1- Tipping wasn’t a big deal just be sensible and you’ll get along just fine. Don't forget your guide and driver. Getting small bills for tips (1 or 5 LE notes) is as easy as buying a bottle of water with a 20 LE note.
2- The market is insane and full of cheap stuff. You’ll need to look hard to find something uniquely Egyptian to bring home. Ask the local experts before you go. They live there after all they'll know where to find what you're looking for.
3- As mentioned by others take baby wipes/tissues/sanitizing wipes everywhere. They come in handy in any number of ways. Slide a travel pack of wipes in a zip lock and it will usually fit your pocket. Most bathroom attendants offer two maybe three squares for all your needs so take your own.
4- In general Cairo felt very safe there was a visible police presence every where we went.
5- Beware apparently it’s common practice to spray insecticide in the cabin of the aircraft prior to departure from Egypt. If you’re pregnant or have breathing difficulties you may want to pack an activated carbon mask for you flight out.
5- Before you go sign up for a Skype account. Most hotels have an internet café close by. The one by our hotel, the flamenco, already had head sets for use by it’s patrons but you may want to pack one just in case. We called our son every night and it cost us 2.1 cents a minute (yes two point one cents) plus 6 LE per hour for the use of the computer, less than $5 for a week of calling through Skype. The connection was better than in our home in Iowa. It’s cheap and very easy to use. I have a Sandisk Cruzer with U3, a type of thumb drive. It allows you to load and run programs from the thumb drive. There is a Skype version for U3 drives. It allows you to run Skype from your drive on any Internet connected computer. So if you hit a café that doesn’t already have Skype loaded on the computers it’s not a problem. Pop your Cruzer in, fire up Skype and start chatting.
6- Foods: I tried to stick to local foods. The Kabob and kafta were ok. What I really liked was the bread, tahina, eggplant and fava bean dips. And let’s not forget the Egyptian pancake house.
7- Beware the Papyrus scam. Our hosts in the country filled us in. There is a rumor perpetuated by many guides that there is fake papyrus in the market made from banana leaves. We were told that is completely untrue. You cannot make paper from banana leaves. So many guides take unsuspecting tourists to the government run papyrus institutes and tell them the ‘paintings’ are one of a kind works of art. They are in fact not hand panted and are grossly over priced. The guide often gets 30-50% of the cost as a kick back.
8- Sunscreen Sunscreen Sunscreen…. We used ours everyday and everyday we passed some poor guy who “doesn’t burn but only tans” that was about the color of a Coke can. Most have never been exposed to sun this intense before and it’ll fry 20 years of tanned leathery hide right off the most over exposed farmer. Don’t ruin your trip, grease up every morning.
9- Cairo is a very modern city. If you forget to pack something you’ll most likely be able to find it or a good substitute in cairo.
10- Under pack. Getting laundry done is easy and cheap. In our hotel laundering a days worth of cloths (shirt, pants, socks and undies) cost about $4. A lightly packed bag going means more room for souvenirs coming home. Oh and pack or double pack all your liquids in zip lock bags. You don't want to start you trip in cloths saturated with sunscreen. Zip lock bags come in handy in so many ways.
11- Dress appropriately, you’ll attract less attention. No short shorts, tank tops or low cut blouses. It’s a conservative Islamic country and you are just visiting, be respectful. You'll amazed at who it improves your reception in any number of places.
12- Read this forum often and ask all your silly questions before you go. There are some very well seasoned travelers who frequent this corner of the net. Not to mention the local experts who live and work in Cairo. The only stupid question is the one you don’t ask.
13- get you Visa when you arrive. It's easy as pie. The places to get your Visa are directly in front of you when you enter the terminal. Could have been easier.
Oh and just one more thing I agree with everything on this list. tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g294201-i9404-k184… Nice work putting this together iamaphisig.