What I Wish I’d known Before Travelling Egypt

(Last Updated On: May 4, 2023)

Whilst you can do plenty of research before your holiday, there’s always going to be things to learn once you get there. After returning from an incredible trip to Egypt on our King Ramses tour, I decided to put all my best tips and advice together. So if you’re someone that likes to have the insider knowledge, here’s a few tips for visiting Egypt.

Side view of King Ramses II temple, Abu Simbel, Egypt

It’s best to stay a little longer at attractions

A wonderful part of our group tour was that at no point did we feel rushed for time. As a collective, we all decided what time we would aim to leave by and, in the case of visiting the temples of Abu Simbel, deciding to spend a little longer than we originally planned was the best thing we could have done.

At many of Egypt’s key attractions, there will be peak times for tourists to arrive. But by staying just 15 minutes longer and waiting out the crowds, we were blessed to have the temples of Abu Simbel almost entirely to ourselves, leading to some incredible photo opportunities.


Tipping is a huge part of Egyptian culture

Egypt’s tipping culture is fascinating and unlike any other destination I have travelled to before. For just about every service anyone provides, you will be expected to give a tip!

Fortunately, On The Go Tours collects a tipping kitty at the start of each tour which covers the hotel staff, luggage handlers and other support staff throughout the trip. This took the hassle out of tipping and was something we were all very grateful for.

However, it’s still important to be aware of any other scenarios where you may be asked to tip. For example, when visiting the Karnak Temple Complex, one of the staff offered to show us a good photo spot, which inevitably resulted in a tip.

Female traveller walking amongst pillars of the Karnak temple Complex, Egypt

You may need to pay extra for photos (but it’s worth it!)

To visit a couple of Egypt’s attractions you need to pay both for entry and for a camera pass. Many of us chose not to pay for a pass, thinking we’d be happy to just have the memories instead. However, some of us definitely came to regret that decision.

When visiting the spectacular temples of Abu Simbel, you’re allowed to take photos of the exterior of the temples, but not the inside unless you have the pass. This was also the case at the Valley of the Kings in Luxor and the Egyptian Museum in Cairo.

Whilst photography undoubtedly has an impact on the conservation of these ancient wonders, buying the pass is definitely something to consider – particularly if you’re a budding photographer. And in the case of the Egyptian Museum, the cost was equivalent to around $3.

Pack a scarf

One of the biggest travel tips for visiting Egypt I would give to any traveller is to take a scarf. The reason being that it is just so multi-functional! You can use it as a pillow for long journeys, a towel, or simply to keep you warm as winter nights can get chilly.

A lightweight scarf is a particularly useful item if you’re a female traveller. You can use it to cover up when visiting temples and to avoid any unwanted attention when in larger cities such as Cairo. They don’t take up much space in your luggage either.

You might want to bring snacks

Throughout Egypt, you’ll always be able to find a corner shop selling biscuits, crisps or even ice creams to cool you down after some sightseeing. But when you’re travelling for a little longer than a week, you may soon start to crave some healthier options.

Particularly if you suffer from any food allergies, I would suggest packing some snacks. Whilst in restaurants and hotels you can be sure to find something to suit your needs, sightseeing is hungry work and you’ll want something to keep you going between mealtimes.


Philae temple in Aswan on the Nile in Egypt

Say yes to everything

From the world-famous Pyramids of Giza to the delicious food, Egypt is an incredible country to travel. And one of the most important things I learnt whilst there was the importance of saying yes to all of the experiences that came my way.

Following an action-packed day exploring the serene Philae Temple and souks of Aswan, we had the opportunity to catch a boat along the River Nile to have dinner at a local Nubian restaurant.

Whilst several of us originally said no out of tiredness, we eventually ended up going. And all of us were so very glad we did. Not only was the food amazing but the boat trip there was beautiful, with the riverside of Aswan wonderfully lit up and a star-filled sky overhead.


If you’re after even more tips for visiting Egypt, then head to our Egypt Travel Tips and Useful Info page.