Skip to Content

6 Tourist Traps to Avoid in El Cairo Egypt And How to Avoid Them

6 Tourist Traps to Avoid in El Cairo Egypt And How to Avoid Them

El Cairo is one of the most popular destinations in Europe and we will tell you the tourist traps to avoid in El Cairo for your next trip.

Cairo, the vibrant capital of Egypt, is rich in history and culture, with countless tourists flocking to see its ancient monuments each year.

However, like many popular tourist destinations, Cairo has its share of tourist traps. Here’s a guide to some common tourist traps in Cairo and how you can avoid them to enjoy a more authentic experience.

What Is The Best Way From Cairo Airport To City Center?

The best way from Cairo airport to city center is by private transfer or a taxi for $5-6 USD and it will take 30 minutes.

Read here Egypt sim card for tourist, how to get from Cairo airport to Alexandria and Cairo airport to pyramids

WHERE TO STAY IN CAIRO

For accommodation in Cairo, you can find deals starting from $25 USD per room. If you prefer mid-budget accommodation will cost $40-60 USD and for $80 USD you will find luxury accommodation in Egypt.

Click here to get the best deals in Egypt with Booking

BOOK YOUR TRAVEL INSURANCE

Two of our favorite travel insurance: Heymondo Vs Safetwing cheapest travel Insurance. You can get for $135 USD your Heymondo Travel Insurance with Heymondo discount code valid for 90 days. Read our full comparison of Genki vs Safetywing Travel Insurance Review and the comparison Heymondo vs Genki

Tourist Traps to Avoid in El Cairo

1. High-Pressure Sales Tactics at Popular Tourist Sites

6 Tourist Traps to Avoid in El Cairo Egypt And How to Avoid Them

Where It Happens: Around the Giza Pyramids, Khan El-Khalili bazaar, and other major tourist attractions.

What to Avoid: Vendors at these locations can be very aggressive, pushing you to buy souvenirs, offering camel or horse rides, or insisting on guiding services.

How to Avoid: Firmly but politely decline offers you’re not interested in. It’s often best to say “No, thank you” without stopping to engage further. Consider hiring a guide from a reputable company in advance if you prefer a guided tour.

2. Overpriced Souvenirs

6 Tourist Traps to Avoid in El Cairo Egypt And How to Avoid Them

Where It Happens: Major tourist sites and markets.

What to Avoid: Souvenirs sold in these areas are often overpriced and may not be authentic.

How to Avoid: Research typical prices ahead of time or ask at your hotel for a rough guide on what things should cost. Try shopping at less tourist-centric markets or shops recommended by locals instead of those right next to major attractions.

3. Papyrus Museums

Where It Happens: Several so-called “Papyrus Museums” are found around Cairo.

What to Avoid: These are often just shops disguised as museums where the main aim is to sell papyrus at high prices.

How to Avoid: If you’re interested in buying genuine papyrus, it’s better to do so from a licensed retailer or a workshop known for authentic and quality products. Do some research or ask for recommendations from local experts.

4. Inflated Taxi Fares

Where It Happens: Throughout the city, especially at the airport and near tourist attractions.

What to Avoid: Taxis not using meters or offering a flat rate that is significantly higher than it should be.

How to Avoid: Always insist on the meter being turned on. If the driver refuses, find another taxi. Consider using ride-sharing apps like Uber or Careem in Cairo, which are often more reliable and transparent in pricing.

5. Baksheesh Culture

Where It Happens: Almost everywhere, from historical sites to hotels and restaurants.

What to Avoid: Being unaware of the common practice of tipping or baksheesh can lead to spending more money than planned.

How to Avoid: Understand that tipping is a part of the culture in Egypt, but know the appropriate amounts for different services. Keep small change handy for such situations.

6. Fake Entry Tickets

Where It Happens: Outside main tourist attractions.

What to Avoid: Scammers selling fake entry tickets.

How to Avoid: Always buy your tickets at the official ticket counter of the attractions. Do not buy tickets from people approaching you outside.

General Tips for Avoiding Tourist Traps in Cairo

Join Small Group Tours

These are often led by knowledgeable local guides and can provide insights and historical context without the traps that come with larger, more impersonal tour groups.

Learn Basic Arabic Phrases

Knowing simple phrases in Arabic can help you negotiate prices and deal with vendors more effectively.

Stay Informed

Read reviews and travel blogs for up-to-date advice on avoiding tourist traps in Cairo.

How To Avoid Tourist Traps in El Cairo

1. Be Skeptical of Too-Good-To-Be-True Offers

On-the-spot offers for tours, souvenirs, or any services that seem unusually cheap or are aggressively pushed upon you.

Firmly decline offers that don’t feel right. If something seems too good to be true, it probably is. Always use reputable sources to book tours and services.

2. Learn to Bargain

Accepting the first price you are given in markets, for taxi rides (when meters aren’t used), and for souvenirs. This first price is often inflated because haggling is a common practice.

Be prepared to negotiate prices down, or ask locals in advance about what you should expect to pay. Learning a few key phrases in Arabic can also give you an edge in negotiations.

3. Use Reputable Transportation

Unmetered taxis or private cars offered by individuals around airports and tourist spots.

Opt for official taxis and insist on using the meter. Alternatively, use ride-sharing apps like Uber or Careem, which are widely used in Cairo and can be cheaper and more reliable than traditional taxis.

4. Be Cautious with Street Vendors

Street vendors often employ aggressive selling techniques and may offer overpriced goods.

It’s okay to look at what’s offered, but be prepared to walk away if you’re not interested. Always compare prices between multiple vendors if possible.

5. Eat Where the Locals Eat

6 Tourist Traps to Avoid in El Cairo Egypt And How to Avoid Them, Breakfast in Egypt - 6 Traditional Egyptian Breakfast Dishes to Try

Restaurants located right next to major tourist attractions often have higher prices and the food might not be authentically Egyptian.

Look for eateries filled with locals or ask your hotel for recommendations on where they eat. Trying local dishes at popular spots among residents often leads to a more authentic and satisfying meal.

6. Check Tickets and Fees

Overpaying for entrance tickets sold by unofficial vendors outside tourist sites.

Always purchase tickets at the official ticket office of the attraction. Do some research beforehand to know the actual costs of entrance fees.

7. Avoid Unsolicited Guides

Individuals who approach you offering guiding services at historical sites can sometimes be unlicensed and misleading.

If you prefer a guided tour, book one through a reputable agency or get recommendations from your accommodation. Official guides are usually required to have identification and proper credentials.

8. Stay Informed About Local Customs and Prices

Not knowing local customs and price ranges can make you a target for scams.

Do some research before your trip or talk to locals upon arrival about what to expect in terms of customs and average costs for goods and services.

Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links. If you click on these links and make a purchase, we may earn a commission at no extra cost to you. Please note that we only recommend products and services that we have personally used or believe will add value to our readers. Your support through these links helps us to continue creating informative and engaging content. Thank you for your support!