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1. Visas & Passports

2. Getting there

3. Getting around

4. Eating & sleeping

5. Costs

6. Health

7. Safety

8. Climate

9. Shopping

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Egypt has had enough tourists, over many enough years, to present a diluted image of true handicraft and tourist souvenirs. Many Egyptians as well, will often not be able to tell one from the other. The quality of the work is often excellent, and the cost (after haggling) will be so low, that it is a bit difficult to point out the very best buys for visitors to Egypt.
Many get fascinated by papyrus, but anyone planning to buy such items, would do best to shop around first. I had presented 4 different qualities in the most renowned store of Cairo, and to my taste the worst quality was the most attractive, while I felt that the best qualities were overloaded by colours. Anyone buying papyrus, do best by choosing the ones they really like best, but pay according to a scale where brownish colours are counted as the most crude quality, while the very colourful ones are considered best. One thing to always look out for: The papyrus should not have any painting lost, nor anything in the process of peeling off. But this applies to the best qualities.
Egyptian jewellery bought at the right price, will leave you wondering how anyone could be making any profits. This becomes especially clear with gold items, where the price you pay is just a little bit above the metal price (be awake when stating metal price for gold, according to the carat value— in 21 carat there is 21/24 parts of gold in the total weight). But also be awake during the weighing process. Always be cautious with "antique" stuff, little of the antiques displayed for tourists are anything but fakes.
Clothes and shoes can be of incredible value. Cotton clothes can be tailor-made, but the quality of the work is unpredictable. If you know how to spot bad from good work, here you have a great way of saving in on the costs of travelling to Egypt. As for shoes, I once bought a pair of shoes for US$7, and they were some of the very best shoes I have ever had. First class leather, and pleasant even for long walks. Finding a shoe store in big cities? Nothing would be easier, they are all over.
For leather items, skin quality is generally very good, but the actual work is unpredictable. Prices are good, but check the workmanship just as much as the leather quality. Leather shall be soft,- very soft, elastic and firm. Stitches should be strong enough to let the vendor have to try to tear the jacket or bag apart. If you are not allowed to test the quality before buying, check on another vendor.
Egypt has many more good items at sale, than the ones described above. There are two banal, but important, rules never to forget: Only buy what you really like, and never rush into a transaction.

By Tore Kjeilen