Egypt is an incredible country to visit, but a somewhat difficult one – especially if you’re from Europe or North America. When I went, I learned a lot! But here are the things I wish I knew ahead of time – and things you should know before you go to Egypt.
1. Just because English numbers are called “Arabic Numerals” does not mean modern-day Arabic uses them.
This is one of those moments where you realize exactly how lost you can get, and easily! The Arabic number set does not use the numbers that you and I are familiar with. Crazy, right? I’m so used to being in other countries with foreign languages, but I’m not as used to foreign number sets. You’d do well to study the numbers ahead of time just a bit – I got lost with which platform to go to for a train, and sometimes vendors put different prices on things for people who can read numbers in Arabic and those who can’t.
The Vatican Scavi tour is one of the hottest tickets in Rome – the Vatican only allows 250 people in each day as part of a guided group! The tickets are also incredibly reasonable – they’re 13 Euro a person, which (in my opinion) makes this the most incredible steal of a tour in any country!
My mom and I both LOVED this tour – it was the absolute highlight of our Italy trip (and also something of a “life overall” highlight).
So first things first:
What is the Vatican Scavi?
The Vatican Scavi is the necropolis that’s under St. Peter’s. It’s where they’ve excavated to find details from the early Christian church.
What is the Vatican Scavi Tour?
The Vatican Scavi Tour is an hour-long trip through the necropolis, ending at (what the church believes are) the bones of St. Peter. Each tour is led by a guide employed by the Vatican who is actually an archaeologist. Tours are arranged by language grouping, so you’ll have a guide who speaks your language. Read more
As I was preparing to leave, one thing my mom offered to do for me was put together a first aid kit for me to take with. I gave her 16 oz to work with, and let’s be honest – that did not work out so well! But for what I took, I’m glad I spent the weight on it.
My mom is an RN, and a hospital administrator, so when it comes to first aid, her advice is pretty trustworthy!
One governing idea for her as she built the first aid kit was trying to think of things that would be difficult to get abroad. There wasn’t as much Tylenol or Ibuprofen (yes, had those, but small amounts), and more things to help in a true pickle (ie, filling repair and tooth saver). And she didn’t pack normal Band-Aids – but she did pack the big band-aids and blister band-aids that are a bit less common. Read more
If you have the chance, you should definitely visit the Philippines. It’s an incredibly diverse nation, with thousands of islands and indescribable beauty. Here are seventeen things you should know before you land:
1. Everyone speaks English, but not everyone…
Filipino children learn English in school, but Tagalog and other local languages are widely spoken throughout the islands. Especially for people in the islands like Habal Habal drivers, you might not get someone who speaks English. On the whole, you will generally be able to find someone around who does.
2. Each island is unique – with both beauty and safety
I know this sounds like a “duh.” But each island has its own character, and its own way of being. Check on which island you’re going to before judging it based which state it’s in. For instance – Siargao is technically in Mindanao, but is very isolated from all the problems on Mindanao island. El Nido is quite safe, but heading down south can get you into trouble (specifically taking boats out into the sea.)