EGYPT: A SOLO FEMALE TRAVELER’S GUIDE
Exploring Egypt: A Solo Female Traveler’s Guide to Safety and Adventure
Is Egypt safe for solo female travelers?
This is one of those countries that people constantly warn you against, especially as a solo female traveler. I’m not going to lie – even with almost 100 countries under my belt, I was still wary about Egypt. I was on my own, as part of a group, with local friends, and then on my own again. My time there was extremely enjoyable, and I did not feel the least bit unsafe. I am not in any way undermining the experience other female travelers had in the country. In this guide, I’ll just go over key tips and advice for you. This is a guide on how to explore Egypt as a solo female traveler.
Egypt is a predominantly Muslim country, and dressing modestly is a sign of respect for the local culture. Embrace comfortable flannel pants and long dresses if you have any. While major tourist areas may be more lenient, it’s advisable for women to cover their shoulders and knees, especially when visiting religious sites. This not only promotes cultural sensitivity but can also help avoid unwanted attention.
Before you start thinking about sexism, let me remind you that even in Italy and Thailand you have to dress appropriately to go into certain places. If you want to blend in and not stand out as a tourist, by all means, dress appropriately. This will also keep sellers and scammers away from you. This is the mark of a traveler, not a tourist.
Choose Accommodations Wisely
Opt for reputable and well-reviewed accommodations in safe neighborhoods. Check online reviews and ratings to ensure a positive and secure experience. If you are feeling wary, please notify friends or family of your accommodation details and keep them updated on your itinerary. Egypt has by far the cheapest SIM cards I’ve ever encountered in my travels. Less than $20 USD for almost 100 GB, and easily available at the airports. Unless you’re going somewhere remote, you can always check in a few times per day. Just don’t forget to be present!
How to avoid scammers in Egypt
This is one of the things that is most annoying about Egypt. It’s unfortunately also one of the factors that stops people from visiting again. Being firm and polite can go a long way. Limiting eye contact with people approaching you while saying “No, thank you” or in Arabic “La, Shukran” is the way to go. Do not say that you’ll go back later. You’re making a promise and they WILL look for you again if you do.
Even my local friends were wary about me going to the Pyramids on my own, for example. Following the steps I just mentioned in the previous paragraph helped enormously. Was I constantly approached? Yes. Did anyone ever make me feel unsafe or harass me? No. No one ever followed me or tried physically touching me. If they do, you can throw the politeness out of the window.
Hey there, and welcome to Go Global with Sibu! I’m a global citizen that has been living and traveling around the world since 2005 – all through budget travel, scholarships, study/work and living abroad opportunities. I share everything I’ve learned over the years here – to prove to you that you don’t need money or privilege to enjoy everything that this world has to offer.
Use Licensed Transportation
Uber in Egypt is also the cheapest one I’ve ever used anywhere in the world. Do not, under any circumstances, use local taxis. This is not just for personal safety, but also to avoid scams. This is something I do everywhere in the world. Ridesharing services are the way to go as a solo female traveler. I want to make sure my location is being shared with third parties at all times. You can have it linked to your card to avoid having to pay any cash to the driver. If using public transportation, be vigilant of your surroundings and keep a close eye on your belongings.
If you can’t use ridesharing apps, ask your accommodation to help you book a taxi. If you’re using a platform like booking.com – you can also use their services for taxis. This way, there is always someone who is responsible for you.
Safety in Numbers
Although this is a country that is commonly known for its group tours, that doesn’t mean it’s not possible to find travelers. There are other solo female travelers in Egypt! You can opt for staying at a hostel to meet other people. Don’t forget that there is always the choice of booking a private room: the best of both worlds – privacy and a social ambience.
If hostels are not your thing, use Facebook or couchsurfing! You can post here about wanting to meet other travelers or locals. As a solo female traveler, I can tell you that I am alone but rarely lonely. The opportunities to meet people are endless! Make sure to meet people in public spaces. Above all, trust your gut. If something or someone makes you feel uncomfortable, just leave. Meeting locals means you’ll get to see a place from their eyes. Meeting other travelers means joining forces, and even having people take pictures of you!
Ask Locals for Advice
No one knows their environment better than locals. Locals can provide valuable insights into safe areas, hidden gems, and potential risks. Strike up conversations with hotel staff and tour guides. Don’t forget that their recommendations can also add depth to your travel experience.
Lie about your relationship status
I wish we were living in a world where this is not necessary. Let me be clear. This specific advice is not exclusive to Egypt. Did men “try flirting with me” while I was in the country? Yes. It happens in other places, too. Do I wish I could just tell people to F off? Definitely. But we have to remain civil. This strategy usually wards people off. If you feel uncomfortable at any point, use this or walk away.
I also carry a fake wedding band that I wear whenever I do want to be left completely alone. I did not feel the need to wear it while in Egypt, but always carry it with me whenever I know I’m going somewhere and want to be left alone.
Be Cautious with Social Media
Consider sharing updates after leaving a location rather than in real-time, especially now with the rise of Tiktok. If you’re in Egypt, your content will be pushed to local accounts. That means that it will be easier for your location to be tracked. Locals can recognize your specific location. While many might not mean any harm, it can still be creepy. This does not apply just to Egypt but also to other locations.
Trust Your Instincts
Your intuition is a powerful tool. If a situation or person feels uncomfortable, trust your instincts and remove yourself from the scenario. Be aware of your surroundings, stay alert, and avoid isolated areas, particularly at night. If you ever feel uneasy, seek help from locals or authorities.
Learn Basic Arabic Phrases
While many Egyptians working in the tourism industry speak English, learning a few basic Arabic phrases can go a long way in having positive interactions and showing respect for the local culture. Simple greetings and polite expressions can help in establishing that you’re a knowledgeable traveler and are not easy to be fooled with.
I arrived in Egypt feeling on edge and extremely wary. It was by far much safer than I had expected. I’ve found the Americas to be unsafer than Egypt. It’s also important to remember that firearms are rare. It’s harder for you to be attacked. This might sound like nonsense, but it is something I think about a lot while traveling on my own.
Is Egypt easy to travel in?
This was not the easiest Arab country to navigate, and I would not recommend it for beginners. However, careful planning, researching and taking the right steps to respect local culture can go a long way. There are a lot of misconceptions about this part of the world for solo female travelers, especially Egypt. You’ll encounter incredible hospitality, connect more with its people by being alone, and enjoy the incredible sights and history that the country has to offer. Safe travels! And if you’re looking for more inspo in this region, make sure to check out my Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Syria and Lebanon guides!