Egypt has been a popular destination for many years, thanks to being home to some of the most famous historical sites in the world like the pyramids and the Nile. However, Egypt has had a troubled history in recent years, with political and religious upheaval. This has caused a drop in tourism. But is actually safe to visit Egypt, especially as a female traveller?
Certain parts of Egypt aren’t safe for any travellers. Check the official advice from the government before you travel, but in general, North Sinai, South Sinai and the Libyan border are considered very unsafe. There’s a risk of kidnappings and terrorism. However, with proper precautions, there are plenty of parts of Egypt that are still welcoming tourists. As a female traveller, you shouldn’t travel alone anywhere in Egypt. Instead, travel with friends or family or book Egypt group tours, so you can travel safely.
Tips For Safe Travel In Egypt
With some sensible precautions and safety knowledge, you can travel safely in Egypt, even as a female traveller.
- Get travel insurance. Wherever you go on holiday, you should have travel insurance. If the political situation changes and you need to cancel or change your trip, you’ll be protected from ending up out of pocket. You’ll also be protected in case of illness or injury that needs medical treatment.
- Always travel with a copy of your identification. You will have to show your ID throughout your trip, but you don’t want to risk losing your actual passport. A copy is fine to show.
- Avoid public displays of affection. Egypt is a conservative place and physical affection in public places is frowned upon. This is especially important for LGBT couples to remember, as this could put you at risk.
- If you come across any kind of political demonstration, stay well away. These aren’t interesting events to watch so move away to avoid the risk of being injured or even worse.
- Buy a local sim card. Sim cards are cheap and easy to get hold of, and with a local card, you’ll be able to call for help if there’s a problem and your usual phone won’t work abroad.
- Learn some basic Arabic. You’ll get on much better on your trip if you can at least manage a few polite phrases of conversation. Learn to read numbers, and some polite greetings and niceties. You’ll be able to communicate and show respect. Remember that Egyptian Arabic is different to Moroccan Arabic so make sure you’ve learned the right one.
- Be prepared for the sun. Egypt is a very hot country and the sun is strong. Stay out of the sun during the hottest part of the day to avoid heatstroke. Make sure you put on plenty of sunscreen before going out and reapply throughout the day. Carry a water bottle with you and drink plenty of water all day to make sure you stay well hydrated in the heat.
- Avoid religious gatherings and celebrations. Don’t travel during religious holidays and avoid religious gatherings while you’re in the country. These are common targets for terrorist attacks, so stay clear.
- Carry small change for tipping. In Egypt, it’s considered the norm to tip anyone who gives you service, from your tour guide to your taxi driver.
- Dress modestly. Egypt is still a conservative place, and most people, even the men, cover-up. As a woman, you should avoid attracting too much attention by covering your legs, shoulders and cleavage. If you’re staying at a resort, you can get away with dressing in a more Western way, but you should still have a swimsuit coverup for around the pool.
- Pack mosquito repellent. While there isn’t Malaria in Egypt, there are a lot of mosquitos, and bug bites are never nice. Take mosquito repellent with you and put it on. Stay covered up during dusk and dawn when the most bugs are out.
- Be sensible around any of Egypt’s many armed guards. Armed security is everywhere, and they will shoot people who they believe are behaving in a suspicious manner.
- Be aware of where you’re aiming your camera when you’re taking pictures. It is strictly prohibited to take any photographs of military installations or public buildings. Even train stations count, and you can be arrested if you photograph these buildings. You also can’t use drones without proper permission, and they can cause a lot of suspicions.
- Stay alert. Tourists are easy targets for bag snatching and pickpockets. Never go anywhere with someone that you don’t know, even if they claim to recognise you, and only book tours through your hotel or travel agency. Keep your bags close to you at all times, and remain vigilant. Keep your valuables close or lock them in the hotel safe. Keep your money in a money belt while you’re out and about, and keep it worn tight around your waist so it’s easy to keep it close.
- Stay alert in crowded places. Crowds are a great place for pickpockets to strike, and it’s not uncommon for gropings and assaults to happen to tourists when packed in a crowd either. Be sensible and make sure you aren’t hemmed in by a crowd.
- Quad bike trips are popular in Egypt, but safety standards can really vary. If you do decide to take one of these trips, always ask for a proper helmet to wear. Make sure the bike is safe too before you set off.
- Do not drink alcohol anywhere other than a licensed bar or restaurant, especially in the street. Attitudes to alcohol are very different in Egypt and you could be arrested.
- Do not take any drugs. If you’re caught, you will be prosecuted, and the punishments for drug use are either long prison sentences or the death penalty. Do not risk it.
- Check the reviews of any trips or tours you take and don’t just opt for the cheapest option available. Don’t take any trips alone, and ask someone else on your holiday to come with you.
Have you ever travelled to Egypt? How did you stay safe?