Egypt, with its ancient wonders and rich culture, has held an enduring fascination for travelers throughout history. Historians seeking to unravel its mysteries, artists captivated by its beauty, and curious spirits from all walks of life have been drawn to its shores, each finding something unique within its borders.

However, as an LGBTQ+ traveler, it’s important to understand that Egypt maintains a conservative social landscape. This shouldn’t discourage you from exploring this incredible country! With careful planning, mindful choices, and the right resources, you can have a safe, enriching, and truly unforgettable Egyptian adventure.

Here are some Egypt travel tips and a comprehensive checklist to help you navigate this extraordinary destination.

Is it safe to travel to Egypt?

Like any travel destination, Egypt has its own set of considerations. While it’s important to be informed about potential risks, millions of tourists annually have visited Egypt and have had safe, enriching experiences. Here’s how to guarantee your trip goes smoothly:

Choose a Reputable Tour Operator

Selecting a trustworthy and experienced tour operator is vital for a safe and rewarding Egyptian experience. Their expertise, local connections, and focus on traveler satisfaction will make your journey smoother and more enjoyable. Here’s what to consider:

  • Traveler Safety & Well-being: Prioritize companies with a proven track record in keeping travelers safe. Their experience and resources ensure a smooth trip, allowing you to focus on exploring this extraordinary destination.
  • Local Knowledge: Opt for operators with deep connections in Egypt. They can offer on-the-ground Egypt travel tips and insights to ensure a well-planned itinerary and so you can access the best of what the country offers.
  • LGBTQ+ Sensitivity & Expertise: Choose a company that demonstrates sensitivity and understanding of LGBTQ+ travelers’ needs. Look for these qualities:
  • LGBTQ+-Specific Itineraries: Some operators offer specially designed Egypt tours with welcoming spaces and experiences in mind. This may include dedicated Nile River cruises or tours combining a cruise with other highlights of Egypt.
  • Knowledgeable Guides: Seek companies with guides who are familiar with the local LGBTQ+ scene. They can provide invaluable Egypt travel tips, especially for gay travelers so you can have an enjoyable journey both on board and during excursions.
  • Reputation & Inclusivity: Research the company’s reputation within the LGBTQ+ community. We highly recommend reading testimonials to gauge their commitment to inclusiveness and creating positive travel experiences.
  • Luxury Focus: For the ultimate in comfort and exclusivity, choose a luxury tour of Egypt offering perks like private Egyptologists for in-depth historical insights, the finest upscale accommodations, and a luxurious Nile cruise with premium amenities, exquisite dining, and unparalleled service

Stay Informed

Familiarize yourself with the latest safety updates for Egypt from the US government’s travel department. This empowers you to make informed decisions. Reputable organizations like ILGA and Equaldex offer country-specific information for LGBTQ+ travelers.

  • Be Street Smart
    As with any destination, be mindful in crowded areas and tourist sites, keep valuables secure, and trust your instincts.
  • Focus on the Rewards
    Egypt is a land of extraordinary wonders, from ancient pyramids to vibrant cities and the timeless Nile. With sensible precautions and a reliable travel partner, you can experience the magic of Egypt safely and enjoyably.

Visas & Documentation

  • Visa Requirements: Always verify the latest visa requirements for Egypt based on your nationality. Click here for more information.
  • Passports & ID: Ensure your passport is valid for at least six months beyond your travel dates. Carry copies (physical and digital) of important documents for safekeeping.
  • Couple-Specific Considerations: While Egypt may not officially recognize same-sex unions, it’s wise to research if there are any potential implications for LGBTQ+ couples regarding shared accommodations or specific activities – having this information beforehand ensures you can plan accordingly.

Is Egypt LGBTQ Friendly?

Egypt is a predominantly Muslim country with conservative social norms. Open displays of LGBTQ+ identities or relationships generally aren’t accepted or acknowledged within mainstream society, but this doesn’t mean Egypt is inherently hostile towards LGBTQ+ travelers. Being informed about local customs and choosing your travel resources wisely makes a significant difference for a positive experience. Here are some cultural considerations to remember:

Egypt Travel Tips & Packing Checklist for LGBTQ+ Travelers

What should you wear when in Egypt?

While Egypt’s a treasure trove of sights and experiences, it’s important to be mindful of the local dress code. Here are some Egypt travel tips for gay travelers to navigate this aspect of the trip respectfully and comfortably:

General Guidelines

  • Modesty Matters: Embrace loose-fitting, breathable clothing that covers your shoulders and knees. Opt for natural fabrics like cotton or linen. Wearing shorts is a good idea to combat the heat but cover up more and dress more conservatively when in religious sites.
  • Express Yourself Discreetly: Consider clothing that allows for subtle personal expression underneath while maintaining a respectful outward appearance.
  • Layering is Key: Pack for temperature variations between hot days and cool evenings. A lightweight scarf or overshirt adds versatility.

Top Options

  • Tops: T-shirts, long-sleeved shirts, button-downs, and breathable linen shirts are all good choices.
  • Bottoms: Opt for long pants, capris, or knee-length shorts that maintain a modest silhouette.


  • Comfortable walking shoes or sandals are essential, especially for exploring ancient sites. Consider footwear that’s easy to remove for religious sites.

Specific Situations

  • Religious Sites: Dress very conservatively. Cover your shoulders and legs entirely; head coverings might be required for men in some mosques.
  • Evening Out: If heading to a more upscale hotel bar or restaurant with a relaxed dress code, feel free to pack a slightly more stylish outfit, while still remaining respectful.

More Packing Tips

  • Neutrals and Earthy Tones: Opt for clothing in neutral colors or a subdued palette. This allows for easier mixing and matching while maintaining a respectful presence.
  • Quick-Drying Fabrics: Consider packing quick-drying fabrics for activities like Nile cruises or exploring desert areas.

Public Displays of Affection (PDA)

Regardless of sexual orientation, overt displays of affection are best avoided in public spaces and tourist sites. Holding hands or discreet gestures might be tolerated in some tourist areas, but it’s wise to observe your surroundings and err on the side of caution.

Local Customs & Etiquette

Greetings: Handshakes are common, but between members of the same sex. It’s polite to learn a few basic Arabic phrases.

  • Salaam alaikum (Hello)
  • Shukran (Thank you)
  • Ma’a as-salaama (Goodbye)
  • Min fadlik (Please)
  • Afwan (You’re welcome)
  • Naam (Yes)
  • La (No)

Using Your Hands: Use your right hand for eating and gestures, as the left is sometimes considered unclean in certain contexts.

Tipping: Tipping, known as “baksheesh,” is a widespread custom in Egypt. While not strictly mandatory, it’s an expected part of the service culture, and locals often rely on tips to supplement their income. Keep small bills handy for these situations: restaurants, hotel porters, housekeeping, tour guides & drivers, and public bathroom attendants. There is no strict amount on how much to tip.

Haggling: Bargaining is expected in markets and some shops. Start by offering significantly less than the initial asking price and work your way towards a compromise.

Egypt Travel Tips & Packing Checklist for LGBTQ+ Travelers

What to Pack to Egypt

Along with your usual travel necessities, consider these essentials:

  • Travel Documents:
    • Passport (valid for at least six months beyond travel dates)
    • Visa (if needed)
    • Flight tickets/itinerary
    • Travel insurance documents
    • Copies of important documents (keep these separate from originals)
    • International Driver’s License (if planning to rent a car)
  • Medications:
    • Prescription medications (with sufficient supply for your trip plus extra in case of delays)
    • Doctor’s note/prescription copy of your prescription medications
    • Over-the-counter essentials (pain relievers, motion sickness medication, etc.)
    • A small first-aid kit is always handy
  • Clothing, etc.:
    • Modest, loose-fitting clothing in lightweight fabrics
    • Consider versatile items that can be layered for different situations
    • A scarf or shawl (useful for covering up when needed)
    • Bring sunscreen, sunglasses, and a hat for sun protection.
      Insect repellent
    • Swimwear (if your cruise ship has a pool or you plan on excursions with swimming opportunities)
  • Tech & Safety:
    • Water bottle
    • Travel adapters and converters for Egyptian outlets (Egypt uses Type C and F outlets; two-pin plugs similar to continental Europe)
    • Camera with extra batteries and memory cards
    • Binoculars (optional, but great for birdwatching and views)
    • Small flashlight or headlamp
    • Download offline maps (for navigation if your data plan is limited)
    • Emergency contact list (including your embassy, travel companions, and local contacts)
      Add this to your contact list now – US Embassy in Cairo: +20 2 2797-3300

Embracing the Adventure

The adventures and wonders that await you on your trip to Egypt are boundless. Yes, navigating its cultural landscape as an LGBTQ+ traveler requires mindful choices and a touch of discretion. But this, in itself, adds a thrilling dimension to your journey. You’ll walk in the footsteps of pharaohs, marvel at the age-old whispers of hieroglyphics, and witness a way of life vastly different from your own – all while finding spaces where you can simply be yourself.

Remember, Egypt was once home to one of the world’s most progressive and enduring civilizations. Today, as you cruise down the timeless Nile or lose yourself amidst Cairo’s bustling markets, you’ll trace those ancient paths while discovering the dynamic energy of modern Egypt. Let the challenges fuel your sense of adventure, and let the warmth of its people surprise you.

Craig Smith

Craig Smith

Craig Smith founded Source Journeys with the dream of creating extraordinary travel experiences for the mind, body & spirit with and for like-minded friends. For over 20 years, Source Journeys has become a recognized leader in luxury gay travel, producing all-gay cruises and adventures around the world. More so, Craig has created a family of travelers and adventurers who eagerly follow his lead to discover.