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People who travel to Cairo, Egypt for business or vacation can expect to be able to find all of the conveniences that are available in most other modern cities/countries. However, there are some aspects of Cairo that tourists may not know:
The Sun: The sun and the heat in Cairo are very strong (in summer). When in exposed places like the Giza Pyramids, wearing a hat is an absolute must (in summer) – and the wider the brim the better. Any type of shade from the sun will benefit tourists. It’s not unusual to see locals as well as tourist wear some sort of towel or cloth that has been soaked in cold water wrapped around their heads. This can help keep a person keep cool in the extreme heat.
Sunscreen and Sunglasses: Bring them – no exception!
Shoes: Wearing comfortable shoes is a must for tourists in Cairo. Tourists spend a great deal of their time walking around and climbing stairs, and there is nothing worse than having hot and blistering feet while trying to enjoy the sights of the city. Also it is quite dirty and dusty, so the idea of sandles is a very bad one, you need something closed and comfortable. most advised is the sports shoes.
Getting Sick: It’s recommended that tourists drink bottled water while in Cairo. Most of the water in high-level hotels is filtered, but when eating or drinking outside of a hotel, bottled water should be chosen.
Also take care about where you eat, most places are of a good standard, but do keep this in mind. Good to get some recommendations before you travel, and know where you would prefer to eat. Some people prefer to avoid the salads and stick to the cooked vegetables.
Drinking very cold water can give you a cold in the stomach, also sharp changes in temperature, for example after having a shower, sitting in a cold air condtioned room, this is to be avoided.
Always recommended especially in summer time, do not try to drink very cold water when you are feeling hot, this will react badly on your stomach, try to drink something worm or at least on envirmonment temperature, only after getting back to hotel or cruise or staying in a cooler place for at least an hour then you can get cold drinks. Getting a very cold drink or water when you are feeling so hot will result on an upset stomach that may make more results afterwords.
Wash your hands frequently, and/or use anticeptic gel, the money is very dirty and the enviroment generally dusty.
Smoking: It is acceptable to smoke cigarettes in Cairo. Many of the locals smoke, but there is not a huge variety of cigarettes that can be purchased here. It is rare to find a place that is actually "No smoking", even if there is a sign, people will not really respect it, so be prepared for that.
Traffic and driving: This is one of the factors that can be the greatest shock to a lot of travellers, Cairo is the biggest city in Africa, traffic is really heavy and the way most people drive is outside all international standards. Some visitors enjoy the fun of it, and others are initially scared by it. So try to have a good attitude and relax. Vehicles are often old and in poor condition, so do not worry if your taxi is in a bad state, it is not something strange, it is normal....
Dress Code: Important being a Moslem country, and understanding that the average person is conservative in their dress. Women especially need to take this subject seriously, no shorts, low or tight tops, long sleeves and loose clothes are recommended. The more conservative you are, the more you will "fit in" and that is a good thing when you do not want to be the center of attention.
Travel Time: This normally takes longer that you would imagine, traffic is heavy and at most times of the day the streets are busy, so allow extra time, just in case. Friday is the only day when traffic is light, especially before 2pm. Friday is the main day off for the population.
Advice for Females travelling alone: This is perfectly ok, but there are things to be considered :-
- Be conservative in your dressing, to give off the right vibes.
- Generally have a serious attitude, not good to give the wrong impression. Do not give a lot of personal details about yourself.
- You will receive attention from young men, especially in the markets, all in good fun, but it can get annoying after a while, so you can pretend not to have heard the comments, and just walk on, this strategy works very well. Avoid eye contact when you are not interested - another very good tactic.
- Do not be over friendly, this may be interpreted wrongly, as the average Egyptian girl/lady would not do this.
More information for females travelling solo: