Since the Arab Spring in 2011, travelers have been cautious about going to Egypt. The United States Department of State considers Egypt a moderate risk – a travel advisory level 2, Exercise Increased Caution. It’s hardly the most dangerous place to visit, though certain areas are considered “Do Not Travel” regions, including the Sinai Peninsula and the Western Desert. That’s important information, but the Department of State warnings also point to something valuable; we know what’s dangerous and we have the right tools to keep ourselves safe while traveling.
If you’re planning a trip to Egypt, these four strategies can help you stay safe and enjoy your trip. The most important thing to remember is that nowhere is perfectly safe and we’re always taking a risk, but it’s a measured one. Fear will keep you glued to the couch when what you want is to see the world.
It Starts With Common Sense
The most important thing to understand about traveling to Egypt is that, like anywhere else, you need to use common sense. For example, you’re safer traveling in a group than traveling on your own, you should use your hotel safe and only carry what you need to attractions and markets, and you should always remain aware of your surroundings. In many ways, traveling around major areas in Egypt, such as Cairo, is like visiting New York City. Keep an eye on your bag, stay alert, and you’ll be fine.
Pick A Tour Company
Traveling with friends will protect you to a certain extent, but if your friends are also visitors, they won’t necessarily be of much help. Instead, consider traveling with an established tour group. Companies like Osiris Tours offer a wide range of Egyptian experiences along with the protection and guidance of experienced tour guides. Your guides will know where it’s safe to go, can advise on how to dress and behave and provide the security that many travelers need to explore a new country confidently.
Additionally, for those who want to extend their visit beyond a short tour, you might also consider hiring a local tour guide. Many Egyptian locals act as guides for hire and can help you do things like navigate the markets and get better prices – the local price – than you would as a visiting Westerner.
Get The App
As the modern saying goes, “there’s an app for that” – and this is absolutely true when it comes to traveling. Consider downloading useful travel apps such as TripLingo, a program that provides key phrases in the local language and Smart Traveler, a program connected to the Department of State, which offers travel alerts and information about U.S. Embassies in the region.
Embrace The Experience
While you should, of course, take appropriate precautions when traveling in Egypt, remember that tourism is a key part of the Egyptian economy and most people will be very welcoming. In fact, the country has undertaken tourism reform to encourage more visitors to come to Egypt, modernize their tourism offerings by introducing things like eco-lodges and other sustainable options, and even tackle youth unemployment and low levels of women in the workforce by helping underemployed groups get jobs in the tourism industry.
Egypt is a beautiful country that has so much to offer to visitors if you’re willing to explore and try new things, so start packing. There’s no time like the present to see the wonders, ancient and modern, that you’ll find along the Nile.