Frequently Asked Questions
Information for Visitors to Egypt

What you want to know
If you are planning your first trip to Egypt, you probably have a lot of questions.

Here are the answers to some of travelers' most frequently asked questions.

What is the best time of year to visit Egypt?
Most tourists choose to travel to Egypt in winter (November-April), when average temperatures range from highs of 79 and lows of 55. Summer is hot (May-October), with average highs of 104 and lows of 76.
Is it safe to visit Egypt?
Egypt prides itself on its excellent safety record for tourists. There are no U.S. State Travel Warnings for Egypt. The police and army are visible everywhere for your safety. Most of the top attractions are located between Aswan and Luxor, an area that is historically very peaceful.

What about health concerns for tourists?
The main health issues travelers encounter are stomach upsets, heat exhaustion, and sun burn. Medical facilities in Egypt's larger cities are very good.

Is it safe for women to travel alone?
Violent crime against women is rare, but unwanted attention is not. Traveling with a tour guide is your safest choice. Egypt is a Muslim country so it is best to dress conservatively.
Is it safe to drink the water?
Don't drink the tap water. Bottled water is available everywhere; make sure the caps are unbroken. Just to be on the safe side, use bottled water to brush your teeth.  Ice in large hotels is ok, but ice in smaller local restaurants is probably made from tap water and should be avoided.
Do I need immunizations to travel in Egypt?
No immunizations are required to enter Egypt. You should be up to date on routine vaccinations (such as tetanus) while traveling anywhere. There's no risk of yellow fever or malaria in Egypt. While not required, the CDC recommends hepatitis A and typhoid vaccines for travelers to Egypt.
Can I use my credit/debit cards?
Yes. Most hotels and cruises accept Visa and MasterCard-but we have had trouble using American Express. Make sure to call your credit card companies and let them know you will be traveling internationally. You should carry cash when shopping in the street markets. We recommend taking at least 100 U.S. $1 bills from home - very useful for tips and small purchases.
What voltage does Egypt have, and what kind of plugs do they use?
Egypt has a voltage supply of 220V and the plugs are the 2 round pin type that are common throughout Europe (except the UK).
Do I need a passport or a travel visa?
You will need a passport to travel to Egypt. Make sure the expiration date is more than six months away.
If you are from North America or Western Europe, you will need to buy a tourist visa in the Cairo airport.  It costs $25 US, and must be paid in cash. Bucket List Travel employs Airport Agents to meet you when you get off the plane, and help you get your visa, go through passport control, and get your luggage.
How long is the flight to Cairo from the United States?
A direct flight from New York to Cairo takes
11 hours and 50 minutes.
What should I wear?
Because of the sun and heat, it's best to wear lightweight clothing, especially cotton fabrics, in light colors. Some sites offer little shade, so if you are prone to sunburns, you should cover up. Floors at the sites are not level so you should wear sturdy walking shoes or hiking boots. Dress on the Nile cruises is very casual.
What currency do they use in Egypt?
Egyptian currency is called the Egyptian pound. The exchange rate in March 2017 was $1 U.S. = 18.8 Egyptian Pounds. But U.S. dollars are accepted everywhere, so there is little need for you to have Egyptian money. The ATMs in Egypt dispense Egyptian currency, so you should plan to bring enough American money to last for your whole trip, and small bills are better to have with you. Don't forget to bring enough cash for tipping your guides, Nile cruise staff, and others.

What about tipping?
Egypt is a tipping culture. Egyptians tip everywhere, and a lot of people make their living from tips. You may be approached by someone asking for "baksheesh" or a tip. While all tipping is at your discretion, giving a small bill is an easy and polite way to handle the situation.
How much should I tip my tour guide, driver, and staff on the Nile Cruise?
Tipping is at your discretion, but here are some suggested guidelines:
  • For your tour guide: $15-$25 per person per day
  • For your driver, full day:  $2 per person in a group; $5 per person for a couple
  • For the cruise staff: $4-8 U.S. per person per day.  Put your tip in an envelope and give it to boat reception. This money later will be distributed  among the crew onboard.
Should I tip waiters in restaurants?
If the service and food was good, you might leave a tip of around 10%. There is often a service charge on the bill, but this goes to the restaurant and not to the waiter.
Are there social conventions I should observe?
Egypt is a Muslim country, and Islam is an important part of daily life. Hospitality to visitors is significant in the Koran, the Muslim holy book. Shaking hands is a normal greeting, but men should wait for a woman to offer her hand first. Public displays of affection are best kept to a minimum.
Is photography permitted?
Photography is not allowed in most tombs, museums and pyramids. Ask permission before taking pictures of people, especially women. Some local people dressed in traditional clothing will pose in front of temples and pyramids, and expect a small tip if you take their picture.
What language is spoken in Egypt?
Arabic is the official language, and English is widely spoken. Here are a few words of Arabic you might find helpful. 
  • Hello: marHaba      
  • Goodbye: maxa s-salaama
  • Yes: ajak -- No: laa
  • Thank you: shukran
Is there anything special I should bring?
It is sunny and often hot in Egypt, even in the winter.
Bring a sun hat, sunglasses, and sun block. If the heat bothers you, bring a small portable fan or mister. A flashlight or head lamp is useful in dark tombs. And bring LOTS of small bills for tips - I bring at least 100 US $1 bills for a week.
Should I buy trip insurance?
Millions of travelers rely on travel insurance to recover financially from unexpected circumstances that can interrupt their travel plans.

Bucket List Travel recommends Travel Guard trip insurance. We have found this company to be the most economical and comprehensive choice. 

You can purchase Travel Guard insurance directly from our site:

Purchase Travel Insurance

What should I do if the local vendors are aggressive or bothering me?
Learn the phrase "La Shukran" (No thank you!) and don't be afraid to say it if you are not interested in buying anything. If you forget "La Shukran" just politely say "No thank you" and walk away. Try to remember that the vendor is only trying to feed his family.
Why do tours start early in the morning?
Many tours (especially to the desert sites) are done either early morning or late afternoon to avoid the heat in the middle of the day.
Can I go inside the Great Pyramid?
Yes you can. There is an extra charge of $25. Ticket sales are restricted to 300 people per day; half at 8 a.m. and the other half at 3 p.m. Tickets are sold on a first come, first served basis only at the main entrance.
What is a Galabeya Party on the Nile cruise?
Many cruise ships have a “Galabeya party” one evening, when the guests are encouraged to wear Egyptian outfits (galabeyas.) You can buy outfits in the ship's gift shop; they have a limited selection, and cost about $20.  You can also buy your outfit in a bazaar outside the boat.
What is the time difference from the
United States?
Cairo is 6 hours ahead of EST in the United States.

That means when it is 9 a.m. in Boston, it is 3 p.m. in Cairo.

What is your payment/refund policy?
Your space on a tour will be secured when we receive a deposit of 25%.

In the event that you need to cancel a trip, these fees  will be applied:
  • More than 40 days before your arrival, 6% of the deposit paid will be charged.
  • Between 40 and 30 days before your arrival date, 25% of the entire tour price will be charged.
  • Between 29 and 15 days before your arrival date, 50% of the entire tour price will be charged.
  • Between 14 and 7 days before your arrival date, 75% of the entire tour price will be charged.
  • Between 7 and 1 days before your arrival date, 100% of the entire tour price will be charged.

Additionally, there are cancellation fees on all domestic flights within Egypt. If you cancel a tour at any time, you will be subject to any fees according to airline’s cancellation policy.

In the rare event that the U.S. State Department issues a travel warning for Egypt, the total amount you have paid will be refunded.
Payment Methods
We prefer checks or money orders.
Please make them payable to Bucket List Travel, and sent to:
Annie Emanuelli, Bucket List Travel, 80 Damon Road, 7303, Northampton, MA  01060.

We can accept credit cards (Visa, Master, AMEX and Discover),
but we ask for a 3% surcharge to cover our bank processing fees.
(That helps keep the price of our tours so low!)

What's the weather in Cairo right now?