From submerging yourself in ancient civilisation, cruising down one of the most famous rivers in the world or trying your hand at water sports in the Red Sea, Egypt offers something for everyone.
There’s no doubt that a holiday in Egypt can prove the trip of a lifetime – but you do need to take precautions. Here’s what you need to know before you go!
What do I need to know about travelling in Egypt?
You may be aware that there has been some civil unrest in Egypt in recent years and, as a result, the UK government has issued travel advice for people travelling there. More than 300,000 British nationals visited Egypt in 2017 and most visits are trouble free, but terrorist attacks remain a possibility and holiday-makers need to be vigilant at all times.
Follow the advice of the Egyptian government and your travel company and try to avoid crowded places and gatherings, particularly during religious festivals such as Ramadan. Check the Foreign Office travel advice (link above) before you book your trip to make sure that travelling to your destination is not advised against. If it is and you decide to go there regardless, in most cases your travel insurance will be invalidated, putting your safety at risk.
Do I need a visa to travel to Egypt?
If you're travelling on a British passport, you'll usually need a visa. You can get one when you arrive at the airport in Egypt. If you're on a two-week holiday to the Sharm el Sheikh, Dahab, Nuweiba and Taba resorts, you won't have to pay as you can get a 'free entry permission stamp' instead. Check the current entry requirements here.
What kind of travel insurance do I need to go to Egypt?
Travel insurance policies generally cover specific geographical areas, such as European travel insurance or worldwide travel insurance. Although Egypt is in Africa, it is often classed as for insurance purposes as in Europe, as it borders the Mediterranean, and is therefore included under Admiral's European Travel Insurance cover.
An Admiral Travel Insurance policy can cover you for medical expenses, repatriation, cancellations or delays, loss or theft of and damage to belongings, personal injury and personal liability. We also provide a 24-hour emergency medical helpline, which could prove invaluable if you or someone in your party needs medical attention but you don't know where to go or can't speak the local language. The helpline can direct you to the right place to get treatment or find someone who can communicate with medical staff on your behalf.
Healthcare in Egypt
Although Egypt is classed within Europe for an Admiral Travel Insurance policy, your European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) isn’t valid there. Whilst we in the UK benefit from free healthcare under the NHS, Egypt operates only a limited national healthcare scheme, so you will need private medical cover for your visit.
It's sensible to make sure your vaccinations are up to date before you travel, as some diseases are more prevalent in Egypt than they are in the UK, including hepatitis A, hepatitis C, typhoid, TB and rabies.
Sanitation in Egypt may not be the same as you're used to in the UK, so take care to wash fruit and vegetables before eating and you may also want to avoid street food and juices. Pack a small bottle of hand sanitiser, drink bottled water only – and lots of it, to prevent dehydration in the sweltering temperatures – and don't forget your sun cream.
Air pollution can also be a problem in cities like Cairo, so take precautions if you or anyone travelling with you has respiratory issues and keep your asthma pump to hand.
What to do when you get there
Egypt may be best known for its pyramids and the River Nile, but there's no shortage of activities to try out too. Whether you fancy snorkelling in the Red Sea or touring the country by camel, boat or even submarine, there's something to suit all tastes!
If you like to immerse yourself in history, the city of Giza situated close to Cairo is home to the Great Pyramid, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. You can hire yourself a donkey or camel to ride between the pyramids or visit the Sinai desert.
Cruising on the Nile is a popular activity for visitors to Egypt. Whether you take a full seven-day cruise or opt for a shorter three to four-day trip mixed in with other activities, you'll need specialist cruise insurance for the length of your cruise. Admiral offers this as standard with our Platinum policies, and you can get it as an upgrade with other policies too.
If you’re planning to take part in water sports, such as diving or water skiing, or adventure activities such as parasailing or quad biking, you may need to take out additional cover due to the increased chance you could get injured and need medical treatment. Read your policy booklet to find out what is and isn’t included, or speak to one of our advisors on 0333 234 9913 to upgrade your policy.
Respecting customs in Egypt
Whenever you go to a different country, it's important to respect its culture and traditions. If you're visiting one of Egypt's numerous mosques or places of historical interest, replace beachwear with more conservative clothing, such as long trousers and shirts or blouses. Always take your shoes off before going into a mosque and remember that women must keep their hair covered.
Having the right travel insurance in place before you go will give you peace of mind and protection on your travels around one of the world’s most fascinating countries. Compare travel insurance quotes online or speak to one of our advisors to get the right cover for you.