Is Egypt safe for a babymoon?
Can I travel to Egypt while pregnant?
Is it safe to travel to Egypt while pregnant?
Those were the questions I searched online before traveling to Egypt.
Honestly, I wasn’t sure if I could travel to Egypt while pregnant. I was very worried about the water – I read many articles advising not to drink from the tap or even use it to rinse your toothbrush. I hate being sick – I think most people do – and was warned about travelers’ diarrhea. I read about avoiding salads or fruits that aren’t peeled in case they were washed in tap water, and making sure to ask for no ice in drinks. I also wasn’t sure about how safe it was to walk around.
I had also read a recent news article about a couple who had died at a resort in Hurghada and at the time the cause of death was high amounts of E.coli in the food. There are reports still coming out though and there may have been other external factors. Needless to say that I definitely had concerns about traveling to Egypt while pregnant.
However, after being in Egypt for a month and visiting Cairo, El Fayoum, Luxor, and Aswan, traveling by uber, train, river cruise ship, and mini-buses, I’d say that Egypt is actually still quite a nice place to visit, even when pregnant. I didn’t drink the tap water, but I did use it to wash dishes, and even to rinse fruits and vegetables. I also used it to rinse my toothbrush. I mostly avoided ice cubes in my drinks, and drank my soft drink quickly when it did come with ice to avoid them melting too much. I half-avoided salads – sometimes I would be craving cucumbers or tomatoes too much and would give in. I did stay away from deli meats/cold cuts and soft cheeses as recommended by most American doctors, but I was doing that even outside of Egypt.
I had one day where my stomach wasn’t too happy with me. But I’m guessing it was more the overnight 12-hour train ride from Aswan to Cairo after spending 3 hours each way in a mini-bus to Abu Simbel and back rather than the food or water.
As far as safety is concerned, I didn’t have any problems. The tourist sites, temples, museums, and hotels all have x-ray bag checks and metal detectors. Even some malls and supermarkets have security checkpoints. The security guards around the neighborhoods we stayed in were all friendly and many would greet us with “Hello! Welcome to Egypt!”
All of the Egyptian people I met were very kind, thoughtful, and respectful to me being pregnant. The men were very insistent on me not carrying any heavy bags – our Airbnb host took us out to dinner and didn’t even want me carrying the bag containing our leftovers. A lady attending a restroom spoke limited English, but saw my protruding belly and immediately her eyes lit up and she asked “baby?” When I said yes, she broke out into a wide welcoming smile before handing me the toilet paper. I think the most concerning thing for me regarding safety was that most of the ubers didn’t have seatbelts. Traffic in Cairo was described to me as a circus act where it looks chaotic but accidents are fairly rare – unless it’s the one day of the year when it rains.
Stay hydrated. It may be tempting to try not to drink as much water because not all toilets are the cleanest, but you’ll need to drink more water than usual due to the dry climate and sun. Just remember to always carry tissues and anti-bac gel with you for the toilets.
Cover up. You might be used to wearing less when the weather gets hot, but when the sun is beating down on you, it actually feels cooler to wear a hat or headscarf and long sleeves. You’ll want to avoid getting sunburn as well since you might already feel uncomfortable in your skin as your belly is stretching.
Talk with your doctor before going. Every pregnancy is different and you’ll ultimately want to choose what’s best for your situation. You can also ask what types of medications you’re able to take in case you do end up with traveler’s sickness or if you just happen to catch a cold while on your trip.
Get traveler’s insurance. You should probably get this even if you’re not pregnant, but especially if you are. Thankfully I haven’t had to use mine, but it’s there for emergencies. Even if you are an expert planner, there are always things that can happen unexpectedly. So planning for the unexpected includes getting traveler’s insurance.
Bring insect repellent. We visited in November when the weather was just starting to get cooler. Additionally, we checked the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website (the “CDC”) and it shows that Egypt does NOT have Zika. So, that’s good! In Cairo, we didn’t see any mosquitoes, but we did see a few on the Nile Cruise. The mosquitoes here can be tiny and hard to see! Being pregnant, your skin can get itchy from being dry and stretching, so you won’t want to add mosquito bites to the mix as well!
Babymooning in Egypt was a wonderful experience and I’m glad we went. We met some of the nicest, friendliest, kindest people you’ll ever meet, explored ancient historical sites, and discovered a few new favorite food dishes. Are you planning your babymoon? Where are you planning to go?
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Jenny & Bradley of EatWanderExplore