When planning our trip to Egypt, I came across several articles highlighting traveling under $50 a day. Is this really possible? Would extreme budget travel require sacrificing comfort or dull the experience of the destination? Not in Egypt! With the decline of the Egyptian pound (EGP), on top of the already low cost of living in Egypt, I was surprised to learn that you can travel Egypt on a budget and still experience all the sites, adventures and comfort of luxury travel. So who doesn’t want to travel under $50 a day? Here is what we spent on our 3-week trip to Egypt – How Much a Trip to Egypt Cost (Egypt Travel Budget and Prices).
Egypt Budget for Three Week Itinerary
Forget under $50 a day – our three week trip to Egypt (actually 19 days) came out to just $36 USD per day, per person! This includes all expenses, domestic flights, a desert safari, all cash paid for tips, food, transportation and a 6 day stay at a 4-star all-inclusive beach resort. The only expense I removed from this was the cost of scuba diving for 5-days since most people do not dive or find this information useful. But for the divers out there, we paid $695 for 5-days of diving for two people (that’s $348 per person). That increases our per day per person rate to $55 per day. So even with a big $695 expense, we still came in at $55 a day. How awesome is that!
*Luxor has the best sites and came in the cheapest city
3 Days in Cairo and 3 Days on African Desert Safari
Our trip to Egypt started with 3 days in Cairo – actually 2 days in Giza and 1 day in Cairo. We cut our time short in Cairo so we go on an African Safari in Egypt’s White Desert. While the Safari was mind blowing, and I would definitely recommend everyone to experience at least one night under the stars, I wish we spent more time in Cairo. If I were to do it again, I would spend 1 day in Giza, 2 or 3 days in Cairo then go on the Safari.
In Giza we stayed at the Le Méridien Pyramids Hotel & Spa, a fabulous 4 star Sheraton brand hotel walking distance to the Pyramids (don’t let anyone tell you it’s too far to walk). This hotel was a warm welcoming to Egypt – fine dining, cloud-like beds and outstanding service. We lounged by the pool, relaxed in the hot tubes and was amazed by the view of the Pyramids.
We only spent one full day in Cairo – again, wish we spent more time there. We crammed in as many sites as we could without killing ourselves. We visited the famous Egyptian Museum, a number of Mosques, including Muhammad Ali Mosque and enjoyed the cultural scene of Khan el‑Khalili. It was wondrous to witness the dynamic unfolding of Egypt’s multi-faceted culture throughout the marketplace. Each aisle or street ranged in width and length, covered or uncovered. Each alley was designated by specialties, one alley for butchers, another for fresh produce and another for quilts and blankets. The restaurants and tea shops on the outside of the bazaar slowly fades away to a more in-depth glimpse of Egyptian’s culture.
What We Spent in Cairo (Cairo Travel Budget)
Full Cairo Trip Reports:
Other Helpful Cairo Reports:
Total Cost of 3 Days in Cairo and 3 Days on Safari
We spent $218 for 3 nights and 3 days in Cairo. That’s around $36 per person per day. We spent $200 for a 3 day and 2 night White Desert Safari, which comes out to just $33 per person per day. In total, we spent $418 for 2 people for 6 days total => $35 per person per day!
Highlight of our time spent in Cairo was definitely the bazaars and the White Desert Safari – a do not miss attraction!
If I Could Do Cairo Again
If I could do it again I would do at least 2 days in Cairo and just 1 day in Giza. Cairo has so many attractions, sites and different communities, 2-3 full days is needed to get a real sense of the city and the different energies of the neighborhoods. Giza, on the other hand, only has one attraction, the Giza Pyramids, which can be knocked out in a single morning.
Cairo to Aswan by Train or by Plane
Most people that backpack or travel Egypt, opt to take an overnight train from Cairo to Aswan. This is a good option for those who wish to experience the countryside on a 13 hour journey across the country. Most people never consider flying from Cairo to Aswan, thinking that flight prices would be more expensive than a train ticket. Surprisingly, EgyptAir offers great deals on domestic flights, usually as low as $38 per person.
We were able to snag this cheap fare, so instead of paying $160 for a 2-bertha Deluxe sleeper train ticket, we paid $76 for a 90 minute flight for the both of us. We not only saved $84, we also saved 12 hours on our trip. I highly recommend looking into EgyptAir flight prices before automatically looking into the complex train system.
Related: Transportation Around Egypt
3 Days in Aswan
Aswan has a completely different vibe from Cairo. Cairo is all about the hustle and bustle of a big city. Large souqs, bazzars, mosques and tons of people every which way. Traffic jams, honking horns and people bargaining and haggling in the streets for their household goods. There’s large business buildings, modern malls, busy tea shops and local markets. All easily connected by the convenient underground metro.
When you arrive in Aswan, you leave all that craziness behind. Aswan is a calm, shimmering, riverside town. People walk and talk at a different pace here. Smiles are easier to come by and watching the ease flow of the Nile is an enjoyed pastime here. Walk the Nile, take a sunset felucca ride and let the steadiness of time flow through you as the Nile flows through Aswan.
We truly enjoyed Aswan. It allowed us to settle down and feel the sun on our faces. We didn’t see all the sights Aswan has to offer, but that was ok with us. We didn’t want to feel rushed going to the unfinished obelisk, Aswan dam or hop around to the various Nubian villages. Instead we simply walked around, enjoyed a slow felucca ride on the Nile and choose our top go-to attraction for a day trip- Abu Simbel Temples.
What We Spent in Aswan (Aswan Travel Budget)
Total Cost of 3 Days in Aswan, including Abe Simbel and Edfu Temples
We spent $187 for 3 days in Aswan. That’s $31 per person per day. Our trip to Aswan included a day trip to Abu Simbel Temples and a day trip to Edfu.
The Abu Simbel and Edfu Temples are in my top 5 favorite attractions of Egypt! Both sites are very well preserved and the sheer size of the temples, especially Abu Simbel, instantly opens your eyes to just how powerful, advanced and grand, the Ancient Egyptian society was.
Aswan to Edfu Temple by Train
We were not prepared for the train ride we experienced from Aswan to Edfu. I’m not sure if its the communication barrier or just travel scams, but whenever you ask local Egyptian for travel information, they always somehow tell you it’s not possible. We asked the hotel staff about the train, they told us there were no trains from Aswan to Edfu (luckily I knew that there were). Walking towards the station, we asked building security guards for directions, again, we were told no train station. When we found the station, we asked the ticket window for two tickets, and of course, was told no trains from Aswan to Edfu.
At this point we just ignored the ticket window staff and headed towards the tracks. We confirmed our destination with the train conductor, hopped on the train and paid on board. What we didn’t realize, was that we hopped on the local ordinary train. Egypt has different types and classes of trains, from express 1st and 2nd class trains to local ordinary trains. We were stuck on the ordinary train.
On the ordinary trains, the seats are not cushioned, no air conditioning or heater and the the doors of the train did not close. It made every local stop and the entire ride was freezing cold. The cold wind that came through the doorways made the ride unbearable. I had to pull out a shirt to wrap around my head and neck to keep warm. But on the positive side, the ordinary train only cost us just £0.20 ($0.01).
6 Days in Marsa Alam
It is a pain to get to and from Marsa Alam. Prices are also much more expensive in Marsa Alam than other Egypt destinations. Marsa Alam is a remote, European vacation hot spot, so all prices are in Euro instead of local Egyptian currency. After spending almost two weeks in Egypt, we’ve gotten use to bargaining in local currency and got a feel for standard prices. None of that mattered in Marsa Alam. Prices were high and they were in Euros. You can pay in Egyptian Pounds and US Dollars, but prices were set (little to no bargaining) in Euros. So taxi rides which usually cost only £10.00 ($0.55) now cost 50.00€ ($53.00) for the same distance. A little upsetting to pay $53 for the same distance we usually paid only $0.55 for the day before. Talk about a shock.
We’re big divers so had our heart set to dive Marsa Alam. Looking back, would I say it was worth it? No, not so much. The diving was amazing and the resorts was very nice, however, it was too stressful getting there and back. I did very much like the different scenery and the change from Cairo, Luxor and Aswan. I think seeing the different sides of Egypt is what made our trip so special. But next time I think I’ll keep it simple and head to Hurghada instead.
What We Spent in Marsa Alam (Marsa Alam Red Sea Travel Budget)
Total Cost of 6 Days in Marsa Alam With and Without Diving
We spent $1,268 total for 6 days and nights in Marsa Alam. $695 of that was for 5-days of diving, so taking our diving package out of the total it comes out to $573 for 6 days in Marsa Alam for two people. That’s $48 per person per day without diving and $105 per person per day with diving.
4 Days in Luxor
Luxor is amazing! The entire city is like an open-air museum, with so many attractions, sites and things to do all on the east and west banks of Luxor. This is where all the high Pharaohs are buried and laid to rest. Rich nobles also commissioned their tombs in Luxor, some more lavish than the King Pharaohs’ tombs. In addition to the beautifully decorated underground tombs, Luxor also host several large temples complexes. If it’s not too hot outside when you visit Luxor, opt to bike around the west to all the historic sites. We were amazed by the lush green landscape of Luxor in contract to the desert and mountainous terrain.
What We Spent in Luxor (Luxor Travel Budget)
Total Cost of 4 Days in Luxor
We spent $200 total for 4 days in Luxor. That comes out to $25 per person per day. Luxor came out to be the cheapest city in our travels throughout Egypt yet had the most attractions and historical sites. Luxor is easy to get to and from and is truly an amazing open-air museum. Spend 3 days in Luxor or 3 weeks, Luxor has so much to offer we definitely want to come back again and again.