Egypt Travel Tips | Visiting Egypt? A friendly caution to think twice, based on firsthand experience.
My husband and I just returned from our “once in a lifetime” trip to Egypt and — hot damn, we need to vent.
All told, we spent two weeks visiting Egypt and by the end of the trip we couldn’t get out fast enough.
But let’s take a step back because a charged statement like that deserves some explanation.
First things first — as a professional travel blogger it’s in my interest to encourage people to travel the world, discomfort be damned. But as a human being, I can’t recommend visiting Egypt with a clear conscience.
This is based solely on a handful of concerning things we experienced firsthand during our first trip to Egypt.
We visited Egypt with an open mind but came away sorely disappointed. If you’re stubborn (*raises hand) and plan on visiting Egypt regardless, I hope this assessment will prepare you for the trip.
As you read this, give yourself a moment of pause and make a bullet-proof game plan. It’s easy to assume that the things we experienced won’t happen to you, but clearly our experience wasn’t unique. Several readers have reached out (in the comments below) to let me know they had a similar experience.
My goal with this honest assessment on visiting Egypt is to encourage folks to think twice about traveling to Egypt at this time. Heck, I’d go so far as to encourage you to cancel the trip altogether.
Am I qualified to talk about visiting Egypt?
Who the hell knows. Is anyone qualified? I mean, I visited the country for two full weeks and am happy to share my personal experience. I strive to be honest and am not a fan of sugarcoating the important stuff. The reasons I provide below are sincere, and justify why I didn’t enjoy visiting Egypt.
In terms of qualifications, I’m an American traveler that spends six months of the year traveling with my husband, Will. We’re strong advocates for slow travel and typically book month-long stays in international cities. We enjoy getting to know the culture of a place rather than checking items off a list.
Egypt was the 16th country we visited together, and we chose to spend two full weeks exploring the three most popular cities (Cairo, Aswan and Luxor).
Nothing prepared us for visiting Egypt. Largely thanks to the gut-wrenching corruption and desperation evoked by extreme oppression and poverty.
It all started with an uneasy feeling
As with most things in life, you need to trust your gut.
I’m all for adventure and “saying yes” to new things, but within two days of visiting Egypt, something didn’t feel right. I woke up with a pit in my stomach that alerted me to the uneasiness that accompanies anxiety.
The first two days in Egypt went by just fine. We Ubered over to a mosque and were greeted by a man claiming to be an Egyptologist who gave us a tour of the mosque. We had a fine day learning about the culture and way of life for Egyptians, it was fun but eye-opening.
He took us to various historic sites and two local restaurants. We got to experience “real” Cairo by walking the streets and mingling with locals because we were with a guide that spoke the language. While walking around the city, we found ourselves surprised.
First, we hardly saw any other tourists in the city. Apart from the massive tour vans at the two most popular mosques, we pretty much only saw locals on the city streets.
As such, we stood out like a sore thumb while exploring Cairo since most tourists don’t actually go into the city.
Secondly, the extreme poverty was jarring. We saw animal carcasses in the street, folks swatting flies that landed on plates of food and overall very unsanitary food conditions.
None of the blogs I read beforehand touched on the country I was actually experiencing in real time. By day three, I found myself frustrated by the false narrative being sold by bloggers and travel guides.
So when I woke up on the third day of our trip, I couldn’t shake the uneasy feeling in my stomach. Something didn’t feel right. I asked my husband for his perspective and he agreed.
So we did what any millennial does — we turned to the internet.
We spent hours scouring forums for honest insights into visiting Egypt and found ourselves engrossed by real stories.
What we found was shocking: thousands of accounts of tourists anxiously awaiting to leave the country as soon as possible and vowing never to return.
I wish I would have found the information sooner, but — let’s get real — I’m stubborn and would have chalked it up to inexperience on the traveler’s end. Amateur move on my end.
It’s hard to decipher between exaggeration and fact, but while reading the various accounts, I was surprised by the relatable stories and quickly realized that visiting Egypt doesn’t end up being what most people expect.
So I wanted to contribute to the conversation by sharing the experience of one (pretty average) American.
Here’s the 10 Reasons I Don’t Recommend Visiting Egypt
At the end of the day, we spent two weeks visiting Egypt and then paid $1,000 to leave 2 days early (we couldn’t get out fast enough). Sounds dramatic, I know, but I’m just being honest. Here’s 10 reasons I don’t recommend visiting Egypt, based on firsthand experience.
#1. Egypt is falsely glorified
Prior to our trip, we spent hours reading books, guides, blogs and watching videos in preparation for Egypt. I found a lot of folks eager to provide helpful Egypt Travel Tips, yet very few (almost none) talked about the disadvantages in a genuine way.
The few disadvantages I did come across were so heavily sugarcoated I felt at risk for diabetes. Many downsides were shared alongside a “positive spin” that downplayed the realness of the dangers and frustrations of visiting Egypt.
A part of me can understand this. Since childhood, we’ve been regaled with epic stories of the undeniable splendor of Egypt (those pyramids!).
Breathtaking and riveting stories of hallowed ancient sites that spoke to a great civilization beyond comprehension.
We learned that everyone should strive to visit Egypt to see the glory firsthand. As such, most of us never question the tourism industry in Egypt. And why would we? It’s a must-see for any serious world traveler.
What a mistake that turned out to be for us. Let’s start by covering the tourism industry in Egypt.
Let me be clear (and blunt — because no one else seems to be): I found visiting Egypt to be a hostile (and unfriendly) experience.
Quick Stats on Visiting Egypt (Let’s Talk Tourism)
Tourism is the largest source of revenue in Egypt (which makes my spiel about not visiting Egypt all the more gut-wrenching, but bear with me).
The tourism industry employs 12% of Egyptians, as such, it’s one of the top lifelines of Egypt’s economy.
The best year for tourism in Egypt was 2010 (before the Arab Spring uprising). That year, the country received 14.7 million visitors and generated an estimated $12.5 billion in revenue. For perspective, this accounted for more than 11% of the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
After the 2011 Egyptian Revolution, Egypt’s economy collapsed. The violence, devastation and uncertainty were too great a risk for travelers and tourist stopped visiting Egypt en masse.
As things settled down, tourism slowly increased but has yet to hit the peak numbers from 2010. What’s worse, when COVID struck the travel industry shut down completely.
Egypt’s tourism industry dropped by 70% in 2020. And since so many Egyptians are reliant on tourism, the nation was greeted with a gut-wrenching poverty few Westerners can fathom. I think of it this way: When your kid is hungry, you’ll do anything in your power to feed them – desperation and ego be damned.
To that end, since the Arab Spring uprising folks have been very hesitant to visit Egypt and COVID only made matters worse. This in turn has caused many Egyptians to resort to drastic measures (oftentimes aggressive) to survive in a country with a staggering unemployment rate.
Worth knowing before visiting Egypt: A 24-year old tourist from Lebanon was arrested at the airport in 2018 and sentenced to 8 years in prison because she posted at 10-minute video talking about her poor experience visiting Egypt. The Egyptian government accused her of spreading propaganda and imprisoned her.
#2. Tourist exploitation is next level
My biggest beef with visiting Egypt is that I assumed it was a tourist destination. I assumed that tourists wouldn’t be treated with hostility or made to feel embarrassed by constant gouging and unfair pricing.
I truly believed that Egypt was a well-known tourist destination (everyone knows to visit the pyramids!) but that wasn’t my experience.
To put it bluntly, I felt like a walking ATM while visiting Egypt. It seemed to me that, as a tourist, the objective was to get as much money from me as possible. The level of tourist exploitation is absolutely next level. Turns out I’m not the only one that thinks so. Several readers reached out to say they felt the same way while visiting Egypt.
For example, we had dinner at a famous spot where they only serve one dish (koshary). We read online that the price for the dish is 20 Egyptian pounds per person, but we weren’t handed a menu and the waiter told us the total is 100 Egyptian pounds for two.
By western standards, this sum isn’t much, but we felt embarrassed that we were being so blatantly up-charged. It made us feel foolish because we couldn’t say or do anything without feeling like there’d be some retaliation.
So we forked over the amount, knowing full well we were charged more than double what the couple next to us paid (because we watched them each pay 20 Egyptian pounds).
Again, it’s not about the money — it’s about being made to feel foolish and being taken advantage of. It got old very fast because it was happening in (almost) every interaction we had.
Story: The sneaky taxi driver
Another case in point: We requested our hotel’s assistance calling a taxi on our behalf. We asked about the pricing (since we were so frustrated by being ripped off so often) from the hotel to the train station, which was a 10 minute ride. The hotel said “no more than 50 Egyptian pounds total.”
When we checked out, we verified with the hotel on a fair price and they (confidently) confirmed “50 pounds tops.” So we knew to pay 50 Egyptian pounds. When we reached the train station, we handed the driver 100 pounds to show our appreciation.
But — get this — the taxi driver demanded 200 Egyptian pounds (again, for a 10 minute ride) and started to get aggressive, refusing to let us go until we paid up.
He claimed the price was 100 Egyptian pounds per person, which is 4x greater than the price we were quoted by two different people at the hotel.
For perspective, the average daily salary in Awsan for a taxi driver is 90-100 EGP, he was trying to get two days worth of wages for a 10 minute ride! Being (blatantly) exploited on an hourly basis while visiting Egypt really started to wear on us.
Also, as I was getting out of the taxi, I noticed the driver was giving our luggage to a young man who put them on a trolley without our consent. As my husband was negotiating the exorbitant taxi fees, I went over to remove our luggage from the trolley and the young man demanded a tip before letting me take the bags.
The whole situation left such a bad taste in my mouth, we were constantly being exploited! And before the hate mail gets stamped, allow me to share that we were very generous with our tips. The dollar goes far in Egypt and we did our part to support locals (tour guides, hotel staff, etc) while visiting Egypt..
The constant “in your face” deceit was one of the worst parts about visiting Egypt. These daily demands for as much money as possible started to get to us because it happened no less than 10 times a day. Eventually we just stopped leaving the hotel.
#3. Visiting Egypt for the epic sites? A word.
There’s no denying that nothing comes close to seeing the ruins of Ancient Egypt for yourself. And hell, I’d put up with a lot to see the epic sites firsthand, which is why the next statement is particularly heartbreaking.
To be frank, the history of Ancient Egypt isn’t valued by those managing the country. I was shocked to find that everything at the Egyptian Museum was out in the open and folks were allowed to touch whatever they pleased.
But that wasn’t the worst of it. No, what surprised me most was the blatant and unabashed corruption at the sacred ancient sites folks travel thousands of miles to see.
I can’t tell you how many times I watched “guards” pop into thousand-year coffins for measly tips. I cringed while watching a guard dip into a roped-off thousand year-old sarcophagus for photos and a $2 tip.
We toured several temples with private guides (booked through our hotels) who mentioned a handful of times that they weren’t allowed to accompany us inside certain rooms because they were holy or sacred.
Not a big deal, or so we thought.
Imagine our surprise when we arrived inside these “sacred” rooms to find guards offering to open doors and expose rooms for tips. We’d constantly be told that photos weren’t allowed, only to be met with a hand motioning for money.
Another thing that caught me by surprise was one of the professional tours we took to the Tombs of Nobles. When we arrived to the destination, our (professional) tour guide told us that we needed to bribe the guards at the door so they’d let him inside with us.
Perplexed, we weren’t sure why a “guided tour of the Tombs of the Nobles” was included in the package if the guide wasn’t allowed inside without us bribing the guides.
Wouldn’t the bribe be included in the exorbitant price of the tour? It was so bizarre, something smelled fishy about it but we obliged (what else could we do?).
Bonus: Here’s something no one tells you about visiting Egypt: Cairo looks like this. None of the ads urging tourism seem to feature this reality.
We spent two days exploring Islamic Cairo (popping into mosques) and were so surprised to learn that Cairo actually looks like a city in shambles. Why the heck isn’t anyone talking about this?
We saw families squatting on the ground and eating beans out of fly-infested bowls. We saw half-dead animals laying on the ground next to restaurants, etc. This is the real Cairo (the city you’ll explore if you ever leave your hotel) and yet no one wants to share the photos outside of the famous street market and mosques, go figure.
#4. The police are corrupt and demand bribes
I’m just going to be real here: The biggest reason I never plan on visiting Egypt again is because I felt unsafe. We were approached by official police officers that threatened us for bribes.
Even as I write this I feel so frustrated because almost all the blogs I came across claimed that visiting Egypt was safe. I’m calling BS.
The ONLY way visiting Egypt will feel safe is if you have a hired tour guide and driver with you at all times.
Having a guide with you at all times will provide a sense of safety, for sure, but it’s the most “sanitized” way to visit a place. You’ll never experience the way people in the city live.
If you don’t feel safe walking the streets in broad daylight (which I didn’t) then the city isn’t safe. And I’ll be honest with you, I didn’t feel safe visiting Egypt (even though I was traveling with my husband) and can’t imagine what it would be like to travel as a solo female.
The scariest situation we encountered while visiting Egypt involved an aggressive police officer that demanded a bribe by placing a hand on his gun.
We took the train from Aswan to Luxor (never again) and arrived at the train station by 3pm. As soon as we stepped onto the platform, we were swarmed my various men trying to grab our bags (for a tip) or offer some service we didn’t need.
We kept our heads down, avoided eye contact and made a beeline for the exit, even as folks were shouting questions our direction (like “where are you from?”).
We heard one person loudly shout “where are you going” but we didn’t make eye contact and keep moving at a quick clip.
His voice got louder and louder before we realized he was chasing after us, but we kept booking it toward the exit because we didn’t need anything and didn’t do anything. As we approached the exit my husband felt a man reach for his shoulder, forcing him to stop abruptly.
Surprised (again, we didn’t do anything wrong), we stopped. He angrily shouted at my husband and said “I am a police officer, why didn’t you stop when I told you?” and then motioned for money while putting his free hand on his gun.
Stunned, we didn’t know what to do. I shouted in Will’s direction and said “our taxi is waiting for us, we need to go!” And we booked it.
The police officer followed us out of the train station but our driver was waiting for us, so we jumped in the car as quickly as we could. I looked back and saw the officer, angry as can be, looking our direction.
It was (honestly) the most terrifying travel experience we have EVER had in our lives.
After our experience with the corrupt officer, we were constantly looking over our shoulders while visiting Egypt. We knew that if something happened to us, we couldn’t rely on the police for help and that was a terrifying feeling we have never experienced before.
At a certain point I was convinced I was being paranoid, but we ran into a handful of other tourists that had very similar experiences. Guards cornering them in famous temples demanding tips, putting a hand on their gun to evoke fear, etc.
We spent an hour chatting with a young couple from England and found that their stories perfectly matched our own, which is when I reached my boiling point (thankfully we were leaving Egypt that day).
I kept asking myself “why the hell did I spend money to come here? I can’t believe I’m paying money to be treated like this.”
Heck, even the police running airport security asked me for money while I was going through the metal detector.
Yeah, don’t really know how to explain this one away. Our flight out of Egypt was scheduled at 5am, so we got to the airport at 3am.
Shortly after going through the metal detector the police officer working security tried to grab my bag to put it on the belt and asked me for a tip. I couldn’t fathom why I wouldn’t just put the bag on the belt myself (I mean, I was standing right next to it?).
I was so fed up at that point (visiting Egypt has a way of doing that to you) so I just walked past him without saying a word. But my bags were promptly searched, mind, and I was frisked twice.
His pals at security demanded to know what my foam roller was for (spoiler alert: my leg). The situation served to strengthen my resolve and confirmed that I will never be visiting Egypt again.
#5. There was nothing I could do to stave off unwanted male attention
Well aware of the narrative I’ve been fed about Muslim culture, I wanted to be proven wrong and had a sole objective in mind: observe the culture without judgement. I approached visiting Egypt with an open mind (not visiting to change things, visiting to learn).
Well, hot damn. I was not prepared for the constant discomfort of being stared at during my entire time visiting Egypt. Prior to my trip, I read that 95% of Egyptians are Muslim and women cover themselves completely.
As such, I made sure to wear loose fitting clothing and did my best not to expose skin (even with temperatures breaching 100 every day of the trip).
I covered my hair while exploring the city yet still (somehow) found myself shifting uncomfortably from wandering eyes. Was I the problem? Should I have covered up more? Is an exposed ankle provocative?
By the end of the my trip it became clear to me that there’s nothing I could have done to stave off unwanted male attention. It’s ingrained in the culture and I got used to men looking at me with hatred in their eyes.
#6. The harassment was nonstop
Egypt is an impoverished country, there’s no two ways about it. As such, people will do anything in their power to earn something, anything, and will offer things or services you probably don’t need.
One of the biggest problems with visiting Egypt, for the average tourist, is that no doesn’t mean no. Rather, no is a form of engagement, which means all bets are off.
The aggression with which folks tried to sell stuff and demand payment was next level. For example, we were touring a temple and one man approached us and motioned at a wall we were currently looking at and then demanded a tip. He didn’t say a single word, simply pointed from his eyes to the wall and made the motion for money.
We said no and kept walking and thankfully he didn’t follow us. Although he came back later with a vengeance and demanded a tip because we were using our tripod (which was allowed). Again, we said no and left the temple altogether, half expecting him to demand a tip for departing too.
The harassment we faced while visiting Egypt was nonstop, it’s hard to describe in words. From the second we left the car until we returned to the hotel, we were stopped every five seconds by someone selling something.
It doesn’t matter who — taxi drivers, camel riders, folks offering tours, kids selling trinkets, bathroom attendant, etc.
It was unrelenting and we couldn’t even take in the sites, for fear of making eye contact with someone, which we learned was a mistake early on.
Indeed, eye contact and speech (“no, thank you”) was perceived as engagement and we’d be followed several feet, with the demands getting more aggressive with each step. It was a lot to handle and we found ourselves mostly hotel-bound by the third day of our trip.
Take note: If you’re using a public restroom (near popular sites) expect to tip for toilet paper. Most bathrooms don’t stock toilet paper, so you’ll need to tip the attendant and she’ll probably give you three sheets at best. Better yet, carry your own toilet paper while visiting Egypt.
#7. The taxi situation was a nightmare
We were so grateful for Uber while visiting Cairo, but unfortunately the other cities don’t have Uber. Both Luxor and Aswan have a service called Careem (which is owned by Uber) but after one experience with the app, we refused to use them.
If you’re visiting Egypt, you’ll want to set up car services through your hotel because taxis don’t have set rates. If you use a taxi while visiting Egypt then you will be at the mercy of the taxi driver, who will try to get as much money from you as possible.
Our experience using taxis while visiting Egypt
We flew from Cairo to Aswan and arrived at the airport ready to explore a new city, hopeful that Aswan would be different from Cairo. We opened the Careem app but for some reason a driver wasn’t able to be found. No problem, we’d ask for a ride from the taxi drivers, or so we thought.
The Careem app showed a fare of 130 Egyptian pounds to get from the airport to our hotel. Armed with that knowledge, we requested a quote from the taxi driver and he responded with “450 Egyptian pounds.” We said, no thanks and walked away.
But recall that no doesn’t mean no. So he started following us — not only him but six other taxi drivers. They were all shouting different numbers at us but the lowest one was 350 Egyptian pounds. We said that a fair rate is 130 but we’d pay 150 and they told us that no one would drive to the hotel for that rate.
We said okay and started walking back to the waiting platform. We wanted to re-group and call the hotel for options. The problem? The men followed and encircled us while we started dialing. They demanded to take us but when we kept firmly saying no, one guy aggressively shouted “fine, I’ll take you for 150.”
But I had a gut feeling that he wasn’t going to take us to the hotel without exploiting us for more money before arrival (a tactic we learned about from previous travelers). I was starting to get angry (and nervous) so I firmly said “no, and you need to get away from us” and he got visibly angry before looking at my husband for a decision. I think he HATED the fact that a woman said “no” to him, let alone exists.
My husband said “my wife is talking to you” and that was enough for the guy to finally leave us alone (after 10 minutes). We were later approached by one calmer man who said he would take us for 250, we agreed because the hotel couldn’t get someone to us in time. It was such an intense situation and I had a pit in my stomach the entire ride to the hotel.
Our experience using Careem while visiting Egypt
We requested a ride using Careem from the Luxor train station to our hotel. The price was 30 Egyptian pounds and a driver accepted the ride. However, as soon as we got into the car he said he’d rather be paid cash and will cancel the ride so that our card doesn’t get charged.
We were being chased by a corrupt police officer (story I mentioned early), so we agreed. However, within seconds he said “oh, you’re going to THAT Hilton hotel? (Spoiler alert: there’s only one.) That’s further than I thought so the price is double. Do you agree or do you want to get out of the car?”
So there’s that.
#8. Even professional tour guides will try to get you to buy overpriced trinkets
During our first few days of visiting Egypt we realized the importance of a professional guide. It’s worth mentioning that we’ve NEVER hired professional guides during our travels before, but Egypt was a wild card. We were swindled by an “Egyptologist” that approached us on the street near the famous market and started offering his services for free.
This was our first day in Egypt so we didn’t know better (haven’t been burned). At first we enjoyed his knowledge and signed up for the full day tour. We had a great time and hired him for a second day as well and then things started to get weird.
He showed us two cool mosques in the morning and then we hopped in a taxi that took us 40 minutes out of the city center to some chain restaurant (that was also located two blocks from our apartment).
We started to get a weird vibe about the whole situation and requested to return to our hotel after the meal. He got really weird about it and didn’t want to let us go, asking to take us shopping for souvenirs instead. We declined the offer and demanded to be taken back to the hotel.
Needless to say, we learned our lesson and only booked tours through hotels from that point forward. The problem? Every single one of the guides we booked took us to some souvenir shop to show us how “real alabaster” or “real maps” or “real papyrus” was made. It’s a whole production! The shop keep spends 20 minutes pulling out all the stops, which makes leaving empty-handed super awkward and uncomfortable.
We were really surprised by the hard sells, especially from professional tour guides. All told, we felt disappointed by our experience with the tour guides, but at least we got to see some epic temples without being approached by touts.
The biggest advantage of having a guide in Egypt is that other people don’t try to approach you and sell stuff to you. We got to a point where we gladly paid $100 each for half-day tours just to have a driver and guide that would serve as a buffer between us and everyone else. The hassling is so bad in Egypt, we couldn’t travel without guides.
#9. We couldn’t leave the pyramids fast enough
Don’t get me wrong, the Pyramids of Giza are downright epic. A true world wonder, this was the highlight of our trip — or at least we hoped it would be.
What we didn’t realize was the headache that came with the experience. First, we had to purchase the tickets at the booth and then found ourselves demanding proper change (they claimed not to take cards, even though the pricing sheet said cards were accepted).
After that debacle was settled we went into the Giza complex to take in the beauty of the pyramids from the overview. Within seconds we were approached by touts trying to sell tours — offers we firmly declined. We set up our camera to take a few photos (completely allowed) but were soon approached by a man in civilian clothing claiming to be an official.
He said “I believe you are taking videos and I need to see your camera.” We explained that we are taking photos using a timer and handed our camera over for review. He saw that we just had photos and allowed us to go. I found it very strange that the man claimed filming wasn’t allowed at the Pyramids since none of the posted signage alluded to that.
From there, a man approached us and tried to tell us that our photo can be improved if we move our tripod a few inches to one side. We thanked him for the tip and moved along but he started to follow us, offering his touring service. We kept walking as he followed us closely and started talking faster.
However, when we approached the entrance to the base of the pyramids, he became extremely aggressive and clearly agitated.
We declined his services and told him that we needed to get away from the harsh sun. He got very angry with my answer and demanded to know “why I was talking to him like that.” Surprised, I walked away. My husband ran up to me a minute later and said the man dropped his tour price from 800 Egyptian pounds to 200 because I walked off and would wait for us outside.
I said there’s no way in hell I’m doing a tour with that aggressive man and kept walking. What we didn’t realize until later is that the guide wasn’t allowed past the entrance area. He was getting super aggressive and angry with us because we were about to pass the “threshold” that he couldn’t go through.
The encounter shook me up, but we kept walking to see the pyramids. My husband mentioned that he wanted to see the cool vantage point where all 9 pyramids are seen side-by-side but the only way to see that overlook is by taking a camel or horse ride (something neither of us were stoked about, honestly).
We were torn, we didn’t want to ride a camel or a horse, but we were visiting Egypt to see the Pyramids and if that’s the only way to see all 9 pyramids, what choice did we have?
Well, turns out we didn’t have long to think about our decision. Within seconds of passing through the gateway we were approached for camel rides. Ah, yes — now that’s a whole other story.
#10. The camel rides at the Pyramid are downright heartbreaking
Visiting Egypt without riding a camel is practically unheard of. Our childhoods are peppered with photos of the pyramids while colorfully decked out camels grace the foreground.
We weren’t digging riding camels because we weren’t sure how they were treated. However, at the end of the day we relented — when in Rome, right?
Wrong. Things went south pretty fast.
As soon as we got on the camels, instant regret washed over us. I couldn’t believe the condition of the camels (they had random designs carved into their necks).
Secondly, we agreed to a price of 200 Egyptian pounds per person for a 1-hour trip to the viewpoint but when we got back to the pyramids they demanded 3x more than we agreed on and wouldn’t let us go until we forked over the cash.
It’s easy to say that we should have just walked away, but the men became extremely aggressive and refused to let us go. We said we would pay them 600 Egyptian pounds total (200 for the ride + 100 tip per person) and they demanded more.
They claimed they took the long route (which they didn’t, the returned to the pyramids in less than an hour) and said 300 Egyptian pounds per person was “nothing.”
I was so frustrated by the blatant rip off and deceit but my husband just wanted to leave. My husband and I had a brief argument over the sum and he said he just wanted to break free of the scammers. I had to walk away because I was so heated, but within seconds I was swarmed by two other men trying to sell me stuff.
At this point, we’ve been exploring the pyramids for 1.5 hours (we were visiting Egypt because of them!) and made the hard decision to just leave. While departing we were approached by two large groups of children and within minutes we noticed a bunch of adults as well.
They wanted photos with us (and we gladly obliged) only to realize they actually wanted money. As we left, they started running after us trying to sell necklaces and trinkets. We were so over it, we called the Uber and counted down the seconds until we were in our hotel.
#11. Stomach issues are common while visiting Egypt
Finally, let’s discuss the last reason I won’t be visiting Egypt again. Granted, this is the most inconsequential reason.
First, Egyptian food leaves much to be desired. Folks love to make it seem like Egyptian food is “exotic” and “mind blowing” but in reality, the unofficial national dish of Egypt is Koshary (various noodles topped with a tomato sauce and fried onion).
Koshary is delicious, by the way. We order it whenever we see it on a menu. But it’s definitely not an earth-shattering foodie moment by any stretch of the imagination. Regardless, let’s talk about the common stomach issues that travelers develop while visiting Egypt.
A few days into our trip we were both waking up with odd stomach pains, even though we were super vigilant about what we ate. We stuck to beers and hotel food because the conditions of street food were questionable at best.
We had two meals in Cairo and found ourselves swatting flies while stray dogs walking about. After we started waking up with stomach issues we found ourselves on guard and cut back to two light hotel meals a day.
Take note while visiting Egypt: levels of cleanliness are low compared to Western standards. It doesn’t seem that proper cleaning protocols are followed. Heck, I used a restroom in one restaurant and it didn’t have toilet paper at all.
The worst part? The bar of soap was tiny (down to half an inch) and obviously old. The thought of the servers using the bathroom throughout the day made me nauseous.
Is visiting Egypt safe in 2022? Let’s discuss the biggest events.
Located in Africa, bordering the Middle East, visiting Egypt is often labeled “moderate to unsafe.” The country shoulders the weight of the “conflict zone,” and terrorist incidents occur with greater frequency than most Western world countries.
I’m not trying to be unkind. I’m trying to be honest to set folks up for success if they’re planning on visiting Egypt.
We had an interesting conversation with one of our tour guides because she kept thanking us profusely for visiting Egypt. Perplexed, I asked her about the tourism industry and she explained the numbers were discouraging.
Then she said something that stuck with me. She said, “I could understand it, no one wants to die on vacation.”
Again, I don’t mean to alarm you if you’re planning on visiting Egypt, but this are things I wish I knew before going to Egypt for the first time. So I’m sharing my experience.
If helpful, here’s a roundup of the most current terrorist attacks targeted specifically at tourists in Egypt. Why the hell this doesn’t show up on most “List of Tips for Visiting Egypt” is beyond me. This is information you should know, so be informed.
As you can see, the tourist attacks are far and few between, but still, I can honestly tell you that I personally did not feel safe while visiting Egypt. I was constantly looking over my shoulder, waiting for something to happen.
It’s hard to explain the feeling but it’s similar to the feeling you get when you’re anticipating bad news. In times like this, it’s critical to trust your intuition. If something feels wrong, get out quickly.
While visiting Egypt it didn’t take long to realize the country is falsely glorified. Having the opportunity to experience the incredible sites will put you through the ringer many times over. But again, I understand and appreciate that the people are hurting and are merely doing anything they can to survive.
Why I didn’t like visiting Egypt (Resources) | Egypt Travel Tips
Here’s the forum I wish I would have found before visiting Egypt because I would have reconsidered the whole trip.
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I hope this helps,