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Arriving at Hurghada Airport (Beware Scams)

Updated: Feb 23, 2022

Arriving at the airport is your first taste of Egypt and represents well how the rest of your time will be. Arriving via Hurghada Airport is an interesting experience.

First- those with vaccines exit the plane first; those with tests exit after. The staff will announce this over the plane intercom.

Second- vaccine / test review. After walking down the terminal, there will be a bottleneck with a crowd. There are two officials at a pop-up desk looking at tests and vaccines. EU vaccines with QR codes are glanced at and let through, no problem. American CDC vaccine cards are actually read. The writing on my CDC card looks like scribble scratch, but I was let through without question.

Third- temperature check. Single file line through what looks like a metal detector repurposed as a monitor stand.

Fourth- border control. This is broken into three parts. Travel kiosks, bank kiosks, then passport control at the end.

a) Travel kiosks- they're the first thing you see and seem official. They look like where you're supposed to go. But no, you need to go to the bank kiosks in the corner to buy a VISA sticker.

b) Bank kiosks- they're in the same area as the travel kiosks. Stickers are $25 or €25, and you need to pay in cash.

c) Passport control. You need to show your passport with the sticker, the information form you filled out on the plane, and possibly your plane ticket. The lady in front of me was smiled at and had no problems. The officer met me with a scowl, my form was scrutinized, and I had to show my plane ticket. Once stamped, you're almost done.

Fifth- declarations. Go down the escalator to baggage claims. In the same large room is declarations. Put your bag on the belt and hope everyone is too busy to open your bag. It seemed as soon as someone was available to search a bag, one was pulled.

Sixth- cell plans & ATM. If you can wait to buy a SIM card in town, do so. Do not pull cash at the ATMs in the airport. Ask your driver to stop at an ATM in town. Cell plans are pretty much all the same. If you're going to buy a SIM at the airport, BUY THE SMALLEST PACKAGE. You're likely to be scammed if you buy anything larger. Also, you're going to need to do the SIM installation and setup yourself. I've been using Orange, the speed and stability are good. I default to using the cell plan rather than hotel wi-fi for video calls. Per their calculation, I use ~10GB a day which costs ~ $9.

Finally- leaving. If you choose the taxis at the airport, you will pay 30 Euro. That's if there are any left by the time you exit. Ask your hotel, resort, or Airbnb to schedule a pickup. Expect to pay ~ $10. Of course, if you're going to City Center, you could be paying more. El Guana for example could be $20.


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