Egyptian Budget Travel Guide: Cost of Traveling to Egypt

By Mark Wiens 65 Comments
Budget Travel Egypt
Travel in Egypt – Budget Travel Egypt

In comparison to Europe or North America, everyday expenses in Egypt are low.

From SE Asia, prices are quite similar with regards to food, accommodation and living expenses.

Vegetarian meals can be eaten for less than $1 per meal and beds can be bought for around $4 a night.

Egypt is blessed with an abundance of magnificent ancient historical sites – but almost all charge entrance fees.  The normal fees for each site range from about 30 LE – 80 LE ($5.20-$13.85)(1/2 price for students), which seems like quite a bit when thinking in Egyptian terms, but is really quite reasonable considering the significance.

Egypt was a little bit of a different story from my usual traveling habits.  My budget was a little higher than usual, aiming to see first hand the ancient sites that I had dreamed about.

At the end of my stay, I managed to see almost everything I wanted to see, eat my fill of Egyptian street food and kept a reasonable budget.

Egyptian Visa

Upon arrival for American citizens: $15 USD, payable at a bank (in the airport) before going through customs at Cairo International Airport.

18 Days Cost of Traveling to Egypt: 

(What I spent)

$394 + $15 Visa = $409 USD (2362 LE)

Average per day = $22.72 USD (131 LE)

NOTE: I will use 1 USD = $5.77 Egyptian Pounds (LE)

Cost of Traveling to Egypt
Abu Simbel – Cost of Traveling to Egypt

Main Places I Went in Egypt:

  • Cairo – A lot of wandering around and exploring Cairo, Coptic Cairo, Islamic Cairo, a lot of street food, shopping at Attaba markets and souks, Muhammad Ali Mosque and Citadel, Pyramids
  • Luxor – There are many things to do in Luxor – Temple of Karnak, Temple of Luxor, Valley of the Kings, Valley of the Queens, Deir el-Bahari (Temple of Hatshepsut), Colossi of Memnon
  • Kom Ombo – Temple of Edfu
  • Aswan – Trip to Abu Simbel, Temple of Philae
  • 2 Night, 3 Day felucca (Egyptian sailboat) trip on the Nile
  • Alexandria – Only for ½ day, walked around and waited for a night but to Siwa Oasis
  • Siwa Oasis – Ancient sites around the oasis, fresh water springs
  • 1 day, 1 night desert safari near Siwa
At the Siwa Oasis in Egypt
At the Siwa Oasis in Egypt

What I spent most of my money on:

  • Ancient Egyptian Sites – 630 LE ($109.18)
  • Food – 507 LE ($87.87)
  • Transportation – 486 LE ($84.23)
  • Accommodation – 119 LE ($20.62)(I used couchsurfing and spent nights in transit)

Baksheesh

The first word I learned in Egypt was baksheesh. The most common form of baksheesh revolving around tourists is a combination of tipping and permission for favors (in monetary form).

The tourism industry in Egypt is run on baksheesh, from paying a Pound to use the bathroom to a random guy or giving a guard 5 LE to show you some hieroglyphics.

It will be a part of your budget in Egypt if you like it or not.

Ancient Egyptian Historical Sites – 630 LE ($109.18)

(About 35 LE / day – but I didn’t go everyday)

Temple of Hatshepsut
Temple of Hatshepsut

My biggest cost of traveling to Egypt was entrance fees to historical sites which I had planned for and was not going to miss.  If you are not so much into history, your budget can be greatly reduced in this area.

If you are going to Egypt and want to see the ancient sites, entrance fees are inevitable. Student prices are almost always ½ the price of normal adult tickets. I attempted to use my over-due student card and received moderate success, depending on the ticket vendor (always worth a try).

ISIC Student cards are preferred and accepted at all the sites – very beneficial if you have it.

Egyptian Street Food
Cost of Egyptian Food

Food – 507 LE ($87.87)

(About 28.2 LE / day)

Exploring culinary traditional food from around the world is where my passion lays.

Egypt was no different and I ate a lot of local Egyptian street food and at the occasional sit down restaurant. Within this budget I also drank plenty of fresh fruit juices and fruit concoctions.

Tip: Vegetarian food throughout Egypt can be eaten for less than $1 / meal.  Meat on the other hand can easily cost 3-5 times more.

  • 1.5 L bottle of Water: 2-3 LE ($0.35 – $0.52)
  • Cup of sugar cane juice: 1 LE ($0.17)
  • Bread: bread stores offer all kinds of baked goods for 1-2 LE ($0.17 – $0.35)
  • Ful beans: healthy staple beans (similar to Mexican re-fried beans), not a day went by without me indulging in some ful!  To avoid getting less than what you paid for, act like you know how much it costs and hand the attendant 3-5 LE ($0.52 – $0.87), saying you want a bag of that amount. 5 LE ($0.87) will get you a big bag of beans!
  • Sandwich wrapped in pita bread: small sandwich stores throughout Egypt will cost you 1 – 3 LE ($0.17 – $0.52) per sandwich
  • Kofta meal: 14–25 LE ($2.43 – $4.33)
  • Meat meal at a nicer restaurant with meat: 30 – 50 LE ($5.20 – $8.67)
Egyptian Kofta
Egyptian Kofta

Drinking

As usual, alcohol becomes quite an expense if you drink habitually.

Bars in Egypt are secluded into indoor areas with blocked windows. Beers usually run 15 – 30 LE ($2.60 – $5.20) per large bottle. Since drinking is not a part of many Egyptians, I steered mostly clear of alcoholic beverages and focused on historical sites and food.

Transportation in Egypt
Transportation in Egypt

Transportation in Egypt – 486 LE ($84.23)

Taxi: If you need to take a taxi, locate a white taxi, as they use the fare meter. A 30 minute ride will probably cost about 15 – 20 LE, quite affordable. Avoid the black taxis as you will probably be overcharged!

Cairo Metro: 1 LE for a ride

Microbus: Egyptians are very friendly and will attempt to point you in the right direction and show you which bus to take (may not always be right!). Need to have extra time and be flexible!

Distance Train: The train can be a little confusing and never completely made sense to me. I heard all kinds of stories about tourist’s only being allowed to purchase sleeper bed cars.

We arrived at Ramses Railway Station in Cairo to attempt to buy a 2nd class ticket to Luxor. The ticket vendor seemed to be sleeping or non-alert as the train arrived. We decided to just get on the train without a ticket and get charged on the train itself. We sat in 1st class seats.

It proved to be very comfortable and although we got moved once, we had great seats. 2nd class with 4 seats across is also very sufficient with loads of leg space.

Tip: You can always talk to a train attendant to see if he has open seats somewhere, if he directs you to a better seat, a little tip (baksheesh) is necessary.

Check out Seat 61 for the best information on trains.

Accommodation in Egypt
Accommodation in Egypt

Accommodation – 119 LE / 5 Nights ($20.62)

(About 23.8 / night)

Here’s where I slept:

There is a wide range of accommodation is Egypt. I did a combination of couchsurfing, staying at hostels, sleeping on a felucca sailboat and taking overnight transportation.

It is possible to find decent guest houses and hotels for 20–30 LE ($3.47 – $5.20) per night.  Some places are better than others and some offer dorm rooms or rooms with 2-4 beds.

2 Night, 3 Day Felucca (Egyptian Sailboat) Trip

From Aswan, it is possible to take a felucca sailboat trip and end up back in Luxor. Most hotels / guest houses in Aswan offer a package deal, but it’s good to ask around to compare prices.

We began our Nile felucca sailing trip in the afternoon, stopped for dinner and the night, waited around in the morning, sailed in the afternoon again, stopped to eat and sleep, got dropped off on the bank of the Nile in the morning, got picked up by a tour van, drove to Kom Ombo to stop at the temple, drove to Edfu to stop at temple, and finally arrived in Luxor at 2 pm the 3rd day.  All food and lodging was provided.

I booked through the Noorhan Hotel, paying a very low (haggled) 115 LE ($19.93) for the entire trip package.

Siwa Oasis Desert Safari

Siwa Safari Desert Oasis Tours: Tours in the Western Desert and Oases
Name: Sayed Abou Seif
Email: [email protected]
Phone: 002 010 6893687

Our full day desert safari package cost 150 LE ($26), including accommodation, dinner and breakfast the next day.  Find a group to go with.

Check out more information about traveling to the Siwas Oasis here.

Shopping / Souvenirs

There is an over abundance of tourist shopping in Egypt. Usually souvenirs at sites of interest are over priced, though with a fair amount of chitchat, there are deals to be made. The Aswan market souk is a great place to buy things to take home from Egypt.

I purchased my awesome Jellabiya for 65 LE ($11.40).

Conclusion:

Egypt is a fascinating country to explore with depths of history and culture.

While most tourists tend to book pre-packaged trips directly out of the airport into their air conditioned buses, it’s rewarding to be your own tour guide and accumulate your own information. The cost of traveling to Egypt in my opinion is quite low for what you can do and see.



65 comments. I'd love to hear from you!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  • Wilaipond

    2 weeks ago

    Hi,
    Thanks for useful information.
    Is it possible to do female (duo) backpack?

  • Luis Pinho

    3 months ago

    Hello,
    When you say you took the night train just by showing up, I assume that you didn’t had a berth and slept while sitting on 2nd class right? I’m planning to do this as I’m not paying 100€ fot those “sleeper” trains.

  • Agness of a TukTuk

    3 months ago

    Egypt is in every traveler’s list. Awesome job in getting into the details, expense-wise! This will totally help a lot people, myself included, in planning ahead our budget trip!

  • joydip sarkar

    5 months ago

    very good information…..thanks

  • Deborah R.

    10 months ago

    What was. The total amount spent for a week plus airfare.

  • Irene

    10 months ago

    Saben cuales son los costos actuales?

  • Brian

    11 months ago

    When younletf Egypt were you asked about travel money and needing 2000 dollars to travel back to that states my friend was asked to show travel money of $2000 .00 in cash before he can get bon a flight is this true

  • Sophie

    1 year ago

    Your sharing is very helpful. I will have two full days in Cairo. I will get into Cairo at 12:30 am midnight. Do you have any suggestion for airport pickup as I will be traveling solo? Are pyramids and other historical sites easy to travel by public transportation? Look forward to heading from you.

  • Fat Amy

    1 year ago

    sounds fun

  • dr supriya

    3 years ago

    Hey thanks a lot for details abt budget; I was looking for it.I’m flying tonite and your post is very useful as I’m very bad at managing budget;).

  • Shiju

    4 years ago

    Mark what is meant by couchsurfing? How to use it.

    • Mark Wiens

      4 years ago

      Hi Shiju, couchsurfing.com is a website where you can search for places to stay!

  • Derek

    5 years ago

    Egypt is amazing! My wife and I were there in May 2011. We went to all of the same places you did except Abu Simbel.. looks amazing though. We did a Nile Cruise out of Aswan so we didn’t have the time. Ended up in Luxor, then fly back to Cairo after a few days touring. I think Egypt is the top place Ive ever been! So much history.. so worth going and will definitely go again if the country settles down.

    • Mark Wiens

      5 years ago

      I fully agree with you Derek, Egypt is such an amazing country with its history, culture, food, and people. Even though I wasn’t able to do and see all that I wanted, I had such a great time. The Nile cruise was great, wasn’t it!

      • Derek

        5 years ago

        Loved It! You could probably spend a year touring Egypt.. we spent 3 weeks and even though we saw so much we still missed parts that I wish we could have seen such as Abu Simbel. It was a place we could have gone but just didn’t have time.

        Hope the country stabilizes in the next few years.. would love to go back!

        • Mark Wiens

          5 years ago

          I agree Derek, one could easily spend a few years traveling around Egypt. There’s so much to do and see!

  • Emme Rogers @ Roamancing

    5 years ago

    Hi Mark,

    How safe did you find your travels in Cairo?

    I have the opportunity to go to speak to a conference in December.

    Thanks for advice in advance.

    Emme

    • Mark Wiens

      5 years ago

      Hi Emme, thanks for contacting me.
      To be honest, I felt completely safe the entire time I was in Egypt. People are extremely friendly and kind on an individual level – they are willing to go out of their way to help you. That being said, I’m not fully sure of the current situation in Cairo at this moment, and there’s always a possibility the some areas are not safe. I take the opportunity to speak at the conference, but make sure you read about the current situation before you go and make sure to have a plan!
      Hope this helps and hope you have a great time in Cairo!
      Mark

  • Cole @ FourJandals

    6 years ago

    Awesome advice. We are headed there on a 10 day tour over Christmas/New Years and cannot wait. Bit worried about Felucca cruise but sounds like fun.

    • Mark Wiens

      6 years ago

      Hey Cole, great to hear that you on on your way to Egypt during the holidays. I know that you’ll have an incredible time and know that you will also enjoy the felucca cruise!

  • Christine Ghobrial

    6 years ago

    I love your posts man!!! Really interesting, practical, exciting and to the point.. I love even the way you see Egypt in your point of view as a traveler…you go deep and true to the core of the culture. 🙂 Hope you’d come back soon and I was wondering if we could do something together…

    I’ll continue reading more of those Egyptian articles :0) I like!

    • Mark Wiens

      6 years ago

      Hey Christine,
      Thanks so much for checking out my site and for leaving a comment! I’m glad to read this, because I really do appreciate the small and deeper things in a country when I travel. I would love to come back to Egypt sometime, will definitely let you know if I return! Thanks again and have a great day!

  • Debby

    6 years ago

    So glad to have read this I fly to Cairo on the 16th of this month for 9 days I’m 47 and travelling there to fulfil my dream of seeing pyramids etc I was panicking about how much money I would need but those fears are gone now I can wait I am staying with a family in Khatab district near Shubra area so I now to respect them and their beliefs thanks for such an informative page

    • Mark Wiens

      6 years ago

      That’s great to hear Debby! I hope you will have an amazing time, and I know you will enjoy the historical sites that you have been waiting to see. Have a great time!

  • Philippine Hotel

    6 years ago

    I always adore Egypt. This place is so amazing! And i never thought that it was this cheap. I think Egyptians are really hospitable to many travelers.

    • Mark Wiens

      6 years ago

      Very true – local Egyptians are extremely hospitable. I was happy with the way I could travel and live in Egypt at a pretty decent budget.

  • flipnomad

    6 years ago

    oh wow… never thought that egypt can be this affordable… did you fly from bangkok to cairo?

    • Mark Wiens

      6 years ago

      Yup! My parents actually live in Tanzania, so I bought a ticket to Tanzania via Egypt Air and decided to remain in Egypt for a few weeks. It’s an amazing place!

  • Nomadic Samuel

    6 years ago

    Mark, I would have never guessed Egypt would be that cheap! These cost analysis breakdown posts are some of my favourites on your site 🙂

    • Mark Wiens

      6 years ago

      Thanks Samuel! Everyday living costs in Egypt are really quite cheap and I was also surprised at the affordability of all the Egyptian sites, especially if you have a student ID.

  • Jodi

    6 years ago

    It’s not a Mark post without ridiculous food photos! Great, useful roundup as always.

  • Cornelius Aesop

    6 years ago

    That looks amazing and you can’t argue the price. I had someone tell me they canceled their trip to Egypt because of everything that was going on over there, I desperately wanted to say I’d go in her place. I feel like Egypt would fulfill my history nerdiness and subdue my travel bug all in one.

    • Mark Wiens

      6 years ago

      Right about that Cornelius. I have always been interested in history, so when I had an opportunity to visit Egypt, I was so excited and loved every moment of it. Despite the struggles, I can assure you that most Egyptians are peaceful, extremely kind and are some of the nicest people I’ve ever met. I hope you get a chance to visit soon!

  • Mo

    6 years ago

    I really like ur post and I think it’s quite amazing to do all of these stuff with such an affordable budget! Btw I am Egyptian who lives in Cairo and I think it such an amazing thing for a non-Egyptian like u Mark who had the opportunity to know all these stuff about my country and lived it the way I always enjoyed! Thanks again for your great review

    • Mark Wiens

      6 years ago

      Hi Mo!
      Thanks so much for checking out this post and for taking the time to leave a comment. I had an incredible time visiting your country. Not only were the historical sites amazing, but the Egyptians I met were extremely kind and hospitable which added to the amazing experience. Glad you enjoyed the article!

  • Traveling Ted

    6 years ago

    One of the biggest costs in Southeast Asia is the $40.00 three day pass for Angkor Wat. Compared to other costs in Cambodia this fee is astronomical, but when visiting something so incredible like the temples or the historical sites of Egypt there is no point in quibbling. It is worth it. I always find posts where travelers break down their money spent especially helpful when planning trips.

    • Mark Wiens

      6 years ago

      Thanks Ted! It’s true, sometimes we just need to pay the entrance price and it’s completely worth it! The attractions that I visited in Egypt were worth all the money that I spent and I am 100% glad that I didn’t avoid visiting the sites to avoid paying the fees. Glad that this can be a helpful post!

  • Jim

    6 years ago

    Good post Mark, but when I get there I won’t be worrying about how much it costs. You see I have this amazing way of never having to worry about what I spend. I just leave that all up to my wife! 🙂

    • Mark Wiens

      6 years ago

      That’s a great way to travel Jim. I hope I can say the same in the future!

  • Travellyn

    6 years ago

    I find your budgeting costs quite amazing and only wish I was young and adventurous enough to do a trip like that. However, I’m in my late sixties and planned to go on a small group tour to Egypt & Jordan when all the trouble broke out earlier this year and the tour was cancelled. It sounds like it is safe enough now and you have provided such a lot of info. Egypt is still on my radar for next year and I’m all fired up again to go, after reading you blog. Did you ever get sick eating that delicious looking food from the food stalls?

    • Mark Wiens

      6 years ago

      Awesome to hear this Lyn, thanks for sharing! For me, I never got sick while eating the street food. I do eat a lot of street food around the world, so my stomach is accustomed to it, but on the whole I thought most of the food was quite sanitary. Glad you are excited about visiting and I really hope you are able to travel to Egypt and Jordan soon!

  • Eileen Ludwig

    6 years ago

    YEs if your going it is important to visit the sites, that is what Egypt is all about

  • The Travel Chica

    6 years ago

    You really did get to see all the top attractions on your trip at a budget price.

  • John in France

    6 years ago

    Great post – glad you still managed to squeeze in some great food shots – those Koftas look great!

    • Mark Wiens

      6 years ago

      No matter where I travel, I still have to eat a few awesome meals! I had meat only a couple of times in Egypt, but wow, it was tasty!

  • Cathy Sweeney

    6 years ago

    Thanks for the comprehensive post about your experiences in Egypt and the great tips. Still have Egypt high on my list — this is helpful information. Love the pics, too!

  • adventureswithben

    6 years ago

    Great post.

  • Christy @ Technosyncratic

    6 years ago

    Egypt is top of my list (has been since I was a kid), but I’m still trying to convince Kali that now is a good time to visit. When we finally get there, though, I’m visiting ALL the historical sites regardless of the cost! 🙂

    • Mark Wiens

      6 years ago

      Sometimes, if it’s something you’ve been dreaming about for your entire life, it’s worth it to pay and enjoy. Like you, I dreamed of visiting Egypt since I was a kid and I did spend a bit more than usual to see all the sites! Hope you make it to Egypt soon – keep convincing Kali!

  • Jess

    6 years ago

    Helpful info! Will be useful for an eventual trip there in the future! 🙂
    I have been enjoying your website immensely, it is a huge inspiration for me! Thanks!

    • Mark Wiens

      6 years ago

      Thanks a lot Jess! I really appreciate you checking out my site and I’m so glad to hear that it’s an inspiration! Good luck with all your travels as well!

  • Ayngelina

    6 years ago

    Mark I like your budget posts the best. I think we have a similar spending style and it gives me a good idea of what to expect.

    • Mark Wiens

      6 years ago

      Thanks Ayngelina, I’m glad you like these budget articles and cool to know our traveling styles are similar!

  • David @ MalaysiaAsia

    6 years ago

    Very nice Mark. I’m still waiting for my Egypt trip as I have been planning this for many years. Seems like the crowds are getting bigger and bigger. What about visa charges for Asians?

    • Mark Wiens

      6 years ago

      Great Dave! Not sure about visa charges for Asians, but I think it’s still around $15 for the simple tourist visa. Hope you can get your trip planned to Egypt in the future – even though crowds are big, the historical sites were so incredible that I sorted tuned everyone out as I was seeing the ancient temples and hieroglyphics.

  • Kelly

    6 years ago

    Sounds amazing! It might get pricy, but how can you go to Egypt and NOT see the sights?

    • Mark Wiens

      6 years ago

      Exactly. I budgeted a little more than usual, because those are historical attractions I had wanted to see me entire life!