I always advise people to do their own research and make up their own mind as everyone has a different perspective. However, in my opinion, Egypt is a safe country to travel to and around, even as a solo female. Read on for more details of transport, the risk of theft and being hassled.
This is the part on the map that shows up in red on the UK home office website. North Sinai has some problems to do with the Muslim Brotherhood, who were booted out of government after taking the reigns following the uprising in 2011. Sharm el sheik is fine, Dahab is fine, Nuweiba is fine. Mount Sinai is fine. Don’t wander off anywhere that tourists wouldn’t usually go. There are check-points on some roads, which is inconvenient but reassuring.
I arrived to Egypt via ferry from Jordan. The immigration system was fine. People on the ferry helped me find the right places to go, no-one asked for bribes (I’ve been places that they have).
I took a bus from Dahab to Cairo overnight with Go Bus. There are other bus companies but this is the newest. The bus was lovely (aircon, tv, all mod cons), it was stopped at a couple of checkpoints which shows how seriously security is taken.
I also took the overnight train to Luxor - not the posh sleeper, the normal train (see here for EVERYTHING you need to know about trains in Egypt). I went with first class (it was about £3 more than second class). It was fine. Policemen patrol the station where you have to scan your bags to gain entry. Several people helped me not to get off at the wrong stop.
I took a night bus back to Cairo and then to Alexandria. Again, no problems at all.
I’ve been around the world and the only place I’ve been a victim of crime is in good ole London. Don’t walk around with your wallet hanging out of your pocket and use sensible precautions as you would anywhere else in the world. I have a small handbag which I can wear in front of me in crowded areas.
Bombs and the media
While I was in Jordan on my way to Egypt, there were news reports about a bomb at the pyramids. I met a guy who was in Giza that day. He said that the media had exaggerated the problem - it wasn’t actually at the pyramids but at the yet-to-open new museum nearby. It seems the intention was disruption rather than aggression, some people think that too much money was spent on the new museum. Once again I cite London as an example - terror attacks happen there too. In my opinion, Cairo is no more of a danger to me than my home city.
This is a more complex topic. Egypt is famous for a haggling kind of way, everything is much louder too. People shout at each other not in anger, that’s just how they communicate. Men (sometimes women) will try lots of tricks to get you to part with money. Don’t let taxi drivers take your bag until you’ve agreed a price. Don’t accept gifts. Preferably don’t get your money out in busy areas like the pyramids, if you want that tacky statue, get it in a shop later. My worst experiences were in Luxor. None of the behaviour I experienced was threatening or dangerous, just really annoying. Be polite but firm (easier said than done when it’s 40 degrees and all you want to do is watch the sunset and the entire population of Luxor has a boat they want you to have a ride on). If you’re less used to this level of irritation or you reach your tolerance threshold, then book hotels or hostels online and ask them to arrange to meet your from the bus or train. Then take taxis everywhere - they’re cheap.
That’s it! My advice is: don’t wander down dark alleys alone or go with strange men anywhere. Everywhere I visited was fine to walk around after dark as it was still busy. Don’t talk to anyone at the pyramids at all. If you need a break or want to ease in gently then head for Dahab or Alexandria, both of which are less intense than Luxor and Cairo.
I had a wonderful time in Egypt. There’s such a complex history and culture and it deserves the levels of tourism that it previously had. Are you thinking of going? Any questions then just comment below.