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Anouk Zijlma

Is it Safe to Travel to Egypt?

By January 28, 2011

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Streets of Cairo, 28 January, 2011, Riots and Police Shooting Tear GasUpdate: US Dept of State has finally issued a Travel Warning for Egypt on 30 January..

If I had a trip planned to Egypt, I would postpone it. There are riots in many of the major cities, 700 people have been arrested, and there's a pretty nasty history of terrorist attacks against foreigners at many of Egypt's top attractions. Given the fact that the Pyramids are located right outside of Cairo, and that Cairo is on every tour itinerary, it makes sense to avoid a vacation right now.

Egyptians have been fired up by recent events in Tunisia, and they have even more reason to be unhappy with their government as it stands right now. In my opinion, this is not going to get any better any time soon, but hopefully I'll be proved wrong. If you have a tour booked, or planned to travel to Egypt in the next few weeks, or months, please do not cancel your trip, just postpone it. The Egyptians who drive your tour bus, clean your hotel room, and sell you souvenirs will all feel the burden of these cancellations more than any politician will.

What stuns me a little is that the US State Department has not yet issued an official travel warning or even a travel alert. They issued one for Uganda last week, in case there are some problems with the upcoming election. For Egypt there's been total silence as of 11am this morning (January 28).

The streets of Cairo are ablaze, the internet has been disabled, some cell phone networks are out , and the Egyptian army is out in force... and, still, the State Department appears to feel it's safe enough for their citizens to be wandering around checking out the Egyptian Museum in the heart of Cairo. Ridiculous.

There is obviously way too much politics involved in these government issued "travel warnings". Kenya has been under an official travel warning for years now, and though of course there are problems, very few of them come even remotely close to affecting the areas where tourists tend to visit. The State Department was pretty quick to issue a warning against any travel to Tunisia a few weeks ago, but obviously Egypt has far more political clout in the US than Kenya, Tunisia, and Uganda.

More About: Egypt's Current Situation l Africa Travel Warnings l Egypt Facts

Image Getty Images -- Streets of Cairo, January 28, 2011 ... doesn't look very safe to me

January 28, 2011 at 12:30 pm
(1) Margie Pappas says:

I have travel arrangements to go to Egypt on Feb. 3. I am not happy that the US Gov. has not yet posted a travel advisory about Egypt, nor has the travel company contacted me with a go/no go message. I understand the politics here, but it begins to look as if the US is more concerned about about the Egyptian people and their dictator than for US citizens.

January 28, 2011 at 12:48 pm
(2) kazport says:

My Daughter is supposed to fly into Cairo next Thursday.. I have also been looking to the State Dept for any warnings etc. She won’t be staying in Cairo in entire time but still I would like to know when and if there is an official warning.

January 28, 2011 at 1:06 pm
(3) goafrica says:

I think any other country that had curfews in place, hundreds of people injured during riots, disabled communications, etc — would be under a travel warning by now. I’m sure it will come soon, but regardless, I would not risk traveling to Egypt next week.

January 28, 2011 at 1:46 pm
(4) Laura Brown says:

My dad and my 14 year old son arrived in Eygpt today, roughly 6pm Eygpt time !! there mobiles worked for a while to say they arrived but now silent. I am so very worried!

January 28, 2011 at 2:59 pm
(5) goafrica says:

I understand from one report that the land lines are working. Maybe you can call their hotel on a direct line and make sure they are OK. There are usually helplines set up by respective governments for concerned citizens, so if the situation gets worse, there will be a way to communicate.

January 28, 2011 at 3:05 pm
(6) Dawna says:

My mom is currently in Cairo. I havent recieved an email or a letter from her. I am very concerned, and there is not much useful information about tourists in Egypt.

January 28, 2011 at 3:37 pm
(7) Nancy says:

The US Department of State has just issued a Travel Alert for Egypt.

January 29, 2011 at 1:55 am
(8) Chris says:

I’m traveling to Egypt next week. It will be fine folks, don’t stress too much about it. I have been to countries in the grip of civil war and spent time in the drug capitals of Mexico and I’m still alive.

Just relax, don’t do anything stupid and enjoy yourself while you’re over there. There’s nothing to wory about.

January 29, 2011 at 10:20 am
(9) World Traveler says:

I too have a tour planned in Egypt in March and am already concerned. The travel company has no plans as of today to cancel the trip. I am curious to know which company Margie Pappas has booked with.

January 29, 2011 at 11:33 am
(10) goafrica says:

@ Chris, – I think for most people a vacation means relaxing not just “surviving” :-) . I hope I’m wrong, but this situation has been brewing for decades in Egypt, and it’s spread throughout the country. This is not just limited pockets of strife in the poorer parts of town. And the Department of State finally put out a Travel Warning that will expire on Feb 28. They advise against all but non-essential travel to Egypt.

January 30, 2011 at 1:24 am
(11) Charles says:

I am booked on a tour to Egypt in June and am worried already that this could go on for awhile and the trip might be cancelled. I did see yesterday they put out a travel warning until February 28th. I’m not sure by then things will even be back to normal.

January 30, 2011 at 4:25 am
(12) William Prawira says:

Don’t know about US travel advisory thing, but then, I’m from Indonesia and I’ve been following the stories at eqypt for sometime now. US goverment had posted several travel warnings to indonesia in the past. We did have riots and protests back then, but surely it wasn’t as bad as egypt’s. Over there, the military forces even open fire at unarmed civillians. Perhaps you shouldn’t travel to egypt for the meantime.

January 30, 2011 at 5:52 am
(13) Duaa says:

ofcourse it is safe to travel to egypt as it is always been … its not that dengerous as it seems in the news … just want every one to be assured that the true egyptians will protect evry one and every body on the streets and home even if they dont know him this is how we grow up – we grow up on feeling that all of us are one and the whole country is one family either they are muslim or christians .. we will always be one unit in a safe country

i think that it is very inspiring enviroment to watch people being strong …

January 30, 2011 at 9:05 am
(14) Igor says:
January 30, 2011 at 9:11 am
(15) Haley says:

@kazport, don’t let her go, not now.

January 30, 2011 at 11:40 am
(16) Monica says:

Egypt is a beautiful, amazing and friendly country, I have spent a lot of my holidays of the last years in Egyptian resorts at the Red Sea or visiting Alexandria, Cairo, Suez. I have planned a ONE-week holiday in Sharm-El-Sheikh for Eastern this year, I hope that it will be possible to travel there! In the same time I hope for a successful end of their liberation movement, without anymore killed people on the streets!
Monica (Romania)

January 31, 2011 at 10:00 am
(17) Morgan says:

I booked a trip through Expedia for April 14-24 of this year. I booked everything separate; flight to Cairo, stay in Cairo, flight to Sharm, stay in sharm; didnt buy insurance on any of it. I was a bit nervous to travel by myself as a girl in my 20′s, but now I am definitely thinking I shouldnt go. Anybody know if Expedia will refund or allow you to postpone if you didnt buy insurance and its unsafe to travel?

February 4, 2011 at 9:11 am
(18) Bev says:

We are suppose to leave for Egypt and Saudi Arabia the middle of March. I called expedia and asked what would happen because we also had no insurance. They assured me I would get 100% refund if the travel advisory was still on when the time got closer. He said check back by the first of March. Hope this helps:-)

February 7, 2011 at 11:00 am
(19) Morgan says:

Thanks Bev! That helps!

February 9, 2011 at 11:32 am
(20) Marlene says:

We have a family of 12 booked for June..Cairo and Nile River cruise. We bought insurance but does not cover “riots” We are afraid to travel but not sure how to get out of it.

February 10, 2011 at 3:29 am
(21) allss says:

i wonder all these ppl r worried abt their holidays n no one rases a question against the crime which r been done in egpyt,where is humanity gone ??

February 11, 2011 at 3:28 pm
(22) Bev says:

allss, please realized my thoughts and prayers have been with the people of egypt and their families from the start of this. From here that’s all i can do. Just didn’t want my family worrying about me too if I went there.

February 15, 2011 at 10:43 am
(23) Herbs says:

I’m flying with easyjet to Egypt, I tried to cancel my holiday even though its in April, I don’t want to be taking any chances, and they do not believe in giving back a refund. Can the UK government not put something in place where customers are able to get their money back for not flying to Egypt. The way EasyJet have it at the moment, is they don’t care for the safety of their customers, its all a money making scam.

February 17, 2011 at 4:03 pm
(24) Graeme says:

I believe the original author is misguided. Whilst one might accept that the TV makes a situation such as this appear worse than it is, and that just 50 yards beyond the cameras, life goes on. One can not get away from the fact the FCO advise against all none essential travel to the Egypt. Furthermore and perhaps more pertinently, you will find your insurer unwilling to cover you which in itself demonstrates, Egypt is to be avoided for a little while longer. Without insurance, it’s a no go area.

February 20, 2011 at 12:12 pm
(25) abdelrahman says:

Egypt is always welcoming for any foreigner to be her guest
although I wouldn’t recommend you to travel to Egypt in the mean while if you only wanna spend a vacation or have some relaxation
But if business is the one to call i say go for it without worrying about your safety …. Egypt will take care of you

February 24, 2011 at 3:11 am
(26) colin says:

we are travelin in april and unless trouble flares up in red sea area we will still be going as the majority of the people are fantastic

March 2, 2011 at 8:25 am
(27) Alanna says:

I am in Europe for only a few months. My whole life I have wanted to go to to Egypt and this is the one chance I will get. If anyone who lives in Egypt could respond and tell me if, in your opinion, it would be advisable to travel there in May or not, I would be very grateful.
Many Thanks.

March 3, 2011 at 2:54 pm
(28) John says:

I had planned to trip to go to Egypt Mid April and am considering what to do whether to change my tour or postpone my tour – apparently things are improving according to my tour agent and currently the tour is still planning to go ahead unless things change. If the tour was canceled I would definitely

I know the FCO/smart traveler sites still carry warnings not to go unless necessary. Does any have further information as to the current situation in Egypt and whether things will continue improve.

If I go I would be touring Alexandria, CAIRO and Luxor and would be in Egypt for a couple weeks.

March 4, 2011 at 2:26 am
(29) John says:

Has anyone just come back from touring in Egypt? I would like to hear about your experience (particularly if you visited CAIRO and Alexandria) ?

March 5, 2011 at 2:28 am
(30) Bill says:

Continental has cancelled their planned non-stop service from Newark to Cairo. They are allowing customers booked on these flights to either get a refund or to reschedule through Europe.

March 10, 2011 at 5:09 am
(31) souna says:

oh guys do not be worried Egypt is very save specially for tourists and no dander is found on us please go there and discover the greatest people there and how they are protecting us tourists and protecting the houses and the small children are helping too in protecting their country with their body for their better country if you went to Egypt before you should see it now more than before these great Egyptian people made their future the best and i saw Christians protecting Muslims while praying an Muslims protecting Christians while praying no terrorist are in Egypt .it is very save visit Egypt

March 10, 2011 at 5:09 am
(32) souna says:

oh guys do not be worried Egypt is very save specially for tourists and no dander is found on us please go there and discover the greatest people there and how they are protecting us tourists and protecting the houses and the small children are helping too in protecting their country with their body for their better country if you went to Egypt before you should see it now more than before these great Egyptian people made their future the best and i saw Christians protecting Muslims while praying an Muslims protecting Christians while praying no terrorist are in Egypt .it is very save visit Egypt

February 3, 2012 at 7:43 am
(33) mayan says:

hey,im a young girl from australia travelling alone to egypt next friday..because of whats going on, can make me a bit worried going by msyelf, so if there is any girl or girls going to egypt this time 10th feb-19th feb would be great to know,and add on facebook and maybe meet up.
everythings booked, then unfortunatly it looks more and more less safe.. im still confident to go,as long as you have you airport transfers from your hostel picking you up, i fly into cairo then to sharm and will mostly be in dahab,diving and at the end only 2 nights in cairo where ill do a organised day tour. im so excited to go
let me know travellers :)

February 6, 2012 at 6:29 pm
(34) Stacey Lee says:

Hi Mayan, please be careful of making friends with people who say they are other “girl” or “friend”, not everyone are who they say they are… especially on the internet xx

February 11, 2012 at 6:59 pm
(35) Katja says:

Travelled to Sharm el Sheik, Luxor and Cairo in November and left Cairo two days before the continued uprisings. People relying on tourism will tell you it is safe to travel there…. We felt perfectly safe in Sharm el Sheik. In Luxor we were told not to leave the hotel in the evening – were on a tour and felt safe during the day. In Cairo for 3 nights and I did not like being there at all – there was an undercurrent of unrest – the tourist sites are deserted – we had an “armed escort” ie. 4 security guys in a car behind us at all times in Cairo organized by the tour company. Our tour guide did not feel safe and we could tell he was nervous in certain parts of the city (ie. to get to the Egyptian museum you have to pass through Tahrir Square) and there were security guys everywhere. I did not feel safe there and did not feel welcomed. I felt very sad for the people who rely on the tourists and bought all sorts of stuff I then gave away. We stayed at the beautiful Four Seasons but again were told not to leave the hotel property. There are so many other places to see in the world – I would postpone for now….I was SO happy to get on a plane out of Cairo….

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