The Adventurous Gal’s Travel Guide to Staying Safe, Sane, and Comfortable in Egypt

We’re recent again from our tour of Egypt with Lady Egypt Tours!

After two weeks within the nation, speaking with loads of locals and doing far more analysis than I ought to have about our journey … right here’s every part girls (solo and in any other case) have to know — from clothes to customs to security — for an unforgettable journey to the land of the Pharaohs.

Kelsey standing outdoors Abu Simbel

Solo Female Travelers: What to Pack for Egypt

Clothing

Egypt is extra sand than streets, so that you’ll wish to pack for spending per week within the desert, even should you plan on being principally in Cairo or any of the opposite cities. Deserts get insufferably sizzling in the course of the day and surprisingly chilly at night time, which means layering is vital.

Pack light-weight objects which are both moisture-wicking or 100% cotton or linen. (This goes double in your underwear!) I opted for linen pants and cotton shirts over cotton tank tops.

For the chilly nights, I wore denims and cotton sweaters with open weaves for breathability. I went for versatility, packing objects that I may hike in in the course of the day and gown up for fancy dinners at night time.

I’m the queen of flip-flops so it was exhausting to be with out them, but it surely’s finest to go away them at house for this journey. Everything in Egypt is dusty and open-toe sneakers imply you’ll be left with filthy ft on the finish of every day.

No-name slip-on shoes for women
No-name slip-on sneakers for ladies — good for Egypt (and gardening)!

I used a pair of no-name, cushion stroll slip-ons. They ended up being good — the rubber soles let me climb a desert mountain and comfortably stroll via sand dunes. The cushion stroll saved my ft cozy even on the longest of days, and the canvas high breathed straightforward, permitting my ft to remain cool, and extra importantly dry, on the most well liked days (which is a miracle as a result of I’ve the sweatiest ft on the planet!).

Best Accessories for Egypt

A shawl is a very powerful merchandise you’ll be able to convey, interval. (OK, after your passport …) When visiting non secular buildings, girls are required to cowl their hair. Scarves are additionally key for desert excursions, defending your hair and mouth from the mud. Along with the headband, remember to pack loads of bobby pins. They aren’t simply nice for protecting flyaways out of your face, they’ll assist maintain your scarf securely in place all day.

For days once you’ll be exploring the cities or historical temples, you’ll be able to go for a solar hat as a substitute of a shawl. Of course, you’ll lose the cooling, moisture-wicking impact by not carrying a shawl, so solar hats are higher choices for cooler days.

Kelsey on an ATV in the desert outside Hurghada
Mad Max-style ATV’ing within the desert outdoors Hurghada, Egypt

Sunglasses are the second most vital accent. Not solely is Egypt a sunny nation (clearly) basically, however the glare of the solar bouncing off the sand dunes could be completely blinding.

SPF Lip Balm & Makeup

There are few issues extra depressing than dry, cracked lips from an excessive amount of desert solar. Be positive to at all times have a conditioning lip balm that incorporates SPF and reapply typically.

Along with the lip balm, strive a unfastened powder basis that incorporates SPF. I usually don’t put on make-up on days after I’ll be mountaineering, however the SPF powder make-up felt a lot cooler on my face (it was most likely psychological, however I positively prefered it over caking on sunscreen!).

Contents of the Hedgren Carina Travel Purse
Hedgren Carina Travel Purse — Fits all of the issues!

The Perfect Purse

For me, one of many largest points when touring is figuring out which bag to convey. I at all times pack as mild as doable and restrict myself to both a backpack or a handbag. Backpacks for adventurous excursions and purses for staying in cities. This journey was a bit of totally different although. It mixed each metropolis exploration and desert adventures.

One week earlier than we left, I bought my Hedgren Carina purse and it was a game-changer. It has one million compartments like my backpack however additionally it is a trendy cross-body that’s good for going out in town. I fell in love and it’s formally the one bag I’ll ever journey with any more.

Cat sleeping in a suitcase
Don’t pack the cat, it doesn’t matter what she tells you!

Always Carry

My record of “always carry” objects for feminine vacationers tends to remain the identical for each journey, however there have been just a few extras I made positive to have readily available for Egypt. Obviously, you need to at all times maintain your passport on you. Try to maintain it in a spot that’s not simply accessed by pickpockets, like an inside pocket.

After a traumatic street journey emergency years in the past, I realized to at all times have bathroom paper with me, regardless of the place I’m going. The majority of public restrooms don’t inventory TP. You’ll have to get it from a toilet attendant so remember to at all times have small Egyptian cash readily available for tipping. Actually, you’ll be doing a lot of tipping in Egypt, so it’s good to maintain a provide of small payments on you as effectively.

But together with the emergency TP, I additionally carry a small bottle of Poo-Pouri spray. It’s not only for masking your individual embarrassing odors, it really works nice at masking up current odors within the questionable restrooms you’ll encounter. Egypt is without doubt one of the international locations the place you shouldn’t flush the bathroom paper so odors positively are likely to linger. Poo-Pouri has saved my nostril on multiple event.

And, after all, I at all times have hand sanitizer for cleansing up after I’m accomplished. Just a few of the general public restrooms didn’t have working water so my sanitizing gel was the one possibility.

The consuming water is questionable in Egypt. Only drink bottled water (or carry a SteriPen UV Water Purifier which we love) and solely purchase bottles which have the plastic seal on the cap. You also needs to be sure to have a provide of preventive Cipro out of your physician. I bought horribly sick for just a few days and needed to depend on an antibiotic that’s not authorised within the US. It all turned out high-quality for me however Egypt doesn’t regulate antibiotics the way in which we do within the States, so it’s finest to convey a dependable stash of medication from house.

Egyptian Customs

Egypt is a principally Islamic nation, however the tips for ladies aren’t almost as strict as I imagined they might be. I did a whole lot of analysis previous to heading there. I wished to make certain I used to be respecting their tradition however nothing I discovered on-line appeared to inform me precisely what to anticipate.

After talking extensively with males on their customs and the way girls are seen: they’re a strict society that’s working to be rather more open-minded. Women don’t must stroll behind their husbands, however some nonetheless do. They don’t must cowl their hair and faces, however some nonetheless do. They can go to highschool and work, however some nonetheless selected to remain house.

What does that imply for vacationers? It means you gained’t be harassed on the streets for strolling subsequent to your boyfriend or carrying a tank high. It means you don’t must concern in your security should you put on a skirt. I used to be instructed previous to going that I ought to at all times maintain my shoulders and knees coated however as soon as I arrived I noticed that rule doesn’t appear to use anymore.

Your finest wager is to journey the nation with a tour information and they’ll let you recognize should you ought to cowl up relying on how “touristy” every city is. In Cairo and Aswan, I coated up whereas in Hurghada I walked across the resort in my bathing go well with.

Together in a horsedrawn carriage outside Luxor, Egypt
Together in a horsedrawn carriage outdoors Luxor, Egypt

As far as public shows of affection, I like to recommend protecting them to a minimal. While Mike and I held arms in public, we by no means kissed. I additionally by no means hugged my tour guides (… and I’m a hugger, people — I hug everybody!). When posing for images, my male tour guides at all times made positive to maintain house between us and never get too shut.

You’ll discover that males are very affectionate with one another in public, typically strolling arm in arm and kissing on the cheek. You’ll hear them name one another “habibi” (“my darling”). But women and men not often have bodily contact with each other in public. Of course, there’s no legislation saying you can’t smooch your sweetie on the pyramids, however the respectful factor to do is to put it aside for the privateness of your lodge room.

Kelsey with Loud Muhammad in the desert near Hurghada
Hands at your sides — NO TOUCHING!

Safety in Egypt

Despite the horrific assaults in opposition to Coptic Christians in early 2017, statistically, Egypt could be very protected, particularly for vacationers. The nation’s fundamental income was at all times, and continues to be, tourism. After the revolution in 2011, tourism dropped drastically which severely impacted their financial system. Egyptians know that vacationers are their bread and butter they usually wish to do every part of their energy to ensure the trade picks up once more.

Egyptian Tourism Police Near the Valley of the Whales
Tourism Police tearing up the dunes close to Egypt’s Valley of the Whales

The Ministry of Tourism tracks the placement and motion of many visiting vacationers, typically offering police escorts for day excursions to distant websites like Valley of the Whales and Abu Simbel. I by no means as soon as felt “unsafe” whereas touring the nation and infrequently the policemen who accompanied us would verify on me to make certain I felt protected in crowded areas.

Egypt is not any totally different than some other international nation you may go to. Be conscious of the United States travel advisories (though take them with a grain of salt) and at all times be alert when you’re in an unfamiliar space.

Do’s & Don’ts for Traveling to Egypt

And lastly some Do’s and Don’ts to remember earlier than you embark by yourself journey to Egypt:

Do: Research earlier than you go

Per week earlier than I used to be set to go away for Cairo, the bombings in Alexandria and Tanta occurred. Rather than freaking out and canceling the journey, I hopped onto boards to speak to precise Egyptians dwelling in Egypt to get their ideas. All assured me that the nation is protected and safety had been vastly elevated. The solely recommendation I used to be given was to be cautious across the Coptic Churches. Since that wasn’t in my itinerary anyway, I felt reassured that I’d be completely protected on my journey – and I used to be!

Don’t: Worry

Egypt isn’t solely protected, however the persons are a number of the friendliest I’ve ever met. I got here down with a foul abdomen bug in the future into our three-day Nile cruise. Not solely did our tour information name the room to verify on me every day, however the head chef of the ship heard I used to be sick and despatched me a fruit platter.

Traditional Coffee at Khan el Khalili Bazaar in Cairo, Egypt
Traditional (and really sturdy!) Coffee at Khan el Khalili Bazaar

Do: Try the native delicacies

Now is the time to be adventurous and take a look at *every part*. Each area of Egypt has its personal distinctive specialty dishes. In Cairo we sampled conventional espresso and koshari; in Aswan, we feasted on a tremendous Nubian lunch; and within the desert outdoors of Hurghada, we dined with the Bedouins.

Every meal featured new meals and I fortunately dug proper in, devouring every part in sight! And with none guilt too! Egyptian meals is tremendous wholesome, that includes primarily greens and lean meats.

Don’t: Go alone

Just like in any international nation with crowded marketplaces, you need to have a companion with you, even when it’s simply your tour information. In the vacationer cities, there are touts that can harass and observe you making an attempt to get you to purchase from them. Most are well mannered and can depart you alone should you wave your hand with a dismissive “la shukran” (“No thank you.”).

However, there are pickpockets in some areas so it’s good to be alert. Traveling with a companion or a gaggle makes you much less more likely to be a sufferer of harassment or petty crime.

Do: Use a tour firm

Traveling from city to city in Egypt generally is a logistical nightmare for solo vacationers. The Ministry of Tourism should be saved knowledgeable of the actions of vacationers touring via the nation. This means fixed check-ins and infrequently an armed police escort — one thing that even us well-traveled people at Vagabondish simply don’t wish to must cope with organising on our personal.

By utilizing a tour firm like Lady Egypt Tours, did all the vital particulars have been taken care of for us and we have been in a position to sit again, chill out, and benefit from the journey.

Kelsey Kissing a Baby Goat in Egypt
Don’t kiss child goats in Egypt!

Don’t: Kiss the newborn goats

… regardless of how cute they’re! My abdomen bug almost certainly was from consuming unfiltered water. But I additionally kissed a child goat that day, sooo … we are able to’t really make sure what bought me sick. Just be taught from my mistake and depart the livestock alone =)

The put up The Adventurous Gal’s Travel Guide to Staying Safe, Sane, and Comfortable in Egypt appeared first on Vagabondish.

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