Egypt As a Gap Year Destination
The appeal of Egypt as a travel destination, whether it’s for a gap year or a vacation, is a strong one. There are very few places around the world you can get as strong a sense of culture and history as you can in Egypt. It’s the home of one of the greatest civilisations of the ancient world – the monuments of which are still everywhere you wish to look. It’s also a thriving cultural melting pot of the old and the new, all of which are waiting to be explored.
If you’re considering Egypt’s worthiness as a potential gap year destination, the country would love to have you. There are many things you can do with your time as a semi-permanent resident there. Just learning the basics of the language is a task that could easily take up the majority of your time. If you’d rather do something a little more hands-on and environmentally-friendly, there are numerous animal welfare programs in the country attempting to help preserve and support the sea turtles which live around the coast. Failing that, if you’d rather spend your time relaxing, you won’t find anywhere in the world that’s better for scuba diving. In fact, Egypt is considered to be a world-leading destination for diving of all descriptions.
Not every gap year has to be about taking part in activities, though. A gap year might be the only time in your life you have complete freedom to walk around the world and take in the sights. The iconography of Egypt is legendary. From movies to TV to mobile slots websites, you’ll find representations of Egyptian buildings, Gods, and historical figures everywhere. It’s not a coincidence that games like ‘Cleo’s Wish’ and ‘Tutankhamun’ are some of the most popular currently available – the people who design mobile slots know that the public is drawn in by the wonder of Ancient Egyptian cultures and all the stories that come along with it. No matter what you want to do in Egypt, it’s officially open for business to students. There are a few things you should know before you go, though, and here they are.
Rental Costs Are Low
You’ll need somewhere to stay if you’re planning to spend more than a few weeks in the country. Fortunately, despite scare stories about rising inflation within the country, Egypt is still a remarkably cheap country to live in. The average cost of a mid-range one-bedroom apartment is $300 per calendar month in a city-centre location, or about half that if you’re willing to stay a little further away from the centre.
It’s not just the housing that comes cheaply either – going for a meal on an average restaurant shouldn’t cost you more than $10 if you stay away from tourist traps, and catching a bus to take you there generally costs less than one dollar. In fact, the only unforeseen expenses you might come across are when you try to spend a day on the beach, and when you use any kind of public service. None of the beaches are public, and so they cost between $5 and $10 to gain access to. Anyone who provides any kind of service for you will expect some form of a tip in exchange – even more so than they do in the USA.
Practical & Medical Requirements
At the risk of stating the obvious, you’ll need a valid passport to get into Egypt. You’ll also need a visa, and the type of visa you need will depend upon how long you’re planning to stay in the country. A standard tourist visa covers you for thirty days, and shouldn’t cost you any more than $25. For an extra $10, you can pick up a multiple-entry visa, which is a little more flexible in terms of how long you can stay, and how often you can come and go. Always apply for your visa before you leave as opposed to when you arrive.
Those of you who are planning to stay in the country for longer and/or work or take part in educational courses there will require a formal work or study visa. It’s advised that you make your work or study arrangements before you depart, because that way the organisation you intend to work for or study with can provide specific direction as to which type of visa you’ll need. From a medical point of view, anyone who plans to spend more than thirty days in the country must submit to an HIV test before being granted permission.
Be Careful With Cameras in Egypt
Taking pictures at or around any of the usual tourist attractions is both expected and welcomed. You may even find that locals are happy to take pictures for you so you can be in the picture yourself, although they’ll expect a tip for doing so. In other locations, though, don’t assume that taking pictures is welcomed, or even legal.
It’s specifically prohibited to take pictures of any civilian protests or demonstrations under any circumstances, and so you should avoid doing so. Egyptian police can and will confiscate your device and detain you if you’re caught doing so, and consular assistance within the country doesn’t arrive quickly. You don’t want to spend a prolonged period of time in an Egyptian jail without representation, and so it’s better to keep your camera to yourself.
Don’t Be Afraid Of The Locals
The Egyptian public is, for the main part, very welcoming to tourists. They’re also very generous people in general. It’s not uncommon for an Egyptian to offer to share their food with you if they happen to be eating when you encounter them. Some of them may even want to stop and take a picture with you. There’s no malice in any of this, and most of them are just happy that you’ve chosen to come and spend your money in their country.
That being said, exercise all the caution you’d usually employ if you were in a strange location at home. Don’t travel alone after dark, and only use services that have been recommended to you by someone you trust – especially taxis, which have been known to take visitors to their destination via the longest and most expensive route possible.