You're going to Egypt!!
Thank you so much for choosing to join us in Egypt! It's going to be an amazing time.
This page has all of the information you could need for your trip with us, regardless if you are taking JtE 3, 4, or Both!
To chat with all the other attendees & ask questions to Sahra directly, request to join the Facebook Group here.
You can always refer back to this page for any information you need, but if it's too much info all at once, then keep an eye on your email for more bite-sized versions of this!
JtE - 3
Airport pickups on March 28th & 29th only
JtE - 4
Airport pickups in Cairo on April 4th
JtE - 3 & 4
Airport pickups on March 28th & 29th only
If your flight is leaving early in the morning on April 17th, as you'll find many flights do, you can either hang out in the hotel lobby where we'll be staying, or you can book yourself a room.
If you decide to book a room it is your responsibility. We'll be staying at the Novotel Cairo Airport and you'll often be able to find someone to share your room if you're interested in a bit of sleep before your flight.
The hotel provides direct transport to the airport terminals by shuttle at all times of the night.
Book extra nights at the hotel we'll be staying at : Om Kolthoom Hotel
Om Kolthoom Hotel / Tower, Cairo
5 Abu El Feda Street
Zamalek, Cairo, Egypt
Book the final night of the tour or extra nights at the airport hotel: Novotel Cairo Airport
Novotel Cairo Airport
Salah Salem Highway
Cairo 11776, Egypt
You can request an invoice at any time by emailing info@JourneyThroughEgypt.com
If you live in the USA
Payments for your remaining balance are accepted three ways:
1. Paypal (paypal.me/SahraKent)
2. Payment directly to invoice that will be e-mailed to you shortly (credit card, debit card, and direct bank transfer accepted)
3. Check to the following address (made out to Sahra Kent)
PO Box 600872
Jacksonville, FL 32260
If you live Outside the USA
Some of our attendees are joining us from countries outside of the US. We understand that mailing checks/using paypal can be a more difficult endevour from other countries.
If you do not wish to use paypal we will accept Bank Account Transfers (Wires) from our attendees outside the United States. Please hit reply and let us know whatever information you need for your bank to complete the transfer.
What We Need From You
You can email these items to info@JourneyThroughEgypt.com
Don't worry you'll get emails and reminders about all of these items, but here's a handy list!
Visa & Passport Information
American citizens and citizens of countries of the EU may obtain single-entry 90-day visa upon arrival at the airport for a fee of $25 US dollars.
This is not included in your tour price as we cannot obtain these visas for you. This window will be located before passport control on your way from your flight to baggage claim.
To obtain this visa you must have an empty page in your passport and your passport must be valid for another 6 months after the end of your visit. (passport must be valid through at least May 2020.
If you will be visiting Egypt for longer than 90 days, or plan to leave and return please research your options at the US Department of State's website.
If you need to obtain a passport before the trip please visit this page and follow the directions to obtain a passport.
If you are not a citizen of the United States or the EU, please consult your local government website to see if a visa is required prior to arrival.
You can check this site as well, but we make no guarantees as to its accuracy. Double check with your local government.
No vaccinations are required for travel to Egypt unless you are arriving from a country with risk of Yellow Fever. Of which the United States is not, if you are from a different location, please double check your countries status.
That being said the CDC does have vaccination recommendations. If you're interested you can check out what they have to say here.
We CANNOT recommend what vaccinations you should get as we are not medical professionals. This is up to your discretion, we simply provide these resources so that you may make an informed decision.
Required Reading & Presentation
There are several articles that are required reading for both JtE-3 and JtE-4. Here are the links to the two PDF's with all the reading materials.
You'll notice that there is a "Required Reading" section and "Optional Reading" section on both of these. While the entire list would be ideal, many of us don't have the time to spare for so many articles! But if you can make the time, reading all the articles provided will greatly enhance your understanding of the things we will be seeing and experiencing in Egypt!
If you would like a copy of the “Daughter of Egypt” Book described in the JtE-4 reading list you can do so at this link. They are $35.00 plus whatever shipping is to your location.
As part of the learning experience, you will be required to present a 5 minute reading to the group on a subject covered by the content in JtE-3 or 4. One is required for each level.
Your reading should be from a reliable source and preferably not from one of the required reading presented here, though if you cannot find anything else it will be accepted.
You are not doing original research or creating an original presentation
If you're feeling stuck, here are some ideas for each level that can spark a topic for your presentation. It is okay if more than one person chooses the same topic.
What do you need to bring money for?
As part of the tour all the lodging, entrance fees and transportation to/from tour events plus 2 meals a day are covered.
However there may be other things you wish to purchase/see during your time in Egypt.
You will need money for:
A Culture Around Money
In Egypt, it is uncommon (and distressing) to flash your money. Money is almost never seen on the streets, and you can be sure that if you open your wallet to pay for something, there are people watching and looking at how much you have. And you don’t want to look like you have a lot. No reason to rob someone who doesn’t have a lot of money.
This is foreign to us as we live in a culture where showing your money isn’t an invitation.
To avoid attention please plan on having 2 places to store money. One that is easily accessible over your clothing (or in your pocket or handbag) that has a small amount of pin money that you will pay people from.
The other should be a hidden belt or option of some kind under your clothing that stores more important documents and any larger money that you may be carrying with you.
HOW MUCH SHOULD YOU BRING?
The amount of money that you will personally spend (outside of the tour) will largely depend on your personal desires. We cannot tell you a specific amount to bring.
Past attendees have spent anywhere from $100 to $2,000 USD during their time on JtE-3 and 4. Mostly from the purchasing of costumes, which are cheaper in Cairo than the states, but can still be costly.
There will be several organized opportunities to tip the staff that are helping us along on our tour if you wish. These would be for places like the guesthouse in Cairo, the train, any buses & guides, etc. You will be able to determine the amount you would like to tip when Sahra collects the tips for the staff at the end of our stay/tour/trip.
Please refrain from tipping anyone unless they are running a personal errand for you or are doing something during your free time which involves using the staff's resources. We strive to help the locals of Egypt with our time spent there and buying locally will be very much appreciated.
Credit & Debit Cards
Credit cards are accepted, but not widely so. The majority of places we visit will not accept cards. Mahmoud Abdel Ghafar , the costumer that we will be visiting to purchase our Nubian Dresses, does accept credit cards (just so you know).
Side Note: Make sure to notify your bank that you will be traveling overseas!! If you don’t tell your bank it is possible that they will put a hold on your account when you try to withdraw money and your account will be locked until you can call them and fix the issue.
Upon your arrival getting a small amount changed at the airport will be a good idea. Somewhere between 20-50 dollars worth. Currently, these are the exchange rates, though they may change dramatically by April.
1 US Dollar = about 17.86 Egyptian Pounds (LE)
1 Euro = about 20.22 Egyptian Pounds (LE)
Don’t be surprised if this isn’t the rate you get at the counter! Rates vary from bank to bank and from day to day plus whatever fees they will impose on the transaction. This is just to have a basic understanding of the conversion rate.
For any further exchanges, Sahra will be able to find us places with better rates (possibly) than the airport during our travels.
ATM’s exist but are not always available, so make sure to bring some money with you, more can be withdrawn along the way in Egyptian Pounds but you will get better rates if you pay with US dollars or Euro so please bring what you will need in cash if at all possible.
Now, unfortunately, this sounds like a bit of a hassle, and it’s because it can be. Often the amount that we would spend on one costume is more than an Egyptian makes all year, and the system is (reasonably) not set up to accommodate that. ATM’s often have a withdrawal limit of 500 LE (About 25 USD) per day when they can be found, making it difficult to get your hands on large amounts of cash once you’re in the country.
Take this into account when planning your budget for the trip.
If you plan to head away from the group, or participate in your own free time activities you must have a phone with you!
If you ever plan on going out on your own (during the free times) you MUST have a phone on which you can call either myself or Sahra. If a group plans to go on an excursion (such as visiting the great pyramid) then at least one of you must be carrying a phone.
So this brings up the question: Will your phone work overseas?
Unfortunately, the answer isn’t straightforward.
IF you are on T-mobile or Sprint - you may be exempt from a lot of the stuff below. Scroll down to the section labeled T-mobile/Sprint.
The best way to get phone coverage overseas is to purchase a SIM card for your phone upon arrival in Egypt, allowing your phone to be used on the local phone carriers without incurring roaming charges from your carrier back home. There are three main carriers in Egypt and every year the best deal changes. We’ll be scoping out the scene upon our arrival there and will assist you in getting a SIM card after you arrive.
However, there are some things that you can do while you’re still at home that will make the process easier.
Does Your Phone Take A SIM Card?
Unless your phone is a much older model, the odds are that yes, it does take a SIM card. If you are unsure please do one of the following:
Head into your local carrier and ask
Google the name of your phone + SIM card and see what comes up.
Unlocking Your Phone
Now that you know you have a SIM card the next step is to Unlock your phone.
Despite the way it sounds, it is not illegal in the slightest.
Some carriers lock their phones to only be used on that specific carrier. Because of this, it's almost impossible to say if your phone will work overseas with a pre-paid SIM.
Your best bet is to call your carrier or visit your local store and simply ask if your phone is unlocked (meaning you could take your phone to Egypt and buy a pre-paid SIM) and if you can use it internationally. They will tell you if it is ready to go or if it needs to be unlocked.
Unlocking the phone is a simple process that can often be done in 5 minutes over the phone or in store. Your phone will continue to work as normal while you’re at home, the only difference will be that you can change the SIM card and have a local Egyptian number with a pre-paid card once you arrive.
IF NONE OF THAT WORKS
Another option is to just buy a phone that you know is unlocked from the start & takes SIM cards. Or if your phone doesn't accept SIM cards then this is your only option.
These range from simple and cheap "dumb" phones to high-end and expensive "smart" phones.
Buy one to use while traveling and, when you get back home, just pick up your old phone and store the unlocked phone away until you travel overseas again
It is very easy and cheap to buy “dumb” phones upon arrival in Egypt, but if you want to purchase one before you leave here are some options:
Here are some places you can buy an unlocked phone of all types and price ranges:
We're unsure of exact prices of cheap phones in Egypt, but don't expect it to be more than 50-75 USD.
T-Mobile & Sprint
Lastly, If you're on a T-Mobile plan or with Sprint, you may automatically get free roaming in over 150 countries - Egypt included. Please check your plan to see if this is an option for you.
Phone calls are still $0.20/minute though so it still might be cheaper to get a local SIM. However data and all texting is free.
You can either choose to go this route or buy a local SIM for your phone. Sahra will have both a local number and her international US number (but it will only be on during arrivals), so you’ll be able to call either one no issues.
AN IMPORTANT REMINDER
The most important thing to remember though is that if you are not on T-Mobile or Sprint with the appropriate plan you MUST, MUST, MUST remember to take out your SIM card/disable your data before you takeoff to Egypt. Roaming charges are no joke, and if you have a smart phone it is always trying to connect to the network to check your e-mail, update facebook, and download your local map data.
Even if you are not consciously using the internet on your phone it is being used, and you don't want to return home to find an amazingly large cell phone bill waiting for you!
So remember, TURN OFF YOUR DATA!
So, what should I pack?
Here's a packing list so you could look it over and buy anything you feel you may need that you don’t already have.
Please realize that there will be several instances where you will be handling all of your own luggage in instances where you will have to be quick. i.e. Getting on and off of trains. This means your suitcases should be of a size and weight that you can manage yourself.
You can also leave luggage in Cairo if necessary so that you have less to bring on the train to Upper Egypt.
If you wish to bring back a lot of souvenirs or other such things you can buy a cheap suitcase or bag there to bring back with you that will save you a lot of hassle during the trip itself.
A NOTE ON DRESS
Egypt is a conservative country. In order to respect the culture and the people please have sleeves longer than your elbows, no bare legs, and modest necklines. Clothes should also not be skintight, leggings do not count as pants. Tunics over pants are great.
THE PACKING LIST
***There WILL be times when you will be expected to handle your own luggage so PLEASE pack lightly. If you purchase a lot that you would like to bring home then it is easy and cheap to buy another bag in Egypt for your return journey.***
A NOTE ON LAUNDRY
There are laundry services at the hotels in Luxor & Aswan, but we’re not sure exactly how much they cost. Personally we rinse our laundry as we wear it.
Cairo Arrival Instructions
In case you need them we suggest printing out these instructions, saving them as a PDF to your phone, or writing them down to reference when you deplane in Cairo.
Also in case it's needed, here is the name and address of the hotel that we'll be staying at in Cairo:
OM KOLTHOOM HOTEL
5 Abu El Feda Street, Zamalek - Cairo, Egypt
Tel: (002 - 02) 736-8444
Please follow ALL the directions to the letter. DO NOT LEAVE THE AIRPORT!!
1) Deplane and follow signs for baggage claim & exit.
The signs in the terminal I landed in were all this color yellow & were in both English and Arabic.
2) Before the Bank windows/Visas look for a man with your name on a sign. He has been hired by us to meet and assist you through the process. Please don't leave this Visa and Passport area without finding him.
3) Before you go through passport security you will see a series of windows with bank names on them. Pick one, they’re all the same.
4) Ask for a Visa on Arrival (25 USD$ if you are from the USA, other countries please check your countries visa agreement) They will take Euros, it is a similar amount. Just ask to pay in Euros when you go up to the counter.
5) Pay them, and get the sticker, which you will place in your passport. They will do this for you if you ask or your greeter will. Either way works.
6) Change whatever amount of money you would like to start with (Suggested 20-50 dollars).
7) Proceed through Passport Security with your greeter. The rest of the people from your flight should be lining up there.
8) Once you're through head towards Baggage Claim for your flight and collect any luggage you had to check.
9) Now that you have your luggage head towards the customs area. You shouldn't have anything to declare so head towards the signs signifying that and walk through.
10) Our greeter will bring you to the transport to the hotel.
If you don’t see anyone DO NOT LEAVE THE VISA & PASSPORT AREA. Stand near the windows described and wait. You gate may have changed and we may be waiting somewhere else for you.
We will realize our mistake quickly and come to you. DO NOT LEAVE THE VISA & PASSPORT AREA. If anyone approaches you asking if you need anything tell them that you are waiting for your tour to pick you up. Don't go with them unless they are with JtE and have your name written. If they get annoying just ignore them, they'll move on quickly
If no one is there and you are concerned feel free to ask someone if you can use their phone to call a local number. Sahra will have her phone with her. Call anytime! The numbers will come later when Sahra has arrived in Egypt.
11) Once you've been picked up, enjoy the ride through Cairo to the hotel. You DO NOT HAVE TO PAY OR TIP THE DRIVER. We have already taken care of his payment AND TIP. He’ll bring you to the hotel and the learning will begin! If he asks for either payment or tip just politely tell him “Sahra is handling that later” and the same for the tip and walk away.