11. Do bring your own washcloth! I keep mine in a ziplock in my carry-on. It’s a wonderful treat to have when you want to freshen up during a long flight or during layovers. It’s a wonderful refresher in the middle of a full day of touring. It’s handy to keep moist (hence the ziplock) in case of lack of water wherever you are. Wet-wipes are also good for this (as well as disposable) However, I like to splurge a little on space with this one as it’s just a great comfort.
12. Pack earplugs in your carry-on! Again, very cheap at any drug store and you'd be amazed at how big a difference they make. Especially if you get stuck near a baby! They also help if there are different kinds of noises in the neighborhood that you're staying in. Nothing worse than lack of sleep on a short vacation.
13. Don't forget a decent jacket. Nights are cold in Egypt, even in spring. A lightweight windbreaker or fleece vest would be good. If you have something that can tie around your waist it will save baggage space AND provide you with another pillow on the flight! If the weather is a bit colder than you expect, you can always purchase a beautiful shawl or scarf to add warmth and then you have a wonderful memento as well.
14. Batteries are rather expensive in Egypt so you may want to bring a backup set for your camera. Same with digital memory cards.
15. If you are traveling with readers, plan ahead and coordinate the books you bring. You can exchange with each other as you finish.
16. Pack the cell phone number of a local expat that you’ve connected with. It’s always wise to have a safety net when traveling in unfamiliar territory.
17. Make multiple photocopies of your passport and stick them in different pieces of luggage, and in pockets of pants or jackets. Besides being good luggage ID, it’s a lifesaver if you loose track of the original.
18. Bring a bag or a purse that can be worn across your shoulders and is the correct size to hold your daily exploration supplies (ie; tour book, camera, waterbottle, sunscreen, glasses, tissues, etc…) It is a pain-in-the-rear-end to juggle all of those things as you’re walking around. It is so much better to have your hands free. Keep in mind that backpacks, in the warm weather, can be extremely uncomfortable and extra hot. Something with a strap long enough to go diagonally from shoulder to hip is much easier to deal with and is usually more secure as well.
19. Using public bathrooms in Egypt requires two additional supplies: tissues and small change. Most do not have toilet paper so carrying your own supply is practical. I highly recommend wet-wipes as they can serve dual (absorption and sanitation) purposes. Also, often you will find bathroom “employees” who seem to stand guard on the stalls, occasionally offer tissues and theoretically keep the space clean. It is customary to hand them a small tip as you leave. One Egyptian pound (20 cents) is more than enough. It is good to have a near-at-hand supply of these small bills or coins.
20. Travel sized hand-sanitizers would also come in handy. Although I still think wet-wipes are your best bet. All depends upon your cleanliness comfort level.
Just remember that your main goal is to relax and enjoy your time. Dragging suitcases is not fun. With extra movement there is also the likelihood of forgetting something somewhere. The less you have to unpack and repack the better. If you are traveling with others consider sharing as many supplies (toiletries, books, even clothes!) as possible to reduce space and weight.
Also, check into security requirements for carry-on luggage the week before you are scheduled to fly. There is always something new these days and changes are frequent.
Travelling with girlfriends -- a good thing in Egypt
Why? Because in Egypt while a male travelling partner can be lovely, it will also shield you from the very culture you are visiting. In Muslim countries, its a guy kind of thing... Hawkers, taxi drivers and friendly strangers will prefer to speak to him, answering your friend even if you have directly asked a question. However, with a female travelling partner, strangers are forced to speak to one or the other of you.
Secondly, your western guy can only ever see one half of Muslim culture - - the male half. It is very rare for a Muslim woman to address a strange foreign man, and no self-respecting Muslim man is going to invite a male stranger home to meet his wife and female relatives. With a female friend, you will have far more invitations into peoples homes, and be able to spend time with whole families together. I guess, if possible the ideal is to have at least one male and one other female in your travel group.
(Source: Elizabeth Eaves, Seattle, Washington, USA)
EDITOR'S NOTE: If you are travelling in this country with a male friend and youre booking hotels, etc, please remember to refer to him as your husband or you will not be considered a respectable woman.
Always check with your embassy for travel alerts ...
The Middle East can be a volatile place. Journeywoman strongly suggests the following links before travel to Egypt:
1) Canadian citizens - You will find official information and advice from the Government of Canada on situations that may affect your safety and well-being abroad, as well as other important travel issues such as security, local laws and culture, entry and exit requirements and health.
No matter where in the world you intend to travel, make sure you check the Travel Advice and Advisories page twice: once when you are planning your trip, and again shortly before you leave. If the region or the country you will be visiting becomes subject to a Travel Advisory, it may affect your travel health insurance or your trip cancellation insurance. See: http://travel.gc.ca/travelling/advisories
2) American citizens - Travel Warnings are issued when long-term, protracted conditions that make a country dangerous or unstable lead the State Department to recommend that Americans avoid or consider the risk of travel to that country. A Travel Warning is also issued when the U.S. Government's ability to assist American citizens is constrained due to the closure of an embassy or consulate or because of a drawdown of its staff. See: http://travel.state.gov/travel/cis_pa_tw/tw/tw_1764.html
3) British citizens - http://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice
4) Australian - http://smartraveller.gov.au/zw-cgi/view/Advice/
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