Egyptian Visa InformationA valid passport and a tourist visa are required for most nationalities. Tourist visas are available at Egyptian embassies and consulates around the world. A single-entry visa is valid for 3 months from when you acquire it, and allows you a 1 month stay in the country. If you are planning to pop in to any neighboring countries while in Egypt, I would suggest applying for a multiple- entry visa, so you can get back in to Egypt without any problems. Check with your closest Egyptian consulate or embassy for fees and the most up to date information.
If you are on a group tour, the travel agency will often organize the visa for you, but it is always good to check on this yourself. Some nationalities are able to get a tourist visa upon arrival at the major airports. This option is actually a little cheaper, but I would always recommend to plan ahead and get a visa before you leave. Visa rules and regulations change with the political winds, you don't want to run the risk of being turned back at the airport.
Note: All tourists have to register with the local police within a week of their arrival. Most hotels will take care of this for you for a small fee. If you are travelling with a tour group it is likely you will not even be aware of this formality.Health and Safety in Egypt.
CurrencyThe official currency of Egypt is the Egyptian Pound (guinay in Arabic). 100 piastres ( girsh in Arabic) make 1 pound. Banks, American Express, and Thomas Cook offices will readily exchange your traveler checks or cash. ATM cards can also be used in major cities, as can Visa and Mastercards. If you plan to travel off the beaten track, always make sure you have enough local currency with you. Nothing worse than spending a precious vacation day searching for a bank when you could be exploring tombs! For current exchange rates use this currency converter. The maximum amount of Egyptian currency that can be brought in or taken out of Egypt is 1,000 Egyptian pounds.
Tip: Hold on to your one and five pound notes, they come in handy for tipping which you will be doing a lot of. Baksheesh is a phrase you will come to know well.
Weekends and HolidaysFriday is the principle day off in Egypt with many businesses and banks closed on Saturday too. Official holidays are as follows:
- January 7th - Coptic Christmas
- February 22nd - Union Day
- April 25th - Sinai Liberation Day
- May 1st - Labor Day
- June 18th - Evacuation Day
- July 1st - Bank Holiday
- July 23rd - Revolution Day
- September 11th - Coptic New Year
- October 6th - ArmedForces Day
- October 23rd - National Liberation Day
- October 24th - Suez Victory Day
- December 23rd - Victory Day
What to WearLoose, light cotton clothing is absolutely essential especially if you are travelling in the summer. Buy some clothes while you are there, it is always fun to shop for something practical in the bazaars. It is a good idea to bring a water bottle with you, sunglasses and eyedrops for the dust when visiting the temples and pyramids.
Egypt is a Muslim country and unless you are looking to offend, please dress conservatively. When visiting churches and mosques men should not wear shorts and women should not wear shorts, mini-skirts or tank tops. In fact it is inadvisable for women to wear anything short or sleeveless unless on the beach or by a pool. It will save you some unwanted attention. This article from Journeywoman.com gives more practical advice for women travelers in Egypt.