Algeria

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ShermansTravel experts rely on years of collective travel experience to bring you the best money-saving tips for your vacation. We take a discerning look at all the attraction passes, public transportation options, and other local bargains to make sure you get the most bang for your buck while traveling.

Algeria Money-Saving Tips

Weekend

Although its North African neighbors have switched to the Western model of a Saturday-Sunday weekend, in Algeria the weekend still falls on Thursday and Friday.

Money

You can find ATMs and use credits cards in the major resort towns and cities of Tunisia, Egypt, and Morocco. It’s a different story in Libya and Algeria. ATMs and credit card facilities are few and far between; even changing traveler’s checks outside of the main cities can be a major production.

Bargaining

In most North African countries bargaining is a way of life and can be part of the fun when shopping in the medina. In tourist dominated areas you’ll likely be quoted a seriously inflated price. Bear in mind that this isn’t always the case, but there’s no point bargaining to death over the price of a bag of fruit.

Language

Though visitors won’t have a problem speaking English in Egypt or the more tourist-oriented areas of Morocco and Tunisia, visitors to Algeria or Libya will get by much more easily if they speak some French or Arabic.

Visas

U.S. citizens do not require a visa for Morocco or Tunisia for stays of up to 90 days. Visas for Egypt are straightforward and can be easily obtained upon entering the country. If visiting Libya or Algeria you’ll need an official invitation from a travel agency and should arrange your visa at least a month in advance.

Customs

Heed restrictions on removing archeological artifacts or fragments of rock art. Penalties are severe: you could face a heavy fine and/or a prison sentence. If you buy antiques, or even reproductions, make sure you have an official receipt to show customs.

Women travelers

For women traveling alone in North Africa some sexual harassment is par for the course, although physical assault is rare. Dress modestly, wear sunglasses to avoid eye contact, and don’t walk about alone at night.

Tuareg

The Tuareg are Berber nomads who live in the North and West African Sahara, although many these days have moved to settle near towns or cities. Tuareg men wear veils – both as a symbol of their identity and as a means of protection against the desert wind and sand. They are sometimes referred to as “blue men” in reference to their traditional indigo robes.

Terrorism

Over the past few years, Islamic militant groups have carried out deadly attacks in Algeria, Egypt, and Morocco. Seek advice before traveling.

Tea

All over North Africa, tea is an essential part of any social gathering. It’s typically composed of fresh mint, green tea, and copious amounts of sugar.

Hassle

When traveling in the touristy areas of North Africa expect a barrage of (sometimes aggressive) sales pitches from souvenir sellers or people offering guide services. If you’re not interested, just give them a very firm “no thanks.” If they persist, ignore them and look purposeful, like you know where you’re going.

Ramadan

During Ramadan, observant Muslims fast between dawn and sunset. This is not an ideal time for visitors as many shops, businesses, and restaurants are closed (or have limited hours) and public transportation may be less frequent. Since the holiday follows the Muslim lunar calendar as opposed to the western Gregorian calendar, exact dates vary from year to year – in 2008 the holiday occurs throughout the month of September; in 2009 it takes place from August 21st to September 19th.

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