Egypt is possibly the country that knows the powers of tourism more than anywhere else in the world. From renowned historical attractions to world class dive sites and desert oases, Egypt has something for everyone. Though this Middle East country may have some of the world's most famous historical attractions, the cost of travel in Egypt can be held to a minimum.
Egypt uses the Egyptian Pound (officially EGP, but in Egypt I ONLY saw the symbol LE: 1 USD is about 5.95 LE)
Note: If you are a student, don't forget an ISIC (official student ID) card for 1/2 prices on almost all Egyptian sites.
Egypt attracts travelers from all walks of life that demand every form and style of accommodation. From prestigious hotels and boat cruises to dorm beds that look like they came from a tomb, you can find a place as affordable or expensive as you want. We'll stick with budget accommodation for this post.
Around the very tourist oriented towns, like Luxor, the prices will be slightly higher than other parts of the country.
- Dorm Beds (sometimes includes AC): 20 – 30 LE ($3.36 – $5.04)
- Double Room with Fan and sometimes rickety AC: 30 – 80 LE ($5.04 – $13.46)
- Decent Hotel Room: 80 – 120 LE ($13.46 – $20.19)
Sometimes rooms in Egypt are filled with a jumble of random beds, so it can be beneficial to be with a few friends to get the best rates.
Egyptian food is delicious, filling, and if you are willing to do some vegetarian meals, it's available for cheap! Meat tends to get more expensive, but every now and then is a must.
- Egyptian Sandwiches: Arabic bread filled with a choice of beans, egg plant, or other fillings cost 1 – 2 LE ($0.17 – $0.34) each, I normally indulged in 3 – 5 per sitting
- Falafel: Awesome deep fried vegetable fritters that make a great meal or snack: 4 LE ($0.67) will buy a small bag
- Kushari – noodles, rice, beans, sauce: 5 LE ($0.84)
- Shawarma: sandwich loaded with meat or chicken: 7 LE ($1.18)
- Big pile of Egyptian desserts: 5 LE ($0.84)
- Egyptian pizza: 25 LE ($4.21)
- For a big meal at a nice sit down Egyptian or International restaurant: 40 – 60 LE ($6.73 – $10.10)
Nightlife / Going Out
For myself, it's not so much about going out to clubs and bars, but about enjoying nightlife as locals enjoy it. In Egypt, it's common to hang out at tea shops during the night, drinking cups of tea and puffing on Egyptian sheesha (water pipe flavored tobacco).
- Cup of tea: 1 LE ($0.17)
- Sheesha pipe: 2 – 5 LE ($0.34 – $0.84), cost highly depends on where you go, men tea shops are the cheapest
Beer can be found in locations around Egypt, but bars must be enclosed and windows blocked so no one can see alcohol bottles from the outside.
- Bottle of Stella Beer: 15 – 25 LE ($2.52 – $4.21)
- Metro: Packed and sweaty but single rides are just 1 LE ($0.17)
- Taxi: Always look for the white taxi's that use the meter, black taxi's can way overcharge and then put up a fight to get their money. Taxi meters begin at 3.50 LE ($.059)
- Bus: The cheapest, most adventurous, but sure way to get lost form or transportation around Cairo, fare is anywhere from .50 to 1 LE (up to $0.17) per ride
Trains and buses are the main means of getting around the rest of Egypt.
- Train: There are all kinds of classes and the train system, though works quite well, can be rather confusing to figure out. I paid 96 LE ($16.15) for a night train from Cairo to Luxor in 2nd class – very adequate. Train from Cairo to Alexandria (2 – 3 hours): 35 LE ($5.89)
- Bus: Where the train does not go, the option is to take a bus. I took a bus from Alexandria to the Siwa Oasis (10 hours): 37 LE ($6.23)
Sample Cost of Attractions in Egypt
Almost all Egyptian historical attractions are 1/2 price for students (some let you get away with just a student card, while others look for the official ISIC cards).
- Pyramids: 60 LE ($10.10) for adults, 30 LE for students ($5.04)
- Tour of the Valley of the Kings, including transportation and visit to 5 or so sites in the area, and entrance to tombs: 250 LE ($42) for adults, 150 LE for students ($25.23)
- Entrance to Abu Simbel: 95 LE ($15.98)
- 2 day, 1 night all-inclusive Desert Safari at the Siwa Oasis: 150 LE ($25.23)
- 3 days, 2 nights on an all-inclusive Nile River Felucca (Egyptian sailboat): around 150 LE ($25.23)
Total Cost Per Day
I spent on average $20 per day while traveling in Egypt, but I am a huge fanatic of Egyptian history and wanted to see and do as much as I could while I was there (I stayed as cheaply as possible, ate almost all vegetarian street food in order to save money, but visited many sites which added up to my total daily expenditure). You'll also need to set aside some baksheesh (questionable tip) money while traveling through Egypt.
If you don't visit too many attractions and just stay put, it would be possible to hang out in Egypt for $10 a day. If you do as I did, but add drinking and more entertainment to the mix you might budget for $20 – $40 per day in Egypt.
There are no shortage of awesome attractions in Egypt, and when things get hectic and hot (which they surely will), it's always nice to sit down with a cup of tea and sheesha, and just relax!