Frequently asked questions

EGYPT

What is the best time of year to Visit Egypt?


Most tourists choose to travel to Egypt in winter (November-April), when average temperatures range from highs of 79 and lows of 55. Summer is hot (May-October), with average highs of 104 and lows of 76.




Is it safe to visit Egypt?


Egypt prides itself on its excellent safety record for tourists. There are no U.S. State Travel Warnings for Egypt. The police and army are visible everywhere for your safety. Most of the top attractions are located between Aswan and Luxor, an area that is historically very peaceful.




What about health concerns for tourists?


The main health issues travelers encounter are stomach upsets, heat exhaustion, and sun burn. Medical facilities in Egypt's larger cities are very good.




Is it safe for woman to travel alone?


Violent crime against women is rare, but unwanted attention is not. Traveling with a tour guide is your safest choice. Egypt is a Muslim country so it is best to dress conservatively.




Is it safe to drink the water?


Don't drink the tap water. Bottled water is available everywhere; make sure the caps are unbroken. Just to be on the safe side, use bottled water to brush your teeth. Ice in large hotels is ok, but ice in smaller local restaurants is probably made from tap water and should be avoided.




Do I need immunizations to travel to Egypt?


No immunizations are required to enter Egypt. You should be up to date on routine vaccinations (such as tetanus) while traveling anywhere. There's no risk of yellow fever or malaria in Egypt. While not required, the CDC recommends hepatitis A and typhoid vaccines for travelers to Egypt.




Can I use my credit & debit cards?


Yes. Most hotels and cruises accept Visa and MasterCard-but we have had trouble using American Express. Make sure to call your credit card companies and let them know you will be traveling internationally. You should carry cash when shopping in the street markets. We recommend taking at least 100 U.S. $1 bills from home - very useful for tips and small purchases.




What voltage does Egypt have and what plugs should I bring?


Egypt has a voltage supply of 220V and the plugs are the 2 round pin type that are common throughout Europe (except the UK).




Do I need a passport or travel visa?


You will need a passport to travel to Egypt. Make sure the expiration date is more than six months away. If you are from North America or Western Europe, you will need to buy a tourist visa in the Cairo airport. It costs $25 US, and must be paid in cash. Bucket List Travel employs Airport Agents to meet you when you get off the plane, and help you get your visa, go through passport control, and get your luggage.




How long is the flight to Cairo from the United States?


A direct flight from New York to Cairo takes 11 hours and 50 minutes.




What should I wear?


Because of the sun and heat, it's best to wear lightweight clothing, especially cotton fabrics, in light colors. Some sites offer little shade, so if you are prone to sunburns, you should cover up. Floors at the sites are not level so you should wear sturdy walking shoes or hiking boots. Dress on the Nile cruises is very casual.




What currency do they use in Egypt?


Egyptian currency is called the Egyptian pound. The exchange rate in December 2021 was $1 USD = 15.72 Egyptian pounds. But U.S. dollars are accepted everywhere, so there is little need for you to have Egyptian money. The ATMs in Egypt dispense Egyptian currency, so you should plan to bring enough American money to last for your whole trip, and small bills are better to have with you. Don't forget to bring enough cash for tipping your guides, Nile cruise staff, and others.




What about tipping?


Egypt is a tipping culture. Egyptians tip everywhere, and a lot of people make their living from tips. You may be approached by someone asking for "baksheesh" or a tip. While all tipping is at your discretion, giving a small bill is an easy and polite way to handle the situation. Tipping is at your discretion, but here are some suggested guidelines: For your tour guide: $15-$25 per person per day For your driver, full day: $2 per person in a group; $5 per person for a couple For the cruise staff: $4-8 U.S. per person per day. Put your tip in an envelope and give it to boat reception. This money later will be distributed among the crew onboard. If the service and food was good at a resturant, you might leave a tip of around 10%. There is often a service charge on the bill, but this goes to the restaurant and not to the waiter.




Are there social conventions that I should observe?


Egypt is a Muslim country, and Islam is an important part of daily life. Hospitality to visitors is significant in the Koran, the Muslim holy book. Shaking hands is a normal greeting, but men should wait for a woman to offer her hand first. Public displays of affection are best kept to a minimum.




Is photography permitted?


Photography with cell phones is permitted almost everywhere. There is often an extra charge if you want to use a real camera to take photos. Ask permission before taking pictures of people, especially women. Some local people dressed in traditional clothing will pose in front of temples and pyramids, and expect a small tip if you take their picture.




What language is spoken in Egypt?


Arabic is the official language, and English is widely spoken. Here are a few words of Arabic you might find helpful. Hello: marHaba Goodbye: maxa s-salaama Yes: ajak -- No: laa Thank you: shukran




Is there anything special I should bring?


It is sunny and often hot in Egypt, even in the winter. Bring a sun hat, sunglasses, and sun block. If the heat bothers you, bring a small portable fan or mister. A flashlight or head lamp is useful in dark tombs. And bring LOTS of small bills for tips - I bring at least 100 US $1 bills for a week.




Should I buy trip insurance?


Millions of travelers rely on travel insurance to recover financially from unexpected circumstances that can interrupt their travel plans.




What should I do if a local vender is being aggressive?


Learn the phrase "La Shukran" (No thank you!) and don't be afraid to say it if you are not interested in buying anything. If you forget "La Shukran" just politely say "No thank you" and walk away. Try to remember that the vendor is only trying to feed his family.




Why do tours start early in the morning?


Many tours (especially to the desert sites) are done either early morning or late afternoon to avoid the heat in the middle of the day.




Can I go inside the Great Pyramid?


Yes you can. There is an extra charge of $25. Ticket sales are restricted to 300 people per day; half at 8 a.m. and the other half at 3 p.m. Tickets are sold on a first come, first served basis only at the main entrance.




What is a Galabeya Party on the Nile cruise?


Many cruise ships have a “Galabeya party” one evening, when the guests are encouraged to wear Egyptian outfits (galabeyas.) You can buy outfits in the ship's gift shop; they have a limited selection, and cost about $20. You can also buy your outfit in a bazaar outside the boat.




What is the time difference?


Cairo is 6 hours ahead of EST in the United States.
That means when it is 9 a.m. in Boston, it is 3 p.m. in Cairo.





JORDAN

How active is this trip?


This program is active. Walking is done over uneven surfaces and steps. Expect most days of sightseeing to require three to four hours of walking as well as a considerable time standing. Our vehicles have set drop off and pick up points, that result in extra walking to and from the sights. The pacing is active as many sites are included.




What is the offical currency of Jordan?


The official currency of Jordan is the Jordanian dinar (JOD). As of December 2021: 1 JOD = $1.41 USD 10 JOD = $14.14 USD 100 JOD = $141.40 USD




Is there anything special I need to know about visiting the Dead Sea?


The beach and ocean bottom at the Dead Sea is made of small sharp rocks. Be sure to bring amphibious sandals like Tevas, or thick-soled water shoes.




What happens if Israel closes its borders with Jordan?


If we are not able to take you on the planned day trip to Israel, we will refund $200 per person and you’ll have a day to relax at the Dead Sea resort.




What are the departure taxes between Jordan and Israel?


If you are in a tour group of 6 or more, the departure tax is $70 per person. For 2-5 guests, it is $100 per person.





SOUTH AFRICA

What currency is used in South Africa?


The rand (ZAR) is the official currency of South Africa. As of December 2021, $1 USD equaled 16.06 South African Rand. You can either buy South African Rand at home from your bank or AAA office and bring it with you, or get South African Rand from an ATM when you arrive in Johannesburg. It is difficult to convert US dollars to Rand when you are in South Africa, so we don’t recommend this option.




What power adapter should I bring?


In South Africa the power plugs and sockets are of type D, M and N, so you will need an adapter for electrical appliances from the United States. The standard voltage is 230 V and the frequency is 50 Hz.




Will there be WiFi?


Free WiFi service is available in the rooms and common areas at all of our accommodations. If you need to be sure to have WiFi at all times, you can rent a mobile hot spot at the airport upon arrival in Johannesburg starting at about $30.




What's the laundry situation?


Laundry service is available at Mziki Lodge, Cradle Moon Lodge, and Villa Rosa. It is very inexpensive. Average costs are: T shirts, blouses, or shorts: $1 Jeans, trousers or dresses: $1.75 Socks and underwear: 75 cents




What are the luggage restrictions on the domestic flights in South Africa?


Your domestic flights between Johannesburg and Cape Town flight entitles you to one free checked bag weighing up to 44 pounds and one piece of hand baggage weighing up to 15.5 pounds, plus a laptop bag or small handbag. Any bag weighing between 44-70 pounds will incur a heavy bag fee of about $25 at the airport.




Are there any immunization requirements for South Africa?


All travelers should be up to date on routine vaccinations while traveling to any destination. These vaccines include measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine, diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis vaccine, varicella (chickenpox) vaccine, polio vaccine, and your yearly flu shot. PLEASE NOTE: We will let you know as soon as possible if a Covid-19 vaccination is required to travel. Most travelers get these travel vaccines and medicines because there is a risk of these diseases in the country you are visiting: • Hepatits A: CDC recommends this vaccine because you can get hepatitis A through contaminated food or water in South Africa, regardless of where you are eating or staying. • Typhoid: You can get typhoid through contaminated food or water in South Africa. CDC recommends this vaccine for most travelers, especially if you are staying with friends or relatives, visiting smaller cities or rural areas, or if you are an adventurous eater. Some Travelers: Ask your doctor what vaccines and medicines you need based on where you are going, how long you are staying, what you will be doing, and if you are traveling from a country other than the US. • Hepatitis B: You can get hepatitis B through sexual contact, contaminated needles, and blood products, so CDC recommends this vaccine if you might have sex with a new partner, get a tattoo or piercing, or have any medical procedures. • Malaria: When traveling in South Africa, you should avoid mosquito bites to prevent malaria. You may need to take prescription medicine before, during, and after your trip to prevent malaria, depending on your travel plans, such as where you are going, when you are traveling, and if you are spending a lot of time outdoors or sleeping outside. Talk to your doctor about how you can prevent malaria while traveling. Areas of South Africa with risk of malaria: Present along the border with Zimbabwe and Mozambique. Specifically in Mopani, Vhembe, and Waterberg district municipalities of Limpopo Province; Ehlanzeni district municipality in Mpumalanga Province; and Umknanyakude in Kwazulu-Natal Province. Present in Kruger National Park (see Map 2-25). See more detailed information about malaria in South Africa. PLEASE NOTE: THERE IS NO MALARIA PRESENT IN THE AREAS WE VISIT ON THIS TOUR! • Rabies: Rabies can be found in dogs, bats, and other mammals in South Africa, so CDC recommends this vaccine for the following groups: Travelers involved in outdoor and other activities (such as camping, hiking, biking, adventure travel, and caving) that put them at risk for animal bites; People who will be working with or around animals (such as veterinarians, wildlife professionals, and researchers); People who are taking long trips or moving to South Africa; Children, because they tend to play with animals, might not report bites, and are more likely to have animal bites on their head and neck. • Yellow Fever: Required if traveling from a country with risk of YF virus transmission and ≥1 year of age, including transit >12 hours in an airport located in a country with risk of YF virus transmission. Note: Yellow fever vaccine availability in the United States is currently limited. If you need to be vaccinated before your trip, you may need to travel some distance and schedule your appointment well in advance.




What are the passport requirements for South Africa?


Every traveler entering South Africa, Zimbabwe, Zambia, and Botswana is required to show a passport valid for at least 6 months. South Africa requires travelers to have two completely blank visa pages in their passports upon every arrival in South Africa. You will be denied entry and forced to return to your point of origin if you do not have two blank visa pages. The US State Department advises making at least one photocopy of the information and photo page of your passport. You should carry this in a separate place from the original. In this way you can make it easier to replace your passport if you lose it during your time in South Africa.





MOROCCO

What should I wear?


Morocco is a Muslim country that is relatively relaxed, but you'll still draw lot of unpleasant and unwanted attention if you choose to go out in revealing clothing. Choose to wear something that covers your knees and shoulders and doesn't reveal too much cleavage when you are out in public. Bring comfortable walking shoes, a sweater, clothes you can layer and an all-weather jacket. It may get quite cold in some areas we visit, so if you tend to be cold, make sure you bring warm clothes.




What is the local currency?


Local currency is the Moroccan Dirham (DEE-rahm). As of January 4, 2022, the exchange rate was 9.26 dirhams to $1 USD. The dirham is a closed currency and you can only obtain it once in Morocco, and it should not be taken out of the country. Changing it - or spending it - once you've gone through airport security is next to impossible, so be sure to spend your dirham before getting to the airport. Credit cards can be used in hotels, major restaurants and shops, but not in many other places. There are ATMs now in most of the major towns that will accept Cirrus debit cards and credit cards for cash advances, and money can be changed at the main bank branches. ATMs are hard to find in the medinas.




Should I tip in Morocco?


Tipping is customary in Morocco. Here is a quick guide for tipping followed by a rundown of some really common costs you will likely experience. At larger restaurants, check the bill to see if a service charge has been added. If not, 10% of the bill is a nice tip.. In a smaller restaurant or cafe, anywhere between 2dh and 5dh (25-50 cents USD) is fine. Porters at hotels are usually tipped between 10dh and 20dh ($1-$2 USD) depending on the amount, size and weight of the luggage. Hotel cleaning staff members are not tipped as a rule, but tips are always appreciated. Guides are typically tipped between $11-$22 USD per day. Drivers, are typically tipped between ? per day.




Should I get any vaccines?


You are required to be fully vaccinated against Covid-19 before traveling to Morocco. There are no other vaccines required to enter Morocco. All international travelers should be up to date on routine vaccinations while traveling to any destination. These vaccines include measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine, diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis vaccine, varicella (chickenpox) vaccine, polio vaccine, and your yearly flu shot. CDC recommends these vaccines for travelers to Morocco: • Hepatitis A and B • Typhoid




What are the passport requirements for Morocco?


Please make sure your passport is valid for at least 6 months beyond the dates of travel.




What are Morocco's Covid-19 requirements?


The entire 2020-2021 travel season was virtually cancelled due to the Covid 19 global pandemic. We are hopeful that travel will resume between the USA and Morocco by 2022. We will monitor the situation, and share any information we can. If you book this tour and find that you need or want to postpone it for reasons due to the pandemic situation, we will gladly change your tour date to a later one with no change fees. Morocco has announced it will reopen to international visitors on January 31, 2022.




What type of plug should I bring?


You will need power sockets that are type C / E. If you have one that works in Europe, then it will work in Morocco. The Type C plug (also called the Europlug) has two round pins, 4 to 4.8 mm wide with centers that are spaced 19 mm apart.




Can I take photos of local people?


When you’re walking through the markets, be careful when taking photos of people and shops. People may get angry at you and even demand money for the photos. When taking photos of the snake charmers, you will be expected to pay 20 DH. Some may even hassle you for more, so it’s good to first establish a price before taking a photo.




What is THAT called in Morocco?


What is a souk? Being a popular place of trade, the Souk means Market in Arabic. It's the traditional supermarket of all Moroccans. You can go there find everything in a welcoming atmosphere ! In the urban environment, the souk usually nestles in the old medinas. What is a Medina? Medina means city in Arabic, and refers to the old towns as part of several Moroccan cities. Often walled and characterized by its intertwined alleyways, the medinas are home to traditions and culture, architecture and crafts. Those of Fez and Marrakech are the most famous ones. What is a kasbah? The Kasbah, which is built out of mud and straw, is a fortified building defined as several structures behind a defensive wall widely seen in the south of Morocco. Being home to lords, this fortified castle is an important heritage of Moroccan architecture and the villages. What is a Hammam? Inherited from the Romans, the traditional Hammam plays an important part in Moroccans' everyday life, and represents a convivial space. The Hammam ritual includes: steam bath similar to sauna, skin exfoliation and showering. What is a Riad? The Riad, which means garden in Arabic, is an old house typical of the great Moroccan families. Composed of several rooms overlooking a patio with a fountain and a picture perfect garden, the Riad has wonderful craftsmanship and architectural work. What is Zellige? Zellige is the name given to the ornate and colourful tilework that can be found in many elegant buildings around Morocco. Small pieces of colourful tile are shaped by hand, using a fine chisel, and then set into white plaster to create intricate designs. In keeping with Islamic principles, designs are generally of geometric formations or flower-like patterns.




Can I drink the water?


NO. Make sure you always drink bottled water. Use bottled water to brush your teeth; don't open your mouth in the shower; and don't get ice cubes in your drinks.




Should I haggle for prices in the souqs?


YES! There will be no marked prices, so ask the cost of something you like - and expect a ridiculous price. Quickly decide how much you'd like to pay, and offer a little less than that amount. This will allow you to increase your price when the real negotiations begin. Always have a firm final price in mind, and don't go over it. If you don't come to an agreed price, politely say no thank you and walk away. Many times you'll find your final offer will be accepted. Don't trouble yourself wondering if you could have gotten a lower price.. If you paid a price you were happy with, that's all that matters.




Are pickpockets a problem?


As in big cities anywhere in the world, pickpockets will be working in crowded areas. Be very aware if anyone gets unusually close to you, or if several people surround you closely. Just be smart, and you'll be fine.




What language is spoken in Morocco?


Moroccans speak Arabic, Berber, and French. English is spoken in most areas, but French is more common. English is not used as widely so if you don’t speak French, you may be challenged at times to communicate.




What can I buy in the souk?


Moroccan souks are frenetic, noisy and crowded, and sell a wide variety of crafts and souvenirs. Most popular purchases are ceramics, leather goods, carpets, textiles, spices, jewellery, lamps, shoes and everything in between.




What should I pack?


Bring comfortable walking shoes, a sweater, clothes you can layer and an all-weather jacket. Some religious sites may require modest dress to enter (no shorts, short skirts, or sleeveless tops).




What is the government of Morocco?


Politics of Morocco take place in a framework of a parliamentary constitutional monarchy, whereby the Prime Minister of Morocco is the head of government, and of a multi-party system. Executive power is exercised by the government. Mohammed VI is the King of Morocco. He belongs to the 'Alawi dynasty and ascended to the throne on July 23, 1999, upon the death of his father, King Hassan II.




What Sourvenirs Should I Buy?


Moroccan leather The leather in Morocco is highly unique and tanned in a way that hasn’t changed in centuries. You can get leather slippers, bags, jackets, wallets, belts and much more. Argan oil Argan trees grow in the south of Morocco, so it is a great place to buy Argan oil that is as natural as possible, made in the traditional Berber way. It is used for culinary and cosmetic reasons, and although it is widely famous for its benefits on all kinds of hair, it is also extremely efficient on acne and skin in general. Lanterns Lanterns make for great souvenirs, as their detailed features instantly remind you of the beauty of Morocco. They can be found in most markets and come in different sizes, shapes and materials. Beware of the aluminium ones, as they bend easily and might be a hassle to transport. The heaviest ones might be more expensive. Rugs and carpets Beautiful rugs are handmade in Morocco. Rug shops usually have a wide range of carpets on display and can even customise them and ship them to your home. Babouche (also called belgha) Babouche means slipper in French and is widely known as such in the Kingdom.. Slippers are traditional Moroccan shoes, worn for centuries by men, women and children. They come in all colors, materials, patterns and shapes. The prettiest ones are vibrant and can be worn everywhere.




What is the best time to visit Morocco?


The best time to visit Morocco is during spring (March to May) or fall (September and October). The weather is warm but pleasant, unlike the cold temperatures and snow of winter, or the scorching heat of summer. MARCH-MAY The weather in March is much like the start of spring in any country. With flowers coming out and the sun shining, the weather is generally between 50°F and 68°F although it can be cooler. Snow and rain are rare at this time of year. April and May is a popular time to visit due to the favorable spring weather of between 59°F and 95°F from the High Atlas Mountains to the desert. Showers are common. SEPTEMBER-OCTOBER Cooling down after the hot summer months, September is an ideal time to visit Morocco as you can enjoy the pleasant warm weather and clear blue skies the country offers as it heads into autumn. The cities welcome gentle breezes and exploring the desert becomes pleasant again. October is one of the best months to visit Morocco, as temperatures are cooler and more comfortable. October is also date season in the desert region, which is when Skoura, Erfoud and the surrounding valleys are at their most lush and vibrant.