Is It Safe to Travel to Egypt?

Egypt has been drawing in tourists for thousands of years. The beautiful landscape, collection of pyramids, and distinct culture make this one of the most well-recognized travel destinations in the world. Touring the ancient pyramids, cruising the Nile River, and staying on a resort by the Red Sea are highlights of a visit here. With such incredible sites, why wouldn’t you book your ticket to Egypt immediately? Well, after a series of unsettling political events, tourism took a major hit, with a record low number of visitors coming in 2015. However, things have really turned around over the last few years, as the country tries to clean up its act and make tourists feel safe. In fact, Egypt depends on tourism as it’s a massive part of their economy, so keeping tourists safe and happy is certainly in their best interest. If you’re considering visiting Egypt but you’re just not sure, here are a few things to consider.



Health Concerns

Visitors in Egypt shouldn’t have too many concerns when it comes to health. The big cities have excellent medical care while rural areas don’t have as many good options. The typical health issues that travellers experience are either extreme sunburn (which can easily be avoided by using high-SPF sunscreen) and an upset stomach from eating different foods. Make sure to pack a small first aid kit so that you can treat yourself when something arises. It’s a good idea to bring sunscreen, aloe vera gel, anti-diarrhoea medication, and other over-the-counter medications for an upset stomach.

Egypt does not require any vaccinations to enter the country. While vaccines are not compulsory, you may still want to get them. The general vaccinations you may get in your country are typically sufficient. However, it is recommended that travellers vaccinate themselves for Hepatitis A and Typhoid, which can be contracted from food and water. You should be easily able to get these vaccines at travel clinics in your own country. They are good for a few years before you need to get them again. If you are travelling to Egypt from a country that has Yellow Fever, you’ll need to prove that you’ve been vaccinated for it before entering. Also, keep in mind that mosquitos in Egypt can spread disease. While you won’t have to worry about malaria, there are some other mosquito-related illnesses that can occur which don’t currently have vaccinations.


Food and Water

Try to avoid tap water when visiting Egypt. It’s said to be very chlorinated which could also upset your stomach since you’re not used to it. Sticking to bottled water is recommended as is avoiding drinks with ice when possible. The food in Egypt is safe to eat as well. You may hear warnings to stay away from fruits and vegetables, but it’s only a problem if they were not washed correctly. Most of the main restaurants, hotels, and chains will have food that is completely safe. Eating in smaller establishments with the locals isn’t off the itinerary though. If you see lots of locals eating in the same place chances are the food is completely fine. Keep in mind that travellers can get an upset stomach in any country they visit. It’s not that something is wrong with the food and water but simply that your body might not be used to it. Always pay attention to the cleanliness of where you’re eating and make sure to wash your hands and keep a first aid kit with stomach medications nearby.


Egypt has a high poverty level so petty theft is definitely something to be aware of. Make sure to keep track of your belongings, especially in crowded areas like markets, train stations, and crowded tourist attractions. It’s always advised to wear a money belt (a thin fanny pack that you wear under your clothes) to keep your money. There are plenty of things on the market, like scarves with secret pockets, and backpacks that keep your money hidden and safe. Don’t be flashy with your money, phone, or camera either. It’s best to keep them hidden away so you don’t become a target for thieves. Always leave your passport in the hotel safe and carry small bills with you while you’re travelling around. A good rule of thumb is to keep some of your money and one of your credit cards back in the hotel. Keeping your money and cards separate from each other will ensure that you have a backup plan if one of your bags or wallet gets stolen. While violent crimes in Cairo are rare, it’s always a good idea to stick with a group and to avoid walking alone at night.

You’ll especially want to educate yourself on the scams in Egypt. Many petty thefts target tourists and trick them out of their money in a whole variety of ways. If you are privy to the scams, you can avoid them easily.

Here are some scams to watch out for:

  • Unofficial guides who come ask you for your tickets to the pyramids, take them and then start showing you around. They’ll eventually ask for money.
  • You’ll be offered camel and horse-rides with the promise that you can get into the attractions faster for free. They eventually ask for money.
  • Your driver will offer to bring you to a papyrus factory to see how it’s made. You’ll be offered tea and then they’ll write your name on the paper, acting like it’s free but then demanding you pay.
  • Camel handlers will pester you to take a photo with their camel. Once they have your camera and snap a shot, they’ll demand money and won’t give you the camera back until you pay.
  • A stranger will help you get through some kind of difficult situation. He’ll then take you to a shop where you will be pressured to buy things you don’t want for inflated prices.
  • A stranger will ask you to help them write a postcard in English. They’ll bring you back to their shop and pressure you to buy things.
  • Taxis will refuse to use a meter, use a rigged meter that charges you more than it should, or take an extremely long route to get more money out of you.
  • Someone will tell you that wherever you’re going is closed and they’ll try to take you somewhere else, like a souvenir shop, where they’ll get a commission.
  • Someone may ride by on a motorbike and snatch your bag. This can also happen if you leave your bag on a chair at a restaurant.
  • You may be charged the ‘airport toll’ which is not real and that you shouldn’t have to pay.
  • People on public beaches may come up to you and tell you that the beach is actually private and that you’ll need to pay a fee.
  • A tout comes up and gives you a scarf for free, while also offering to show you how to put it on the Egyptian way. They’ll then demand money for this ‘service.’
  • A local will approach you and invite you for tea or hang out. Then a fake policeman will stop you both, accuse of you doing something illegal, beat up the local, and then search your bags, stealing everything they can find.
  • Touts will jump into your taxi when it’s stopped and try to convince you to go to their shop. Sometimes the taxi driver will take you to their shop even if you don’t want to go.
  • If you’re on a boat tour, the operators may insist that you get a professional photo taken. They tell you that these photos need time to develop and that they’ll be sent to your home country, but they’ll never arrive.
  • Scammers will pose as guards at famous tourist attractions and tell you that you can take photos even when you can’t. Once you take a photo, your camera will be confiscated and you’ll need to bribe them to get it back.

Egyptian man with goat

Civil Unrest/Terrorism

Most recently, this country experienced civil unrest starting in 2011 when labour strikes and violent protests broke out to overthrow the president. Once that was accomplished, the military took over the country followed by Mohammed Morsi, a Muslim Brotherhood member. In 2012 there were clashes between the military and the Muslim Brotherhood which caused an outbreak of violence in major cities. The army then stepped in, got rid of the president, and put in a temporary leader until Abdel Fattah el-Sisi was elected in 2014. As of now, Egypt is considered on the same level of safety as visiting Italy, France, England, and Spain. There have been terrorist attacks popping up in all of these countries over the years, but in reality, anything can happen anywhere. Just pay attention to travel warnings as you plan your trip as things can always change.

There are currently travel warnings put out by the U.K and U.S governments that say to avoid the Sinai Peninsula. Both also warn to stay away from the Western Desert if it’s not necessary. There are currently no travel warnings for Cairo or the Nile River Delta.

Safe for Kids

Egypt has been said to be a great place for families and safe for kids. You may experience the locals touching the kids (in a playful) way, which is just part of the culture. Don’t be afraid to ask them to stop if it’s making you or the kids uncomfortable. The locals will almost always be happy to see your kids, whether it’s the restaurant servers or the taxi drivers. Teenagers should keep in mind that in Egyptian culture, they keep the sexes mostly separated. Make sure your teen acts appropriately when interacting with the locals. Always make sure to keep the kids close as the tourist attractions can get extremely crowded.

Safe for Women

It’s rare for there to be violent crimes against women in Egypt. However, unwanted attention is another story. Keep in mind that Egypt is a Muslim country so it’s a good idea to dress conservatively. Otherwise, expect lots of stares, remarks, and possibly catcalls. Make an effort to cover your legs above the knee, shoulders, and breasts. It can get very hot in this country so that may not be completely feasible but making an effort is considered polite. Try to sit next to women when on public transportation, avoid walking alone at night, and opt for a well-known reputable hotel.

pyramid-woman OP

Tips to Stay Safe

 Staying safe in Egypt is easy if you follow some of these safety tips.

  • Carry a scarf (especially women) so that you can easily cover up your shoulders, chest, or legs if you’re entering a mosque or other religious sites.
  • Women should not sit in the front seat with the taxi driver.
  • Women should use the female-only carts when on the metro.
  • Get travel insurance before your trip as medical services can be expensive if you do get sick while visiting.
  • Stay far away from any areas that have a travel warning in effect.
  • Stick with a group of people or a travel buddy, especially at night.
  • Don’t flash around your money or expensive belongings.
  • Be respectful to the locals.
  • Don’t fall for the scams as they could lead to arguments.
  • Keep your passport and credit cards locked in a safe in your room.
  • Choose reputable hotel rooms so that you have a safe place to stay and resources that can help you if you need it.
  • Avoid drinking tap water and eating anywhere that doesn’t appear to be sanitary.
  • Keep your kids close in tourist hot spots.
  • Watch your bags and pockets when in crowded tourist destinations.

Visiting Egypt is a bucket list experience. Between the Nile River, desert experiences, and the pyramids, there is a lot to see and do. While this country hasn’t always been the most stable, it has certainly redeemed itself over the years. And, while there are travel warnings for some areas of Egypt, the main tourist sites are deemed safe and ready for visitors.

The Ultimate ABC Guide to Picking a Travel Insurance Policy

travel insurance guide

Quite simply, leaving the country without travel insurance is like leaving the house without an essential item such as shoes or a coat. Quite simply, travelling without insurance is like having no protection when you need it the most. And quite simply, travel insurance is the single most important purchase you can make away from home.

Many holidaymakers are happy to take the risk and jet off without giving travel insurance a second thought. But if you’ve ever found yourself in an adverse situation in a foreign country, you would think twice before leaving home without it. For those who believe themselves to be fit and healthy enough to take the risk, there really is so much more to an insurance policy than just hospital bills and overseas treatment; travel insurance can cover you for anything from redundancy and cancelled flights to theft and lost property.

If you’re planning one or several trips abroad this year, make sure you don’t forget to organise your travel insurance. Read on to find out how you should go about selecting the best travel insurance policy for you and your family or travel group.

Basics of Travel Insurance


What is Travel Insurance?

Travel insurance is an essential part of your travel, whether you are travelling for work or for pleasure, for a short weekend break or for an extended three month break. It’s an essential cover which will protect you should you become redundant at work and need to cancel your holiday, or if your airline liquidates leaving you with no way of getting to your destination, if there are long delays with your flight and you require compensation, or if your luggage has been lost in transit.

Your policy should also cover you for any medical costs you incur whilst abroad and it can even protect you for personal liability should a claim be filed against you.


The Importance of Travel Insurance

Travel insurance is essential and it is strongly advised – whether travelling for short or long term – to ensure that a good, reliable policy is in place before you travel anywhere in the world. An insurance policy can help to protect you as well as the dependents you are travelling with so consider getting group or family insurance too.

Stats from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) reveal that almost 4,000 Britons were hospitalised abroad in the year from April 2009 to March 2010. And in a document published on the website in March 2013, the price of an emergency air ambulance from the USA’s East Coast estimates at £35-45,000 (or £12-16,000 from the Canary Islands), and a scheduled flight and doctor escort in Australia estimates at £15-20,000. The British Embassy will not pay for these services, so for a true sense of security, a comprehensive policy is paramount.

With the risk of mounting bills in the case of a medical emergency, the importance of travel insurance should never be underestimated.

What should you expect from your policy?

Insurance policies will vary from company to company so make sure you shop around to find the right one for your travel needs. Most travel insurers will consider your circumstances for varying policies, including long term travel vs. short term travel, gap year travel or business travel, and even policies designed for multiple trips across the year.

Always speak to your insurer to find out the details of your policy. Most policies should cover:

The Basics

  • Medical cover if you fall ill abroad
  • 24 hour emergency service and assistance
  • Theft or lost possessions
  • Lost baggage with airlines
  • Personal liability cover for both property damage or injury to another person
  • Trip cancellation and abandonment

Additional Cover

Your policy may also include the following:

  • Cover for personal accidents and injuries
  • Cover for any legal expenses incurred
  • Cover if your airline faces financial trouble during or before your holiday

Holiday Cancellation and Curtailment

Some insurance policies may cover you for cancelling your holiday or cutting it short. Always check the terms and conditions of your policy carefully but here are some typical circumstances in which you may be covered:

  • Accidents and injuries
  • Sudden illness or terminal illness diagnosis
  • Job loss, strikes or redundancy (making it unfeasible to pay for your holiday)
  • Dangerous weather conditions which put your trip at risk
  • Family bereavement before or during your trip
  • Jury service or witness summons in a court of law
  • Pregnancy (unknown at the time your trip was booked)

Understanding Policy Exclusions

Basic insurance cover may not include everything that you need. If you need cover for long term travel or you are partaking in extreme sports such as skiing or snowboarding, you may need to look at specialist cover or bespoke policies designed for you.

Please bear in mind, there are also some things that are completely excluded from travel insurance policies. These are:

  • Drink or drug related accidents
  • Acts of terrorism
  • Mistreatment of your own possessions

A guide to buying travel insurance

Getting your travel insurance sorted before you travel is important. Many travellers forget to do this or they end up purchasing last minute policies without really researching the terms and conditions. Read on for a guide on how to select the best insurance plan for your needs.

How to Look for a Good Travel Insurance Plan

Buying travel insurance is easy with the convenience of the internet, giving you a simple and straightforward platform to compare and contrast. But if in doubt, the best way of ensuring your policy covers for everything you need it to, is to speak to an advisor.

Many insurance providers these days can help you create a policy that is bespoke to you. For instance, if you are a keen snowboarder with multiple trips every year, you may be suited for a higher level multi-trip plan.

Be sure to shop around for the most competitive prices but always remember that generally, cheaper policies will include less cover so it’s always a good idea to read the small print with vigilance.

What to Expect from a Good Provider

Here are some things you may expect from a trusted travel insurance provider:

  • Instant policy delivery – how quickly can they put your policy in place?
  • Secure online sign-up – can you purchase your policy quickly and safely online?
  • Range of policies – can they provide a policy to suit your trip and the activities involved?
  • Option to extend – is your policy fixed or do you have the option to extend if necessary?
  • 24 hours medical assistance – are you covered for 24 hour emergency assistance?
  • Sports cover – can your provider cover for extreme sports such as skiing and snowboarding?

sports travel insurance

Different Types of Cover Explained

Everyone’s needs are different when it comes to travelling abroad. Here are some different policy types which may be suitable for you and your next trip.

Short stay insurance

Short term travel insurance typically covers for up to a month’s travel, with some providers offering anything up to 45 days. This sort of policy is ideal for short holidays abroad, business travel, weekend breaks, or for visiting family overseas.

Long stay insurance

For single trips, long stay insurance is for anything over a month’s stay and can cover up to 18 months typically. This type of insurance is ideal for gap year travel, backpackers, career breaks, voluntary or charity work abroad, or for anyone looking to study in a foreign country.

Annual multi-trip insurance

Multi-trip cover is suitable for single travellers or for families. If you travel several times a year or own a holiday home in another part of the world that you visit regularly, the most cost-effective and hassle-free way of insuring yourself is through an annual multi-trip package.

Winter sports insurance

Adrenaline junkies and extreme sports enthusiasts should always be vigilant when choosing the right insurance cover for their travels. Sports and activities will put you at higher risk of injury when abroad – not only that, but you may also need protection if someone puts a personal liability claim against you (if you injure someone else during a skiing collision for instance). Speak to your insurance provider about which sports and activities are covered and always ask about personal liability cover.

Some things to bear in mind for extreme / winter sports:

  • Always wear protective gear such as helmets, elbow or wrist pads when required
  • Check whether off-piste runs are included in your policy
  • Check that snow parks are covered for sports activities

snowboard travel insurance

Family travel insurance

When selecting travel insurance, you not only have to think of yourself but you also need to ensure that you have the right cover for any dependents travelling with you at the time. Family travel insurance is usually available for all types of trips including short stay, long stay and multi-trip.

Over 60s travel insurance

Finding travel insurance at an affordable price isn’t always easy once you’re over the golden age of 60. To ensure you get a good travel insurance policy that works for you, ensure you strip out any extras such as extreme sports or winter sports cover, and always talk to your provider about choosing the best cover for your situation.

 Tips for Travelling Abroad

Documents and Visas

When booking a holiday or business trip, always check your passport and visa deadlines to make sure you’re not faced with any complications when abroad. Some visas can be purchased on arrival at your destination’s airport but others may need to be applied for a few weeks in advance so make sure you do your research before you travel.

If you’re planning on driving in a foreign country, don’t forget to pack your driving licence and always double-check that your driving documents are up to date.

Make sure you ask your insurance provider whether your policy will cover the costs incurred from replacing lost documents (such as your passport) whilst away. In any event, losing your passport or having it stolen is extremely frustrating and will be time-consuming to sort out, so you should do everything you can to maximise security for your personal belongings, particularly your travel documents.

Wherever possible, use the safes provided in your hotel or self-catering apartment and notify your bank if you intend on using debit and credit cards abroad.

Financial Protection for Your Trip

When booking your travel and accommodation, always book with a reputable company to protect yourself from the unfortunate events of company bankruptcy or liquidation. If your airline or hotel goes bust before or during your holiday, your travel insurance should be able to cover you for any money lost. But to ensure that your insurance company can definitely help you in this situation, always book with a trusted company which holds the right licenses such as an Air Travel Organisers Licence (ATOL) for airlines, or the Association of Bonded Travel Organisers Trust (ABTOT) for travel companies.

For any consumers who have booked a package holiday in the UK, they will automatically be protected by the Package Travel Regulations.

financial travel insurance protection

Health and Safety

It goes without saying that safety is paramount when travelling abroad. It will give you peace of mind to have an insurance policy in place to protect you and your family / travel group once you’re out there – but all travellers should do everything they can to minimise risks of getting ill.

Tropical countries in Africa and South America, or some parts of South East Asia may pose risks of disease and illness for tourists. To be on the safe side, always research the necessary vaccinations before you travel.

Free vaccinations on the NHS include:

  • Diphtheria
  • Polio and Tetanus (combined)
  • Typhoid
  • Hepatitis A
  • Cholera

  • Hepatitis B
  • Japanese Encephalitis
  • Tick-borne Encephalitis
  • Meningococcal Meningitis
  • Rabies
  • Tuberculosis
  • Yellow Fever

If you are unsure, consult your local GP in advance so you have enough time to plan, book and organise essential vaccinations. And as ever, always take care when travelling, ensuring you pack a first aid kit which includes basic medical supplies.