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Egypt- Imprisonments

I would love to visit Egypt but the imprisonment of Americans without due process is very troubling. The charges seem to be flimsy at best. How has that impacted your travel plans? It’s not just the State Department warnings, it’s the unknown of being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Posted by
245 posts

it’s the unknown of being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Personally, there are some places where I will not travel solo independently , and would only go as part of a tour. Egypt is one of those places. Also China and Turkey.

Posted by
89 posts

After the vicious attack on the US reporter a few years ago Egypt went off my list.

Posted by
6410 posts

Yeah I feel the same way about living and traveling in the USA sometime. I'd go to Egypt without hesitation but not solo.

Posted by
7 posts

I considered stopping in Istanbul on my way to Hungary a few years ago but once I checked the Stare Dept and they warned against it I decided not to. With Egypt, and the US citizen that died in jail today without the US government threatening aid withdrawal, I think this crosses the line for me. There are so many countries I would love to visit solo but how could I justify the risk with my family, and there are so many countries that I have not seen yet too. I think we’re trained to think our gov’t will step in to rescue us but this death proves that is not the case.

Posted by
4128 posts

I have been to Egypt twice, in 1983 and 1985, when it was safer.
The first time, I was only there three nights and just visited Cairo and the Pyramids. I was warned by Egyptian friends not to take a taxi unless it was from the hotel or airport where your name and the name of the taxi driver/company was taken down.
Apparently, people were taken to the desert, robbed, women raped and left there. Some survived.

ONLY go there on a tour. I don't know about imprisonment of Americans, but I do feel sorry for them. At least the government now is not run by the Muslim Brotherhood, a terrorist organization.

Posted by
395 posts

Many countries don’t have due process. In some countries you are guilty until proven innocent. Australia allows double jeopardy. In Turkey if your taxi cab driver has an accident its fate and it’s your fault. If you hadn’t told him to take you to X then he wouldn’t have gotten into an accident. My Japanese friends think it’s crazy that a Japanese couple was brutally attacked by a homeless man in Hawaii and they are responsible for a $50,000 hospital bill.

But yes, there are some countries I wouldn’t visit either.

Posted by
10899 posts

They should have had insurance. Doesnt US law require visitors to have insurance? European law does.

Posted by
7 posts

James E insurance for what? I’m not too keen on going to a country that would do what Egypt did to the US citizen that was in the news today. Truly a sad story. insurance would be zero help in this situation. There are plenty of countries like this, it’s true.

Posted by
10899 posts

I was referring to the Japanese. And some time back there was a thread about Egypt and several people felt perfectly safe there.

Posted by
5637 posts

I am in Egypt and feel very safe. Actually, safer than in some areas of USA.
Security is visible everywhere, armed guards travel with groups. You constantly pass through airport security type scanners in hotels, museums, antiquity sites, shopping areas. Touts are annoying but not overly aggressive except airport drivers. Reserve a private driver from CAI in advance.
We will return here, stunning antiquities. Fabulous healthy food.

Posted by
4073 posts

This instance does not impact my travel plans whatsoever. I'd go to Egypt without hesitation.

Posted by
245 posts

Security is visible everywhere, armed guards travel with groups.

A common misconception -- that lots of visible security makes one safer from something horrible. It doesn't; like locking a car door, it will make it more likely for casual criminals to move on to someone else, but casual criminals (like pickpockets or muggers) aren't what I consider a real safety threat in places like Egypt........I'm more concerned about political violence, using tourists to make a political statement (even by corrupt security forces).

Posted by
10899 posts

Lets not over play this. I can only find four attacks on tourist in the last 5 years. The Egyptian Military shot up a bunch of tourists in 2016,

Egypt later blamed the travel agency which oversaw the trip, claiming
it took the group to a “restricted area”, although they were
accompanied by a police escort, and carrying the required permits to
pass through military checkpoints on a route regularly used by
tourists.

and then a tour bus blew up in 2017 and another in 2019. And the Sharm el Sheikh plane bombing.

All in all less than 300 tourists killed in 5 years. Pretty dang safe.

Although MSNBC has been warning about the start of WWIII as a result of our actions against Iraq. I'm sure that pretty much a certainty or they wouldn't be saying it. So better go quick.

Posted by
1132 posts

"Many countries don’t have due process"

Slavery? Guantanamo?

Posted by
290 posts

I have been to Egypt twice. Once on my own and more recently with a tour (May, 2019).
We had a great time both times and at no time did we feel unsafe.
Egypt is a beautiful country with so much to see and do and the people are very welcoming.
I recommend going with a tour and not on your own though.

I am going to Turkey on my own again (third visit) in April and I am looking forward to it.

I try not to pay too much to the politics of country as I am there for a short time. I am informed, but not worried about the what if's.
As always one should always exercise common sense, respect cultures and behave in a decent manner no matter what country you are visiting. That goes a long way.

Posted by
4128 posts

James, good article.

Like anything else about traveling, doing the proper research is important.
Clearly, there are countries that Americans should not visit, such as Afghanistan, Iran, N. Korea, Venezuela, Syria, Iraq, Yemen and probably Lebanon.

Other countries involve more risk. Israel is a wonderful country and very safe, unless you are at a location where a terrorist attacks.
The Philippines has its problems, but the island of Mindanao in the south of the country has rebellion there and Martial Law exists. Sometimes knowing were the dangerous areas of a country are is very important. This is true of the USA. Stay away from gang infested inner cities and you are very safe in the USA.

As for Egypt, the government has provided armed guards for all tour groups for over 20 years, since a terror attack on German and Swiss tourists. Terrorists are more likely to target tour groups, but attacks are rare, something like once a year. Still, there is a risk. While I have been to Egypt, my wife has not, she wants to go, so we are planning a trip in a couple of years, absent a deterioration of the situation.

If you go, stay with the tour group. Only eat on your river cruise ship or at 4 or 5 star hotels or the equivalent. Don't even think of drinking the local tap water. The drive from the airport to the city of Cairo can be mind numbing. Best travel is in the largest vehicle you can find, like a bus.

Posted by
4805 posts

While I do have concerns about general safety in Egypt, and given the ease of planning by using a tour, if I were to go, I certainly would go that route. As to the situation with the American that died in prison, that would not factor into my decision. The situation was significantly different than the typical tourist visiting as part of a tour. Certainly agree that the legal system lacks some protections, but just not a high priority issue.

Posted by
4128 posts

One thing that you absolutely don't do while in Egypt is try to buy an ancient article to take home with you. The law is very strict on that and hawkers will try to sell you stuff. Of course, much of what the street hawkers offer is probably not real.

Posted by
10899 posts

geovagriffith, I think it illustrated the complexity of the issue of safety. I would have gone to Egypt last week; this week probably not unless I got some fantastic deal... then yes. Why not? Because in a few months things over there will probably have settled down and things will be a bit safer. Why push it if you don't have to. If you "feel" safe you are probably at a much higher risk then if you recognize the reality of the situation. Better to pay attention to the politics and remain cautious ... and then have a great ti