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Is it Safe to Travel to Egypt?


Egypt, Giza, mature couple looking at pyramid, rear view
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Question: Is it Safe to Travel to Egypt?
Health and safety information for visitors planning to travel to Egypt. Find out if there are current travel warnings for Egypt, basic safety tips and information, health tips, and information for women planning to travel alone to Egypt.
Answer: In January 2011, Egypt went through a political revolution that seriously affected tourism in the country. By the end of April 2011, the US Department of State had downgraded its "travel warning" to a "travel alert" and most of the tourist destinations within Egypt are again considered safe to visit. However, the one year anniversary of the revolution in January 2012, brought a lot of protesters back on the streets, disappointed with the lack of real progress. A tragedy at a soccer match early February (2012) in Port Said added some fuel to the flames, and once again the capital was unstable. By May 2012, more people died in central Cairo after clashing with the police. In November 2012 more clashes involving the government and anti-Muslim Brotherhood (the current President's party) escalated into violent scenes in Cairo and Alexandria. In July 2013, the army stepped in and ousted President Mursi, and the US Department of State issued a travel warning warning all its citizens against traveling to Egypt.

Please check your local government information, and the news, for the latest updates before you plan your trip. And note that the US Department of State does not like to issue any travel alert or warning for Egypt, even if the situation gets quite bad, so use your own good instincts as well. So if they do issue a warning, you know it is very serious!

Is it Safe to Visit Egypt After the 2011 Revolution?
As is often the case, most of the violent action takes place in the cities, and Egypt's capital Cairo was no exception in January 2011. But it's hard to avoid Cairo when you visit Egypt, since the pyramids are there as well as the wonderful Egyptian Musuem. Check current news reports before you plan your Cairo portion of the trip, just to be sure it's OK to visit the sights without fear of running into a demonstration. Things were hotting up again in July, 2013 and a Travel Warning was issued by the US dept of State.

Many of Egypt's top attractions lie to the south and along the banks of the Nile between Aswan and Luxor, and are likely to remain peaceful as they largely were during the height of the revolution. For those heading for a beach holiday along the Red Sea coast, again, this area was not heavily affected by the political events, and is considered safe for tourists to return to.

Safety in Egypt
Egypt is considered a relatively safe destination, although there is a history of terrorist attacks against foreigners. Because of this you cannot hire a car and drive yourself around the country at will. Trucks, tour buses and cars drive in convoys from Cairo to Luxor. But the train system is fine to use, and independent travelers have no problem getting around either by bus or train throughout the country. Most people visit Egypt on a tour, or package holiday.

Petty Theft, Scams, and Crime
Petty theft is common as in most poorer countries, so hang on to your valuables at train stations, markets and busy areas. Keep your valuables locked in a safe, or wear a money belt, especially if you are staying at a budget hotel. Violent crime is very rare, if you're in a group you can walk the streets safely even at night. Scams to try and get you to buy perfume, a camel ride you don't want, or a night at a hotel that belongs to a "uncle", are quite common. But they're annoying rather than dangerous. More on common scams ... and basic safety when traveling in Africa

Medical facilities in Egypt's larger cities and towns are very good, but less so in rural areas. The main health issue travelers encounter are stomach upsets, heat exhaustion, sun burn, and injuries from road accidents. In December 2010 there were some incidents of shark attacks in Sharm el-Sheikh. These are quite rare, but ask your hotel or resort for the latest information before you go diving or snorkeling.

No immunizations are required to enter Egypt, but you should be up to date with your vaccinations and check with your local travel health clinic for the latest advice. More about health and safety...

Women Traveling to Egypt
Violent crime against women is rare but unwanted attention is not. Egypt is a Muslim country and unless you are looking to offend, please dress conservatively. Women should not wear shorts, mini-skirts or tank tops. In fact it is inadvisable for women to wear anything short or sleeveless unless on the beach or by a pool. On public transport, try and sit next to another woman, or family. Ask directions from a woman or family, rather than a group of men. If you can, hire a female guide. It will give you access to a whole side of Egyptian culture that you may otherwise miss out on. More tips for women traveling alone...

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