Living In Egypt As A Digital Nomad part 1 – that will be the topic of today’s article.
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The best time to consider your financial situation is when you are moving to a new country.
Egypt is a beautiful country with an ancient history covering over five thousand years. It has yet to be surpassed by any other country in the number of tourist visitors each year, making this country one of the most visited countries in the world.
The Giza pyramids, Luxor temple, and Alexandria library are some of Egypt’s biggest tourist attractions, but there are four UNESCO World Heritage Sites, putting Egypt on par with countries like France and China. Cairo, the capital of Egypt, is known as one of the most violent cities in the world, but that doesn’t mean it’s not worth visiting or living in.
When you first land at Cairo airport, you’ll literally be met by a swarm of people all asking you where you’re going and trying to get your taxi fare quoted before you even see the price on the meter. The first time it happened, I thought we had happened upon an organized mafia operation or that they were professionals at scamming foreigners into overpaying for taxis.
But, it turns out that was far from the truth. In Cairo, if you don’t look foreign, you’ll get quoted a lower price for everything. Whereas tourists will pay around 20 Egyptian pounds to cross a bridge, local Cairenes will only pay one pound on the same bridge. We took every opportunity we could to save some money during our time in the country, and that meant negotiating over just about everything.
Have you been craving to become a digital nomad in Egypt? If your answer sounds like a YES, you’ve landed on the right platform. Today, in this article, we will walk you through the ultimate guide to living in Egypt as an expat. We have compiled the benefits, best places to stay, and many others. Read further!
What to Know about Digital Nomad Life in Egypt
You’ve probably heard of digital nomads. They are entrepreneurs who have decided to embrace travel and not only that – they make their living while traveling around the world. They don’t have a fixed home address, instead opting for hotel rooms or AirBnb’s when they need to sleep.
I am one of these nomads, and I live in Egypt. Here are the things you should know if you want to get started with digital nomad life here:
It’s Not All about the Internet
Many people think of working from a cafe when they hear ‘digital nomad’ – and while that can be part of your day, it isn’t the only option. Many cafes are overpriced, and noise levels can make it difficult to work.
That’s why most digital nomads living in Egypt will rent an apartment with a good internet connection, but not necessarily much else – no kitchen, no clean water supply (they buy bottles of drinking water), and sometimes even no furniture.
Travel on a Budget
If you’re used to the western world, Egypt might come as a shock to your system. Even if you are used to very cheap countries, Egypt can significantly decrease your spending power because of the Egyptian Pound’s weakness against other currencies, which leads me to my next point.
Leave Your Western Lifestyle At Home
If you want to be a digital nomad, you will need to leave many of the conveniences and amenities that we take for granted back home. You won’t have debit/credit cards (you can get an Egyptian ATM card, though), clean drinking water, good roads, comfortable transport options, reliable electricity, and many others. Nowadays, you can’t even rely on Google Maps to work in Egypt.
Plan and Be Open-Minded
You will benefit from keeping your schedule flexible because Egyptian life is not very organized. You will also need to accept that many things won’t go the way you planned them (or even the way that anyone planned them). If you can’t accept this and still work effectively, you probably shouldn’t be considering digital nomad life in Egypt.
Be Social, But Not Too Social
In Cairo, you will have a great opportunity to meet people from all around the world. However, being social is one of the best ways to get into trouble in Egypt. If you get too friendly with Egyptian people, they can sometimes expect repayment (especially financially). You do not need to give them gifts/money/help, and the sooner you learn this better.
You Can Get By With Basic Arabic
While it would be great to speak the local language if you want to move out of resorts and tourist areas, it isn’t necessary. Many people living in Egypt as digital nomads have no more than a few key phrases in Arabic.
The best way to learn is through casual conversation with people who you meet during your daily life, then learning a more complex language when you want to start exploring the country a bit further.
Get Used To Power Cuts
The majority of Egypt has an unstable electric supply. Power cuts are often short but can also last up to six hours in some parts of the city. This can be inconvenient because it can make digital nomad work a little more difficult.
Meanwhile, the only time it is really annoying is if you’re trying to do something that requires constant power. As for charging your electronic devices, most cafes have sockets and will let you charge while you’re drinking coffee.
Work Out of Coffee Shops
There are three main problems with coffee shops that keep people away from them when trying to work. The first is that they can be incredibly noisy, which means you’ll have problems finding a seat in the cafe if it’s even open.
Another problem is that many cafes in Egypt don’t have fast internet connections, so working outside your apartment is not always an option. The final problem is the price of coffee – it’s usually very high compared to local standards, which can make work unaffordable for some digital nomads.
There Is No Single Digital Nomad Scene
Even though the digital nomad lifestyle has become very popular in Egypt, there is not a single hub where everyone hangs out. Many travels to Cairo every so often to work from Hub 64, but most stay away because of the high prices and noise levels.
Likewise, many nomads meet up for coffee or lunch, but there are no permanent places where someone can go to work on their laptop all day. You’ll have to do some searching to find the right places that suit your needs.
Don’t Think Of It as ‘Travel.’
Many people who live in Egypt for a year or two think of it as a lifestyle they would like to keep forever. It’s not uncommon to feel homesick and long for your friends and family throughout your time here, but the main point of the digital nomad life is that you can live and work from anywhere in the world. Therefore, if you want to make Egypt into a new home, what do you do?
You can try to transfer your visa, but it’s a long process involving lots of paperwork and guarantors. Because you’re staying in Egypt on a self-employed visa, your yearly income needs to be at least 3500 USD before the embassy considers letting you move from a tourist visa to a residency permit. You also need two guarantors in Egypt who share their income details with the embassy.
The other option is to get a job in Egypt rather than rely on remote work alone. Arabic is very different from English, but most jobs require good English skills (usually up to an intermediate level). Look for jobs in international companies or even embassies.