What happens when you have a single entry visa for Egypt and your travel plans are turned upside down causing you to require multiple entry? You sneak in, that’s what!
OK, so it wasn’t quite as deceitful as it sounds! Last summer I decided to travel Israel and Egypt. The plan was to fly into Tel Aviv, travel south through Israel and then cross the boarder into Egypt. However, when airlines began to cancel flights to Israel as a result of the trouble between Israel and Palestine I had to make alternative arrangements, and fast!
At 8.05pm easyJet cancelled my flight. At 8pm their customer services phone lines closed. What a coincidence! I quickly looked on the easyJet website to find an alternative way to reach my destination. The closest airport was Sharm El Sheik. It wouldn’t allow me to change my flight online as I was flying to an alternative country and I would have to leave for the airport before their customer services lines opened again in the morning. So I had to make a quick decision….
Lets do it! Within minutes I had booked the last two seats on the aircraft and found a bargain hotel (a little run down but perfectly fine for a night) for £7. A restless nights sleep later I was then on route to Israel via Egypt.
Upon arriving at the airport I was extremely impressed with the service I received from easyJet. The customer care was brilliant and they refunded the costs for my flight to Egypt without hesitation to compensate for my cancelled flight. I didn’t expect that to be quite so easy- hurdle number one overcome!
So with a reasonable amount of money in my pocket once again I proceeded to board my flight to Sharm. However, I did have one concern- my visa. I had initially intended only on entering the country once, from the Israel boarder, however I now needed to enter twice as I would be landing into Sharm, crossing into Israel and then returning to complete my trip as planned. If you are visiting only the Sinai region you are not required to have a visa, therefore I hoped that when I reached the immigration desk they would stamp my passport without acknowledgement of the visa I had in my passport, assuming I was coming for a 2 week break at an all inclusive hotel in the region as most tourists were. If they did stamp my visa I would then have to find an embassy in Israel to apply for another visa which would waste an entire day of my trip (I was already losing two as a result of the diversion to Egypt!), so I didn’t want that.
So guess what? I got away with it! They didn’t look through my passport at all and simply stamped the last page. Result!
But it didn’t end there, when travelling by bus to Israel the next day security was extremely high. Numerous security patrols and police boarded our bus and thoroughly checked our passports. Fortunately however, the unstamped visa didn’t seem to phase them. Finally, two days after our intended arrival date, we made it to Tel Aviv where we could start our trip properly. What an adventure!
For more information on what it was like to travel through Israel during a time of war check out this post