Travel Betty

Encouraging Fearless Independent Travel For Women

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Travel To Egypt. Is It Safe?

May 26th, 2007 · 17 Comments

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Before I left on my trip, literally every single person I told that I was going to Egypt asked me if I thought it was safe. I would reply that although it was true that Egypt has been unfortunate enough to have had some recent terrorist attacks, so has Bali, England, Spain and the United States.

I didn’t feel unsafe when I flew through London last year on my way back from South Africa. I spent two days there and never once thought about the possibility of being attacked. So why should I feel differently in Egypt?

The truth was though, I did feel differently about going to Egypt. Some of it had to do with fear of the unknown (being a woman in a Muslim country). Some of it had to do with the reality of the past attacks (the last attack was a year ago in Dahab, which was one of the cities on our itinerary). And some of it had to do with a dream I had in college where I was gunned down by masked men in an Egyptian subway tunnel.

Now, this last one was wholly irrational, but it had made a huge impression on me way back when. One of the reasons I had not yet gone to Egypt was because I wanted to see a lot of other places before I died. So as my own fears danced around in my psyche and mixed with the panicked expressions of well-meaning friends, acquaintances, and checkout clerks, I was sad to admit that I embarked on the trip with a bit of dread and hesitation (and also a Egypt-specific relaxation MP3 made for me by my awesome hypnotherapist, Angie Choi).

With all the buildup that I’d created for myself, what actually happened then after I landed in Cairo seemed like a bit of a letdown.

Not only was Egypt NOT the scary lawless outpost where Muslims slit your throat for having the gall to be from America, the people were downright ingratiating. On a whole, Egyptians are friendly. They are kind. They say hello and mean it. They welcome you to their city (even if they don’t have anything to do with the travel industry). They help you out if you’re lost. They sit you down for tea and chat with you in their shops. They play with your children. They wave at you from atop camels as they caravan home after a long day.

Within a day of arriving in Egypt, I actually felt safer than I do in my own city of San Francisco. A lot of this had to do with the wonderful way we were taken care of by Egypt 7000, the company I’d hired to help us put our trip together. But a lot of it also had to do with the many people we came in contact with during our five-week stay.

I couldn’t help feeling that if all those worry-warts back in the U.S. could spend just 24 hours in Egypt, they would never again need to ask the question about safety. If they would visit a mosque and talk to people about their faith, they would no longer equate being Muslim with being a terrorist. And maybe if we all took the time to better understand one another, we wouldn’t be having any of these problems in the first place (yes, I’m a wacko San Francisco liberal).

Egypt is just as safe or unsafe as our own country. There are certain risks for which you take precautions. If you don’t want to get hit by a car crossing the street, try crossing with a local. If you don’t want to get your money stolen, don’t stuff bills in the front pocket of your jeans. If you don’t want a wiener fluke or worse, don’t swim in the Nile.

It’s the same common sense you use on a daily basis at home. Except you get to use it while seeing some of the most amazing sights ever created in the history of mankind. And while interacting with some of the most gracious people in the world. And that’s not scary at all.

Tags: Egypt · Safety · Travel Insights

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  • 17 responses so far ↓

    • 1 Waheed Elqalatawy // May 29, 2007 at 12:14 am

      Hope most people have this intellectual power!

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    • 2 curryegg // May 29, 2007 at 9:51 am

      You’ve a wonderful trip in Egypt don’t you? haha.. Nice post and I love those camel in the photo. Happy to know that it’s safe to travel there.
      ;)

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    • 3 Travel Betty // May 30, 2007 at 3:28 pm

      Thanks for visiting, Waheed. I am just interested in spreading the word so that more people visit your amazing country!

      And see? Now curryegg knows. Maybe she will visit next!

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    • 4 tim // Aug 30, 2008 at 3:45 am

      Thanks for the article. Also the Mt. Siani slide show was great. I’ve always wanted to visit Egypt.

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    • 5 Steven // Nov 15, 2008 at 9:45 am

      Thanks for the article! I’m going to Egypt for 2 weeks right after Christmas, and like you, it’s the people around me that are raising fears. I’ve never had any problems travelling overseas, but people’s comments were making me wonder if I had made the right choice with Egypt. Your article has eased my mind, and I am SO excited about my upcoming trip!!!

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    • 6 Salma // Jun 26, 2009 at 5:10 am

      I will be visiting Egypt in a few weeks time. I too was nervous about what people have said about it. As well as travelling with just women alone. But your having read your experience i feel reassured and a lot better about it.

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    • 7 sinead // Jul 12, 2009 at 9:17 am

      to travel to egypt is safe but its harder to live there

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    • 8 Angel // Sep 21, 2009 at 11:36 am

      I was a little hesistant of choosing Egypt as one of my destinations but then I thought who wants to hurt a Mexican so that help but then I realized that all my travel documents are American and I started to freak out again… but then I read your article and then I thought if something does happen I will just tell me that I’m Mexican and plus chances are it will be safe, if I’m still alive for being raised in Mexico I can handle Cairo!

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    • 9 Helen // Dec 30, 2009 at 10:38 pm

      Headed there with my 12-year-old in less than 10 weeks! Was originally just planning Israel, but decided it would be nuts to pass up Egypt when it’s so close. So, we’ll be seeing Egypt, Israel and Jordan!

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    • 10 nicole // Jan 3, 2010 at 12:47 pm

      have you got any advice for me and my family we are ment to be visiting eypt in june (hurghada) a few of them are nervous about going there after reading the newspaper for last week.

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    • 11 Travel Betty // Jan 4, 2010 at 11:47 am

      Hi Nicole,

      My advice would be for them to just stop reading the newspapers. As soon as you land in Egypt, you’ll see that people are generous and genuinely interested in showing you the best of their country. There definitely is a lot of pressure to buy this and that, but it’s never malicious. Most of all, have fun!

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    • 12 Rebecca // Jan 10, 2010 at 3:10 pm

      we were thinking of spending our honeymoon in cairo and were wondering when the best time is to go. thinking of september but don’t want it to be too hot. also, is it best to set up tours before we head over or are tours easy to book once you are there?

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    • 13 Travel Betty // Jan 10, 2010 at 4:07 pm

      Not sure what the weather is like in September. We were there in April and it was hot, but not too hot. We had a fairly complex itinerary, so we set up our entire trip beforehand. If you’re more comfortable going with the flow, tours can very easily be set up once you’re there. And you’ll probably save money that way too. Congrats on your upcoming wedding and have a fabulous honeymoon!

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    • 14 Ayman // Feb 5, 2010 at 4:54 pm

      thanx all about that, am ayman from egypt, about u rebecca i would suggest a wonderful place here in egypt to spend ur honeymoon, its “sharm el sheikh” , its a very fantastic place here near the red sea, its one of the most beautiful places here in egypt with the lovely nature and the sea and mountain views , i cann’t tell u, u must go and see it by yourself, and am sure u will love it

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    • 15 shisha // Feb 11, 2010 at 2:57 pm

      Is Egypt Safe? Most certainly the answer is yes, infact crime rate is lower in Egypt then many other countries. All Egyptians are very friendly people and as long as you show respect they shall only offer there hospitality and welcomings.

      I was once in Cairo for 3 days and found even with the hussle and confusion there was no site nor sound of any type of theft, I how ever witnessed a angry Egyptian man and his friend argueing, shaking fists, soon resolved tens of passers by holding them apart.

      So visit Egypt I’m sure you’ll find it a great country and holiday destination

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    • 16 B SINCLAIR // May 25, 2010 at 7:51 am

      I took a Nile cruise in April (single female travelling alone) and had the most wonderful time. I found the Egyptian people (male & female) to be most helpful and friendly and didn’t feel apprehensive at all. If you try and respect their culture and way of life and just take the usual sensible precautions, you will have the most amazing time. Avoid drunken, rowdy behaviour and ladies, it is best to dress modestly. Keep the bikinis and shorts for the coastal resorts! I cannot wait to go back and am planning a trip to Cairo in April 11.

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    • 17 S Texas // Dec 6, 2010 at 8:33 am

      My family is considering relocating from USA to Egypt. Where can I find more info? Employment or business start-up opportunities available there? Education or elementary education? What is everyday life like for people who live there? Thank you for any info you may provide.

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