The biggest concern about Egypt holidays if the country is safe or not? We visit this wonderful country nearly every year, explored all the coastline areas. To help you to make your holiday comfortable and carefree, we discuss everything you need to know before booking your holiday in addition useful Egypt safety tips.
- 1 Why we think Egypt is safe if you follow basic Egypt safety tips
- 2 Egypt safety tips – Things you have to pay attention to
Why we think Egypt is safe if you follow basic Egypt safety tips
Tell your friends that you are travelling to Egypt, and they will say you are crazy, Egypt is dangerous! Is this situation familiar to you? For us – who book at least one, sometimes two Egypt holidays per year- this reaction is not a surprise anymore. If you have concern, don’t listen to media that enjoys generating hysteria instead of sharing real facts. Collect information from reliable sources not only form the internet but also from travelers who visited the country lately and know the current situation. Of course, we know what is going on in Egypt, but we never felt that Egypt is dangerous and never experienced any problem in the tourist areas. The biggest tourist cities on the amazing Red Sea coast are the most celebrated destinations among snorkelers and divers and all considered safe-to-travel. The secret is just use your common sense and follow some Egypt safety tips! If you decide to visit this ancient country for a beach holiday, read our travel guide Where to snorkel in Egypt!
How Egypt protects the tourists?
The security check is very strict at the airport! We think it is stricter than at some European airport. Don’t be surprised if you will be double checked or else they ask you to open your luggage, they do it because that is their job and for your safety. There are several checkpoints along the main roads between and within the cities too. If you would like to participate in excursions like visiting the Pyramids of Giza, you have to provide your passport details prior the trip and you might be double checked at the checkpoints too. All the hotels have security gate with guards all day at the entrance and exit points. They might ask you to present your “hotel bracelet” when entering (if it is not visible) and scan your bag.
Egypt safety tips to follow (that you normally do in other countries too):
- remember cultural differences and respect local habits
- dress up appropriately
- don’t walk alone at night
- book excursions via licensed agencies
- if you need a taxi, use the hotel’s service or official cabs
Egypt safety tips – Things you have to pay attention to
When in Egypt, we are never worrying about general safety rather than getting The Pharaoh’s Revenge or being injured in the sea. Travelling is a good way of learning too! I remember, when we went to Egypt at the first time, we had no idea what type of health threats we will face, but slowly we learned that it is easy to prepare your body and minimize the risk of getting sick. Here is the list of our Egypt safety tips what we learned in the last 10 years.
Most common things that can ruin your Egypt holiday
The Pharaoh’s Revenge – Egyptian tummy bug
This sounds bad, right? The sickness “Pharaoh’s Revenge is a sickness caused by the local bacteria which is unknown to your body. It is absolutely not fun spending your holiday in the bathroom instead of at the beach! So treating the Egyptian tummy bug is one of the most important parts of our Egypt safety tips and we always prepare ourselves for it.
Main symptoms of Egyptian tummy bug:
- lack of energy, general weakness
- upset stomach
- hot/cold sweating
How to avoid Pharaoh’s Revenge in Egypt
The main source of bacteria is food and things many people touch like door handles, rails, light switches, and of course money. Some general Egypt safety tips can help you to minimize the risk. Use hand sterilizer (we use to wipe the door handles and toilet flush too when entering our hotel room). If it comes to food, eat at reliable places only and book good rated hotels in Egypt! Read the reviews, if you see many feedback that people got Pharaoh’s Revenge, keep searching. Don’t drink tap water! It is recommended to use bottled water even for brushing your teeth. Better to avoid ice cubes too if you are not sure what water they use for making them (normally they should use bottled water everywhere for everything, but you never know)
Local tour guides often suggest for adults to drink a few sips of alcohol before and after meals to sterilize the stomach. For kids, you might give probiotics. Also, learn to make difference between tummy bug and overeating! You might think you get sick but in reality maybe your tummy became upset from the amount of food only. See our all-inclusive Egypt holidays advice below to avoid overeating.
What to do if you get the Egyptian tummy bug
Don’t start taking you usual stomach medicines, those are not designed to combat the local bacteria. Go to pharmacy and buy Antinal! This drug is oral nitrofuran antibiotic that intended to combat bacterial infections, treat colitis and diarrhea. If you have a chance, try to buy it in normal pharmacies since they sell at the official price (the last packet Antinal with 24 capsules we bought for 20 Egyptian pounds which is a bit more than 1 USD while hotel clinics can charge crazy amount, sometimes 10-20 USD for 12 capsules!) In the original Antinal box, English information and dosage instruction always included.
If your symptoms are serious and Antinal didn’t help, visit the hotel’s clinic or go to hospital immediately (never travel without insurance). This is a routine treatment in Egypt, the doctor will give you the right type of antibiotic and you will be better in a few hours.
All inclusive does not mean you have to overeat
All inclusive Egypt holidays are very popular and common, around 80% of the tourist stay in hotels where all food and drinks are included in their package. Yes, I admit, it is such a nice feeling that you only need to walk into the restaurant and put on your plate whatever your tummy wants, and there is no need to worry about cooking, doing the dishes etc… But did you know that if people stay All Inclusive, most times they get sick not from the quality of the food rather than the quantity? It is absolutely OK to loosen a bit on your daily routine and try local cuisine but to avoid tummy problems, follow your normal eating habits. Don’t pile up food just because your eyes wish for it, start with small portions, you can always return for more if you are still hungry or something tasted really good. Of course, if there is anything that doesn’t taste good don’t eat it, but think about wasting and don’t leave full plates on the table.
I think we don’t need to explain how important is to protect your skin while snorkeling. The sun is extremely strong is Egypt and the UV index is very high, therefore never forget about sun protection! Don’t ruin your holiday because of a painful sunburn! Cover your body and head with light clothes even when you just go out walking. At the beach, the best is wearing UV Shirt or else use coral safe sunscreen!
Saltwater and ear problems
Since our main reason when travelling to Egypt is snorkeling, so we spend long hours in the sea. Sadly, saltwater can cause ear pain even infections if your ears are sensitive. Snorkelers and divers often suffer from ear pain during their holiday that can cause dangerous complications if you don’t treat it. Our advice is always clean your ears after swimming in the sea and remove salt. Protect your ears from strong wind, cover your head with sport headband! This was one of the most useful Egypt safety tips that I learned from divers. Furthermore, take ear drops from home or buy locally. We like to buy the local Viotic antifungal, antibacterial ear drops because it is cheap and always helps! It was only 8 Egyptian pounds (0.5 USD) and last for the 10 days trip!
Coral cuts and jellyfish stings
Basic rule for snorkelers and diver, don’t touch corals or any creatures in the sea! We assume you always act accordingly so there is no need to remind you. But we know, sometimes accidents happen and you might get stung by corals or run into jellyfish.
How to treat fire coral cuts?
Fire coral cuts are very frequent, this can easily happen when people swim too close to the reef, or sometimes unexpected waves pushing them towards corals. First, you may not realize you have been stung because it starts burning 5-30 minutes later. Normally, the cut becomes painful and you will notice red, itchy rash around it. To treat the cut, rinse it with seawater first, than with vinegar or isopropyl alcohol. If you have tentacles in, remove them with tweezers and apply cream for itching (doctors usually give hydrocortisone). If you don’t experience any allergic reaction, the only thing you can do is to wait until the pain and rash are gone. But in case of developing any allergic reactions like shortness of breath, swelling in the tongue etc., seek immediate medical care!
Note: Taking corals or shells home is a big NO! Not only because responsible snorkelers are not touching corals but also you will get high a fine at the airport.
What to do if you get stung by jellyfish?
We prefer prevention! We always wear UV shirt while snorkeling that gives protection not only against sun but jellyfish too! Most common jellyfish in the Red Sea are not dangerous (like Moon Jellyfish), their sting cause discomfort but are not fatal to humans. Of course, if you experience severe reaction visit the clinic immediately! For rash and skin irritation you will get antihistamines or steroid creams in addition to oral medicines.
Stay hydrated – Drink enough water!
It can be extremely hot in Egypt! Keep your body hydrated. Dehydration can cause headache and disorientation, not to mention makes you tired and sleepy. Sugary juices, bubbly and caffeinated drinks don’t replace the fluids you are losing while sweating, therefore you need to drink more water than normally!
Usually, hotels provide purified water from dispenser. Think about environment too, refill your plastic bottle rather than taking cups all the time. The best is if you bring your own reusable bottle or eco-friendly cups with you! And one more thing, avoid drinking alcohol during the day! As we discussed it related to avoid tummy bug, it is OK for adults to drink a few sips before/after meal to prevent you from getting sick, but know your limits and keep in mind how your body reacts to alcohol and the reaction is significantly stronger in the heat. I know how tempting is sipping Pina Colada in the pool bar but leave the cocktails for the evenings!
Least but not last, the most important of our Egypt safety tips is, don’t worry! Do we think Egypt is dangerous? Not! Would we recommend travelling to Egypt? Yes! This travel advice list seems long, but just because we wanted to give you a full guide of the potential hazards and detailed description how to avoid them in order to have an enjoyable holiday in Egypt. With the local medicine in your bag, and with travel tips in your mind there is nothing to fear from! Have a great holiday!
Anett fell in love with the ocean immediately when she put her head underwater in the Red Sea back in 2010. Discovering megacities is not her style but getting lost in tiny coastal villages, capturing the beauty of the sea while snorkeling. Wherever she goes, she takes her mask, fins and underwater camera with her. She has a big interest in exploring the world’s last hidden underwater paradises and marine conservation. She hopes to inspire people to protect our oceans by sharing her underwater stories. Find her photos on @anett.szaszi Instagram too!