Essential Travel Information and Foreign Travel Advice
The following holiday tips and information are for general guidance and should you require any further information about one of the holidays advertised on this website then please do not hesitate to contact us where our experienced staff will be happy to assist you: 0800 193 8382
Q: Passports and Visas
A: All British and EU citizens require a full 10 year passport with at least six months validity with the name on the passport matching that on the ticket(newly-weds must bring proof of name change). All British and EU passport holders require a tourist visa to enter Egypt and Jordan which may be obtained online in advance through https://visa2egypt.gov.eg or on arrival in Egypt. Payment for visas purchased on arrival must be made in sterling notes or any non-Egyptian currency (regrettably Northern Ireland and Scottish banknotes are not acceptable).
You can obtain a Visa on arrival at all Egypt airports and the current cost is $25 US dollars (which currently equates to approx. £20).The Visa stamp is sold by one of the bank counters in the Arrivals hall just before you reach the Passport control desk. It can be paid for in most currencies and no forms or pictures are required. Any change due will be given to you in Egyptian pounds so please be aware of the exchange rate in order to ensure that you are given the correct amount.
Q: What is my baggage allowance?
A: The standard baggage allowance varies by airline and your final allowance will be detailed on your flight tickets. Please note that we have no control over what the individual airlines will allow. Most low cost/charter airlines make a charge for checked in luggage. Full information is provided at time of booking. Egyptair is 23 kilos.
A: E-tickets and any other documents relating to your booking will be sent to the address which you give us at the time of booking. These will be dispatched (where applicable) to you at least 2 weeks prior to departure.
Please note that two airlines may share the same services, therefore a flight may not be operated by the airline whose designated code is shown on your itinerary and ticket.
Q: What is an electronic ticket?
A: An e-ticket or electronic ticket is one that replaces the need for paper tickets. This method of ticketing is used to make the booking process easier and quicker as your details are stored by the airline electronically and retrieved using the reference given to you when you book.
This means that you will not need to produce anything, all you need to do is quote the reference or show your passport in order to check-in.
Q: Are airline meals included?
A: Depending on your chosen airline – some airlines do include meals. Please ask at the time of booking if a meal is included. If you have any specific dietary requirements such as gluten free or vegan please contact us online or call us on 0800 193 8382
Q: Health & Safety Overseas
A: Every tour operator takes every possible step to ensure that your holiday is safe and trouble free. However we would like to remind you that although each tour operator constantly strives to raise health and safety standards in all resorts, standards are generally not always as thorough to those found back home.
No vaccinations are required to visit any of the countries we feature but it is worth checking with your GP about those which might be recommended.
Most of the larger hotels in Egypt can obtain common medicines but of course please bring your own prescription medicine with you as although it may be available in pharmacies, it may be known under a different name. Stomach upsets can occur due to the heat and change of diet, so it is best to bring preventive medicine with you.
A combination of heat, spicy foods and not enough water are all contributing factors for stomach upsets. So, by following a few simply guidelines can often save sickness during your holiday.
Please remember to:
Wash your hands before eating!
Try to avoid ice cubes in drinks. We advise not to drink tap water. Always make sure that seal of the bottled top is unbroken before drinking. Lastly, if you have a particularly weak stomach, try to avoid foods such as salads that may have been washed with tap water.
Make sure that food has been cooked properly and is hot when eaten.
Do not drink too much alcohol during the day as this can help cause dehydration.
Lastly, please remember to take out comprehensive Travel Insurance and don’t forget to take it with you when you travel!
To make the most of your trip abroad we recommend that you check the advice given by the Foreign Commonwealth Office by visiting https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice
Q: Currency & Exchange
A: Credit cards and travellers cheques are widely accepted in all resorts that we feature. They are now generally accepted on Nile cruises – but with a service charge of approximately 2%. An official receipt will be given when exchanging money, which should be kept for inspection. There are a number of cash machines in some of the resorts and hotels but you should not plan to rely on their use as the service can be limited. Check with the hotel for locations.
Egypt – Egyptian pounds (E£), around 24 to £1 sterling. The Egyptian pound is made up of 100 piastres, and notes range from 25 piastres upwards. You are most likely to be dealing with E£1, E£5, E£10, E£20, E£50 and E£100 notes. Some of the notes look very similar on first glance, so when buying souvenirs, be absolutely sure which note you’re handing over – 50 piastres or 50 Egyptian pounds.
US Dollars and Sterling are widely accepted throughout Egypt.
Please note: that many shops at Luxor airport do not accept Egyptian currency, though the café does.
Tip: Hold on to small notes – E£1 and E£5 particularly, for tipping and to buy cheaper items, as change seems to be in short supply in Egypt.
A: 220/240 AC volts. An adaptor is necessary (usually two-pin).
A: Arabic is the official language in Egypt although English is widely spoken.
Q: Social customs
A: All of the countries we feature follow the Muslim tradition and it is important that local customs and etiquette are respected. Whilst these countries are more used to seeing Western holidaymakers in little clothing, shorts and swimwear is acceptable around the pool or sundeck but not in public places.
Women should cover their upper arms and should not wear revealing tops or shorts in public especially when visiting religious sites. It is also advisable for mean to wear short/long sleeved shirts and long trousers.
You will see Egyptian male friends greeting each other with a hug and kiss on both cheeks, but not friends of the opposite sex. As foreigners, it is best to stick to a hand shake.
Ramadan: The holy month of fasting provides the opportunity to gain an insight into Islamic culture, the date of which varies according to the Islamic lunar calendar. During Ramadan it is important to note that you should refrain from smoking, eating or drinking in public during the hours of daylight. Hotels will make provisions for guests during this time.
A: In hotels and on the cruise boats, you will find international and European-style cuisine widely available. Arabic dishes in all its variations is well catered for and visitors can try such dishes as
Tahini: Sesame seed paste, mixed with garlic, spices and some olive oil, and served as a dip with bread..
Baba ghannough: A dip made from tahini and mashed aubergines…
Falafel: A type of fried pate made from broad beans, chick peas, parsley and spices.
Stuffed vine leaves: Rice and minced meat wrapped in vine leaves.
Karkade: A local drink made from hibiscus petals. It is burgundy in colour and very thirst- quenching. It can be served hot or cold and sweetened to taste. Sweetened with 7-up, it makes a long, cool drink.
Fruit juices: Freshly squeezed juices such as orange, mango are widely available. The local speciality is sugar cane juice.
A: As Muslim countries, the production of alcohol has naturally been of restricted interest. However, spirits and wines are readily available, though they tend to be expensive.
Wine: The quality of local wines has improved but may not be up to standards with which you are familiar in the UK.
Beer: The choice is somewhat limited, but local beer is good and of better value than that designated as export, which is generally in smaller bottles and more expensive. Imported beers, such as Heineken, are available in cans in hotel bars but can be expensive.
Coffee & Tea: Unless you want Turkish style coffee, ask for a Nescafe. More hotels now have coffee machines so it is possible to order cappuccino, expressos, etc, but such machines are far from universal.
Tip: Egyptian hot beverages are usually enjoyed without milk and with loads of sugar and tea especially is quite often flavoured with mint. Remember to ask for milk if you want it, as it often does not come automatically.
Q: Safety Deposit Boxes
A: Most hotels and cruise boats have safety deposit boxes or -in room safes available for clients use, often at no extra charge.
Q: Opening hours
A: Banks are usually open from 8.30am to 2pm daily, closed Fridays, Saturdays and most public holidays.
Shops are open generally from 10am to 9pm in the winter and 9am to 10pm in the summer. Many shops are closed on Sunday. In tourist areas and shopping malls, you will find shops open outside these hours.
N.B. The timings may differ from country to country and are intended for guidance only
In Egypt it is customary to be offered tea or a soft drink in larger shops. Bargaining is a common practice in all bazaars and can be fun. Your guide will be able to give you information on the best way to haggle and also guidance on what you should pay for common souvenirs such as papyrus, galabeyas, gold jewellery, perfume, spices etc.
A: In Egypt local taxis are readily available and inexpensive, but agree the fare before embarking on your journey, and don’t pay until the end of your journey. The same goes for caleches, or horse and carriage rides.
A: It is expensive to telephone home from hotels. In Egypt Phonecards cost E£20 or E£30 for a approx. 3-4 minute call to the UK. Ask your representative for further advice.
Tip: When calling in Egypt, do not allow the number of rings to exceed 11 as you will be charged anyway, even if the call has not been answered.
Q: Tipping & Onboard
A: Tipping, or baksheesh as it is called in Egypt, is a way of life, and porters, waiters, temple guardians etc expect a small tip, in Egypt around E£1 for a porter, E£2 coach driver, E£50 cleaner if staying in a hotel. Tip around 15 per cent on a restaurant bill.
The only additional expenses are drinks (unless you have opted for All Inclusive), tips, souvenirs and optional excursions available on board. A credit system operates on board the boat whereby all extras will be billed to your cabin and settled at the end of your cruise. There are limited money exchanging facilities on board so it is advisable to ensure that you have enough local currency although your guide will allow time for a bank stop during your cruise.
Tipping on a Nile cruise, you will be asked to pay a sum of money at the start of your cruise from which your guide will pay all tipping outside the boat for you throughout your holiday and then it is customary on a Nile Cruise to tip the guide and crew collectively at the end of your holiday usually the total amount is approximately UK£25 per person for the duration.
A: Accommodation is normally based on 2 adults sharing a standard cabin or room with facilities as specified in the respective description. In the case of a sole occupancy, a supplement will be chargeable. The third bed in a triple room/cabin is normally a foldaway or sofa-bed. Care must be taken at night as resort/hotel grounds paths may not be illuminated. We recommend that you familiarise yourself with swimming pool depths and the layout of the pool before entering it. Occasionally hotel pools and other facilities may be closed for maintenance and we will endeavour to inform you in advance where possible. It should be noted that most pools in Cairo and Alexandria in Egypt are usually closed during the winter months between November and April.
A: Some museums and historical sites in Egypt may not allow photography while others may charge a fee, usually around E£5-E£10. While you may usually take pictures as you like from the outside of most monuments, many demand that you do not use a flash when taking pictures inside. The use of video cameras is restricted, and a larger, additional fee is payable. Photography is strictly prohibited at military installations, public works and government buildings. Always ask permission before taking photographs of local people, and expect to be asked for a tip in return.
A: It gets very hot in summer throughout the Middle East, so loose, light cotton clothing is the most comfortable. Take sunglasses, comfortable walking shoes and a good sunhat. You should dress conservatively – women should not have bare shoulders or wear revealing tops or shorts – in town, especially when visiting mosques and churches or you will risk causing offence.
Q: Special Requirements
A: Facilities for the disabled or those with impaired mobility are very limited in Egypt. We would therefore ask you to discuss with us the suitability of any particular accommodation and resort before making a booking. Wheelchair or other special assistance is available at most airports and it is essential that, if needed, this is requested at the time of booking so we can endeavour to meet your requirements.
Q: Cruise Itineraries
A: Nile Cruise itineraries and excursions can, for operational reasons, be subject to alteration locally at short notice.
When the boat is moored, vessels may have to berth alongside each other restricting views and requiring clients to pass through a number of boats to disembark. Upon disembarkation clients will be required to walk along a gangplank and there may be steps to climb. For this reason we do not recommend Nile cruises for the disabled or those with impaired mobility.