and hotel prices skyrocket, and you’ll end up overpaying. To save money, plan ahead and make your reservations as early as possible. Moreover, prior planning can also help you prepare to get discounts while shopping or sightseeing.
8-Don't Rely on Credit Cards Everywhere
Although credit cards are widely accepted in Egypt, it is still a cash-based society. Most small businesses and street vendors do not accept credit cards, so you’ll need to have cash on hand to pay for things like food, drinks, and souvenirs.
Therefore, it is always better to carry some local currency for everyday needs. Avoid carrying too much cash wherever you go, though, as doing so increases the risk of being robbed.
9-Don't Ignore the Heat
Egypt has a desert climate and can get incredibly hot, especially during the summer months, which is from May until September. The heat can become unbearable, and it is important to stay hydrated and protect your skin from the sun. Wear light and loose clothing if possible, and make sure never to leave without a hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen lotion.
Moreover, it would be best to pre-plan a day’s itinerary, including rest stops and shelter from the sun, if traveling to Egypt during the summer months.
10-Don't display public affection
Egyptians are traditional, and public displays of affection are generally frowned upon. Tourists should avoid kissing, hugging, or holding hands with their partners in public, especially in conservative areas. Instead, show restraint and keep your intimacy private.
11-Don't take pictures of military personnel
Egypt is a country with a strong military presence, and tourists should avoid taking photographs of soldiers, military installations, or police officers. Doing so is prohibited and could lead to confiscation of your camera, detention, or legal action.
12-Don't eat street food
Egypt has a vibrant street food culture that tourists should avoid to minimize the risk of food poisoning. The street food may be tempting, but it is essential to be cautious about food safety and eat at reputable restaurants.
13-Don't be disrespectful to religion
Egypt is a predominantly Muslim country, and Islam is revered by its citizens. Tourists should be mindful of their actions and avoid any disrespectful behavior towards the religion. For example, it is not acceptable to wear shorts or tops that expose your skin when visiting mosques or any religious sites.
14-Don't take photos of people without permission
Egyptians are generally welcoming and hospitable to tourists. However, they consider the act of photographing someone without permission disrespectful. Be polite and ask for permission before taking photos of individuals, especially women with children.
15-Don't talk about politics
Egypt is a country with a complex political history, and its people are sensitive about it. Avoid discussing politics in public places as it could be misconstrued as criticism or meddling in the country’s affairs. It’s better to stick to neutral topics of conversation and avoid political discussions altogether.
16-Don't bargain for goods in a rude manner
In Egypt, bargaining for goods is a common practice, but be respectful while negotiating prices. Don’t try to rip off locals by offering a low price for their goods. Understand their need to make a living and pay a fair price for their products.
17-Before traveling to Egypt Don't neglect travel insurance
Lastly, it is crucial to have proper travel insurance when traveling to Egypt as accidents and illnesses can happen unexpectedly. Make sure to have a policy that covers medical expenses, travel disruptions, and theft.