The Egyptian city of Cairo can seem like a daunting place to explore. Full of twists and turns, it might seem impenetrable. However, with the right guidance, you'll be able to explore Cairo like an expert, easily navigate its streets and find those hidden gems. Grab some cheap tickets to Cairo today, then keep reading to learn more about this fascinating city:
Learn how to haggle
For many Americans, the idea of haggling for items can be a bit off-putting. In the U.S., the seller sets the price and the buyer pays it if he thinks it's reasonable. In Cairo, however, this won't always be the case. While there certainly are stores where the price of items is clearly labeled, other vendors will expect you to haggle. Here are a few key ideas for a first-time haggler:
- Always intend to buy the item: When haggling for something, the negotiation may last a few seconds or a few minutes. Unless the vendor is being extremely unreasonable about the price, you should always buy an item that you spend time haggling on. Otherwise, you're simply wasting the vendor's time and your actions could be seen as rude.
- Always pay a fair price: Haggling isn't about trying to cheat the vendor out of a profit. Rather, it's about getting him down to a price that both of you find reasonable. Offering a price that is well below market value will get you shooed away very quickly.
- Have fun: Don't take the situation too seriously. Chances are that locals will assume you have more money than them because you are a foreigner. Remember to smile and don't drive too hard of a bargain - especially if the items you want are already cheaper than they would be in the U.S.
Remember to tip
Tipping is important in Egypt, and if you learn to tip wisely, you're likely to have much better experience in the country. World Nomads noted that you may have to tip for everything from toilet paper to concierge services. So remember to keep a small amount of cash on hand at all times. And never attempt to tip in a foreign currency - it won't go over well!
Respect the local culture
Remember that, as you explore the city, you're traveling through someone else's home. You're bound to have a much better time if you follow all of the local customs. That means dressing in conservative clothing and respecting local religious laws. In general, women should travel with a male companion and cover their hair while outside.
Learn some Arabic
Anywhere you travel, you'll have a much easier time if you learn a bit of the local language. Before your trip, get a book of useful Arabic phrases and practice saying them aloud. And hold onto that book, because you're likely to need it on your adventures. When visiting tourist sites, it's a good idea to hire a local guide to take you around.