Egypt is a destination for millions of tourists and visitors every year. It is a country rich with history, entertainment, and cultural attractions. However you need to make sure it is safe to go to Egypt and to follow safety guidelines before you make a decision to travel to there. This is even more important if you are going with family especially families with young kids or babies. We have been flying with babies and young kids for years and will put ll our learnt lessons here. You can also read more here about the recommended safety guidelines when planning to visit Egypt.
I have learned a lot from my travels with family and I have made some mistakes that I can share with you here. First, here are the top tips to take into consideration when planning to travel with babies or toddlers:
- Relax, enjoy your time, and don’t be over concerned
- Make sure your baby or toddler is healthy and up to date with vaccinations before travelling. Premature babies and babies born with heart or serious health conditions are not ready to travel.
- Ask others politely not to kiss or hug babies or toddlers
- Do not breastfeed in public in Egypt if you don’t want too much attention or stares.
- Avoid direct sun exposure and long walks with a baby or toddler
- Use Uber or air-conditioned transportation to avoid long exposure to heat
- When in Cairo, pick a quiet room in your hotel to help your baby sleep. Cairo is a noisy city
- It is better to go between October and April to avoid extreme heat season
- Consult your doctor or pediatrician before traveling and take recommended medications that you may need
- Plan your itinerary so it is not too exhausting to your baby or toddler
- Avoid Extreme adventures such as desert 4X4 long rides and camping or diving sea trips
- Consult pharmacists in Egypt when needed. They can speak English and are usually very helpful
- Consult your doctor for what powder and creams to take to protect your baby from the heat
- Take some baby food and jars with you (but not too much). You can buy more locally.
- Take a good quality lightweight foldable stroller and baby cot or buy it locally. You can donate before you leave if you do not want to travel with it.
- Always carry some dry food, snacks, and water with you wherever you go.
- Do not use baby harness. It is not culturally acceptable in Egypt
- Check with your hotel to see if they have babysitting service for toddlers.
- Your baby needs a birth certificate and a passport: Just saying if you don’t know already.
- Be careful about mosquitos in Egypt. Get a mosquito net for your stroller, carrycot, or wherever your baby sleeps.
Is It Safe to Travel with a Baby or Toddler to Egypt?
The Quick answer is: Yes. Egypt is a family and child friendly country. Egyptians are welcoming in general, but even more welcoming for families and children. Newborns usually require between 1 to 3 months to fully develop their immune system, so it is a good idea to check with a pediatrician if your baby is less than 3 months old.
The Flight to Egypt
Check with your airline or travel agent if your baby is less than 10 days old as some airlines may not allow newborns that young to fly. Try to book the shortest route if you can. Switching several planes and airports can be exhausting for babies and toddlers.
You may be on a 10+ hours flight to Egypt or you may be on a 5 or less hours away. In all cases it is a good idea to reserve the seat with more leg room to be able to handle a baby or move relatively easy with a toddler. Get a chair for your child if you can afford it as it a lot safer. It is also a good idea to take a pillow for a comfortable sleep for your toddler.
Try to book your flight to sync with your child sleeping hours. This is not easy, but can be a big relief if available. Prepare your toddler to the trip by talking about planes, Egypt, and fun time to expect. Read stories about airplanes and Egypt. Let your toddler participate in preparing their bag.
During Takeoff or landing, give you baby a pacifier, milk bottle, or breast feed your baby. Give your toddler something to chew or drink. This is to protect the ears and relief ear pain. Make sure you have additional set of clothes for you and your baby or toddlers as accidents happen and you may need to change. Take baby wipes and liquid bottles onboard. You will need those.
Check with your agent or airline on allowed baby strollers and carrycot or bassinet. Traveling with your spouse or friends will make life easier as they can help moving the luggage while you focus on your baby or toddler.
I use noise cancelling headphones sometimes in airports and airplanes as sometimes announcements and other voices are relatively loud. Use baby carrier if possible at airports to free your hands for security checks, passport handling, and taking care of carry on luggage. Try to board as early as possible and ask on the plane if you can be seated next to an empty chair. You will be surprised that it is very much possible sometimes.
Comparison of infant travel policies between different airlines
|Delta||An adult can carry one infant. If traveling with 2 infants then a seat must be purchased for the second one. Infants under 7 days old cannot travel without a letter from physician. Up to two years children can travel in lap with 10% of ticket cost or in a separate seat but a child seat need to be brought in for safety to be attached to plane seat.|
|American Airlines||Under 7 days old infants need a from to be approved by physician to travel. If child will have a separate seat, a safety seat must accompany the child and be secured in child seat. Infants must be accompanied by an adult or parent. One stroller is allowed per ticket. Traveling with one parent requires consent from the other parent. A percentage of ticket fees will be paid for in lap infants (you need to call to get the rate). Aircraft lavatories will usually have changing table (check with airline for the specific plane you will travel on). Bassinets may be requested but not guaranteed.|
|Air Canada||Child or infant must be at least 7 days old. One adult can take only one infant at a time under any circumstances. Children under 2 years old on a separate seat must have safety seat attached and secured to aircraft seat. Ticket fare for in lap is about 10% of ticket cost and for a separate seat a child ticket rate applies (contact AirCanada for exact cost). Bassinets may be requested but not guaranteed. One stroller per passenger ticket is allowed. Larger stroller may not be allowed on aircraft, so smaller lighter ones are recommended.|
|Egypt Air||You need to request a bulkhead seat in advance and a carrycot (you may need to bring your own). Children must be held tight in lap during takeoff and landing. Infant must be at least 7 days old or older. For Premature babies or babies less than 7 days old a physician approval is needed and a physician or certified nurse need to accompany babies requiring medical attention. An adult can travel with two infants, but second infant or child must have a seat. Parents with 2 infants must be allocated cross aisle seats. For babies travelling inside incubators, contact Egyptair for arrangements. Children car seats are allowed, but require advance arrangement with EGYPTAIR. These policies apply to children up to 2 years old.|
|British Airways||Infants travelling in lap pay 10% of adult ticket fare. Infants in seat pay 75% of adult ticket fare. Fuel surcharge (YQ) will not be applied to infant fares. Car seats can be used up to 3 years old children. It must be forward facing and must be attachable to plane seat. All Airbus A330 planes are equipped with bassinets for babies from 9 to 12 months old. Bassinets must be requested in advance. Infants younger than 7 days or premature infants are not allowed to fly with a formal physician approval or a medical escort.|
|Qantas||Infants less than 7 days old require medical clearance to travel. Infants are children up to 2 years old. Australian airports will have strollers available after you check in your personal stroller. One adult is limited to one accompanied infant, but you can contact Qantas to discuss accompanying more than one infant. Bassinets must be booked in advance. Car seats are allowed but require approval at least 7 days before flight.|
|Cathy Pacific||Infant must be 7 years old or more. Infant can set in lap of guardian or adult (up to 24 months) and may also have a separate seat. One adult can accompany yup to two infants with one of them at least 6 months old and to have a car seat secured in a separate plane seat. Bassinets are available on most aircrafts but need to be requested during reservation. Car seats are allowed, but you may need to confirm model and suitability to your specific journey aircraft with Cathy Pacific.|
|Turkish airlines||Infants must 7 days or older or otherwise will need medical clearance. Children up to 2 years old can travel in lap with a discounted rate, but they can also have their own seat at a special seat discount for children. Strollers are usually allowed up to aircraft gate. You can request infant food when booking and you can bring your own too. If travelling with more than one infant, the second one will have a separate seat ticket and must have a car seat attached to plane seat.|
|Lufthansa||Most aircrafts will have changing tables and drinking water suitable for babies. Reserve bassinets at least 52 hours before flight. Children under 2 years old can sit in lap (for 10% of adult ticket fare) but can also have their own seat child rate. Strollers and car seats will be taken onboard when possible (some airports do not allow that so check with airline)|
|AirFrance||Traveling with infants younger than 7 days is not recommended. Traveling with up to two infants is allowed but requires arrangement with Air France. Child in lap fare is 10% of adult ticket fare. Foldable stroller and a car seat are allowed with no extra charge. Stroller must be packed in a carrying bag or case.|
|KLM||Children up to one year old can travel in lap. Each adult can accompany up to 2 infants but one of them must be in a seat. Older children require their own seats. Carrycots can be reserved in advance and car seats are allowed onboard for no extra fees.|
The above is a sample comparison between different airlines for infant flying conditions and facilities. In general, most airlines will have the following conditions and terms for infants and young children travel:
-Infants and babies are allowed in lap up to two years old (except KLM – 1year old).
-Strollers are allowed but it is recommended to have light foldable ones.
-Car seats are generally allowed if you have a separate seat for your baby. It needs to be compatible with plane seats. Some airlines will allow a car seat on board even for in lap infants.
-Most airlines will allow two infants with one adult but will require a separate seat for the second baby.
-Bring your baby’s food and water onboard.
-Most airlines will seat families together.
-Most airlines will charge 10% of adult ticket fare for in lap infants. For a spate seat, you will pay child rate. Second child must be secured in seat with a car or child seat.
-Bassinets and carrycots are usually available if requested with booking.
The packing list
My biggest advice here is: Don’t overpack. Make sure you take with you all the essential items, but do not over do this step. You can buy almost anything you need from Egypt and usually at a reasonable price. It is a balancing game. Here is a list of items I recommend
- Your baby or toddler’s favorite toy or doll
- Baby Carrier for walks with baby. I love the Ergobaby Carrier with Cool Air Mesh that is flexible, light, and suitable for the weather in Egypt.
- Diapers, wipes, change pad, and change bag: You may not find change tables easily in public places across Egypt. Keep some diapers handy or on top of you packed stuff.
- Noise Control headphones: Whether for airplanes or maybe some other places in Egypt. You will find that noise is very common across Egypt.
- Diaper cream
- First aid kit
- Breast pump, bottles for milk water, and liquids as needed
- Bottle brushes, utensils. Also a sterilizer to make sure you have clean bottles. Always use bottled water for your baby’s supplies.
- Shoes and socks: Look for light weight comfortable simple shoes with not too much bells and whistles. Lace free shoes are easier. Take at least two shoes. For newborns, I wouldn’t really care about taking shoes at all.
- Does your baby need some white noise to sleep? You can use any of those from YouTube or download some audio on your mobile. However some Egyptian hotels do not have good internet, so you can buy a white noise machine as an alternative.
- Baby blanket (you may need it during flight)
- Hats and caps. A compact pocket blanket can be useful anywhere. I always take one of those
- Power adapters to operate your devices in Egypt. Egypt power outlets are usually 220 volts and 60Hz (North America devices is usually 110 volts and 50Hz). This converter can be handy.
- A kettle can be very useful especially that some hotels do not have any option to heat water. This fordable kettle can work on both 110 or 220 volts.
- A cooling bag can be really useful to keep your bottles and food at reasonable temperature as long as possible. You can buy some cooling gel or pads locally and keep it in the cooling bag.
- Clothes for your baby and toddler: How much to take? Depends on how long you will be staying in Egypt and how frequent you will be able to wash clothes or send it to laundry. You can also buy more if needed from Egyptian markets and shopping malls especially if you are visiting Cairo.
- Sunscreen: Ge a suitable cream for baby or toddler’s age. Not recommended for less than 6 moths.
At the Hotel
If you are staying at a hotel or a rented apartment plan for how you are going to warm your baby liquid or food bottles. Check with the hotel. Also ask about baby cribs at the hotel. If provided with one, inspect it carefully for safety.
Expect your baby or toddler to have jetlag just like you. You may need couple of days to get your child used to new time zone. One way I do this is keeping my baby awake as long as possible to start syncing with local time and to get him tired enough to sleep longer hours.
Check with your hotel or landlord about the nearest hospital, clinics, or emergency numbers. You don’t want to be researching that when emergency happens.
Check for available laundry service. Take a tide spot removing stick or something similar for quick cleaning. Take a backup washing string and some laundry hanging pegs. I always use this washing bag in my travels whenever a washing machine is not close by or reachable. Check if your hotel has elevators and stroller friendly ramps (yes not every hotel in Egypt has those).
Going places with your baby or toddler in Egypt
If going to Egypt with toddler or a newborn, the biggest concern here would be the hot weather in Egypt. You need to carefully decide if the weather is suitable for an outdoor tour. Avoid mid-day hot hours.
I know it may sound obvious, but never, ever leave your baby or toddler in a car not even for one minute!
Always monitor your kid’s skin temperature. A daily cool bath for your baby or toddler maybe a good idea to make up for the heat exposure. Be careful about changing temperatures between indoors and outdoors though.
Always check where washrooms are located in every place you go to. Keep toilet papers with you as it may not be available in some washrooms. Monitor your toddler or baby for dehydrations, heat stroke, or itchy skin (Prickly Heat). Always add or remove layers of clothes according to current weather and temperature.
Always stay close to your toddler when in swimming pools. Carefully check cribs or play areas in hotels to make sure it is safe. Felucca Nile rides may not be suitable for babies or toddlers. A Nile cruise is okay though.
I would not recommend Going inside the pyramids with a baby or a toddler. Be careful at the pyramids area with all the traffic, horses and camels. Going to Egypt with a toddler can be a good unforgettable experience, but you need to be alert and to pay attention to your toddler’s whereabouts all the time.