Is Egypt Safe For Solo Female Travelers? 9 Things Women Need To Know

Woman at Karnak Temple in Egypt

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Is Egypt safe for solo female travelers?

I’ve been to 50+ countries around the world as a solo female traveler, but I have to admit, I was a little apprehensive about traveling to Egypt alone.

So I booked a 10-day group tour of the country to start off with, followed by some exploring on my own.

Woman at Karnak Temple in Egypt

And I honestly have to say that while I loved Egypt and would not hesitate to return one day, it was one of the most challenging and exhausting countries I’ve ever been to at the same time.

Overall, I don’t think it’s a good destination for the majority of solo female travelers, but that shouldn’t discourage you from visiting at all.

Here are the most important things you should know about solo female travel and safety in Egypt:

1. It’s Safe, But It’s Not For The Faint Of Heart

A Young Woman Wearing A Yellow Dress As She Steps Down An Old Stone Stairway In Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt, North Africa

Egypt is safe for solo female travelers, but I wouldn’t recommend it for the majority of women.

You should only go to Egypt solo if you’re extremely assertive, confident, and experienced traveling on your own.

This isn’t a good first-time solo travel destination.

While I never felt physically unsafe in Egypt, the constant staring, comments, and hassling from men grew tiresome and was unlike anything I’d experienced elsewhere in the world.

2. Scams Abound

Great Pyramids and Sphinx in Egypt

One thing you should know about Egypt before you go is that tourist scams abound.

This won’t be an issue as long as you come prepared and know how to identify and avoid scams.

Never get into a taxi without agreeing on a price with the driver beforehand.

Know that if a vendor offers you a “gift,” it’s not actually going to be free, so just ignore them and walk on by.

And if you are shopping in the markets, get ready for some hardcore haggling and never agree to the first (or second, or third) price you’re quoted.

3. You Need To Be Assertive

Market in Cairo

Egypt is a destination where you need to be on your guard all the time and where you must be comfortable being assertive, even if it feels “rude.”

If you don’t totally ignore vendors in the street or firmly tell them “no” and keep walking, they will follow you and keep pestering you endlessly.

Don’t fall prey to the high-pressure sales tactics that vendors will use as you walk down the street or through markets and remember you can always walk away.

4. Tipping Is A Way Of Life

Shop and man in front of the shop at dusk in the Souk Khan el-Khalili (bazaar or market), Cairo, Egypt

Tipping is a huge part of the culture in Egypt, and there’s really no way around it.

If you visit Egypt on a guided tour as I did, your guide will likely take up a collection of tips for everyone (mine was $75 per person for a 10-day tour) and take care of distributing them to drivers, porters, waiters, and so on.

To use any restroom in Egypt, you’ll also usually need to tip the attendant a small amount (5 to 10 Egyptian pounds, or $0.10 to $0.20.)

Going back to point #3 above, don’t be afraid to push back and say no if someone like a tour guide demands more money after you’ve already tipped them.

5. Dress Conservatively

Woman in Egypt looking at old ruins

Egypt was the first Middle Eastern country I traveled to, and I knew it would be important to dress conservatively.

But keep in mind that if you’re a foreign woman, dressing conservatively is still not going to help you blend in or avoid catcalls and constant hassling.

I always wore long dresses (with a sweater or scarf to cover my chest and shoulders) or flowy pants and a long-sleeved top in Egypt and felt comfortable.

6. Poverty Is Very Visible In Egypt

Poverty in Egypt

Poverty is extremely visible in many parts of Egypt, and this is something you should be prepared for before you go.

It doesn’t mean that Egypt is unsafe, but it’s something that can really catch you off guard if you’ve only seen Instagram-worthy photos of the country online.

One particularly heartbreaking thing that’s common to see in Egypt is child beggars.

As awful of a situation as it is, it’s best not to give money to them because it perpetuates the cycle of exploitation — the children don’t get to keep this money, and adults are often forcing them to beg.

7. Food Hygiene Is Questionable

people sit outside cafes to eat and smoke in Cairo Egypt

As I’ve mentioned several times, Egypt is not necessarily an unsafe place — it can just be uncomfortable. Aside from the constant hassling and scams, I would say one of the biggest issues you might face is getting sick.

Food hygiene standards in Egypt are not the same as they are in the U.S. or Europe, which can lead to many travelers getting sick.

This is definitely a destination where you’ll want to travel with plenty of Pepto-Bismol and Imodium, and be choosy about where you eat.

You also cannot drink the tap water in Egypt. I recommend getting a LifeStraw filtering water bottle. It’s cheaper than buying bottled water all the time and better for the environment.

I literally never travel without mine and I’ve used it to safely drink the tap water in so many countries around the world.

8. There’s Not Much Of A Solo Travel Scene

woman in red top looking at pyramids in the distance in egypt

One thing I found interesting about Egypt is that there’s not much of a solo travel or backpacker scene.

I think part of the reason I’ve found it so easy to travel solo throughout almost all of Central and South America is because of how common it is to stay in hostels, meet other solo travelers, book backpacker activities, and so on.

This is just not as much of a “thing” in Egypt. So if you don’t travel Egypt solo, you aren’t missing out on much, which leads me to my final tip…

9. Traveling Solo Is Not Necessarily Cheaper

Young Woman Watching The sunset Over The Pyramids Of Giza, Cairo, Egypt, North Africa

You won’t save a ton of money traveling independently in Egypt versus booking a group tour.

There are plenty of affordable group tours in Egypt (check out companies like G Adventures or Intrepid Travel) that work out to cost only slightly more than if you were to try and book your own accommodations, transportation, and activities.

I’m not usually one for group tours, but in Egypt I 100% think it’s the best option.

It also takes away all of the stress of navigating what can be a challenging destination so you can actually enjoy Egypt.

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Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of the entities included within the post.

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