Cairo, Egypt and airport experiences

I will be going on my first Egyptian adventure in the next few months and traveling to Cairo alone (I am female) and I was wondering if there were difficulties at the airport in getting a travel visa and transportation to the hotel.

  • In reply to jenaowen072141:

    I think I am on the same trip with a friend. Meeting at JFK. I am a bit worried about safety. But I tell myself that things happen in my own city as well.
  • In reply to rockystonecat53051544:

    I'm on the Best of Egypt .... trip. Is that the one you are going on?
  • In reply to jenaowen072141:

    Yes Oct 24 to Nov 6. Leaves JFK. At 12 :10am!
  • You need US cash for the visa. I think it is $25 and I have been told it is no hassle. You should be met by transportation to the airport; ask RS. But how much Egyptian cash should we bring? Our Egyptian friends say asks for cash outlays will be constant and also needed for the toilet facilities.
  • In reply to caw7091647:

    Yes. The visa is $25, but Road Scholar staff handles that. All you have to do is fill out the form and give it to them. The group leader handled all other “cash outlays” including the toilet facilities. I never needed cash for anything but shopping and they would often take American.
  • In reply to rockystonecat53051544:

    In Cairo, the RS bus is always escorted by a police car, and an armed guard rides on the bus with us. At other major sites (Luxor, Aswan, etc.), guards are always present. I never felt unsafe. Egypt is hungry for tourists and makes every effort to protect them. If you want to avoid all possibility of terrorist attack, you must go live in a cave. Just enjoy the beauty and fascination of Egypt, bone up on the history and art before you go, and be polite to all the folks who constantly pressure you to buy something. Learn a few words (Thank you, Excuse me, How much does it cost?) on the Internet, and enjoy your wonderful trip! You don't really need to take any money with you (outside the $25 for the Visa); there are ATMs in the hotels. (Be sure you know your pin number, even for 'travel' cards with chips). Dollar bills are often accepted by souvenir vendors, but they are difficult to convert; banks won't take such small bills.
  • In reply to jovanatwo052524:

    Thank you for taking the time to respond!
  • I visited Egypt 20 years ago (not with RS-solo female.) No problem at all in airport with visa. Overall I enjoyed the trip but Egypt Air was ALWAYS late by a couple of hours, so be prepared. Of course, they might have improved in 20 years!
  • In reply to subrewer030716:

    We went last December. We took $50 in ones, and used almost all of them paying to get toilet paper as we went to the bathroom. You will want this, in my opinion. Also, we were cold one or two early mornings in Cairo. I ended up buying a scarf from the ever available vendors.
  • In reply to jovanatwo052524:

    In the culture books it says that women need to be covered, legs, arms, head. Is that true? Can a woman wear short sleeve shirts?
  • In reply to MCBUCHANAN050804:

    Yes, you can wear short sleeves. If you go into a mosque, you need to be covered.
  • In reply to ELENA611051725:

    Since you have been to Egypt so recently, can you tell me about the air quality in Cairo/Giza? I understand it can be pretty bad. Can have asthma, so want to be prepared with meds, if necessary. Also, in traveling by coach, are the bathroom stops clean? Implications from what I have read is that you should be prepared for less than desirable conditions. Just want to be prepared. Any hotels/boat have washer/dryers that we can use for laundry? Or is laundry service available for a cost at hotels/boat? Thanks.
  • In reply to maddencathy071232:

    There was a haze in the air in the Cairo. Probably a mixture of smog and dust, due to being in the middle of the desert. It did not bother anyone on our trip to my knowledge. Bathroom quality varies. It is a Third World country, so that is to be expected. Very handy to carry hand sanitizer with you. We just did a little bit of hand laundry on the boat, and did not inquire about other facilities, so I cannot answer that question.
  • In reply to maddencathy071232:

    My friend/travel companion has emphysema and struggled in Cairo. Alexandria was okay. But the pollution all over Egypt is bad. Even when you are on the boat, there is particulate in the air as slash/burn agriculture is typical. I am from a rural area where we have very little pollution, so to me, it was a lot. But, even knowing that would not have stopped me from taking this trip. Bring your meds and expect to use them. We had different buses throughout the trip and, in several, the bathrooms were unavailable. Our Study Leader was great at making sure we had adequate stops, however. I took tissue and wet wipes everywhere. The guide will 'tip' the bathroom attendants so you will be able to get tissue in the bathrooms (women attendants hand it out after you tip them), but I took my own, just in case. You can send out laundry on the boat and in most of the hotels.
  • In reply to jenaowen072141:

    Hi , Are you going on the trip leaving on October 26 ? Sheila