When In Egypt: Don't Get Ripped Off!

I've just got back from a vacation in Sharm El Sheik, Egypt. I'm writing this blog post as a bit of advice for people travelling to Egypt who want to use their smartphone and/or keep in touch with friends and family via the internet.

While on holiday I took my HTC Desire Android smartphone with me. The plan was to use the device to navigate (using Google Maps Navigation) and translate (using Google Translate) my way to an easier less stressful holiday. I also used GMail (for Google Mail), Seesmic (for Twitter, Facebook, Google Buzz and Identica) and Picplz (to share snaps taken with the HTC Desire's excellent camera).

All these wonderful applications and services require a working data connection, and for that I was going to need a local SIM card so as to avoid horrendous roaming charges from my UK operator 3 UK. Bear in mind that you will need a GSM/UMTS device with no sim-lock to use an Egyptian sim card. After internet research before arriving in Egypt and then choosing in a local shop, I decided to go with a Vodafone Egypt Holiday SIM card. Vodafone Egypt offers the Holiday prepay SIM card for travellers visiting Egypt. As well as competitive rates for local and international calls this SIM card and plan offer relatively cheap data rates at 1 Egyptian Pound per MB of data.
A summary of the Vodafone Holiday tariff.
The Vodafone Holiday SIM card should cost 20 Egyptian Pounds (with 5 Egyptian Pounds worth of credit included) and you can buy credit top up cards in denominations of 10-15-20-50-100 Egyptian Pounds. When buying the credit from a Vodafone store you should pay face value for the top up cards. If buying your credit from another store (not a Vodafone one) it is fair to pay 10%-20% extra for the top up card. As usual in Egypt you will have to haggle with the shop keeper to attain that price.

All in all my Vodafone SIM card did me well while I was in Sharm El Sheik. I only had to top up 50 Egyptian pounds worth of credit during my week there (at the time of writing £5 UK). This was mainly used outside the hotel grounds, because I used the HTC Desire with WiFi on while in the Hotel.

At the time of writing this post the exchange rate of the Egyptian Pound to the UK Pound Sterling is 0.1 so every UK Pound gives you approximately 10 Egyptian Pounds.

Feel free to leave comments/questions.