Travel Guides

Egypt as a Solo Female Traveler, Insights from Alison

"When most people think about Egypt, temples, tombs, and pyramids come to mind. But Egypt is full of hidden treasures, the most beautiful landscapes, and mouth-watering cuisine! It is a country on almost everyone’s bucket list, and for good reason. Egypt has something for everyone."

- Alison Chang

Alison Chang, also known as Alison the Adventurer, is a solo female traveler and friend of Sherpani. We were inspired by her recent solo trip through Egypt and asked her to share some advice from her travels. Alison, who traveled with her Sherpani Soleil, covered a lot of ground during her 3 weeks in the country. She had unique insights to offer about each of her Egyptian destinations, and we can't thank her enough for sharing them with us!

Read on to discover Alison's insights on Egyptian travel.

Alison's Travel Tips: Egypt in General

Best Time to Visit

Egypt is located in Northern Africa and is considered the gateway to the Middle East. Because of its desert environment, October to April is the best time to visit this country. I visited in November and December, and it was perfectly warm during the day with cooler nights. One thing to remember is December through January is peak season, so make sure to book hotels and tours in advance, or they might sell out. 

How to Dress

As a female traveler visiting Egypt, I would suggest wearing flowy pants, maxi dresses and long skirts. T-shirts and long-sleeve shirts are also ideal, as too much skin will garner unwanted glances and attention. If you plan on visiting mosques, you will also need a scarf or wrap to cover up your hair.


A lot of people think Egypt is not a safe country, especially for solo female travelers. But after traveling through Egypt by myself for three weeks, I never felt like it was dangerous (of course, my Sherpani Anti-Theft bag helped with this). Egyptians are very kind and welcoming people who will help you if they can. I met many locals who went out of their way to ensure I had a good experience. It was so refreshing to see this kind of hospitality.

3 Important Things to Remember:

  1. Cash is king. Egypt's currency is the Egyptian pound (EGP). ATMs are all over Egypt, so withdrawing cash is not hard. Bank ATMs will generally have a better exchange rate than the ones at the airpot. Always carry cash, as many places won't accept credit cards. Store some cash in your room so you aren't carrying around an obscene amount. 
  2. Don’t dress to impress. Leave your jewelry and designer accessories at home. If you look like you have money, you make an easy target for theft. You will already look like a tourist, but try to avoid looking like a rich tourist. 
  3. Transportation can be rough. Egyptian locals will travel by bus within the country, which can take 8 hours or more and doesn't guarantee you will get to your next destination on time. Flying is a much faster way to get around, especially if you are short on time. I also found the domestic flights to be affordable. 

Alison's Travel Tips: Egypt on Land


I am not a city person, so I wanted to limit my time in Egypt's capital, but I also knew I had to check it out. Believe it or not, I only spent 20 hours in Cairo (on 3 different layovers), and it was more than enough. I would spend 2-3 days in Cairo if you want to explore more of it.

Getting Around Cairo

You can use Uber to get around Cairo. I preferred this because it was trustworthy and affordable. Ask your driver to turn on the AC and close the windows. The air quality in Cairo is not good. I felt sick every time I got a whiff of exhaust. You can also take a taxi, but I enjoyed walking around once I got to my destination, which is easy as long as you have directions.

Tips for Cairo

  • Visit the famous Khan el-Khalili Market
  • Try koshary (Egypt’s national dish) at Abou Tarek
  • The Great Pyramids of Giza are only a short 30-minute drive away
  • Don’t forget to check out the Grand Egyptian Museum


Luxor should be on your list if you want to visit temples and tombs! It has been called the “world’s greatest open-air museum,” and it’s easy to see why. I would suggest spending 2-3 days to see the highlights as Luxor is a small city, so it’s not hard to explore. 

Luxor is divided by the Nile River. The East Bank is the busy city side with all the temples and markets. The West Bank is more peaceful and where all the locals live. I stayed on the West Bank and visited the East Bank during the day.

Getting Around Luxor

There is a ferry that takes you across the Nile River from the East Bank to the West Bank. Luxor is very safe and walkable, but there are also taxis you can take around the city. I hired a private driver to take me to Valley of the Kings. You can ask your accommodation to help you with transportation; drivers can also pick you up and drop you off at the airport.  

Tips for Luxor

  • Karnak Temple and Valley of the Kings are a must!
  • Luxor is the starting or stopping point for a Nile River cruise
  • Try Wannas Art Cafe for delicious vegetarian food
  • You will pay a lot more for a private boat to take you across the Nile


Aswan is a city located along the Nile River, with Elephantine Island just a short boat ride away. Most people stay in Aswan to visit the incredible Abu Simbel. You only need 2-3 days in Aswan.

Getting Around Aswan

I stayed on Elephantine Island, which is such a beautiful place to explore on foot. There are no cars on Elephantine Island! I also took the boat across to the other side and a bus to Abu Simbel.

Tips for Aswan

  • Abu Simbel and Philae are incredible temples to visit
  • Aswan is the starting or stopping point for a Nile River cruise
  • Take a boat to Aswan Botanical Garden
  • Visit Elephantine Island for a Nubian coffee


Alexandria was the capital of Egypt for over a thousand years. It is a beautiful port city, serving up delicious freshly caught seafood. 2-3 days in Alexandria is enough time to explore it.

Getting Around Alexandria

Taxis and walking are the best modes of transportation in Alexandria. You will definitely want to walk through the narrow roads in the city and along the Corniche or waterfront promenade.

Tips for Alexandria

  • Check out the Library of Alexandria and the Citadel of Qaitbay
  • Go to a seafood market and have them cook up their fresh catch of the day
  • Walk the Corniche and stop for ice cream


There is a place in Egypt near the Libyan border called Siwa. It is a magical oasis in the middle of the desert, complete with palm trees and turquoise salt pools. Siwa is hard to get to, but once you do, you won’t want to leave.

Getting to Siwa

I took a 10-hour van from Cairo to Siwa, and it was not the most comfortable ride. You can hire a private car, but it is expensive, so this method would work best if you had a friend to split the cost with.

Tips for Siwa

  • Float in the salt pools and Cleopatra’s Pool
  • Visit Shali Fortress for sunset
  • Try fresh Siwa dates

Alison's Travel Tips: Egypt on the Water

The Nile River

A Nile River cruise is something that everyone should do when visiting Egypt! Sailing down the Nile River is like stepping back in time. The Nile served as a “highway," bringing goods to and from Egyptian cities. The landscapes along the Nile are filled with palm trees, green grasslands, cows, and donkeys. Watching the sunrise on the Nile River is such an amazing way to start the day.

What to Expect

  • There are two options for a Nile River cruise: a big cruise ship or a dahabiya, a traditional wooden sailboat. I opted for a dahabiya because it has a more positive environmental impact. The dahabiya was certainly more expensive, but I believe it was more than worth it!
  • You will start in either Aswan or Luxor. Starting in Aswan is the shorter and less expensive way to do a Nile River cruise. It takes 4 days to sail from Aswan to Luxor or 5 days from Luxor to Aswan.
  • During my 4 days on the Nile River, we visited Kom Ombo Temple, Edfu Temple, Esna Temple, a local camel market, a sandstone quarry, and even a local village for breakfast and fishing.
  • The dahabiya was so beautiful, and the food was delicious. One night, we had a barbeque dinner on the beach, complete with Egyptian music and dancing with new friends!  We also stopped a couple of times to swim and kayak in the Nile River. It was such a great mix of Egyptian history and culture. 
  • If you plan to go on a big cruise ship, you will only stop at Edfu Temple and Kom Ombo Temple because the ship is too big to dock anywhere else along the Nile. Another important thing to note is the ship will be moving at night, and you will not be able to see the beautiful landscapes the Nile River has to offer!

The Red Sea

The Red Sea in Egypt is home to the famous Blue Hole, which is the reason why I wanted to visit Egypt. This untapped underwater wonderland is filled with the most colorful coral and bountiful marine life I have ever seen! It is seriously a diver’s (or snorkeler’s) dream come true.

Places to Stay

  • Hurghada is a beach resort town with long stretches of sandy beaches. This is the capital city of the Red Sea Governorate of Egypt. Hurghada is perfect if you want to spend time relaxing on the beach.
  • Sharm El-Sheikh is another resort town along the Red Sea. One of the most famous dive sites in the world, Ras Muhammad National Park, is located here. Sharm El-Sheikh is a great spot for diving! 
  • Marsa Alam is a little beach town in Egypt where you can dive with dugongs and swim with dolphins. Swimming with dolphins at Sataya Reef is something I will never forget!
  • Dahab is a small beach town an hour away from Sharm El-Sheikh. It is an incredible place to dive and is easily walkable. The cute waterfront cafes are a great stop for a juice, tea or quick bite.

    Tips for the Red Sea

    • Get PADI certified! There are so many dive shops around, and getting certified in Egypt is also more affordable.
    • Go diving or snorkeling to see some of the most amazing underwater life.
    • Visit Petra, the oldest city in the world, on a day trip from Sharm El-Sheikh or Dahab.

    Final Thoughts

    Egypt is a country that surprised me in the best possible way, and I didn’t expect to love it as much as I did. Egyptians are some of the kindest people I have ever met, and I have loved learning about their culture and history. As a solo female traveler, I would not hesitate to travel to Egypt again. In fact, I plan to go back in the near future.

    Want more from Alison? Follow all her adventures!

    Instagram: @alisontheadventurer


    Click here to shop Alison's favorite Sherpani style. 🎒

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