Towering pyramids, ancient monuments, luxurious rivers, and immense deserts: are just a few elements of Egypt and Jordan that make these countries as magical as they are. No other culture could compare to these nations' unique history, mesmerizing mythology, and diverse landscapes. The famous monuments and archeological sites fascinate everyone who sees them, making these countries a popular addition to any traveler's list.
But an unfortunate truth stands: traveling to a country like Egypt poses unavoidable challenges to the LGBTQ+ community. With a notorious homophobic and transphobic culture and skyrocketing numbers of attacks and assaults, several travelers in the LGBTQ+ community feel uncertain about traveling to these countries.
That does not mean traveling to Egypt for the LGBTQ+ community is impossible.
Local Laws and Customs
Whether traveling to a queer-friendly nation or touring a more dangerous country, studying your chosen destination's laws and culture is essential. This rule is especially true in a notoriously homophobic country like Egypt.
For locals living in Egypt, homosexuality is met with punishment and being shunned by family and friends. For travelers, the experience is considerably different. Egypt understands the need for tourism dollars and gives tourists more freedoms than those living within its borders.
This doesn’t mean you’ll get a free pass to wave a rainbow flag while touring the pyramids. You’ll want to blend into the local culture as much as possible without calling undue attention to yourself.
Egypt is a very considerate culture, and public displays of affection (from gay and straight) are frowned upon. Many children in Egypt will never see their parents show loving affection towards each other. Instead, this is done behind closed doors, and as a tourist, the expectation to respect this culture applies to all visitors.
Unlike Western Civilization, friends of the same sex will greet each other with a kiss on the cheek or hold hands.
Jordan is one of the only Middle-East countries where homosexuality is legal. But locals within the community still hide their sexuality to avoid social stigmas. As in Egypt, public displays of affection should be avoided by everyone. Amman even has some limited local gay-owned establishments.
When traveling to Egypt and Jordan, staying in an internationally owned hotel significantly reduces the concerns many LGBTQ+ travelers face about micro-aggression when checking in to their rooms. The corporate culture of inclusivity carries forward to the locations in these countries and provides security to minimize security-related incidents for their guests.
While traveling the tourist areas of Egypt, you’ll see a more significant police presence than you may typically expect. This is because the country places a high value on protecting foreign travelers and wants to ensure their experience will leave them talking about all the great sites they visited instead of how much the visitor was hassled.
Don't Be Afraid to Speak Up
Locals are friendly but sometimes a bit too friendly. For women travelers, if a local is becoming too pretentious, telling them no firmly will often get them to back down.
Local culture puts a lot of pressure on social norms, and men are not allowed to be intimate with someone other than their wife; because of this, they would rather back down than face public scrutiny for stepping outside of those norms.
However, if your no doesn’t work, speaking up loud enough for others to hear will help bring unwanted attention to the guy you’re trying to turn down.
Travel in a group
As they say, there is safety in numbers. When you travel with a group, you have some backup if anything goes array, and generally speaking, locals give a wider birth from a group than they would individuals or couples.
Group trips curated for LGBTQ+ travelers are built with our community’s concerns in mind. This allows you to experience a destination like Egypt without the stress of being alone.
Share Your Plans With Trusted Family and Friends
Before traveling to any destination, tell your trusted family or friends about your plans. Walking them through your itinerary is a great place to start so they know where you’ll be if you need help.
Sharing your phone’s location with them is another great practice to not only give them peace of mind while you’re traveling but also gives you an additional security blanket while out of the country.
Carry Safety Precautions
Communicating and proper planning are great for soothing your worries, but extra precautions can also be helpful. No matter where you travel, carrying additional tools and gear is vital for self-protection. These tools can include:
Travel Insurance: Travel insurance protects more than canceled flights and lost items. It also helps with medical crises, emergency flights home, and more unforeseen circumstances. Rainbow Getaways always strongly encourages all our travelers to purchase a policy for their vacation. You don’t know when you’ll get sick or injured, and having this safety net can be the difference between life and death.
Hidden Card/Money Holders: When traveling, you want to keep your money safe and out of easy pick-pocketing reach. Use a hidden money belt that’s tucked safely under your shirt or another holder that takes your effort to access.
Use an RFID-Protected Wallet: Now that just about all credit cards have RFID chips, keep your cards in a wallet that protects against scanners. It’s surprisingly easy for thieves to scan your wallet without you even knowing, and you’ll find charges on your account before you’ve made it back to your hotel room.
Pepper Spray: If you travel with pepper spray, be sure it’s left in your checked bag when you get to the airport.
Travel with Rainbow Getaways
There's no better way to ensure a worry-free trip than traveling with an agency made just for you. Rainbow Getaways has created an exclusive offer for LGBTQ+ travelers wishing to explore the many treasures of Egypt and Jordan - and now is the perfect time to join!
Rainbow Getaways has partnered with Egypt and Beyond to create a true bucket list vacation. This itinerary includes visits to monumental sights, unforgettable experiences, culinary delights, and more. Some of these sights and attractions include:
Giza Pyramids and the Sphinx
Valley of the Kings
Nile River Cruise
Temple of Horus
... and more!
This vacation is perfect for LGBTQ+ individuals wishing to explore Egypt and Jordan without worrying about discrimination. To help our community travel without worry, Rainbow Getaways has partnered with LGBTQ+-friendly hotels, tour guides, restaurants, and more to ensure everyone has an unforgettable experience.
Rainbow Getaways proudly help travelers of the LGBTQ community (and our allies) research, plan, and book incredible vacations where you feel confident and comfortable enjoying and exploring your destination. We plan each vacation to meet your specific needs, so you'll have an experience just as unique as you.