Egypt’s fame precedes it – right here, historical past extends again not simply centuries however to the very daybreak of civilization, with a powerful horde of in-situ historic monuments to show it. But the nation’s fame as a troublesome place for solo ladies to go to may characteristic simply as prominently because the pyramids in tales swapped by travellers.
Earlier this yr, I spent six weeks in Egypt alone, traversing the nation from prime to backside, from Alexandria to Aswan and past. While I’m not going to fake prefer it was simple, travelling in Egypt on my own was massively rewarding and eye-opening.
Curious about travelling to Egypt solo? Here are six hard-earned classes gleaned from my very own current experiences.
1: Join a small group tour
Hear me out: I do know that signing up for a tour may seem to be the antithesis of travelling solo, however in Egypt, that call pays out dividends. Joining a small group and even simply getting a information for your self will vastly improve your time exploring.
The nation is not effectively arrange for unbiased journey. Signage at Egypt’s historic websites is almost nonexistent, so if you happen to’re hoping to know the hidden meanings behind the hieroglyphs and be taught in regards to the pantheon of pharaohs and gods, you’ll want an skilled Egyptologist in tow. Few costs are fastened, so that you’ll spend extra of your treasured vacation time haggling for transport to this temple or that, as an alternative of standing in awe of the traditional treasures. Would-be guides cling round entrances to vacationer websites, however once you include your personal, you’ll skip the trouble of their entreaties. Going with a information or group permits you to totally concentrate on having fun with your journey as an alternative of determining the logistics of constructing it occur.
Remember that travelling solo doesn’t essentially imply travelling alone. If you be a part of a tour, you’re sure to satisfy different like-minded adventurers, maybe even different solo travellers who determined to strike out on their very own, so you’ll be able to alternate tales and expertise the enjoyment of solo journey collectively.
2: Dress the half
Egypt is a conservative Muslim nation, and it’s essential for travellers to respect the native tradition. It’s greatest for girls – and males! – to decorate modestly, overlaying from higher arms to knees. Bathing fits and shorts are nice on Nile cruise boats and at resorts in Sharm el-Sheikh and the Red Sea, however it’s thoughtful to cowl up extra within the cities and particularly in rural villages.
While you positively don’t must put on an abaya (a full-length costume worn by ladies that covers from wrists to ft) or a headband (until you’re visiting a mosque), lengthy and loose-fitting clothes will make sure you maintain cool and comfy in each local weather and tradition. Go for lengthy skirts, relaxed athletic pants, t-shirts, flowy tops and cardigans in cooler climate.
3: Bring your sense of humour
Egypt’s financial system is massively reliant on tourism and continues to be rebounding after the COVID-19 pandemic and political instability from the fallout of the Arab Spring in 2011. More than two million Egyptians are employed in tourism, and the competitors to clinch a sale will be fierce. While being questioned and catcalled in all places you go is exhausting, not often is it malicious.
The path main to just about each historic web site is lined with tourist-tat-filled markets and makeshift stalls that one among my guides jokingly known as the “valley of the vendors.” If you’re not eager about making a purchase order, simply maintain strolling and ignore the cloud of questions and pleas so that you can step into their retailers. Walking by means of such as you’re coated in teflon and letting the trouble bounce off you is the most effective technique, however it’s not at all times the best if you happen to come from a tradition the place that’s thought-about impolite.
The Egyptians like to joke, so if you happen to’re inclined to have interaction, bust out your sense of humour. Completely make up the place you’re from (normally the primary query requested) or if the gross sales pitch will get too tedious, giggle and say that you have already got a set of canopic jars at residence and don’t want any extra.
4: Pack your equipment
Egypt’s unrelenting desert solar implies that sun shades are important for a go to irrespective of the time of yr, however they will additionally show you how to keep away from eye contact and extra simply deflect the looking salespeople.
Some ladies say carrying a pretend wedding ceremony ring helps keep off undesirable advances from flirtatious males, although I’m not totally satisfied it is well worth the effort. Even in case your ring is seen, count on to be peppered with questions – from each women and men – about why you’re travelling alone, whether or not you’re married and the way you can go away your loved ones behind.
You’ll get fewer second glances in Cairo and Alexandria, cities the place tourism is much less essential (although the city chaos is one other aspect to deal with). The Cairo Metro additionally has women-only automobiles.
5: Get an area SIM card
Solo travellers decided to navigate themselves round Egypt ought to decide up an area SIM card or be sure that their information plan from residence works after they arrive within the nation. Having an information connection is important for utilizing mapping apps to search out your method round, particularly within the mangled maze of Islamic Cairo and the well-known bazaar of Khan el-Khalili (however don’t neglect to place your telephone away, too – a number of the pleasure right here is getting misplaced).
Uber works in Cairo, Alexandria, Hurghada and some different less-touristy cities, and its set costs are a godsend for these uninterested in haggling with taxi drivers. With telephone information, you’ll be able to keep linked to buddies at residence and people you meet in Egypt, and plenty of lodging and tour operators use WhatsApp to make bookings and ensure particulars.
Buy a SIM card on the airport on arrival – you’ll discover telephone retailers round Egyptian cities, however the employees are much less more likely to communicate English.
6: Stay versatile and have enjoyable
Egypt isn’t the best place on the planet for solo ladies travellers – or for unbiased travellers in any respect – however in case you have an urge for food for journey, Egypt extends an open invitation to dive in head first. While in different nations it typically pays off to have a well-planned itinerary, in Egypt, a number of the greatest tales come from seeing the place the journey takes you. You by no means know who you may meet on a tour, at a hostel, at a espresso store or on the night time prepare.
Every day in Egypt is an journey. Embrace it.
Ready to discover Egypt by yourself phrases with a small group of like-minded travellers? Here’s a number of strong excursions filled with help and free time for self-directed explorations: