Africa & The Middle East | People & Stories

Travel Director Patrizia shares her experience as a woman travelling solo in Egypt

Recently updated on July 5th, 2023 at 09:54 am

What’s it really like to travel solo as a woman on one of our Egypt trips? We sent our Travel Director Patrizia on tour in Egypt to see what the experience was like.

The Milan-based Travel Director usually leads Trafalgar tours through Italy, so we decided to send her on our Best of Egypt trip to explore a whole new continent, country and culture as a solo woman on tour.  Let’s hear about the highlights, whether she felt lonely travelling solo, and what advice she has for other solo female travellers considering Egypt.

Was this your first time in Egypt? Did the destination match your expectations?

This was my third time in Egypt. About 12 years ago I did a cruise on the Nile and on another occasion, I visited the Sinai Peninsula and the Red Sea Riviera. I always wanted to visit Egypt, since third grade in school, which is when I first learned about the amazing history and architecture of this country. I felt very fortunate to have had the chance of a third visit, as Egypt has a rich and complex heritage and it takes time to soak it in.

Tell us about your top three highlights from the recent Best of Egypt tour?

I absolutely loved cruising down the Nile and seeing villages, farms and how the local people live their everyday life. I really felt I was in a documentary film, seeing how things really are with no filters. I must say that the sunset over the Nile is the most spectacular I have ever seen.

I also loved seeing the pyramids, visiting all the temples and the pharaoh’s tombs. Hearing what the carvings really meant and what the various symbols stood for was simply mesmerising. Our Travel Director Mohamed really brought stone characters to life. I have seen a lot of Egyptian artifacts in many museums around the world, but seeing them here was overwhelming and things finally made more sense and sort of fell into place.

My third favourite highlight was meeting the friendly and welcoming El Boerey family and having the honour of visiting their home. We were treated with mint tea, freshly baked bread, homemade molasses syrup and sugar cane juice while we were listening all about their everyday life. Although they lead a simple farm life, I was surprised to hear that their son is studying cyber-security. What a great way to overcome misconceptions.    

What was it like to travel Egypt solo as a woman? Did you feel safe on tour?

Visiting Egypt solo as a woman but being part of a tour group is the way to go. At every sight we went to there was a security check and our amazing Travel Director Mohamed took care of the formalities required. 

Walking about outside the attractions on your own is best done with caution and always following the instructions of the Travel Director. One needs to learn quickly how to deal with pushy vendors, but once I mastered that I felt more at ease to walk about on my own. 

In the small villages along the Nile you really stand out as a tourist, and people turn around to observe you – with a normal level of curiosity. On the other hand, in Cairo (that has 26 million inhabitants), people lead a busy life and don’t pay too much attention to tourists. Some smile or nod their head, then carry on with their activities. I walked a lot around downtown Cairo and never felt uneasy. Luckily, a lot of people speak some English and so in shops or cafes it was easy to communicate. Others I met while walking about did their best to understand me. If I needed to ask for directions, I usually asked another woman.      

EXPLORE EGYPT TRIPS: Wonders of Ancient Egypt

What types of activities do you usually like to do while travelling?

When travelling I do my best to get to know the local culture, to be very respectful of customs and beliefs. I like to visit fruit and vegetable markets to see how people live and try local food. I also love history and art, so I visit museums of different kinds to get a good understanding of the cultural heritage. 

Adrenaline activities are not my thing but I like to ride boats, tram, trains and cable cars if available. While in Aswan we did a very relaxing felucca boat ride that I enjoyed immensely.

What’s it like when you meet your fellow Travel Directors across the globe?

Meeting a colleague is like seeing a very dear friend even if you only just met them. Funnily enough, I already knew some colleagues from Egypt but only through Instagram and it was super fun meeting in person at last.

What was it like to be on the road with Trafalgar as the guest instead of the Travel Director?

I learnt so much from being with Trafalgar as the guest instead of the Travel Director. I took notes on different ways to do things for when I go out next as a Travel Director. Our amazing Mohamad gave a full commentary on many subjects, but at the end of each talk he had a great way to summarise what he just explained – which made it much easier to take in the elaborate heritage of Egypt. I have now a better understanding of how confusing it must be to remember complex commentary.

RELATED BLOG: ‘Egypt was life-changing for me’: Karen’s Trafalgar Unlocked story

Were you able to connect with the other travellers on tour? While travelling solo, did you feel like you were part of the group? 

In our group there were quite a few people travelling solo and we bonded a lot. We would watch out for each other if someone was running a little behind and even when going shopping for souvenirs it was much easier if hanging out with ​a fellow traveller to figure out exchange rates and practice the tiring bargaining process. 

A few of us used to go out together also after the end of the planned activities for the day and it was like having a friend in town. I definitely felt part of a group and we are still in touch even now that the tour is over.    


What advice would you give other women considering travelling on Egypt trips solo?

Travelling solo and yet being part of a group is a perfect compromise to see this amazing country. The tour is run like clockwork and the quality of service, accommodation and sightseeing is outstanding. Everything is organised, so you can just enjoy it worry free. Days can be full of activities but then you also have time to simply stay out on the deck and enjoy sailing down the Nile. Or join Optional activities for further sightseeing, or go out for a solo walk or with a fellow traveller.  

What destination do you dream of travelling to next? Where else is on your bucket list?

I dream of visiting Japan one day. I am reading a lot about this country to have a better understanding of the local culture before I go. I’d also love to visit France’s Bordeaux wine region, to learn more about the wine-making process.

GET INSPIRED BY: Classic Japan

Anything else you’d like to add about your time in Egypt or trips?

Our cruise on the Nile was dreamlike, for the spectacular landscapes and sunsets out on deck. The cabin was comfortable, and fitted with a huge window. Food on board was delicious offering many fresh breads, local specialities as well as international options. After a day out exploring returning on board to this service was a great treat!

RELATED BLOG: Egypt is back with a bang: Read why and where to go

Dreaming of floating down the Nile or joining one of our Egypt trips? Let us know in the comments… 

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