Yes Virginia, It’s Safe To Visit Egypt (And Cheap Too)

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Who says travel bloggers aren’t journalists? Okay, lots of people, but that doesn’t stop a few of them (us) from putting boots on the ground and getting some real reporting done, outside of listing out our top 10 favorite places to drink around the world, or how you can get paid to travel the world (Answers: #1 Matt Torrey’s in East Williamsburg, Brooklyn; and land a lucrative job as a travel show host, respectively).

In an effort to get some insight as to what travel is like right now in Egypt, and whether it is in fact safe given the recent political turmoil and much-publicized detaining of three Americans (one of whom is Transportion Secretary Ray LaHood’s son) who were working in Egypt for a U.S.-funded pro-democracy group, friend of The Expeditioner enlisted the help of local Italian Giulia Cimarosti to give us the skinny.

In response to the question of whether the tumult in Tahrir Square is indicitive of the rest of the country, Giulia pointed out that “[e]veryone must know that whatever happens in Tahrir Square, the rest of Cairo and — most of all — the rest of Egypt is perfectly safe. This doesn’t mean that the protests are not important, but tourism-wise there are no complications at all.”

Good to know, but what about deals — has the bad publicity and decrease in visitors translated into travel bargains for the cheap traveler and are all the sites still open? “Nothing has changed regarding visiting ruins, museums etc . . . The ticket fares are probably still the same (they’ve always been cheap anyway!), but I saw great deals on organized trips with tour operators. The touristic sites operate normal hours and are less crowded now . . . I would definitely take advantage of that.”

Anecdotally, I recently spoke with my colleague/Jenga opponent Aaron of who recently returned from his own six-week jaunt through the Middle East, including a stay in Egypt. Despite the presence of a few groups of lingering protesters in Tahrir Square, and the noticeably aggressive (even by Egyptian standards) hawkers at the major sites as a result of the drop in tourists, life and the sites seem to be back to as normal as they’ve ever been. Deals were aplenty he noted, as all of the guides and others whose livelihoods are dependent on foreign visitors have been forced to slash prices to compete with the few visitors at the near-empty sites.

So in a nutshell: Ogling tourists are at a minimum, prices have never been cheaper (and this is in what is otherwise a very cheap country for visitors) and safety is about as much as a concern as any other time. What are you waiting for? Now seems to be as good as time as ever.

[Is it safe to visit Egypt after the revolution?/DowntownTravler]

  • Osiris Tours

    Egypt is such a safe and amazing travel destination for history lovers.

    The ancient Egyptian history was divided into 3 kingdoms:

    The Old Kingdom (2700 – 2200 BC): During this period the ancient pharaohs started building the pyramids. They started with Djoser step pyramid then they built the Great Pyramids of Giza, the pyramids of Khufu, Menkaura, and Khaefra. Amongst all the pyramids, the 481 feet pyramid of Khufu is the biggest.

    The ancient Egyptians used more than two millions of stone blocks, each weighting about two and half tons were used to build each of these Great Pyramids.

    The Middle Kingdom (2100 B.C. – 1800 B.C.): During this period, the ancient Egyptians were buried inside the hidden tombs instead of the pyramids to keep their bodies and their treasures away from the eyes of the tombs robbers.

    The New Kingdom (1500 B.C. – 337 B.C.): At the beginning of this period, the ancient Egyptians suffered from some invaders called the Hyksos but the Egyptian were able to win and kick them out of Egypt by the famous leader Ahmose.

    The New Kingdom is considered to be the Golden Era of the ancient Egyptian civilization. During the New Kingdom time, some of the great kings and queens ruled Egypt and created the history of the cradle of civilization lands such as Queen Hatshepsut, King Ramses II, King Tut, King Seti I and more.

  • I second Giulia’s comments. If you weren’t in Tahrir Square, you’d never know anything was happening. And I even   to Tahrir Square on a Friday (which is the big protest day) and never felt unsafe. Overwhelmingly, the message from Egyptians everywhere was “Tell the world that Egypt is safe!” 

    Thanks for the mention!

  • Egypt’s had a tourist industry for thousands of years – I don’t think there’s any other country you can say that about. It would take more than a little revolution to seriously disrupt what is a way of life!

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