The enchanting land of the Pyramids is the posterboy of travel bucket list entries. Yet, is it safe to travel to Egypt? Yes, we admit it might not be as safe as a weekend getaway to Bognor Regis, but how dangerous is it?
Is it safe to travel to Egypt, and is Egypt worth travelling to, are very different questions. With its staggering wealth of archaeological sites, fragrant cuisine and charming streets awash with Arabian charm, the latter is much easier to answer. Trips to Egypt have a stellar reputation amongst travellers. Nevertheless, political instability is nothing new to this African country. To ensure your adventure goes smoothly, a little bit of pre-holiday homework can go a long way. Of course, preparation, and background knowledge of the current political situation, are vital before travelling to any country experiencing civil unrest.
Where does its dangerous tag come from?
Ever since the removal of President Mubarak during the Arab Spring in 2011, Egypt has suffered from political instability. The war on terrorism hit the headlines back in 2015, when a plane was brought down over the Sinai peninsula. Presently, the UK Government advises against all but essential travel to a select few areas of Egypt which can be checked here. The government website also states that terrorists are likely to carry out attacks; however, these almost always occur in North Sinai. Now we’ve got the scary information out the way it must be noted that over 415,000 British nationals visited in 2018, and the vast majority were trouble-free.
Tips for fuss-free travel to Egypt
Avoid problem areas
First and foremost – taking the statistics from 2018 into account – Egypt is not extremely dangerous. Of course, there are things you should keep in mind before venturing to this fascinating country; one is to always check the UK’s Foreign Office travel advice before travelling. It may seem a little over-the-top, but this is worth doing before heading anywhere abroad. Secondly, remember to avoid areas where potential troubles could erupt. In Egypt’s case, the majority of incidents take place outside of tourist areas.
Being a predominantly Muslim country, it is rather conservative; in spite of this, it is nowhere near as extreme as the Gulf States or Saudi Arabia. On average, people show little flesh when out in the street.
Unfortunately, the dress code in Egypt for women is not progressive by western standards: women are expected to keep their arms and legs covered when out in public. For men there isn’t much of an issue; trousers and T-shirts are fine, but in big cities like Cairo it’s considered disrespectful to wear short shorts or tank tops. Thankfully, with temperatures often hitting 40°c, this isn’t the case for seaside resorts.
How is it for women?
Egypt – alongside other moderate muslim countries – have a shared belief of what women can or can’t do in society. However, this doesn’t mean it’s particularly dangerous. Some men (and at this point it must be stressed that it’s a select few) may take a shining to foreign female travellers. According to locals, the best way to avoid problems with men is to ignore them – you may feel a little rude when turning the other cheek, yet this makes the point clear that you aren’t interested, and also prevents sticky situations getting out of hand.
So is it safe to travel to Egypt?
Well, after painting a somewhat scary painting of Egypt the short answer is yes. The most important advice is to avoid high-risk areas as outlined by the Home Office. As well as avoiding these areas, visitors should apply a bit of common sense when travelling. Reputable tour companies are also advised when visiting… Ahem.
What do I need to travel to Egypt?
Along with your passport, a visa is usually necessary for a trip to Egypt. We promise that this is not a gruelling task. For more information click Visa2Egypt portal to find your nearest Egyptian consulate. Tourist visas distributed via the e-visa system are valid for a maximum of 3 months.
There is also the option of getting a visa on arrival from approved bank kiosks within airport arrivals before arriving at the immigration counters. The fee is US $25, payable in in pounds sterling, US dollars or euros; keep in mind that visas granted on arrival are only valid for a maximum of 30 days. Also, there’s no need to buy a visa from an agent and don’t take note of anyone telling you so while in the airport, as this is purely a scam to grab some of your holiday spending budget. If you do find yourself being approached by a so-called ‘agent’ inform the airport police immediately.
Feeling prepared? Take a look at our incredible escapes, and book your very own Egyptian adventure with Exoticca.