Egypt travel guide
A complicated but fascinating country with some of the most enduring historical monuments on Earth, Egypt stands as an unforgettable travel destination. It’s had to deal with its fair share of turmoil in recent times, but this North African nation remains proud, welcoming and accessible. And with treasures as timeless as the temples and pyramids of the Nile to shout about, it’s not somewhere that’s going to slip from public consciousness any time soon. A trip here still very much has the potential to thrill.
In many ways, there are two Egypts. The first is the Egypt of Cairo and the Nile, of bustling medieval bazaars, noseless Sphinxes, river cruises and Agatha Christie-era exoticism. The second, and just as integral to many visitors, is the Egypt of the Red Sea, where a spread of large-scale modern resorts caters to sun-seekers and scuba divers. Sharm el Sheikh, with its world-class diving, high-end hotels and desert adventures, is the best known of them.
Most of the country’s ancient treasures were built during the time of the pharaohs. The Pyramids of Giza (the sole survivors of the Seven Ancient Wonders of the World); the lotus-columned temples of Luxor and Karnak; the Valley of the Kings; Aswan and the temples of Abu Simbel: strung along the Nile, these monuments have drawn visitors for centuries. They represent a lasting legacy of one of the most fabled periods of human history.
Of course, the country is best understood not so much for its great monuments or its coral reefs, splendid though they are, but through its people. Bartering for a bargain in Cairo’s ancient Khan al-Khalili bazaar, taking tea and falling into long conversation with a local, or simply stopping awhile in a remote village, silent but for the chatter of hooves on tarmac, will give a glimpse of a country full of character, colour and fortitude.
1,001,450 sq km (386,662 sq miles).
94,137,816 (UN estimate 2016).
88.4 per sq km.
Cairo (El Qahira).
President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi since 2014.
Prime Minister Sherif Ismail since 2015.
Last updated: 22 April 2018
The travel advice summary below is provided by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in the UK. 'We' refers to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. For their full travel advice, visit www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice.
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) advise against all travel to:
- the Governorate of North Sinai due to the significant increase in criminal activity and continued terrorist attacks on police and security forces that have resulted in deaths
The FCO advise against all but essential travel to:
the Governorate of South Sinai, with the exception of the area within the Sharm el Sheikh perimeter barrier, which includes the airport and the areas of Sharm el Maya, Hadaba, Naama Bay, Sharks Bay and Nabq; however, we advise against all but essential travel by air to or from Sharm el Sheikh;
the area west of the Nile Valley and Nile Delta regions, excluding the coastal areas between the Nile Delta and Marsa Matruh (as shown on the map).
Terrorists are very likely to try to carry out attacks in Egypt. You should be vigilant at all times and follow the advice of the Egyptian authorities and your travel company, if you have one. There have been threats to western nationals, institutions and businesses posted on websites and social media. The main threat to foreigners is from extremists linked to Daesh-Sinai. There is a heightened threat of terrorist attacks targeting Coptic Christians from extremists linked to Daesh-Sinai in Egypt.
You should avoid crowded places and gatherings, including in or around religious sites and during religious festivals, such as the month of Ramadan and the Christmas period (including Coptic Christmas), when terrorist groups have sometimes called for attacks. Take extra care over local holiday weekends, as some terrorist attacks have occurred during these times. You can find a list of local holidays on the website of the British Embassy in Cairo.
Around 319,000 British nationals visited Egypt in 2017. Most visits are trouble free.
There’s a heightened risk of terrorism against aviation. Additional security measures restricting electronic devices on board flights from Egypt to the UK were put into place in March 2017. The vast majority of carriers operating from Egypt are no longer subject to these restrictions. For more information about whether this will affect your flight, including if you’re transiting through Egypt on the way to the UK, read this guidance page and contact your airline or travel company if you have further questions.
As a precautionary measure, we advise against all but essential travel by air to or from Sharm el Sheikh. On 31 October 2015, a flight from Sharm el Sheikh to St Petersburg crashed in North Sinai. The advice against all but essential travel does not apply to the resort itself. The above advice applies only to air travel to and from Sharm el Sheikh.
The UK government will continue working with the Egyptian authorities to enable regular flights between the UK and Sharm el Sheikh to resume. We are also liaising with travel companies so that they are able to resume flights and holidays in Sharm el Sheikh as soon as appropriate security arrangements are in place.
The Egyptian authorities have announced the suspension of diplomatic relations with Qatar. All air and sea points of entry between Egypt and Qatar have been closed. If you have a query relating to your travel plans you should contact your airline or tour operator.
To contact the emergency services call 122 (police), 123 (ambulance) or 180 (fire). If you’re abroad and you need emergency help from the UK government, contact the nearest British embassy, consulate or high commission.
Safety and security
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) advise against all travel to:
- the Governorate of North Sinai due to the significant increase in criminal activity and continued terrorist attacks on police and security forces that have resulted in deaths.
The FCO advise against all but essential travel to:
- the Governorate of South Sinai, with the exception of the area within the Sharm el Sheikh perimeter boundary, which includes the airport and the areas of Sharm el Maya, Hadaba, Naama Bay, Sharks Bay and Nabq; however, we advise against all but essential travel by air to and from Sharm el Sheikh;
- the area west of the Nile Valley and Nile Delta regions, excluding the coastal areas between the Nile Delta and Marsa Matruh.
The tourist areas along the Nile river (including Luxor, Qina, Aswan, Abu Simbel and the Valley of the Kings) and the Red Sea resorts of Sharm el Sheikh and Hurghada are not included in the areas to which the FCO advise against all but essential travel.
Political and security situation
Since January 2011 Egypt has experienced significant political turmoil and the political environment remains restrictive. This has sometimes involved violent protests and disturbances, which have resulted in a number of deaths.
Protests, marches and demonstrations can occur across Egypt, often on Fridays, but also at other times and with little prior notice. If you become aware of any nearby protests, marches or demonstrations you should leave the area immediately as the atmosphere can change quickly and without warning. Police have previously used water cannons, tear gas, birdshot and live ammunition for crowd control.
You should keep valid photographic identification with you at all times. Westerners, including British nationals, have been raped and sexually assaulted in crowds – at celebratory events as well as at demonstrations and protests.
Follow the news on television and radio closely, and take advice from the authorities, hotels and tour operators.
Foreigners engaging in any form of political activity or activities critical of the government may be at risk of detention or other measures.
The crime rate in Egypt is generally low, but over the years expatriates have sometimes suffered armed robberies, muggings (including in taxis), sexual assaults, rapes, break-ins to accommodation and cars. Car-jackings generally target four-wheel drive vehicles, and have taken place at gun and knife-point in areas popular with expatriates, including during the daytime.
In 2017, the British Embassy responded to 8 cases of rape and sexual assault against British nationals in Egypt. If you are travelling on a microbus, avoid being the last passenger left on the bus. Take extra care when travelling alone, particularly in taxis and microbuses.
Take care of your passport and valuables. Use hotel safes and beware of pickpockets and bag snatchers.
If you are the victim of any crime you must report it to the tourist police immediately. Failure to report crimes before you leave Egypt will make it impossible to seek a prosecution at a later date.
There is a risk that tourists at high-profile sites like the Giza Pyramids may be confronted aggressively for money or business, even while travelling by car or taxi. Visitors using a pre-booked guide, or taking an organised tour to visit the Giza Pyramids are likely to face fewer difficulties.
South Sinai and Red Sea Governorates
Security measures are in place in the resorts of Sharm el Sheikh, Hurghada and Marsa Alam. Security forces are situated at airports, at checkpoints around the perimeter of the towns and throughout the South Sinai and Red Sea Governorates. Routine security checks are being performed on entry into the airports and police are carrying out vehicle checks in towns.
Egypt to Gaza crossing
For the latest requirements on crossing from Egypt to Gaza, delivering aid or entering for humanitarian purposes, you should contact the Egyptian Embassy in London. However, the Egyptian authorities have stated that all aid going into Gaza from Egypt must be channelled through the Egyptian Red Crescent:
- telephone: + 20 226 703 979, + 20 226 703 983
- fax: + 20 226 703 967.
Short -notice requests for humanitarian access and those made in Egypt are unlikely to be considered. The Egyptian authorities can ask for a letter from the British Embassy in Cairo as part of their entry requirements. The British Embassy considers each request carefully and is only able to provide letters in certain circumstances and against strict criteria when entry is for humanitarian aid purposes. Contact the British Embassy directly for details. You should also read the FCO Travel Advice for Israel and the Occupied Territories.
Security authorities often close the Suez-Taba road.
The FCO advise against all but essential travel to the area west of the Nile Valley and Nile Delta regions. Extreme caution should be exercised in all border areas.
You’ll need a permit from the Travel Permits Department of the Egyptian Ministry of the Interior if you travel to the south west corner of Egypt near the border with Sudan or Libya. You should carefully consider your security arrangements; the border areas are porous, and bandits and armed groups operate. In September 2015 Egyptian security forces mistakenly killed 12 Egyptian and Mexican members of a tour group in the western desert area of Al-Wahat.
Accidents are common, mainly due to poor road conditions, dangerous driving and non-enforcement of traffic laws. Observe the speed limit and if possible avoid independent road travel outside main cities and resorts at night. Make sure you have adequate insurance.
You can drive in Egypt on an international driving permit for up to six months. If you intend to remain in Egypt for a longer period you must apply for an Egyptian driving licence.
By law, seatbelts must be worn when travelling in the front of a vehicle.
If you are travelling off road, employ a qualified guide and obtain appropriate permits from the Ministry of Interior.
Only certain categories of foreign residents may import vehicles. Vehicles of visitors should be temporarily imported with a valid “carnet de passage” available from the Automobile Association.
There have been a number of serious bus crashes in recent years with large numbers of fatalities, including tourists.
There have been a number of fatal accidents in recent years. On 11 August 2017, two trains collided in Alexandria, killing at least 36 people. On 28 February 2017, two trains collided and killed at least 15 people and injured dozens more in Beheira province, close to Cairo.
Suspect devices have been found at train stations and on the rail network. Although several of these have been hoaxes or false alarms, you should remain vigilant.
River and sea travel
In the past, overcrowding and poor safety standards have led to several accidents on Red Sea ferries and Nile cruisers.
Before undertaking any adventure activity, make sure you are covered by your travel insurance. Make sure your travel insurance, or that of your tour or dive company, provides adequate cover for the costs involved in any air/sea rescue. The current fee can exceed US $4,000 per hour. The Egyptian authorities will only undertake air/sea rescue operations on receipt of a guarantee of payment. See our travel insurance guidance page for more information on getting suitable travel insurance.
Nineteen people, including two British nationals, died in a hot air balloon accident in Luxor in February 2013. In January 2018 a hot air balloon crash killed one person and injured 12 others in Luxor. Some UK tour operators have not been able to verify independently safety procedures for balloon flights and are not selling balloon flights to their customers. Speak to your tour company before booking a balloon flight.
If you are considering diving or snorkeling in any of the Red Sea resorts be aware that safety standards of diving operators can vary considerably. Never dive or snorkel unaccompanied. Where possible make bookings through your tour representative. Very cheap operators may not provide adequate safety and insurance standards. Diving beyond the depth limit of your insurance policy will invalidate your cover.
Shark attacks of any kind are very unusual in the Red Sea. There were a series of attacks in Sharm el Sheikh in late 2010 and in March 2015, a German tourist was killed by a shark attack in al-Qusair. You should monitor updates issued by the local authorities and your tour operator.
There have been several serious quad bike accidents involving British nationals in resort areas. Take the same precautions as you would in the UK and note that safety standards can vary considerably. Always wear a crash helmet.
There remains a small risk from unexploded landmines in certain desert areas in the north west of Egypt near to Alamein, and on some limited stretches of the Mediterranean coast near Marsa Matrouh and on the Red Sea coast south of Suez. Danger areas are usually well marked with signs and barbed wire fencing. Take care and follow local advice, especially if planning trips off marked roads.
Terrorists are very likely to try to carry out attacks in Egypt. Although most attacks occur in Northern Sinai, there is a risk of terrorist attacks across the country. You should avoid crowded places and gatherings (including in or around religious sites) during religious festivals or times of heightened tensions. Terrorist groups have sometimes called for attacks at these times. Take extra care over local holiday weekends, as some terrorist attacks have occurred during these times. You should follow the advice of the Egyptian authorities and your travel company, if you have one. The authorities in Egypt maintain a significant security presence across the country, including armed security officers stationed at important sites, critical infrastructure, and road checkpoints. Extra measures are in place at tourist sites.
The Egyptian government’s counter-terrorism campaign has resulted in a reduction in the number of terrorist attacks on the Egyptian mainland since January 2015, although several attacks took place on the mainland in 2017 (see list below).
In recent years, Egyptian security forces have dealt with 3 terrorist attacks on tourist locations. On 14 July 2017, 3 foreign tourists were killed and several others injured following a knife attack at beach resorts in Hurghada. Attacks also took place in Luxor in June 2015 and in Hurghada in January 2016, without loss of life.
Daesh-Sinai (formerly known as Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis (ABM)) is the most active terrorist group in Egypt. In November 2014, ABM announced they had pledged allegiance to Daesh (formerly referred to as ISIL).
Most Daesh-Sinai attacks have targeted government, security forces and Coptic Christians, but foreigners have also been targeted. Their main area of operations is northern Sinai, but the group has claimed responsibility for attacks in other areas including South Sinai, Cairo, the western desert and Nile delta cities.
In North Sinai there are frequent, almost daily reports of terrorist attacks. Most attacks are in the northeast corner of the governorate between Al-Arish city and the border with Gaza, but the whole of the North Sinai governorate is at risk.
Most attacks in North Sinai are against the Egyptian government and military installations and personnel; however attacks have been carried out against civilians suspected of working with the authorities and in 2017 against local religious minority groups. A state of emergency in North Sinai has been declared and a curfew is in place between 7pm and 6am along the coast between al-Arish and Rafah extending around 40km inland. On 9 February 2018, the Egyptian security forces launched ‘Operation Sinai 2018’ which has resulted in a significant intensification of military activity in North Sinai, and the operation is ongoing.
Religious sites have been targeted by terrorist groups:
- on 29 December 2017, 9 people were killed when a gunman opened fire on a church in Helwan, Cairo. Daesh claimed responsibility for the attack
- on 24 November 2017, terrorists killed over 300 civilians at a North Sinai mosque during Friday prayers
- on 26 May 2017, gunmen opened fire on a bus carrying Coptic Christians in Minya province, upper Egypt, killing 30 people. Daesh (formerly referred to as ISIL) claimed responsibility for the attack
- on 18 April 2017 a group of militants opened fire on a security checkpoint near Saint Catherine’s Monastery at Mount Sinai killing a police officer. Daesh have claimed responsibility for this attack
- on 9 April 2017 (Palm Sunday) there were 2 explosions in Mar Girgis Church in Tanta an St Mark’s Cathedral in Alexandria, which killed at least 44 people. Daesh claimed responsibility for these attacks
- on 11 December 2016, a church next to the Orthodox Cathedral in Abbaseya, Cairo, was attacked by a Daesh-linked suicide bomber killing 29 people
Other attacks have included:
- on 24 March 2018, there was a vehicle IED attack in Alexandria, reportedly targeting local security authorities. Two police officers were killed.
- on 20 October 2017, several policemen and militants were killed during a shoot-out following a raid on a terrorist group in Bahariya Oasis in Egypt’s Western Desert, according to Egyptian authorities
- on 14 July 2017, 3 tourists were killed during a stabbing at a beach resort in Hurghada
- on 9 December 2016 there was an IED attack targeting a checkpoint on Pyramid Road in Giza, killing at least 6 police officers. Harakat Hasm, a violent terrorist group, claimed responsibility
- on 31 October 2015, a flight from Sharm el Sheikh to St Petersburg crashed in North Sinai resulting in the deaths of 224 people, most tourists. Egyptian and Russian authorities are conducting an investigation. The investigation has not yet formally concluded, but on 17 November 2015 Russian authorities stated that the crash was caused by an explosive device on board the flight
There is also a threat of maritime terrorism:
- an attack on Egyptian navy vessels in November 2014 may have been linked to terrorism
- in August 2013, there was an attack against a container ship in the Suez Canal
There is a threat of kidnapping by groups operating in North Africa, particularly from Libya, Mauritania and groups originating in the Sahel. This includes Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQ-IM) and Daesh-affiliated groups, who may travel across the region’s porous border. There is a heightened risk of kidnap in border and remote desert areas of North Africa. Terrorist groups have kidnapped foreigners, government officials and civilians in the region for financial gain and for political leverage. Further kidnaps are likely.
Those engaged in tourism, humanitarian aid work, journalism or business sectors are viewed as legitimate targets. If you’re kidnapped, the reason for your presence is unlikely to serve as a protection or secure your safe release.
The long-standing policy of the British government is not to make substantive concessions to hostage takers. The British government considers that paying ransoms and releasing prisoners increases the risk of further hostage taking. The Terrorism Act (2000) also makes payments to terrorists illegal.
There is considered to be a heightened threat of terrorist attack globally against UK interests and British nationals, from groups or individuals motivated by the conflict in Iraq and Syria. Find out more about the global threat from terrorism, how to minimise your risk and what to do in the event of a terrorist attack.
Local laws and customs
Local laws reflect the fact that Egypt is predominantly an Islamic country. Respect local traditions, customs, laws and religions at all times and be aware of your actions to ensure that they do not offend other cultures or religious beliefs. This is especially important during the holy month of Ramadan or if you intend to visit religious areas. Dress modestly, especially in rural areas, mosques and souqs (markets). Women’s clothes should cover the legs and upper arms. Men should cover their chests. Public displays of affection are frowned upon. What may be acceptable in the tourist resort areas may not be in other areas.
In 2018, the holy month of Ramadan is expected to start on 15 May and finish on 14 June.
Drinking alcohol in the street and anywhere other than a licensed restaurant or bar is not allowed and can lead to arrest.
Possession, use or trafficking in illegal drugs is a serious offence and can, even for small amounts, lead to lengthy prison sentences (25 years), life imprisonment or the death penalty. Those sentenced to life imprisonment on drugs charges will normally spend the rest of their life in prison with no possibility of parole or pardon. Khat is illegal in Egypt.
Photography of, or near, military official installations is strictly prohibited. This includes the Suez Canal. Don’t photograph officials without their consent. There are sensitivities about taking photographs of public buildings or infrastructure. British nationals have been arrested for photographing electricity stations, train stations and bridges if you are in any doubt seek permission before taking photographs. Don’t use radio controlled helicopters or ‘drones’ to take photographs.
The import, production or use of unmanned aircraft systems (drones) is banned in Egypt unless you have prior authorisation from the Egyptian Ministry of Defence. Citizens who use, manufacture or import drones without the approrpriate authorisation will be punished by prison terms ranging from one to 7 years and/or fines ranging from EGP 5,000 to EGP 50,000.
Although same-sex sexual activity is not explicitly criminalised in Egypt, the charge of “debauchery” has been used to prosecute LGBT people. The flying of a rainbow flag at a concert in September 2017 led to the arrest of at least 66 individuals on debauchery charges. There is little public acceptance of homosexuality in Egypt. Public expressions of homosexuality and/or public displays of affection between same-sex couples are likely to attract a high degree of unwelcome attention. See our information and advice page for the LGBT community before you travel.
The government does not interfere with the practice of Christianity but encouraging conversion to the Christian faith is illegal.
Egyptian family law is very different from UK law and particular caution is needed when, for example, child custody becomes an issue.
The information on this page covers the most common types of travel and reflects the UK government’s understanding of the rules currently in place. Unless otherwise stated, this information is for travellers using a full ‘British Citizen’ passport.
The authorities in the country or territory you’re travelling to are responsible for setting and enforcing the rules for entry. If you’re unclear about any aspect of the entry requirements, or you need further reassurance, you’ll need to contact the embassy, high commission or consulate of the country or territory you’re travelling to.
You should also consider checking with your transport provider or travel company to make sure your passport and other travel documents meet their requirements.
British passport holders travelling to Egypt normally require a visa.
For visits of up to 30 days, you can get a visa on arrival by payment in Sterling, US Dollars or Euros; the visa fee is US$25 at approved bank kiosks within airport arrival halls, before reaching immigration counters. There’s no need to buy a visa from an agent. In many cases agents will charge more than US$25 for a visa. If you’re harassed by an agent, report the incident to the tourist police in the airport terminal.
Alternatively you can get a visa from an Egyptian Consulate outside Egypt before you travel. If you’re entering Egypt for work or business it is preferable to get a visa before you travel.
British nationals travelling to Sharm el Sheikh, Dahab, Nuweiba and Taba resorts for up to 15 days receive a free entry permission stamp upon arrival. If you intend to travel out of these areas or stay longer than 15 days, you must get a visa.
If you have travelled to one of the South Sinai Red Sea resorts, entering without a visa and your plans change you can normally purchase a visa at Sharm el Sheikh airport to allow you to travel elsewhere.
Applications for visa extensions should be made at Egyptian Passport and Immigration Offices. You may have difficulties leaving Egypt with an out of date visa. You will not normally be allowed to leave without paying a fine if your visa is out of date by more than 14 days.
Your passport should be valid for a minimum period of 6 months from the date of entry into Egypt.
UK Emergency Travel Documents
UK Emergency Travel Documents (ETDs) are accepted for exit from Egypt, but not accepted for entry or transit.
To leave Egypt on an ETD you will need to visit an Egyptian Passport and Immigraton Office to complete the exit formalities. Some passport offices outside of Cairo may assist, but in many cases you will have to complete the formalities at the National HQ at:
Immigration Office Mogammaa El Tahrir, Tahrir Square, Down Town, Cairo 1st floor: Tel.: 27956301/2/3
Opening hours: 8am-2pm from Saturday-Thursday (N.B. The immigration office is a 10 minute walk from the British Embassy).
Please note that the immigration clearance may take up to 5 working days. Please adjust your travel plans accordingly.
Yellow fever certificate requirements
Check whether you need a yellow fever certificate by visiting the National Travel Health Network and Centre’s TravelHealthPro website.
Previous travel to Israel
Evidence of a previous visit to Israel like as an Israeli entry/exit stamp in your passport does not normally cause any difficulties when entering Egypt. It is, however, for the Egyptian authorities to determine the right of entry into the country. If you have any concerns, you should contact the Egyptian consulate.
Evidence of testing for HIV is required if you are applying for a work permit.
Some prescribed and over the counter medicines that are available in the UK are considered controlled substances in Egypt and can’t be brought into the country without prior permission from Egypt’s Ministry of Health. If you arrive in Egypt without this permission and the required documentation, the medication will not be allowed into the country and you may be prosecuted under Egyptian law.
If you’re travelling with prescription medication you should carry a medical certificate confirming that the medication has been prescribed for a medical condition. The Egyptian Embassy website states that this should be in the form of an official letter from your GP, specifying details of your condition, the quantity of medication you will be carrying and that the medication is for your personal use only.
For further information and specific queries, contact the Egyptian Medical Office in London on 020 7370 6944.
There’s a limit of 5,000 Egyptian pounds that you are allowed to bring in or take out of Egypt. There is no limit to the amount of hard currency that you may bring in, but sums that exceed USD 10,000 should be declared on arrival. Certain valuables like electrical equipment, video cameras etc must be declared on arrival. Satellite phones and radio communications equipment brought into Egypt without prior clearance from the Ministry of Telecommunications are likely to be confiscated. Electrical items noted in passports on entry to Egypt must be produced on exit from the country. Failure to do so will result in payment of high rates of customs duty. Contact the Egyptian embassy in your country of residence for further information on customs requirements.
Contact your GP around 8 weeks before your trip to check whether you need any vaccinations or other preventive measures. Country specific information and advice is published by the National Travel Health Network and Centre, and useful information about healthcare abroad, including a country-by-country guide of reciprocal health care agreements with the UK, is available from NHS Choices.
Medical facilities outside Cairo and other major cities and resorts can be basic and in case of emergency you are advised to seek treatment in Cairo or the nearest town/city. Make sure you have adequate travel health insurance and accessible funds to cover the cost of any medical treatment abroad and repatriation.
You can find a list of most commonly used hospitals in Egypt on the British embassy website
In an emergency dial 123 and ask for an ambulance. You should contact your travel company and your insurance/medical assistance company promptly if you are referred to a medical facility for treatment.
There are reports of some hotel doctors overcharging for treatment and medicines. Examine your bill closely and challenge excessive charges. Pharmacies outside hotels will often supply medication at lower prices.
Access to specialised treatment for psychiatric illness is limited and may not be available outside major cities.
Cash machines are common, especially in the main tourist areas. Take care and be aware of your surroundings if you are taking out large amounts of money, especially in deserted areas or at night.
Scottish and Northern Irish bank notes are not exchangeable in Egypt.
Travellers’ cheques are not easily cashed. Most banks, including international banks, will not accept them.
Major hotels will usually accept payment by credit card. However, smaller hotels may expect payment in cash and in hard currency. Medical facilities will usually accept payment by credit card or cash.
Travel advice help and support
If you’re abroad and you need emergency help from the UK government, contact the nearest British embassy, consulate or high commission. If you need urgent help because something has happened to a friend or relative abroad, contact the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) in London on 020 7008 1500 (24 hours).
Foreign travel checklist
Read our foreign travel checklist to help you plan for your trip abroad and stay safe while you’re there.
The FCO travel advice helps you make your own decisions about foreign travel. Your safety is our main concern, but we can’t provide tailored advice for individual trips. If you’re concerned about whether or not it’s safe for you to travel, you should read the travel advice for the country or territory you’re travelling to, together with information from other sources you’ve identified, before making your own decision on whether to travel. Only you can decide whether it’s safe for you to travel.
When we judge the level of risk to British nationals in a particular place has become unacceptably high, we’ll state on the travel advice page for that country or territory that we advise against all or all but essential travel. Read more about how the FCO assesses and categorises risk in foreign travel advice.
Our crisis overseas page suggests additional things you can do before and during foreign travel to help you stay safe.
Refunds and cancellations
If you wish to cancel or change a holiday that you’ve booked, you should contact your travel company. The question of refunds and cancellations is a matter for you and your travel company. Travel companies make their own decisions about whether or not to offer customers a refund. Many of them use our travel advice to help them reach these decisions, but we do not instruct travel companies on when they can or can’t offer a refund to their customers.
For more information about your rights if you wish to cancel a holiday, visit the Citizen’s Advice Bureau website. For help resolving problems with a flight booking, visit the website of the Civil Aviation Authority. For questions about travel insurance, contact your insurance provider and if you’re not happy with their response, you can complain to the Financial Ombudsman Service.
Registering your travel details with us
We’re no longer asking people to register with us before travel. Our foreign travel checklist and crisis overseas page suggest things you can do before and during foreign travel to plan your trip and stay safe.
Previous versions of FCO travel advice
If you’re a British national and you have a question about travelling abroad that isn’t covered in our foreign travel advice or elsewhere on GOV.UK, you can submit an enquiry. We’re not able to provide tailored advice for specific trips.