Is Egypt safe to visit? The overall answer is yes. Just like when traveling anywhere take basic precautions like being aware of your surroundings and don’t wander around alone at night. I will go into more detail about safety below and share my tips for visiting Egypt like do you tip in Egypt? and What should you wear in Egypt? Let’s dive right in.
Do you tip in Egypt?
You will tip everyone for everything in Egypt. Remember the saying “nothing is free” because it is very true in Egypt. A guy standing outside the Pyramids gives you a photo tip and tells you some history- it’s time to tip him. Someone who works in the Valley of Kings takes your picture- it’s time to tip. A small amount is fine but be aware you will be tipping everyone. This leads me to my next tip on the list.
Cash is King in Egypt
Be sure to have cash on you at all times for the tipping mentioned above and for most sites. While a lot of sites take credit cards nowadays a lot of time the machines to take them aren’t working.
Should I travel with a guide?
Yes! A guide will not only be able to take you to the best places, and give you historical insights but they will also help keep the harassers away. I traveled with a private guide all through Egypt and never had a problem. Someone I know visited Karnak Temple without a guide and was harassed so much that they ended up leaving very quickly and didn’t even take any pictures. There are many companies to choose from when looking for guides, I recommend Egypt Tailor Made. Or for the easiest route, you can hire me to plan your Egyptian getaway. I specialize in one-of-a-kind luxury itineraries. Check out my planning process to find out how I work or schedule a free travel consultation with me today.
Should I Rent a Car?
No! Egypt is a place I would never recommend a self-drive vacation. There are nuances to driving there for example if driving from Cairo to Luxor at night most people drive with their lights off but will flash you as they approach. For safety’s sake hire a private driver while you’re getting a guide, most companies will include this in your quote- no one will assume you want to drive!
To Cruise the Nile?
I say no to a Nile cruise. I know, they are very popular but I think it wastes a lot of time. To drive or ride from Cairo to Luxor is 7-8 hours or a short 1-hour flight while the cruise will take on average 3 days. If you have more than 2 weeks to spend in Egypt then by all means leisurely cruise the Nile but if you’ve got 1-2 weeks skip it, fly south and see more instead.
What should you wear, as women?
Egypt has had loads of tourism for a long time now so there is really no need to worry about this. When at the sites you can wear whatever you want- shorts, tank tops. The less you wear the more stares you may get. These are harmless looks, the locals are not used to seeing a lot of skin, so it is up to you how comfortable you are with this. When I was there I mainly wore dresses that covered my knees but showed my shoulders and I was perfectly comfortable. If you are out and about in a city or town I would cover slightly more, knees and shoulders, mainly out of respect. If in Egypt in the hotter months be sure to wear light breathable fabrics, sunglasses, hats, and lots of sunscreen.
Egypt is known for its heat but the winter months are quite pleasant. Below are the average high temperatures in Cairo by month. Keep in mind that it is a desert so the heat index can be hotter and the temperatures do cool down at night. I traveled in November and it was perfect weather.
- January, 66°
- February, 69°
- March, 74°
- April, 83°
- May, 90°
- June, 93°
- July, 95°
- August, 94°
- September, 91°
- October, 85°
- November, 77°
- December, 69°
Do not try to bring a done into Egypt, it will be taken and you may or may not get it back when you leave. At many of the sites, you will need to purchase a photography pass to use a DSLR camera and possibly even 2 passes if you want to use a tripod. We were not even allowed to purchase a photographer pass at The Valley of the Kings, it was cell phone only. I am not giving specifics because these rule change constantly but it is a good thing to be aware of before you travel.
When is the busy season?
The busiest time to visit Egypt is in the summer. For lower prices and fewer crowds try visiting in the off-season. Also, note that the weekend in Egypt is Friday and Saturday so the main sites will be busier.
Back to, is Egypt safe to visit? Again, it is safe, especially if you take basic safety precautions you would take anywhere. My travel companions and I never felt unsafe while traveling in Egypt. At many of the sites, we were assigned an armed guard to be with us, this is not because it is unsafe but to keep us safe. There is an entire tourism police force in Egypt whose sole purpose is to keep all tourists safe. Tourism is the second largest source of income for Egypt, worth billion of dollars so they want you to be safe. Just be aware that you will see armed guards around the main sites.