Beautiful Alexandria walk
- If you are a budget to midrange traveler, stay where I stayed at https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/2324 and by the way, long term readers of this blog know I'm not sponsored, but I'll take it if you offer to travel more! This place really made the trip, imagine waking up each morning and having coffee or tea looking at the pyramids. If I was leaving to go to Cairo I first went to the roof to glance at them. And of course the hosts were incredible, private and shared rooms available.
Good morning Egypt
- If for some reason you cant stay at Thomas's place try to stay in the neighborhood, be warned Giza is not as safe and clean as Cairo, which is not all that safe and clean anyway, but the memory was worth it for me.
- Bring plenty of USD or Euro, Egyptian currency at the time of my travels and at the time of this writing was too unstable to be traded anywhere in the world, so I needed to buy everything in cash. I always exchanged with my hosts rather than exchange people or I'd pay in Euro or Dollars at reputable places (i.e. Cairo Tower restaurant)
- You're in the middle east, be prepared to be heavily checked by security at any major points of interest or even your hotel, it sucks, but it's for our safety.
- So touching on safety, watch your back. I hate to deter tourism but to safe Egypt is completely safe would be a lie. I never felt in danger in Alexandria, but the other cities definitely had moments where things didn't feel right, and nothing happened to me, but you gotta be aware. On my way out of my guest house my host warned me to avoid saying I was American. I don't think this was an issue but being a tourist definitely was!
- All the taxi's will rip you off but they are so cheap it doesn't really matter.
- Overall on budget Egypt is SUPER CHEAP. You're only real costs should be flights and lodging. Everything else is extremely cheaper than what you would spend at home for meals, museums, etc.
- In light of security stuff already mentioned, get to the airports extra earlier than you normally would.
- Watch out for the hagglers! At the time of writing this I have been to 42 countries on 6 of the 7 continents and Egypt is by far the worst for hagglers in the shops and main tourist areas! They will leave their stores to try to get you to buy something. At one point an old guy actually was grabbing my arm trying to pull me into the store, in my country I would have considered putting him in an arm bar with at least a verbal threat, in Egypt I politely grabbed his hand off me and told him to piss off.
- Have dinner on the Nile! Or lunch, or both! I did a dinner cruise which you can book thru your hosts in Cairo then in Luxor I was staying right on the Nile and had a nice dinner at a restaurant there. Don't go in the Nile though, poisonous snakes.
- Best bet for booking stuff is to have a reliable host or tour guide, booking in advance is of course doable, but trust me it was easier to have a guide and book as I go. I self toured Alexandria and my last two days in Cairo. I had a driver for Luxor and a tour guide for the start in Cairo. A guide may seem pricey for a budget traveler but it probably levels out what you'd be paying if you pay the tourist prices.
- Remember since the revolution tourism has suffered. I asked my guide in Cairo what the biggest tour she ever did was, she said 120, there were 3 of us that day. It made for amazing pictures that the vast majority of places I went there were only a handful of tourists but it also made me feel bad for the good people there that need the tourism industry. We can only hope that one day this region stabilizes and everyone can enjoy the history, beauty, and nature it has to offer.