Go to Egypt on a Finances

Jeremy Scott Foster posing near the pyramids in Egypt
Posted: 2/3/2020 | February third, 2020

One of many nations excessive up on my “should go to” checklist is Egypt. As a lover of historical past, I lengthy to launch my interior archaeologist and discover the various ruins of the nation. Whereas it is likely to be a very long time earlier than I get there, my pal Jeremy Scott Foster from TravelFreak has visited a few occasions. On this visitor publish, he’ll offer you his finest ideas for saving cash in your subsequent go to to Egypt!

I’ve been to Egypt twice. On my first journey 4 years in the past, I solo traveled the Sinai Peninsula alongside the Gulf of Aqaba, stayed in shared hostels for $5 USD per night time and took in a single day buses that value simply as little. On my most up-to-date journey final yr, I traveled from the very north of Egypt in Alexandria south to Cairo, after which additional south alongside the Nile River to the border with Sudan.

And, all through all of it, I fall deeply in love with this nation the place international notion of violence retains so many at arm’s size.

The tourism business in Egypt continues to be feeling ache because of the political upheaval, civil unrest, and terrorism-related actions which have marred its current historical past. As vacationer numbers have dwindled and competitors for the vacationer greenback has turn out to be fiercer, journey offers have proliferated.

However what most guests miss is what you’ll be able to acquire — freed from crowds and for little cash too.

From the chaos of Cairo to the extra laid-back vibe of Luxor, Egypt is a perfect vacation spot for finances vacationers.

1. Save Cash on Lodging

The balcony of a local hotel in Cairo overlooking the pyramids in Egypt
Typically talking, lodging in Egypt is comparatively inexpensive. Nevertheless, there are just a few useful methods that may reduce down your bills.

Keep in hostels as an alternative of accommodations – Sometimes, you’ll be able to anticipate finding a mattress in a shared dorm room (with 4+ beds) for between $5-Eight USD per night time, or a cushty personal single room for about $15 USD per night time. You’ll doubtless need to share a rest room, however at the least you’ve gotten your privateness.

Use Hostelworld to search for the very best costs. I like to recommend Dahab Hostel in Cairo and Al Salam Camp in Luxor.

Use Reserving.com to check costs for accommodations – For those who’re on the lookout for low cost accommodations or guesthouses in Egypt, I like to recommend checking Reserving.com. A non-public room in a guesthouse or lodge goes for about $40 USD per night time.

Costs are typically listed per room, not per individual. So, if you’re touring with a pal, it can save you much more cash by splitting the price.

Search for lodging that add provide somewhat further – I additionally discovered that, coupled with lodging, it was fairly widespread for hosts in guesthouses to supply extras equivalent to breakfast and native excursions at very affordable costs. One in every of my unbelievable hosts cooked a standard sizzling breakfast with tea and low for simply $1 USD. Better of all, he was more than pleased to advocate some cheap native locations to eat and purchase meals.

Look past the usual lodge rooms for lodging choices – Vrbo and HomeAway are nice Airbnb alternate options, as they’ve been connecting finances vacationers and householders for the reason that ’90s. HomeAway is geared in direction of folks wanting a correct trip rental, so you’ll be able to count on a completely furnished dwelling to reside wherein is nice for longer stays.

Vrbo allows you to keep in an area’s home, however at a barely elevated value. You possibly can normally discover some fairly luxurious residences ranging from $50 USD per night time.

The upside is that you simply’ll have full entry to your individual kitchen, which implies you’ll be able to additional reduce your prices by cooking at dwelling.

2. Save Cash on Meals

Traditional tea on a platter in Egypt
Stick with the native eats and avenue meals – If you wish to get monetary savings on meals whereas touring in Egypt, do your self a favor and keep away from the Western chain meals joints. Whereas a cheeseburger is about half the worth of what you pay at dwelling, it’s nonetheless dearer, much less tasty, and much much less adventurous than experiencing the native delicacies.

Why trouble with a burger when you’ll be able to eat essentially the most scrumptious falafel on the planet for $1 USD?

Navigate the slender alleyways of any bustling Cairo market (like Khan El Khalili or Mohammed Ali Avenue) to hunt out the very best shawarma ($2 USD). Or seize a stuffed falafel sandwich from a avenue vendor in your approach from one historical relic to a different ($2 USD). You possibly can actually discover Arabic bread for five cents. It’s all low cost and really filling.

And, the hummus. It’s so. Darn. Good.

For those who’re staying at a guesthouse, it’s widespread apply for them to supply full dinners for about $10 USD. The reality is that they’re truly simply sourcing the meals from eating places within the neighborhood and taking a reduce, so by looking for out your individual meals choices, count on to spend about ¼ of the worth.

With that mentioned, don’t be afraid of avenue meals or avenue distributors, particularly if the meals is cooked in entrance of you. And if there’s a crowd of locals ready, then chances are high you’re onto an excellent matter.

Eat at a kosheri – A kosheri is a small, native restaurant that serves up beneficiant parts of pasta, chickpeas, lentils, and many others. typically for lower than $1 USD! There’s no menu, you simply choose the scale of your portion and you then’re served this mishmash of deliciousness.

Prepare dinner your individual meals – As talked about, getting ready your individual meals whereas touring can be an awesome cash saver. When you have entry to a kitchen, simply ask your host to level you within the path of the closest market. Additionally they have the lowdown on the place to eat for reasonable, so reap the benefits of their native data!

3. Save Cash on Transportation

A small local sailboat on the Nile in Egypt
Cut price together with your taxi driver – In most Egyptian cities, taxis are a reasonable and handy approach to get round.

Now, once I say handy, I imply they’ll get you to the place you’ll want to go comparatively rapidly. However I might be remiss if I didn’t add just a few disclaimers.

Taxi drivers could be aggressive on the highway, leaving you white-knuckled from hanging on for expensive life. I’ve by no means skilled a extra heart-stopping journey than a Cairo taxi journey.

Moreover, whereas Cairo does have metered taxis, don’t be lulled right into a false sense of safety. Meters are notoriously unreliable or rigged, and drivers continuously “overlook” to show them on. It’s one of many oldest journey scams within the e-book.

The perfect apply is to make use of an unmetered taxi and agree on a value with the driving force earlier than getting in. (Exterior Cairo, most taxis are unmetered, so it doesn’t matter what, all the time agree on a value upfront.)

For those who’re unsure how a lot is a suitable value, ask somebody at your hostel or guesthouse for a pricing suggestion, after which begin your bargaining at about ½ that value. Oftentimes even they will provide you with a better estimate than is regular (it’s locals serving to locals), however the true value must be about ¾ of what you’ve been really useful.

For longer-distance journeys, hiring a automobile with a driver is essentially the most cost-effective choice. The value would be the similar whether or not you’re touring by your self or with a bunch of 4, so spherical up some journey buddies and cut up the price.

However after all, be ready for some aggressive haggling to get the very best value. Be clear about the place you need to go and for the way lengthy you will want the driving force. Don’t fear if negotiations break down, although. In relation to haggling over value, by no means be afraid to stroll away. There are many drivers accessible, so simply transfer on to the following one.

Take the native prepare – Taking the prepare between Alexandria, Cairo, Luxor, and Aswan is the preferred mode of transport for this route.

If time or finances is a priority, you’ll be able to take an in a single day prepare. By taking the sleeper prepare from Cairo to Luxor or Aswan, you’ll save an evening’s price of lodging in a lodge. A deluxe sleeper cabin for one is about $110 USD, whereas a two-berth cabin is $80 USD per individual. Cabins are safe, and fares embody an airline-style dinner and breakfast. The meals is primary, nevertheless it’s edible.

However for a actual discount, you’ll be able to e-book the day prepare between Cairo and Luxor or Aswan for as little as $10 USD. Nevertheless, there’s one caveat: for security causes, the Egyptian authorities prohibits foreigners from buying day prepare tickets for this route. Officers say it’s because solely the night time trains have armed guards in case of a terrorist assault, however that is an extremely uncommon incidence.

It’s straightforward to get round this, although. You’ll must e-book tickets on-line at enr.gov.eg (you’ll need to register an account nevertheless it’s straightforward to do) or ask your information, host, or driver to e-book the tickets for you. They’ll doubtless oblige for a small price.

There aren’t any experiences of ticket attendants kicking any foreigners off the day prepare, so that you’ll be wonderful. And if not, you’re solely out $10 USD.

Get the Flight Go – The quickest approach to journey round Egypt is by airplane. Egypt Air is the nationwide provider and Star Alliance Member serving most main home locations. Its Flight Go is a cheap choice that permits you to lock in low fares for home flights even in the event you haven’t decided your journey dates.

All it’s important to do is buy a minimal of 4 flights (or credit) and select a time whenever you’d wish to journey within the subsequent 12 months. You possibly can then e-book your flight as much as seven days earlier than departure.

On the draw back, you’ll need to all the time fly again to your unique departure level. That’s, as an alternative of flying from Cairo to Luxor and Alexandria, you’ll must fly Cairo to Luxor and again to Cairo earlier than going to Alexandria. That mentioned, the Flight Go continues to be about 30% cheaper than reserving the identical multi-destination flights with different airways.

The Flight Go is tremendous customizable. You possibly can choose the variety of flights (e.g. 4, which is 2 round-trip flights) for a time period (e.g. inside one month), and likewise how early you’ll be able to e-book your flights (e.g. one week earlier than journey). Because of this in the event you choose Cairo as your origin, you’ll be able to choose two round-trip flights to Aswan, Luxor, Alexandria, Sharm E Sheikh, or Hurghada. Every flight is $73 USD one-way.

But when I have been to e-book a flight from Cairo to Luxor for one week from now, that very same leg would value at the least $142 USD!

You possibly can mess around with this cross. For instance, if you are going to buy an analogous cross to the one above however choose “one month” for the way early you’ll be able to e-book, the flights turn out to be $66 USD every per one-way.

If that’s an excessive amount of of an inconvenience for you, there are many different airways providing inexpensive flights. In relation to discovering low cost flights on different airways, I exploit Skyscanner. By being versatile together with your dates, it can save you as much as 50%. Take note, although, that you simply is likely to be touring at inconvenient occasions, just like the midnight.

Within the Skyscanner search bar, as an alternative of coming into particular dates, choose the “Total Month” choice. This can present you a calendar with fare costs for departing and returning flights for daily of the month. This additionally works for one-way flights. Nevertheless, it doesn’t work for multicity flights.

4. Save Cash on Excursions and Guides

Massive pillars near the pyramids in Egypt
The perfect money-saving tip I can provide right here is to keep away from reserving on-line earlier than you arrive in Egypt.

For those who’re a Sort A traveler who wants a plan in hand earlier than you even arrive, you’re not going to love this. However on-line businesses cost massively inflated costs, and you’ll find yourself paying loads much less in the event you deal straight with the tour firm or information regionally on the bottom.

Add within the feel-good issue of your cash going on to your information, their household, and group (and to not some center individual, company, or massive company) and also you’ve acquired your self a win-win state of affairs.

You could should be somewhat extra versatile together with your dates. However you’ll have the added benefit of having the ability to negotiate (haggle, in actuality), which interprets to general financial savings.

Excursions, personal drivers, and the quintessential cruise down the Nile can all be booked regionally at considerably decrease costs than reserving upfront. So, in the event you can abdomen it, wait till you get your boots on the bottom earlier than reserving your excursions.

Guides, in my expertise, are a useful supply of native data and knowledge. They’ve the within scoop on the very best vantage factors for images in any respect the epic landmarks. As well as, they’re nice at coping with these persistent and generally aggressive avenue distributors.

The perfect guides could be discovered by asking for suggestions from different vacationers who’ve used their companies, however I all the time advocate my Egyptian brother, Rami.

Again in 2015, on my first journey to Egypt, Rami and I linked by the use of a mutual pal. We hit it off, and ever since then, I’ve helped him to develop the little tour enterprise he and his family-run. It feels good to have the ability to assist an area household in such a constructive approach.

He’s trustworthy, inexpensive, dependable, extremely communicative, properly linked, and did I point out trustworthy? That’s one of many troublesome components about touring in locations like Egypt: when persons are promoting you matters, it’s onerous to know who you’ll be able to belief.

However Rami is my man. Ship him an e mail at ramielshaer2@gmail.com and let him know Jeremy despatched you (there aren’t any commissions right here — that is only a useful referral to a well-deserving pal). He’ll kind you out or put you in contact with another person in your most well-liked vacation spot.

5. Save Cash on Entrance and Admission Charges

Ancient stone monuments in the Egyptian desert
Get the Worldwide Scholar Identification Card – Entrance and admission costs for nearly all monuments and sights in Egypt are set as marketed. Nevertheless, you will get discounted tickets with an Worldwide Scholar Identification Card, together with 50% off a few of Egypt’s finest museums (together with the Luxor).

Get a journey cross – You may get a Cairo Go or a Luxor Go (multi-entrance low cost passes) from the Ministry of Antiquities, the Egyptian Museum, or the Giza Plateau for about $80 USD. You’ll save about 50% off entries to over 30 sights in Cairo and Giza. You’ll discover little or no details about these passes on-line, nonetheless, so your finest guess is to only present up at a kind of places and inquire there.

Instructed Budgets for Touring in Egypt

The bustling streets of Cairo, Egypt full of locals
When you can spend cash on luxurious resorts or personal excursions, it’s solely doable to journey by Egypt on a budget. Actually, you’ll be able to simply spend as little as $30-$35 USD a day.

The largest approach to scale back prices is to remain in dorm rooms or hostels. For those who go for a non-public room or mid-range lodge, you’ll be able to count on to spend $30-40 USD extra per night time.

The place and what you eat additionally provides to your each day finances. For instance, avenue meals is an inexpensive and filling choice for eating in Egypt. You possibly can eat all the pieces from falafel and sandwiches to shawarma and koshari noodles for as little as $1 USD.

Consuming in a restaurant is dearer, however nonetheless comparatively low cost in comparison with Western nations. Meals in a mid-range restaurant begin at $Four USD, whereas worldwide dishes could be round $10 USD.

Transportation is one other added value. Practice journey could be low cost however might not be essentially the most environment friendly choice in case your time is restricted. So, in the event you plan to fly between your locations, count on so as to add $50-$100 USD to your finances for every flight.

In fact, your each day finances can even enhance in the event you e-book personal guides or splurge on souvenirs and items.

And bear in mind, haggling is among the most necessary expertise in the event you’re wanting to economize in Egypt. Taxis, excursions, and different companies can normally be bargained all the way down to a decrease price than what’s initially quoted. So, you probably have a excessive tolerance for haggling, your each day finances might simply be much less.

Regardless, it’s all the time higher to go barely over finances, particularly someplace with as many must-see sights and experiences as Egypt!


The important thing to finances journey in Egypt is to be typically properly knowledgeable and to have an excellent humorousness (the latter goes a lengthy approach when coping with distributors). Haggling and scammers are all a part of on a regular basis journey life in Egypt. There are only a few items and companies that may’t be bargained for.

Most significantly, all the time, ALWAYS ask for and agree on a value first earlier than accepting any items or companies. Most significantly, don’t be afraid to politely say no and stroll away.

Now it’s time to start out planning your journey to Egypt for optimum adventures at minimal value within the land of Pharaohs, pyramids, and wonders of the traditional world. Get to it!

Jeremy is the adventurous traveler behind TravelFreak, a web site devoted to serving to folks create lives they’re captivated with. You possibly can try his weblog to be taught extra or discover him on Fb, Instagram, and Twitter.

Ebook Your Journey: Logistical Suggestions and Methods

Ebook Your Flight
Discover a low cost flight through the use of Skyscanner or Momondo. They’re my two favourite search engines like google and yahoo as a result of they search web sites and airways across the globe so that you all the time know no stone is left unturned.

Ebook Your Lodging
You possibly can e-book your hostel with Hostelworld as they’ve the most important stock. If you wish to keep someplace apart from a hostel, use Reserving.com as they persistently return the most cost effective charges for guesthouses and low cost accommodations. I exploit them on a regular basis. Some recommended hostels to remain at are:

    Dahab Hostel (Cairo) – The rooms are primary however the proprietor is pleasant and helfpful and the hostel is in an awesome location.
  • Al Salam Camp (Luxor) – Nice location and unbelievable employees. it’s away from the noise of the town and an awesome place to calm down and meet different vacationers.

Don’t Neglect Journey Insurance coverage
Journey insurance coverage will shield you in opposition to sickness, damage, theft, and cancellations. It’s complete safety in case something goes unsuitable. I by no means go on a visit with out it as I’ve had to make use of it many occasions prior to now. I’ve been utilizing World Nomads for ten years. My favourite corporations that supply the very best service and worth are:

Searching for the very best corporations to economize with?
Try my useful resource web page for the very best corporations to make use of whenever you journey! I checklist all those I exploit to economize once I journey – and that can prevent money and time too!

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