From Cairo to Aswan: A detailed guide for western tourists about travel safety in Egypt.

Do you want to see the Pyramids, the valley of the Kings and Abu Simbel? But are you wondering if is safe to visit Egypt? Then read on!

The whole Muslim world isn’t especially popular among western tourists these days (unrightly so, I might add). Terrorist attacks, refugees, and human rights violation didn’t really help to advertise trips to countries in the middle east. But what about Egypt? Is Egypt safe to visit?

The short answer: Yes, Egypt is safe! But in this travel guide, I tried to incorporate all my first-hand observations and experiences from my last visit to Egypt (read about it here). All in the hope to encourage further generations of travelers to visit the amazing country on the Nile. You can easily visit it independently (check out my 14 days Egypt itinerary for reference).

But let’s dive right into it?

General safety in Egypt

Demonstrations on Tahrir Square on Nov 22nd 2011
Demonstrations on Tahrir Square on Nov 22nd 2011 | pic: Lilian Wagdy @flickr.com

After the November revolution in 2011 and the ensuing rule of the Muslim Brotherhood (short as it may have been) tourist numbers almost dropped to zero. Even before those abductions and infrequent terror attacks against tourists had always been a problem – especially on the Sinai peninsula.

Luckily, the political situation stabilized in the following years. 2018 was the first year that saw a significant increase in tourism (according to local guides & hotels) and a renewed interest in Egypt.

Now, is it safe for Americans to travel to Egypt in 2019? This is a tough question, as terrorist attacks occurred in the USA itself, or in Paris, London or Berlin.

Al-Nasis Muhammad Mosque inside the cairo citadel egypt
Al-Nasis Muhammad Mosque

There were 7 terror attacks in Egypt in 2017, 6 in 2016 and 4 in 2018 so far. Sounds like a lot, but in a global context, it isn’t. The most important part: Almost none of these attacks targeted foreigners. Almost all of them happened in mosques or churches. The locals and their beliefs were the targets (mostly the conflict between the Christian minority and the Muslims, but also the special conflict on the Sinai peninsula). There was one bomb to hit a tourist bus, tho. In February 2019 a suicide bomber killed a policeman and two civilians which ultimately had several countries issuing partial travel warnings.

Now, I don’t mean to downplay these tragic events, but they really shouldn’t hinder you to visit Egypt. The military has quite visible checkpoints all over the country (virtually ever 500 meters). Most tourist attractions have a quite high safety standard (and always a visible military presence), and buses usually travel in police-escorted convoys (for reference: read what to expect from a visit to Abu Simbel)

See, in the USA alone there were 15 mass shootings in 2016, yet 37.6 million tourists came to the US at the same time. Is the US safe? Hell yes, but so is Egypt. If you take certain precautions, it will be perfectly safe to travel to Egypt.

Visiting the Sinai Peninsula is currently (2019) probably not a smart idea (except Sharm El-Sheikh), and going too deep into the desert, especially without an escort, might not be smart either. Egypt, while slowly being on the way to enduring peace and prosperity, is still a region with lots of internal conflicts and quite some poverty. So, use your common sense!

But if course,  if news like the above mentioned recent incidents scare you for some reason, then stick to your hotel and the main attractions which are heavily guarded and perfectly safe. On a more personal note, I felt safer walking around Cairo alone at night than visiting the pyramids. 

Is Cairo safe at night for tourists?

A bazaar in cairo at night is safe for tourists in Egypt
Typical bazaar in Cairo at night

Cairo is an incredible city, but pretty much one big warren (definitely read my guide to the 20 best things to do in the city). It’s quite easy to get lost on the big markets and at night you might be the only fair-skinned traveler within a radius of one mile. But is it safe to go the markets in Cairo at night? Pretty much.

Now, I wouldn’t bring the expensive watch, maybe leave my credit card in the hotel and only take a reasonably large amount of money along. But other than that, you will be perfectly safe in Cairo. Some locals might be staring at you, but that’s probably your worst problem – apart from local vendors and café owners trying to sell you something. Again, use your common sense.

And remember, there is safety in numbers. So, if you are a small group, your biggest fear is probably getting lost. If you do, just call one of the ubiquitous taxis and tell him to get you to your hotel.

If you are not brave enough to venture out into Cairo, Luxor or Aswan at night alone, hire a local guide for a couple of pounds. He will be your safety shield, know what to do in each situation and keep you from falling for scams (he might be affiliated with a restaurant or so, though).

Which tour guides are safe in Egypt?

The ticket office in front of the great pyramids of Giza
The ticket office in front of the Pyramids of Giza

Are you afraid of traveling independently in Egypt? You really shouldn’t, but I totally understand that you might seek the safety of a knowledgable tour company to show you around Cairo and the wonders of the Nile. But the big questions is: Which are safe and which aren’t?

I want to be honest with you: Terror attacks targeted tour buses and travel parties and not solo travelers. So, it is incredibly important to pick a reputable travel agency or tour guide. If you are staying at a top hotel, I’d go through them. If you’d rather like it cheap, stick to reputable western companies.

I can really recommend GetYourGuide.com for safe tour guides in Egypt, their prices are reasonable, they are working together with local experts and, which is really most important, you won’t be scammed. About every taxi driver you meet will give you his card and offer you to show you around. The problem about such tours is often, that you are charged more than you should and sometimes weird additional costs the driver asks of you, even though you already paid the tour (like entrance fees or costs for an additional passenger, etc)

Quite frankly, not all of them are bad, far from it! But it’s somewhat important that you stick to tours that fulfill certain western standards. Not all buses have to air-condition etc. For example, rather pick a good private tour to the Giza Pyramids, Sphinx etc (like this one) or a tour to Abu Simbel with good reviews (like this one) than trying to save 2 dollars on locals buses where 40 tourists are herded around like cattle.

From experience, most of the tours and hotels that are dead cheap in Egypt, are usually dead crap. Egypt might be a cheap country, but you need to invest some. A friend of mine booked an all-inclusive vacation to Egypt for 600 USD for two weeks. She booked into a different hotel on the second day – it’s the same problem with tour guides.

Note: I get commissions for purchases made through links in this post. 

Travel safety for solo female travelers in Egypt

The pyramids of Giza near Cairo in Egypt with camel riders in the foreground
The pyramids of Giza

Now, admittedly I am neither a woman nor a solo traveler. But, I’m quite aware that out of necessity or preference some of my female fellow travelers like to go on vacations all by themselves. Generally speaking, Egypt is perfectly safe for solo female travelers as well.

Now, as a woman, you really should stick to dressing conservative – but if you have been traveling solo before, you know that this is probably THE golden rule, no matter where you can (do check out my guide on what to wear in Egypt). Same applies to talking with strangers and getting into any situation where you are not in control. Try to avoid flirting at all cost (expect you REALLY want to) and generally stick to official channels. Which means, call your taxi through your hotel, get your guide through the hotel and all the other usual precautions you should take as a solo female traveler in Egypt or anywhere else.

There are some reports of harassment, but that is (sadly) neither uncommon nor unheard of no matter where you go. There are lots of guided tours around the major tourist’s attractions and you can easily arrange for joining one of these groups or get a guide all by yourself.

Note: If you are uncomfortable with men leering at you or talking you up, and already define this as harassment, then Egypt is no place for you, because it will happen and it will happen often. They will also touch you occasionally (but touching is a cultural thing and something you have to expect as a man as well). So, probably not the best country for your first solo trip and you will need quite a tough skin.

Common scams

Souvenir booths at the Pyramids of Giza where tourists are often scamed in Egypt
Souvenir booths at the Pyramids of Giza

Your worst problem in Egypt is peddlers and shop owners. Ever since the decline in tourism, sales dropped as well – making some of them desperate. So, is it safe to visit the Pyramids in Egypt? Probably, but stick to one very important golden rule: Don’t ever talk to the locals! And never tell them where you are from. Just say “no thank / la shukran” in a friendly way and move on.

I’m dead serious. It might sound a bit crass, but it’s the only thing that will prevent you from getting scammed – especially around the pyramids (read my guide).

The most popular scam is the “present scam“. Vendors will usually start a conversation by asking your name and where you are from. From there, they will invite you to check out their offers and then they will make you a present. “Take it. Is present.”. Don’t. Walk away. If you told them their name, they will sometimes start writing your name in Hieroglyphs on the present and you are doomed. The present will be free, but incidentally, the vendor’s sister will be marrying tomorrow and she would be mortally offended if you don’t chip in some money for her dowry.

Especially in Cairo, locals will offer you to show you a shortcut or a safe way to cross the street. This is quite the tempting offer, but just another scam. In the best case, they will expect some baksheesh (tip), in the worst case you have to come to their gallery, shop or home where some scam will take place.

Handing your camera to a local, especially around the Pyramids, might not be a good idea either. They will appear to be helpful and then ask a big tip for taking the pictures, and there is that chance they’ll run away with it.

Money changing tricks are also abundant. Mostly, you are asked to change coins (Euros or Quarter Dollars) into bills. Stay away from it, even though they are asking for your help in the most insistent manner. And always change money at a local bank or withdraw it directly from the ATM. Nothing good will ever happen when changing money directly from a local for a “good rate”.

Driving with locals taxis can be a problem as well. New ones will have meters. If they don’t – prearrange a price beforehand, but always leave a small tip. Sometimes they will try to add a fee for extra persons or extra baggage, etc. Don’t fuss around over 5 pounds, but if it’s more, stay strong and walk away.

A typical neighborhood in Cairo
A typical neighborhood in Cairo

Last, but certainly not least, children joined into the scamming machinery in the past years. Some of them are truly poor wretches, but always be aware that giving them money, even if they tell you they don’t have anything to eat (which may even be true!), will never help them in the long run.

By supporting that kind of industry you will teach the locals that investing in local businesses, taking up a regular job that supports the economy is less lucrative than scamming foreigners or begging. The problem: The more tourists get scammed, the more children beg, the less effective it will be and the more tourists will come home telling bad stories – quite the vicious circle. If you want to help, go through the usual NGOs.

But please, don’t get the wrong impression. Egypt is by far not the only country where tourists are being scammed. Even in central Europe, it will happen in one way or the other. With a little bit of research and by using your common sense, you will almost certainly be able to avoid them.

Health precautions for Egypt

A felucca inside of the tomb district in Aswan, Egypt
A felucca near Aswan

When it comes to travel safety in Egypt, you should also take common health concerns into consideration. Egypt is a very warm country and not all restaurants stick to common western hygiene standards. Diarrhea is your worst enemy and should not be taken lightly at all – you would not be the first European / American to end your vacation hospitalized (which is why having travel insurance is quite important in Egypt – normally I don’t advertise them!)

Always stick to “peel it, cook it, or leave it“. Don’t drink fresh juices, ice cream or unbottled water. Never use ice cubes (I’m talking to you Americans!), don’t try those salads and buffets are, generally speaking, not the best idea either.

You also should never consider bathing in the river Nile, even if you take a cruise (read about my experience here). Schistosomiasis, also known as Bilharzia, is transmitted by parasites found in the river. Especially in the lower regions of the Nile, there is a lot of garbage floating down to the estuary and the currents can be quite dangerous as well. Please, stick to the pool – it’s a lot safer and cleaner.

Apart from that, Malaria isn’t a problem, but Hepatitis A can be, and you are probably already vaccinated against tetanus, Diptheria, and poliomyelitis, so there are no major precautions you need to take. If you are traveling in rural areas (99% of tourists don’t), you might consider a rabies vaccination, otherwise, Egypt is safe.

So, this is my little guide about Egypt travel safety. I hope I was able to convince you, that Egypt is safe, but you need to come prepared. In a way, I only wrote this guide because so many of my friends kept on asking me the safety question. I personally never had a single doubt about Egypt, and I really want you to feel the same. 

Sure, the culture is different, and sure, Egypt has a history, but that history is more than 4,000 years and it would be quite wrong to reduce it on a scant few happenings in the past decade. Also, I feel it’s quite important to stress that you shouldn’t expect a trip to a foreign country be as easy as a visit at your aunt’s house. You have to prepare and there will be moments you will feel uncomfortable, but the reward will be the unparalleled sights and highlights.

So, don’t let unfounded predjudices spoil the trip of a lifetime! :)

 

As you are traveling to Egypt, I’d really like to point you towards my free Egypt itinerary. Just enter your e-mail address and download it from the confirmation e-mail you get!

So, hope you enjoyed my little Egypt travel safety guide! Got any questions? Ask them in the comments below. Oh, and don’t forget to pin this to your pinterest board!

Is it really safe to visit Egypt in 2018? This travel guide will tell you everything you need about travel safety in Egypt. Also covers common scams and things you need to avoid doing. Click for more information on Egypt travel safety.

 

58 COMMENTS

  1. Thank you…this has really helped to make my decision to go to Egypt. Send me an email so I can ask you a few more questions, If that is okay?

  2. Thank you so much for all this info! I’m so excited to start planning my trip for this year!
    One thing, in your file there is a typo: The title on the cover says EGPTY… Please fix it.
    Thanks again!

    • Well…from a terrorist point of view, I’d say it’s perfectly safe. But the health situation is not the best and they may have to visit the toilet once too often, if you get my meaning ;-)

  3. Hi. A couple buddies and I are looking to go to Cairo this year, but we do not know much Arabic. How difficult is it navigating the city knowing very little of the native language?

    • Hey Sid,
      not a big problem. Google maps will be your best friend and some taxi drivers speak a little bit of English (most locals don’t…except shop owners).
      Tourists have been visiting Cairo for 200 years ;-)
      If you are really worried and this is your first time navigating a big city in the Middle East, get a guide. They are cheap.

  4. Im in cairo today, my last night thank god . Today I decided to stay in the hotel and finally have few minutes of peace. But of course with the thousand of cars honking Day and night that will be impossible. Don’t get me wrong , I love Egypt, but I love the idea of Egypt of thousands of years ago. This , wherever you want to call it , it’s NOT what I dreamed . Please please please , don’t come here !!! There’s nothing DREAM like material about this trip. It has been the worse trip of my life and I feel like so many people are dreaming on coming here and have no idea what are they getting into . This is not vacation material . You will be harassed, lied to , cheat on, disrespected and believe me , it’s not worth it !! I’m traveling from NJ USA with my husband , we are 46 ans 45 , travel savvy, been traveling the world , and I was not prepared for such a nightmare / do yourself a favor , watch a documentary and stay home .

    • Hey Jesse,
      I’m sorry Egypt was nothing like you excepted.
      Expectation management is quite important and there is a modern side to Egypt…but I feel it is somewhat wrong to see it as a negative. The Egyptians, much like Egypt, have changed since the Pharaonic times.
      I feel this is a good thing.
      My trips to Egypt have all been quite a dream. Visiting these ancient sites, so pristine after all these thousands of years, is quite unimaginable. But for somebody who has never been to the real Middle East (I’m not talking about Dubai or Istanbul), it can be a bit overwhelming.
      I don’t want to imply anything, but in my experience, most Americans I met on my travels live and travel in quite a bubble – language, food, and experience wise. Which is totally okay. For those, it’s often best to rely on good tour operators working together with luxury hotels – else it might feel like a nightmare. Because frankly, the average Egyptian is rather poor and the suburbs of Cairo seem less inviting on the first glance (the locals are exceedingly friendly, tho!).

      From my experience, all lot of the people who had a negative experience (and I talked to quite some), booked cheap hotels, cheap (bus) tours and thought 600$ for two week would buy them the ticket to a fantastic experience. Well, it won’t, but 600$ won’t really get you anywhere at home either, so that’s an interesting expectation at best.

    • Did you book as a tour or opted to travel on your own? Just wondering if you had a tour guide and was still cheated and lied and scammed or were you two venturing out on your own?

  5. Hi Norman, thank you for this great article and all the information.
    I am planning to visit Cairo and Jerusalem in Aug/Sep 2019 for 6 days max.
    Are 3 days enough for Cairo?
    Traveling from Cairo to Jerusalem by Bus is safe? I like to travel by road in foreign countries.
    How much budget I should keep for Cairo? (I know there is no best answer to this question, but I mean an average).
    Thanks!
    -Amit

    • Hey Amit,
      3 days in Cairo will be enough to cover most of it. As for traveling by bus – I possibly can’t say and it probably depends on your travel route ;-)
      Budget..cairo is rather cheap, though some museums are a bit on the expensive side for tourists (like Egyptian museum or pyramids). I’d say with a hundred dollars a day you will be fine – more if you want to see the sound and light show and other such things in the evening.

  6. Hi Norman, my brother and I were looking at hiking Mount Sinai on the southern end of the Sinai peninsula. Given what was mentioned in the article, and that it’s pretty rural, what would be your recommendations on trying to be safe in this Area?

    • Hey Sean,
      Hm…this is a tough question. I’d look for a tour operated, to be quite frank with you. I’m currently not aware of any abductions etcs, but I want to be honest with you…I have no personal experience and so it would be a bit wrong to give you advice.

  7. I was in Cairo last week (early Feb 2019). Saw numerous fires all over the city each day – mostly cars being set on fire. The locals appear numb to it, like a normal occurrence. My view is that the place is not safe, and I have recommended everyone I know to stay well away.

    Not only that, my determination to still go there felt unrewarded, as I was constantly being targeted for scams and cheaters. It leaves you feeling frustrated and constantly on guard. You would think now would be a cheap time to visit Egypt, however the Egyptian response to lower tourist numbers is to further scam the ones that do show up.

  8. i would like to visit cairo for 3days and luxor for 3 days including cruise to luxor temples and valley of the kings and museums. is it a good idea? your advice please.

  9. Hmm…your arguments are a bit too simple for my taste, Mike. While it is true, there are quite a lot scams going on, I find it hard to fault them. So many people lost their jobs in recent years. Some of them literally have nothing to eat anymore.
    Doesn’t make the country unsafe, if you ask me. BUT of course, if you are looking for a carefree holiday instead of exploring a different country, Egypt might be the wrong place.
    Also, this article is about Egypt being safe. Losing a dollar or two doesn’t make a country unsafe.

    I know so many European friends who are equally afraid of visiting the U.S. because they are afraid of the high crime rates and shootings.

  10. I spent two and a half weeks traveling from Alexandria, Cairo, then the Nile Cruise from Luxor to Aswan. I had a friend who lived in Alexandria and it was a wonderful trip but I wouldnt have been comfortable doing it without an Egyptian with me, as he did all the planning and kept the harassment to a minimum . There are so many little things I would have never known such as tipping to use the toilets. I was disappointed in the food on the cruise but he had warned me ahead of time .. no Egyptian food ,and I’m the type who wants to experience how the locals live when I’m in a foreign country. Atleast I was able to visit his family a few times and they made me some really good food and were very friendly and a lot of people I met spoke English well or could atleast understand what I was trying to say. I didn’t see a lot of children on the cruise, those who were were from Arabic speaking families.
    Yes I would definitely go again because there is still so much I wasn’t able to see!

  11. I’m leaving for Cairo in a week and half. Bringing the family husband and 2 boys with me. We’ve booked with a tour company and doing Luxor to Aswan cruise. I’m worried to venture out on our own so we’re planning to stay at our hotel the days we are on our own. I’m worried about the attacks on the recent bus in December and the bombing that happened a few days ago in the market in Cairo. I’m also concerned with the recent man who was detained at the airport. All these thoughts are so scary. We’re there for about 12 days total. Looking for some feedback on my anxiety. I should feel excited about going but I’m super worried.

    • Hmm..the Things is, if you truly worry about such attacks, don’t go at all. Going with a tour won’t make it any safer, actually I’d wager it’s more dangerous in a tour than all alone.

      It’s nothing I would ever worry about. Maybe you get scamed, but if losing a dollar or two is your worst fear….

      That being said, there were only two places I personally ever felt unsafe and was afraid for my life: New York and visiting Sri Lanka during the revolution.

      • Thanks for replying. I’m not too worried about being scammed. It’s part of the process as in many countries & I always look at it as, if they needed the money more than I, then I’m ok with losing a few bucks. I won’t to make sure getting in out of places, airports and such are safe, despite the crowds and noise pollution. Ideally I wanted to walk around during the days and take in sites on our own, but many are saying it’s not safe to do so. Do you know how it is to use Uber there? We know it’s available.

      • Well, having a knowledgeable guide along will enhance your experience a lot, so do consider it. I had an egyptologist with a degree along and I don’t regret it a second. But then again I also didn’t feel unsafe at any second, so maybe I am different after all.

        Uber is available and safe…and rather scam free. I never use it as it promotes cheap labour, but that’s up to you 😉

  12. Norman what about the “non-essential” travel advisories put out by government recently for Cairo. Give that, would you say it’s still safe to go?

    • Tough question really. It’s do far, only a partial warning. And you do have to compare the millions of tourists who visited unscathed in the past years with the recent two inscidents. People often forget that the statitics look so much worse for say the U.S. or Mexico.

      I’d still go, but hey, I am an experienced traveller and always believe in the kindness of humanity.

      To me, visiting Egypt is as safe as drinking tap water at home. But I understand many people like to worry for no good reason and rather listen to the media which loves to report such events and little positive in between.

  13. Hi Norman,

    Planning a trip in late April with my wife. She wants sun and I want history, so we are doing a day and a half in Cairo and four days in Sharm El Sheikh. How safe is Sharm El Sheikh for western tourists?

    • I’d say it’s perfectly safe, especially as you will probably stay all day in your hotel which usually has quite a tight security.
      Now, if you are planning to explore the surrounding areas, things are a bit different…

    • Guess it depends on the hotel. Personally I’d stay away from buffets, salads and ice cubes, but other than that all-inclusive comes in many shapes.

  14. Hi Norman,
    We have booked a trip with Goway travel in May to visit Egypt, can’t wait, the question we have is should we get a plug converter for our phones and iPads? We are staying at the Sheridan in Cairo and then on the M/S Nile Goddess On the Nile.

    • Hey Lillian,

      that I cannot answer..if you are from the US, you will need a converter…but well…you have to tell me from where you are to answer the question if you need a converter for Egypt :)

  15. Hi

    My son desp wants to visit Egypt I have found a 14 day tour, but am concerned will be too much in the heat ? Also is the White Desert a safe place to visit and sleep under the stars ?

    Thank you

    • Hey debs,
      can’t say much about the heat if you don’t say when the tour is, eh? :)
      White desert is far off the standard tourist tracks…but if it is an organized trip by a reputable tour company, i think there is probably nothing to worry about.

  16. I am looking at Habibi tours ? and which is the most comfortable Month for a sight seeing tour temperature wise please ? I assume a Typhoid Vaccination is advisable also ?

    • Well…transition months are best. So march, April and October and November. Mai and September will already be very hot and best avoided.
      Typhoid is probably advisable, but you better ask your doctor for medical advise ;-)

  17. Hello, I’m planning a trip in the next 2 weeks. After reading your article I’m wondering if the holtels I booked are safe or not ? They were all on booking.com I’m going to Sharm El Sheikh, then Cairo and the hurghada to swim with wild dophins! Can you please tell me if this is going to be a safe trip and also can you recommend where to eat to avoid getting sick ? I’m not worried about scams as it is part of the game and I’ve been traveling to many countries before so I’m used to it ?

    • Hey Julien,
      Obviously, I cannot vouch for any given hotel, even if it’s on booking.com. that being said, sharm el sheikh is a very touristy place and as safe as it gets these day. Can’t recommend individual restaurants, tho.

  18. Im planning trip to cairo for 3 days
    Planning to stay near pyramids,
    Also im musician
    I play i restaurabts in tourist places, (tips] or hi red
    Did you see any musicians in te area budi or play rock, 60’s 70s 90s
    Could be bit of adventure?

  19. Great article very informative, I’ll be traveling alone African American female for my bday, I arrive in Cairo at 930pm heading to Aswan staying at the Isis Island Aswan. My question is getting from Cairo to Aswan via train as you mentioned however, is it safe and easy to manage alone at night with luggage? Thank you

  20. Hi I’m planning on doing a 3 days bus tour to Cairo and Petra through Viator. I’ll be coming from Eilat, going through the Taba Border to Sinai drive in the middle of the night tour. My partner is really scared to go visit Egypt, because of the recent tourist Vietnamese bombings and terrorist attacks. Is that drive from Eilat is very risky and going to visit Cairo dangerous even for a one day? Please help, I really want to book the tour, but my partner keeps telling me its suicide. I tried looking at flying to Cairo from TLV, but the flights are steep roundtrip, $500 plus and I already purchased my roundtrip tickets to from LAX to TLV. I really want to see the PHyramids, is there any tours that you can recommend that are safer or other options of transportation to get to the Pyramids? Thanks lots.

  21. “You might be the only fair-skinned traveler within the radius of 1 mile…” the question was is it safe for Americans to travel to Egypt. Why assume that your American readers are, by default, fair skinned? This is messed up. What’s the point of traveling if you don’t come back with an open mind?” This says a lot of how you see the world and your place in it.

    • Okay Dee, while I value each comment, I was never somebody to see wrong around every corner.
      I’m a blond white guy with blue eyes, with rich parents, excellent education and an extremely lovely childhood (and a host of other privileges I am quite aware of) and my blog can only reflect my opinions, which are naturally shaped by the way I travel and who I am. I do not see a problem in admitting that. In fact, I’d feel pretty weird answering problems people with another background might be facing. THAT indeed would be wrong.

      Also, please understand that by means of various research tools, I know that most of my readers fall into the same category, which is not to say that I do not welcome people of different origin as well. I also hate overzealous acts of political correctness that never solve a problem. In fact, they build yet another border – and I’d like to be an advocate for free borders.

      If I read the blog of an African or Asian blogger, I would never, for a second, stumble over such a phrase, which tells a lot about past wrongs committed. We have to strive for a society where all people share this sort of tolerance but are also comfortable with it. This battle, however, is not won with words, but with deeds.

      • Your reply is simply perfect! I am so tired of the PC culture. Of course you are going to blog on your personal experience. It would be presumptuous to try to imagine the touring experience of someone else. I think my next travel will be to Egypt with a touring group for safety. You have inspired me.

  22. I visited Egypt back in 2001, just before 9/11. I am English and was mistaken for an Italian many times. We took a cruise up and down the Nile and spent three days in Cairo as part of a tour group. For the most part I felt quite safe & I think the biggest mistake I ever made was pointing at a vendor store the next thing I know all these vendors came over wanting me to buy their wares. Lol! We made some friends on the cruise I one day took a felucca across from our cruise ship and felt perfectly safe. I know times have changed, but I would still definitely recommend visiting Egypt. Also, if you get a chance to visit Abu Simbel, take it (safety permitting of course).

  23. I’ve dreamed of visiting Egypt most of my Adult life and these comments have helped secure that dream visit. Thank you. When visiting any foreign country, if learning basic Yes/No-Please/Thankyou in the countries language helps give basic respectful communication back, then I for one will learn it. Scams are in every countries emails and threw letter boxes, these scams are poverty and neglect for small change. Instinct and common sense should prevail when travelling here or any where in the world and not media driven scare mongering reports. It’s been great to travel even with children in toe – can’t wait to add Egypt and educate myself/children on real life not found in any text book.

    • Hey Wen,

      glad I could help you life your dream. Go to Egypt – you will love it. I dreamed about it myself for way too long…and then I visited and it was just so mindblowing!

  24. “Don’t ever talk to the locals! And never tell them where you are from. Just say “no thank / la shukran” in a friendly way and move on.” THIS. It’s incredibly sad, but getting befriended and then scammed can turn an otherwise amazing trip into a nightmare. I’ve had this happen and have endured numerous attempts, and it disappoints me. I am rather well-traveled and have not had this problem anywhere else, including India and SE Asia. I wouldn’t let it stop me from traveling. In fact, I turn it into a challenge. But yeah, keep to yourself, be smart, and take it all in. There’s tons of nice people here by the way.M

  25. Hi,
    I have always wanted to visit Egypt and experience the wonderful desserts and pyramids. But the article and comments have now put in a huge doubt on whether this would be a good idea or not. Or probably just stick to Istanbul which is safe for the tourists for a middle east experience. Moreover, I was planning a visit sometime during December. I know its too early to plan and ask. But along with the food and safety precautions, I also wanted to know about how would the weather be during December if you have had a personal experience? Is Egypt worth travelling and getting to visit maximum places during this period as I surely would be visiting it just once and wouldn’t want to miss out on anything.
    Thanks. Your suggestions would be highly appreciated.

    • Actually, Istanbul is soooo much less safe than Egypt. There’s been too many terrorist attacks in the past years, while in Egypt there was more or less only one you should be concerned of. December is a nice time to visit, in case you want to see the temples and pyramids. It is so worth it, and, in my opinion, much better than anything you’d see in Istanbul.

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