Manage episode 204754778 series 1207151
Family Travel in Egypt Today
Travel in Egypt today. Thanks to instability after the Arab Spring, Egypt Tourism took a nosedive. But travel in Egypt today is back on the table for many families. Today we talk Egypt travel with someone who just went.
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Sand, Pyramids & Uber - Family Travel in Egypt Today
Travel in Egypt today is off the table for many people. Once the Arab Spring kicked into high gear in 2011, the Egypt tourism numbers took a nose dive. Concerns about safety and instability were the norm until 2015 or so. On the other hand in the years since, there has been an uptick in travelers keen to see the pyramids, the Nile and the Valley of the Kings.
Today I talk with Diane Vukovi? about her recent trip to Egypt. We discuss how to get around, what to do, what to see, and more practical matters about family travel in Egypt today.
IN THIS EPISODE
- 03:12 Intro
- 04:57 Why Travel in Egypt Today
- 09:05 Is Egypt Safe?
- 19:16 Deserts & Whale Bones
- 23:14 Accommodation in Egypt
- 24:20 The Drop in Egypt Tourism
- 25:40 Food in Egypt
- 33:54 Internet in Egypt
- 35:23 Things to Do in Egypt
- 35:61 Preparing for Egypt Travel
- 39:46 The Egyptian Museum
- 40:21 Islamic Cairo
- 41:41 Boat Tours on the Nile River
- 43:46 Tunis Village
- 49:03 Luxor and the Valley of Kings
- Names: Diane Vukovi?, her husband, and her 7-year-old daughter
- Hold passports from: USA & Serbia
- Type of travel: Living in Serbia, Camping around Europe, & short trips 2 months or less
- A few places they've been: Peru, Egypt, and all over Western and Eastern Europe
LINKS & RESOURCES
- Uber (not available in Luxor)
- Careem (Egypt's Uber)
- Wekalet El-Ghouri Arts Center
- The Fayoum Art Center
- Valley of the Whales
- Valley of the Artisans
- Recommended restaurant (with usable bathroom) FelFela
- Another recommended restaurant Sofra
IN THEIR BAGS
- Anti-diarrhea kit (probiotics, activated charcoal, electrolytes, loperamide capsules)
- Sawyer Mini water filter
- Headscarf (bought immediately upon arrival)
- Slippers (for walking on the cold tile floors in hotel rooms!)
- One-dollar bills (for tips & bribes)
- Toilet paper
FIND THEM ON
One Family's Travel in Egypt Today
Diane lives in Serbia, where she camps with her daughter a lot. Serbian winters, however, are very cold. That's why Diane tries to go somewhere warm every winter. Last year it was Peru, and this year she decided on some Egypt travel.
Diane is a passionate backpacker, but she is no ordinary backpacker. For example, for this Egypt holiday, she went over 7 months pregnant. And that's with her 7-year-old daughter and new husband.
Why Holiday in Egypt? Why Travel in Egypt Today?
When I asked Diane why she chose to travel in Egypt, she said she wasn't exactly sure why. That said, her daughter is fascinated by bones, and Egypt today has some of the most famous bones in the world.
"What kid doesn't love mummies and pyramids?" she asks. In addition, she explains, places like Egypt are completely embedded in popular culture. There's something interesting about seeing them with your own eyes.
Is Egypt Safe?
When Diane told people that she planned to travel in Egypt, the most common question was "Is Egypt safe?" The question shows an inability to see the bigger picture. "I would be more scared in New York City or Belgium right now, " she says, referring to recent acts of terror that happened near the time we spoke.
But seriously: is Egypt safe? By most standards it is. That said, Diane says that you still need to take precautions and avoid certain places. For example, her family avoided Sinai area, because of reports of unrest. She also skipped a trip to a specific desert near the Libyan border due to reports of trouble.
In addition, they avoided Christian landmarks and areas, which are often where trouble might appear. In some places, she explains, there are tourist police waiting for travelers to appear. They will escort you through the area, or simply tell you to move on.
Pickpockets in Egypt Today
Their biggest concern during their travel in Egypt today was pickpockets. Petty theft is a problem from Brighton to Barcelona to Baltimore, but one must be prepared for it. Diane talks about how they handle money and reveals a clever hiding spot for her debit card.
Traffic in Cairo
Another safety concern was simply crossing the road. Crosswalks were few and far between in Cairo, she explains. Yet when they did find a crosswalk, their light never turned green. This meant a lot of running across major roads whenever there was a pause in the traffic. "Even to get to Egyptian Museum you have to cross a highway," she says. As a pregnant woman with a young daughter and a husband who walks with a cane, this can be dangerous.
Enter Uber. Ride-sharing apps like Uber and local service Careem makes a huge difference in Egypt today, says Diane. The Cairo metro system is completely usable, she says, and worth trying at least once. That said, ride-sharing apps are ideal for many situations. Why? Because they give you door-to-door service and the price is fixed. Taxis are doable as well, she explains, but be prepared to haggle a bit.
Hotels in Egypt Today
Diane and her family mostly stayed in "hostels," but they weren't the kind of youth hostels you may think of. For example, most of them were just private rooms, and they didn't get to meet other travelers like they had hoped.
That said, if you want to stay in a hotel in Egypt, you shouldn't have a problem. There are plenty of rooms available as Egypt Tourism numbers are still in recovery. In 2010 there were nearly 15 million tourists. By 2016 than number plummeted to less than 4 million, but Egypt travel numbers have been on the rise since.
Things to Do in Egypt Today
Diane filled her Egypt travel itinerary full of great activities. Some were conventional and some were not. For example, she and her daughter spent two days in the Egyptian Museum in Cairo. They also took a boat tour of the Nile, complete with buffet meal and bellydancers.
In addition, they went to Luxor and the Valley of the Kings. But they didn't actually visit the Valley of the Kings. Instead, they went to the less populated "Valley of the Artisans" for a unique experience. Her tips and thought on the area in the podcast.
That's not the only unique experience they discovered in their Egypt travels. They also visited the ancient village of Tunis, known for its pottery. Then they drove into the desert to see whale skeletons. Yes, whale skeletons in the desert. The entire area was once a sea, and the massive bones are the last indication of what was once a vast sea.
More Tips for Egypt Travel Today
This is only a part of what we discussed about family travel in Egypt today. Listen in as we discuss food, finding bathrooms (harder than it sounds), whirling dervishes and more.
Would You Travel in Egypt? Have You Traveled in Egypt?
Tell us about your travel in Egypt. Where did you go? What did you do? How do and/or your family enjoy Egypt travel? Tell us in the comments!
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Full-on family travel fundamentals. Epic Education Radio is interviews, stories, and advice for people who decide to make travel a priority in their family's life...and for those who want to. Tune in each week to hear stories and advice from new traveling families, and hear how they've handled various family travel-related issues like education, socialization, working, budgeting, accommodation, road-parenting, safety, technology and more. We talk gear, websites, apps and other resources for traveling & nomadic families, and answer questions from those who would like to do something similar.