Off to Egypt. Novice traveller after some advice

#1
I'm about to rush off to Egypt at short notice for a few days, maybe even two weeks.
I'm most likely to be in a decent hotel so I shouldn't have to rough it.


Is it possible to take prescription medication with me? What about "tesco remedies"?
I'm hoping to take my camera and laptop too. Has anyone got any recent experience of travelling with these by air? Should I take them as hand-held luggage, or must they go as baggage in the hold?
Plus, what sensible advice, info and tips could you give to someone who hasn't travelled abroad in twenty years. Are there any essentials to remember?
 
#2
1. Check the fco travel site.

2. Camera and lappy - hand baggage.

3. Ready use medicine ok in hand baggage, if on prescription, take a copy of the scrip with you, but also check the fco travel site on restrictions on drug imports.

4. Take a photocopy of your passport piccy page, keep separate to your passport.

5. Take travel insurance.

6. Bon Voyage (check the fco site).
 

Auld-Yin

ADC
Kit Reviewer
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#3
Take your passport.
 
#5
Do not bother with the over the counter UK remedies for the skits - they are useless out there. Go to a local pharmacy and buy the local remedy over the counter, they usually are located close to hotels complexes and english is spoken. Very fast and very effective. Not too expensive (£7 - 9) but well worth it. If you are going to Sharm El Sheik, do not bother with the long queue for a visa and the bill for it at the airport unless you are venturing out from the resort.
 

Auld-Yin

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#6
When you arrive back in UK after your holiday, remember to claim asylum and ask for all those benefits.
 
C

count_duckula

Guest
#8
I've spent five weeks in Cairo this summer at a language school there learning Modern Standard and Egyptian Colloquial dialect. Cairo is crammed, dirty and riotous. Try and get away from the modern, awful bits with modern hotels and head to old Cairo. At this time of year it'll be cooler and there'll be fewer tourists, hopefully meaning there'll be fewer hawkers. As B-L said, learn to say La, Shukran! confidently and firmly without being rude. Otherwise, just go with the flow. It's not a bad place at all and if you can avoid people trying to sell you rubbish the Egyptians are good guys. Don't forget hand sanitiser/soap-spray type stuff and tissues. I took a whole load of spare ones that had accumulated in my room from rat packs, they came in handy!
 

Nehustan

On ROPS
On ROPs
#9
I've spent five weeks in Cairo this summer at a language school there learning Modern Standard and Egyptian Colloquial dialect. Cairo is crammed, dirty and riotous. Try and get away from the modern, awful bits with modern hotels and head to old Cairo. At this time of year it'll be cooler and there'll be fewer tourists, hopefully meaning there'll be fewer hawkers. As B-L said, learn to say La, Shukran! confidently and firmly without being rude. Otherwise, just go with the flow. It's not a bad place at all and if you can avoid people trying to sell you rubbish the Egyptians are good guys. Don't forget hand sanitiser/soap-spray type stuff and tissues. I took a whole load of spare ones that had accumulated in my room from rat packs, they came in handy!
^sound advice.

I love Cairo, but I think my advice is figuratively stay close to the ground; nobody anywhere likes people parachuting in with bulging pockets. I spent a summer in Cairo some moons ago, and the old city is a go-er; try 'min fidlak finjan shai ma nana, shukran' at one of the cafes as dusk approaches... ;)
 
#10
Don't forget to talk about the Suez invasion of 1956, they'll know what you're talking about, in fact, they will probably bring it up with you when they realise you are a Brit.
They did with me and made me feel personally responsible and that was just the fecking tour guide..
And bring up Israel in conversation, they like that.

Good luck :salut:
 
#11
About a hundred (or possibly 12 or 13) years ago we did a tour to Egypt with Bales Travel.

We spent about 3 days in Cairo staying at the Mena Garden Oberoi Hotel - a really nice hotel and you can float in the pool looking up at the Pyramids. we did the usual stuff fo the Pyramids, Memphis, Cairo Museum, etc.

We then flew to Luxor (as the Middle Nile was dodgy to travel through even then) and got on a Nile cruise ship and went up to Aswan and back. Being with a smaller tour company meant there were only about 16 of us with a dedicated guide - the bigger operations had 50+ pax with one guide, so you got a lot more info and help.

If you have the option to fly from Aswan to Abu Simbel (only about 45 mins) take it - it's amazing. The whole trip only takes about 1/2 a day.

Do some research about cruise ships before you book, as there are good and bad. I think we were on the Ra III, and throughout the whole trip never had any stomach problems.

Take a good torch, a hat with a brim and a padded water bottle carrier to keep your water cool.
 
#12
About a hundred (or possibly 12 or 13) years ago we did a tour to Egypt with Bales Travel.

We spent about 3 days in Cairo staying at the Mena Garden Oberoi Hotel - a really nice hotel and you can float in the pool looking up at the Pyramids. we did the usual stuff fo the Pyramids, Memphis, Cairo Museum, etc.

We then flew to Luxor (as the Middle Nile was dodgy to travel through even then) and got on a Nile cruise ship and went up to Aswan and back. Being with a smaller tour company meant there were only about 16 of us with a dedicated guide - the bigger operations had 50+ pax with one guide, so you got a lot more info and help.

If you have the option to fly from Aswan to Abu Simbel (only about 45 mins) take it - it's amazing. The whole trip only takes about 1/2 a day.

Do some research about cruise ships before you book, as there are good and bad. I think we were on the Ra III, and throughout the whole trip never had any stomach problems.

Take a good torch, a hat with a brim and a padded water bottle carrier to keep your water cool.
Does that work with beer too?
 
#14
After my last visit to Egypt the only advice I would give is..

Forget about taking unecessary things like a change of clothes. After two days, you'll blend in with the smell of the locals and all you'll be wishing for is that you'd brought two dozen rolls of soft bog roll and a butt plug to stop the shit from seeping down the leg of your shorts. Don't eat the burgers, no matter how tasty they look they will be made from ground up camel.

I guarrantee the Novelty of saying a polite "La Shukran" will be quickly replaced by barking "Imshi"!! to every street hawker who comes within 50 yards of you.

Avoid the carpet factorys and papyrus galleries and If you are walking down one of the local Souks keep your hands in your pockets unless you want to end up having to buy the 6 fake Rolex watches you find have been mysteriously slipped up both of your forearms.
Resist the temptation to buy a Fez. They light up with an invisible red revolving light like the one on the roof of Starskys Grand Tornino, that only street traders can see see. Within the time it takes for money to exchange hands you will find yourself surrounded by at least two dozen 'rabs flogging you every conceivable item of useless sh1t.



The bloke hanging round in the shadows of Luxor temple who appears, like the shopkeeper from Mr. Benn, to try and sell you a "go" on his wife is a robing barsteward .. she wasn't worth £6E.

..Oh and and no matter how laid back your Cairo taxi driver is, don't take him up on his offer to let you drive his taxi through Cairo rush 'hour' for a bit.
 
#15
Did the 3 days in Cairo and 3 days on the Nile (Luxor to Aswan) in Aug 2004 and thoroughly enjoyed it, very hot though.
The Egyptian museum in Cairo is excellent.
We went on a random tube ride into the suburbs and emerged in a seriously crowded market place just as a goat was being slaughtered. The taxi ride back to the hotel in a battered Peugeot was a real hoot for £3, twice what the chap asked for. Bump-starting another Peugeot taxi, too.
If in Cairo, visit the city of the dead. About 30000 people live among the tombs and catacombs in squalor amid medieval mosques. Bought a pile of bread there for 50p and an old bloke invited us to join him for a glass of water and some thick coffee.
 

Ravers

LE
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
#16
About a hundred (or possibly 12 or 13) years ago we did a tour to Egypt with Bales Travel.

We spent about 3 days in Cairo staying at the Mena Garden Oberoi Hotel - a really nice hotel and you can float in the pool looking up at the Pyramids. we did the usual stuff fo the Pyramids, Memphis, Cairo Museum, etc.

We then flew to Luxor (as the Middle Nile was dodgy to travel through even then) and got on a Nile cruise ship and went up to Aswan and back. Being with a smaller tour company meant there were only about 16 of us with a dedicated guide - the bigger operations had 50+ pax with one guide, so you got a lot more info and help.

If you have the option to fly from Aswan to Abu Simbel (only about 45 mins) take it - it's amazing. The whole trip only takes about 1/2 a day.

Do some research about cruise ships before you book, as there are good and bad. I think we were on the Ra III, and throughout the whole trip never had any stomach problems.

Take a good torch, a hat with a brim and a padded water bottle carrier to keep your water cool.
Me and the wife did pretty much the same trip in May this year. 3 nights at Mena House (probably the nicest hotel in Cairo) followed by a four night cruise from Aswan to Luxor.

Good points: Amazing history, scenery etc, definitely do the pyramids and Cairo museum.

Bad points: Despite all our best efforts, we both got the shits big time. Watch out for the street sellers, they will literally drag you by the arm to look in their shops, be firm and remember if you are going to buy any of their tat, take their original price and divide it by ten. Be on your guard, even the police out there will try and rob you, two coppers at the pyramids took my camera off us to look at it and demanded money before they would give it back.

Having travelled a lot, the missus and I both decided the trip was worth it to see the historical stuff but we wouldn't go back. In my opinion, Cairo is without a doubt the most uncomfortable* city I've ever been to, this includes anywhere I've been in India, the missus said the only place she's been that is worse is Caracas in Venezuela.





*By uncomfortable, I clearly mean that the place is a filthy shit hole.
 

The_Duke

LE
Moderator
#18
Buy good travel insurance - you may (will?) need it for medical coverage when over there, and to repatriate your vomiting, shite stained body back to the UK if you get seriously ill.

Any valuables must be in your posession or locked away if you want to have any hope of claiming for them on your insurance. Minimise them wherever you can; a carrying a laptop, camera, phone, ipod, etc all gets a bit boring after a while. In your hand luggage when travelling, with you or in a safe in your hotel at all other times. With you means exactly that - think of the old arms length from your weapon bit and you won't go far wrong. If you cant put your hand on it (ie you left it on the tour bus/by the deckchair/under the table) and it gets lifted, expect to lose out.
 
#19
#20
Make sure you've got some British or US cash on you when you arrive to buy your entry visa. I think it was £10 about 4 years ago.

Don't drink any of the water.

Don't have ice cubes in your drinks (it's the same shitty water).

Don't drink direct from any cans (they store them in sheds with rats pissing all over them.)

Haggle the price over everything. They will rob you blind otherwise.

Be prepared for the hand to be held out for tips for any slight help you may be given. I had a cleaner at the airport offer to direct me to the smoking area, which I stupidly accepted, and he wanted a tip. When informed I had no money on me, I did but he wasn't having the equivalent of £10 (smallest note I had, no change on me). He wanted me to go to the cash point to give him cash. I fobbed him off with a packet of fags (they cost pennies over there). Even had a copper hold his hand out after taking a picture of him on a camel.

Be prepared to possibly see dead horses in the rivers/canals. They whip the buggers to death and dump them where they die.

Cairo is a dump, and to top it off, the Pyramids are smaller than you think.

Enjoy your flight back home to civilisation.
 

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