Africa, Egypt

A Trip to Egypt – Part 1 The Plan

Why Egypt?

As a child, maybe it was looking at images of The Great Pyramids of Giza and the wonders of the world through a Viewmaster or watching the Discovery Channel’s documentaries about King Tut and Valley of the Kings as a teenager. The ideas were planted in my mind and I used to say, “One day I’ll go to the valley of the Kings.” But as life happens, you get distracted along the way by school, career, friends, relationships and I completely lost sight of those things.

Fast forward to November 2016, I was taking toll of all my unused vacation days and contemplating where could I travel. So I stared at a world map for a while. I’m still not sure how I landed on Egypt as a destination, maybe it was destiny or recently watching Transformers (An “Our worlds have met before” moment) but all those Egyptian interests came back.

So I researched and started crunching numbers to see if it was even feasible. Being from Trinidad and Tobago, flight costs can get expensive pretty fast. I pulled together the list of things that I wanted to do and sent it off to a few Egyptian tour operators to see what private packages could be arranged.

I was pretty sure I would be taking this trip alone; no one’s schedules or interests would ever align at the point in time that I wanted to go. Aside from that, EVERYONE (even one immigration officer at an airport) thought that it was not a good idea even crazy to travel to Egypt given the political climate and proximity to war zones. I couldn’t decipher a single thing in Arabic and my list was pretty long, so I figured having a guide was a good way to go. Much to my surprise and my mother’s relief, my sister Leila decided to come along on the trip to Egypt.

Travel Information

Safety in Egypt – N.B. check government travel alerts and advisories regularly. Don’t join any protests. Practice vigilance, be aware of your surroundings and secure your valuables and you will be fine. Egyptians are pretty friendly, I had no issues outside of being hassled in the markets to purchase things.

Visa -You should be able to get the visa on arrival at the international airports for $25 USD but confirm with your consulate/embassy. There was a bit of back and forth for my Trinidad and Tobago passport, but in the end I was able to get the visa at the airport for 30 days.

Medication & Vaccines – Yellow fever is usually a requirement for my country, confirm with your embassy for your requirements. Also remember to check the legality of any medication that you intend to carry to Egypt.

Travel Insurance – It’s always a good idea, keep your certificate handy.

Currency – Egyptian Pounds, I got a small amount at the airport, but you can use ATMs to withdraw local currency once your bank supports it. You’ll need a lot of small bills for tipping. You’re pretty much expected to tip anyone who helps you.

If you’re using Egyptian guides or a tour operator, shop around and negotiate to ensure that you’re getting the best value for your hard earned dollars. We used a tour operator from the Australian Hostel. They arranged transport and Egyptologists for the selected tours.  Egyptologists definitely give you more insight into the history behind the ancient cities.

Egypt Packing List

I’m from the Caribbean, I’m quite comfortable in temperatures between 24° C and 34°C. In February- March there should have been high temperatures of around 22°C, but it wasn’t. Got off the plane to highs of 13°C for the first few days of the trip.

Egypt is cold in the morning, warms up during the day and then it’s cold again when the sun sets. If you’re out all day, take the layers you need to be warm and to be comfortable.

Here are the items on my packing list that are worth mentioning

Sturdy walking shoes

You’re going to be on your feet in lots of dirt and sand. I got a pair of Ahnu Sugarpine Hiking Boots specifically for this trip. These are lightweight, breathable with good ankle support, so it was great for my itinerary which included a lot temple sites, a desert safari and Mt. Sinai. I also took one pair of sneakers and slippers for the times when the boot wasn’t necessary, like walking around downtown Cairo or the resort areas.

Camera and electronics

I used a compact travel camera, Sony Hx60 for my general photos. Don’t forget the batteries like me. I roamed the streets of Cairo to find a battery on my first day.

A GoPro Hero 3  specifically for the desert safari and water activities of the trip.

Unlocked mobile phone, you can get an Egyptian sim to stay connected.

Electrical adapter for E/F type sockets

Sun Protection

Sunglasses (I love Maui Jims) and sunblock, you should have these for life, not just a trip. Also, if you burn easily take a brimmed hat.


As a woman travelling to Egypt, you’re not required to wear a head scarf except when in a mosque but it is a conservative country, so cover up and dress modestly if you don’t want extra attention. I’m a pants and shirt type of gal. So that’s what I pretty much packed, breathable shirts (mostly long sleeved), long pants, sweaters, scarves, camisoles (for layering purposes that annoying gap between shirt buttons) and jeans. The linen pants didn’t get much use given the temperatures on the trip. Also, for the red sea a swimsuit, cover up and a pair of shorts.

Suitcase space

Don’t kid yourself, if you’re going home after the trip, you’ll want souvenirs. Egypt is well known for Egyptian cotton, perfumes, spices, alabaster and lots of crafts. You really have a lot of choices in the souvenir department.


Bathrooms usually have attendants who will give you a small amount of toilet paper and soap in exchange for tip. So be prepared with your own toilet paper, hand sanitizer and wipes.

What to do in Egypt?

Here’s my 17 day Itinerary. In a country rich in history, four sentences and a couple photos will not do justice to the places I saw and stories I heard. More posts on each to follow so stay tuned.

Did I cover Egypt? Nope, I haven’t even scratched the surface. Would I go back? YES! In a heartbeat. Have you been to Egypt? Where do you recommend? What’s your favourite?


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26 thoughts on “A Trip to Egypt – Part 1 The Plan

    1. Hi Roger,
      Oh, it was an amazing trip. The pyramids are amazing! You can check out part 2 of my trip and there are some more posts coming soon! I hope that you enjoy them also.

  1. I can totally relate when you say that as life happens you get distracted with other things, so those little dreams of traveling and doing things are put aside. And just like you Egypt has always been a place i wanted to go to. I’m also from the Caribbean, and you’re experience can really help get there for a few days. Thanks so much for this valuable post!

    1. Hello Ileana,
      I am glad you enjoyed it. It really is amazing how easy it is to shift focus along and lose sight along the way. I hope you make it to Egypt one day, there’s so much more about the trip I need to share. I hope to make it back one day, there’s still so much more to do!
      What island are you from?

  2. Wow, I have always wanted to visit Egypt. I hope to make it someday. There is so much history, and like you said, you probably didn’t even scratch the surface. What was your favorite part? I can only imagine what the pyramids are like in real life.

    I really like the travel tips you included about safety, watching your surroundings and staying vigilant. I think these tips hold true for just about anywhere you plan to visit. Stick to the places you are supposed to be and stay out of trouble.

    One thing I have to ask is what about the food? I can’t wait to hear all about the food. Local culinary is one thing I love to enjoy when on a vacation.

    You have a lot of great information here, I really hope to have the chance to visit. I will check out more of your posts, I want to find out all about it.

    1. Hi Steve! The pyramids and the white desert safari tie for first place for me. The food was amazing, most things i had… i had no idea what it’s called, i don’t speak or read arabic… but the things i did have were great! They serve amazing bread and hummus/ tahini with everything (now i think dinner rolls suck lol). There was also a place called GAD served mostly things like falafel , shwarma etc, everything i tried from them was great (they are always crowded as well). Sweets are very popular also, cookies, chocolates, cakes, pastry…. on evenings bakeries are packed.

  3. I’ve never been to Egypt but it a place I would love to visit someday. Thanks for all the tips. It is nice to hear some tips from someone who has actually been there. How long did you stay on this particular trip.

  4. Amazing how I stumbled across your article as I have been thinking of going to Egypt but I was a little concerned about the political unrest and wondering how safe it was for me to go there.

    After reading your very informative and well written article I can see that as long as one is vigilant and doesn’t get involved in the protests it should be ok.

    What sort itinerary would you recommend to someone going to Egypt for just 10 days?

    1. Hello Moni, Nice to hear from you again 🙂 Thank you for reading!
      10 days? Why such a short space of time? But if you must, I’d say Cairo for 3 days, Pyramids and regilious Cairo, 2 days for desert safari, 2 nights in Luxor for Karnak temples and valley of the kings, 1 night for Aswan/Abu simbel and if you are into beaches and diving, spend the remaining time at a red sea resort. You can check out some of my other posts, my time in Cairo (part 1) is already up, My post about Luxor will be out tomorrow or so. You can always contact me directly 🙂

  5. Hey I just looked at your site. Fantastic! I guess it’s because Egypt is a place I’ve always wanted to see. After visiting your site I feel in a way I have been there. But more than that I now want to go more.

    1. I really do recommend taking that trip. It’s a wonderful place full of history and rich culture. There’s so much amazing things to see! I still have a few more posts to publish on Egypt, stay tuned!

  6. Hello Saliva, very informative post!!! Traveling the world is one of my future goals in life, and something I’m working hard towards everyday. I have always been interested in Egypt, and would love to take a vacation there one day to explore around. Thanks again, and I wish you the best of luck within the online business!!!

  7. Thank you so much for posting this. I find it interesting that you have to pay for toilet paper right when you get to the bathroom. I guess having your own t.p. is a must. It looks like, from just the photos that are on this particular blog, it really seems like you got a nice taste of Egyptian History. That’s pretty cool.

    Can’t wait to read about the rest of your trip and all the historical data you’ve collected while on the trip. Thanks for the interesting read on Egypt.

    1. Hi Jake,
      Yes, paying for tp is the norm… Egypt is also a poor country, people expect tips from tourists for everything. It’s the culture. That aside, the people are amazing, warm and friendly. You should definitely check out the other posts.

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