We’ve been regular scuba diving travellers to Egypt since 2005 and we’ve picked up a lot of tips and tricks over the years. By sharing them with you, we hope to make your trips to Egypt even easier (and we’re saying trips, because once you’ve been, you will want to go back every year, like we do!). And, of course, we hope you’ll be joining us on our next trip!
Wrap Your Suitcases for Free with Egypt Air
Before you queue for your Egypt Air flight, have your suitcase wrapped with clingfilm. Egypt Air will not check in suitcases that have not been wrapped and will send you away and you’ll have to rejoin the very long queue – at the back. They have a free service close to the check-in counter and you just need to find it, have your bags wrapped and then go check in.
Take a head /neck pillow for the plane
Sleeping on an aeroplane is uncomfortable at the best of times and it’s even worse when you sit in the middle row and wake up in the morning with your head on a strangers’ shoulder. Do yourself a favour and buy one of those blow up head / neck pillows. I have one and it makes a huge difference – my head no longer jerks forwards or sideways, waking me up just as a I drop off and I no longer land up with my head on anyone else’s shoulder. Mind you, you might find your fellow passenger next to you sharing yours when you wake up 😀
Fill in the card on the aeroplane
Towards the end of the flight from Johannesburg to Cairo, the cabin crew will come around with cards for you to fill in. Fill one in and hand it in when you check in for your flight to Hurghada. If you haven’t done this, you will be given one at check-in, be told to go away and fill it in and you then have to join the back of the queue again. The time between landing and your connecting flight can sometimes be quite short, so this added waste of time can become quite stressful. The security staff sense you are stressed and will insist on checking every single thing in your hand luggage – just to stress you out even more.
Don’t take too many shoes
When you get onto the boat, you immediately stow your shoes as you are not allowed to wear shoes on the boat. When you leave home, put on a pair of comfortable shoes that you can wear around the airport and during any walks or trips in Egypt. Take along flip flops for slouching around Hurghada before and after your trip.
Rinse your ears
After every dive, make sure you rinse your ears thoroughly with fresh water. The best way to do this is to keep one of the plastic bottles of water they give you on the boat in your bathroom, so that it stays at room temperature. After every dive, tilt your head to the side, cup a hand beneath your ear and pour fresh water into it. Tilt your head the other way so that the water runs in, and back again so that it runs out. Do this a couple of times on each side – in your bathroom. This will flush out the salty water that can dry in your ear and cause irritation. You can also put swim seal (tea-tree based antibacterial drops) into your ears before a dive to protect your ear. As I suffer from ear problems, I always wear a hoodie in Egypt, which helps a lot.
Don’t drink the water – not even to brush your teeth
Use that bottle of mineral water in your bathroom to brush your teeth. Don’t drink water out of the tap and try to keep your mouth closed whilst showering. Our stomachs are not used to the bugs in the water in Egypt and the tiniest drop of water that goes in your mouth can cause a really nasty upset stomach.
Upset Tummy? Sore Ears – Speak up!
At the first sign of a sore or upset tummy or sore ears, speak to your dive guides. The liveaboards usually have a very good medical supply of stomach and ear medicine specific to the bugs you will get in Egypt. Sometimes, immodium or kantrexil that we get at home don’t work on the Egyptian tummy bugs, so best use theirs if they have. Take your own along just in case they run out (which doesn’t normally happen!). To find out what to do about upset tummies… read here.
Take open heeled fins and booties
If you’re planning some shore dives after your liveaboard trip, rather take your open heeled fins and booties instead of closed-heel fins for the trip. Shore dives usually involve walking over very hot sand and then walking over some (dead) coral. Booties will protect you from burning your feet on the sand, and prevent you from standing on anything nasty and spiky such as sea anemones or worse…. And if you MUST wear closed heel fins, remember to put Vaseline or Zambuk on the tops of your toes to stop them chafing inside your fins – nothing spoils a diving holiday like open blisters on your tootsies!
Indigo Scuba has been diving in the Red Sea since 2005 and we take an annual group trip to the Red Sea at the end of June / beginning of July. To find out more about our next trip, please visit our Red Sea Liveaboard Safari webpage by clicking here.