Arriving in Egypt may be an overwhelming experience, especially for those who don’t speak Arabic and have never ventured to the Middle East before. Luckily Cairo Airport is a relatively easy place to navigate with signs in English and Arabic and hallways that direct you to the correct location with little chance of getting lost.
Here are three easy steps to help you get through Cairo Airport for the first time:
1. When you get off the plane follow the signs to customs/baggage claim (you really can’t go anywhere else). Get your visa at one of the many travel kiosks before heading through customs. You will need $15 US or the Egyptian equivalent, which is currently about 90 EGP. There is an ATM conveniently in the vicinity if you forgot to bring the correct amount of cash with you. They don’t take credit cards.
2. Once you have received your visa, you will get your passport stamp and be allowed to claim your bags.
3. You will then pass through the receiving area, where people hug and greet their loved ones, tour operators hold signs with various names, and taxi drivers try to secure fares before you can even get out the door. If you have a tour company, hotel or family member meeting you, this is, most likely, where they will be. I highly recommend arranging transport before you fly because airports are generally where cab drivers hike up prices for vulnerable tourists.
After your amazing adventure in Egypt, you will return with your great memories and extra carry-on full of souvenirs to give out to friends and family. Leaving Egypt is a little more work but still relatively easy:
1. Remember to bring your ticket or a print out of your itinerary to get through the first security checkpoint. If you forget, they will have to find your name on a long list which is ultimately just annoying and time consuming when you don’t really have much time to waste.
2. Like most queues in Egypt, it is more of a disorderly crowd trying to check in at the counter so you must patiently but firmly make your way to the front.
3. Then comes security check point number two where you will have to get rid of all your open liquids over 3 oz. It’s another long line but it moves relatively quickly and is actually much more orderly.
4. Lastly, if you have time, get all of your last minute souvenirs before heading to your designated terminal to head back home.