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TPI World Report - Egypt
02/02/2006 - Travel Professionals International

Imagine having a personal travel agent who can supply you with on-location information from time-to-time. TPI can do just that. Here’s the latest from our roving reporter, Carl Henderson, TPI's Director of Marketing & Communications.

In September 2005, a member of TPI’s head office staff, Carl Henderson, set out on a year long, around the world journey. The TPI WORLD REPORT is based on Carl’s reporting in from around the world which can be followed at

Carl's 10 Travel Tips for Egypt

1. Make sure you always carry small currency for tipping the locals. Any service rendered by someone and they will be looking for a tip or 'baksheesh' as they call it. You are not obliged to tip and use your own discretion. Often they are not shy to ask you for it.

2. Pay to have a guide when visiting all historical sights. Guides can make the history come to life for you and give you a much better understanding and appreciation for what you are viewing. If you are not on a group tour hire a private guide to take you around as they are relatively inexpensive and well worth the money.

3. Egypt is safe and friendly so get out and explore. You will be hassled to purchase their goods without a doubt, but just tell them 'No Thanks' or 'Shukran' in Arabic. If you get lost don't hesitate to ask someone as they will more than likely do all the can to help you out (we had one person walk us a few blocks to the restaurant we were looking for).

4. Bargain for your purchases. Bargaining is common almost everywhere you go in Egypt. Don't get too carried away though - remember a few dollars is really nothing for us in the grand scheme of things but could mean a dinner or two for a family in Egypt.

5. Watch what food you eat and stick to bottled water only in Egypt. Some travellers get a case of travellers' diarrhoea while in Egypt by the food or water.

6. There are currently almost 300 boats cruising up and down the Nile between Luxor and Aswan ranging from very poor quality to excellent 5-star ships. Remember you get what you pay for and it worth being on a good quality ship since they usually provide all your meals and tours with guides.

7. Cairo is a crazy busy city - overpopulated, dirty, polluted but safe and worth exploring. Crime is low so don't be afraid to set off on the streets on your own and just use your common sense and general safety precautions.

8. When you are doing the Luxor to Aswan (or vice versa or roundtrip) cruise try to allow time when in Aswan to go to see Abu Simbel. It is either a 3 hours drive (one way) or short flight and not included with most cruises but is supposed to be incredible. (Unfortunately we did not budget the time for it and missed out this something for next time!) If you are prebooking flights from home make sure you also arrange a guide to get the most of the outing.

9. If you like beaches, snorkelling or diving make the trip out to the Sinai Peninsula where you have a full range of resorts at reasonable prices and you can also easily get a desert excursion or two in with local Bedouins if you choose.

10. The overnight train from Cairo to Luxor was the nicest overnight train we have taken on the trip with a room for two and small sink. Much better than expected and nicer than the European trains. An option over flying if you are looking to save a few dollars on your trip.