Moral Codes

Egypt is a Middle Eastern country and has Middle Eastern customs. Egyptians have been raised in a social environment steeped in Islam, a background that can colour their decision-making in a way difficult for foreigners to understand.

Yet it is precisely this training that makes Egyptians some of the most charming and helpful of hosts. By understanding the culture and with consideration for your hosts, you can be a welcome guest in Egypt.

In Egypt there are hardly any restrictions on foreign women. Ticket lines, for example, are occasionally segregated.

Women should line up with other women (especially since the lines are usually shorter). On buses, the driver may want you to be seated in the front with other women. On the metro lines, the first car is usually reserved for women.

In Egypt, a woman traveling alone is generally safe, but she will be noticed, less in large cities than in the country. However, if problems do occur, seek help from the police or any shop nearby.

Although you probably will never be accosted, take simple precautions as you would anywhere: don’t walk in deserted areas alone. Although most invitations are innocent, don’t accept them from strangers.

For men, speaking to an unknown Egyptian woman is a breach of etiquette. Take care in any liaisons you form because some families still follow conservative traditions.

Baksheesh (tips):

Baksheesh is a general habit in Egypt. Do not offer tips to professionals, businessmen, or others who would consider themselves your equals. You may seriously offend them by your act.

What to Wear :

Egypt is a conservative country and visitors should respect this attitude. It is advisable to wear cotton in summer as the heat can be like a furnace. In winter wear layers that can be taken off during the heat of the day and put back on for cool evenings. Wear loose and flowing garments, which are not only modest, but practical in a hot climate. Bring comfortable shoes. Women will be more acceptable when touring old churches and mosques if they are wearing some sort of head covering.