Is Egypt expensive? Our budget Egypt travel guide
Egypt is not an expensive country to travel in - it’s very budget friendly. It’s an incredible destination, from the hustle and bustle of Cairo to the mighty Nile, the marine life of the Red Sea, and the treasures and monuments left by ancient civilizations.
You don’t need to spend a fortune to have a wonderful travel experience here. In this Egypt travel guide, we share tips and insights into how to travel Egypt on a budget.
The cost of transport in Egypt
People often ask, is it expensive to visit Egypt? In fact, there are a number of budget-friendly ways to get around, depending on where you’re headed. If you’re looking to explore Egypt, Cairo is often the best place to start .
Type of travel
Affordable and fast
Not the cheapest way to travel. Most timetables are only available in Arabic
Cheap, comfortable, reliable
Can be delayed, and you are limited to set bus routes
Serviced taxis are an affordable and convenient option
Private taxis may overcharge. Agree a price before travelling
A Nile cruise is a great way to reach historic sites
Quality is variable; not a cheap way to travel
Freedom to travel when and where you wish
Roads can be dangerous, service stations are rare in remote areas.
Train travel in Egypt
Egyptian Railways offer comfortable trains on routes between Cairo, Alexandria, Port Said, Luxor, Aswan, and Suez. Most tourists choose air-conditioned trains, some of which are sleeper services. Non air-conditioned trains are much cheaper, but can be crowded and slow.
Travelling by bus
Most major routes have good bus services with comfortable, air-conditioned vehicles. You can buy tickets at bus stations in most towns. Services run frequently throughout the day, and there are even some overnight buses too.
Taxis in Egypt
You will find serviced taxis a good, cost-effective travel option in Egypt transport. These are seven-seater vehicles or small buses that operate on specific routes from a central terminal. As soon as the vehicle is full of passengers, it will depart.
Traditional taxis are also available, at a higher price. You can also hire a car and a driver to take you to a specific destination. It’s a good idea to negotiate hard on prices, as they can be over-inflated for tourists.
Travelling by boat
Cruising the Nile is a longstanding tradition, and you can often book cabins locally. Quality can vary, and some luxury cruises are very expensive. If you can view the boat before paying, it’s often advisable.
Renting a car
Car rental is also an option to explore Egypt, although driving can be more demanding than at home. The minimum age for driving is 25, and you will need an international driving licence.
There are plenty of service stations for fuel in towns and cities, but they are much more sparse in rural areas, so fill up when you can. Petrol prices are very cheap - a litre can cost as little as 30 pence.
Cost of flights to Egypt
There are various departure airports in the UK as well as destinations in Egypt. Prices can start fairly low, especially if you can be flexible about your departure date. Flight times are 5 to 6 hours.
Destinations of Sharm el Sheikh and Hurghada are well served by low-cost airlines and charter flights as part of package holidays. As a result, they can be a good source of bargains.
January and November are the cheapest months to fly, but prices are generally lower between October and April .
The cost of accommodation in Egypt
Booking ahead will give you the best choice of hotels and the most control over the cost. Like anywhere, hotels vary widely in cost in line with their star rating, level of luxury and the level of demand.
Around the Red Sea, many hotels are four and five star and often all-inclusive, but you may still find a bargain in low season.
There are Airbnbs available all over Egypt, from rooms in a private house in Cairo to holiday villas in holiday resorts. You can find options to suit all budgets.
Campsites are most mainly found along the coast and are very basic. Some hotels offer camping in their grounds, often with ready-pitched tents and beds, which can be a more appealing and budget-friendly option.
The cost of food and drink in Egypt
Egyptian food is influenced by many countries, and you will find Turkish, Lebanese, Syrian, Greek and French cuisines. You will find more Mediterranean influences in the north and spicier cooking in the south.
Because Egypt is a Muslim country, places to buy and drink alcohol can be limited .
Where to eat in Egypt on a budget
So, is Egypt expensive for food? Fortunately, not! The exchange rate with Egypt makes food and drink very cheap by UK standards.
Cafes and street stalls offer simpler, cheaper meals than restaurants, particularly those targeted at tourists.
Staple foods in Egypt are bread, often pitta style, fuul (fava beans) and tamiya (falafel). These are often served as street food for a cheap price .
It’s always cheaper to buy from markets and stalls for ingredients to create your own meals than eat in a cafe or restaurant.
The cost of alcohol in Egypt
In tourist resorts alcohol is readily available at hotels and bars. It is not expensive by British standards, due to the exchange rate, but pricey compared with soft drinks. In more remote areas, it can be much more difficult to buy alcohol .
Egyptians enjoy tea as their national drink, and coffee is usually Turkish style - very strong. You will often find delicious juices on offer, too.
Best attractions in Egypt on a budget
If you are heading to Cairo and Luxor, you can’t miss the Pyramids or Valley of the Kings.
You can visit all the museums and archaeological sites with a Cairo Pass. The Luxor Pass gives you access to all archaeological sites on both the east bank and west bank of Luxor, but the tombs of Seti I and Nefertari are not included .
Get our Prepaid Currency Card and make spending on your trip easy
Ready to start planning your Egyptian adventure? At the moment, it isn’t possible to buy Egyptian pounds in the UK, due to a currency shortage. But you can make it simpler using the Travelex Money Card. Just load the card before you travel, and use it when you arrive to withdraw cash from ATMs and make contactless payments.
- Unveiling the trip to Egypt cost: A Budget Traveler’s guide 2023 (2023) Trip.com. Available at: https://www.trip.com/guide/info/trip-to-egypt-cost.html (Accessed: 28 September 2023).
- Flights to Egypt (2023) Skyscanner. Available at: https://www.skyscanner.net/flights-to/eg/cheap-flights-to-egypt.html (Accessed: 28 September 2023).
- Eating and drinking in Egypt (2023) Rough Guides. Available at: https://www.roughguides.com/egypt/eating-drinking/ (Accessed: 28 September 2023).
- Luxor Pass and Cairo Pass: Are they worth it? (2023) Earth Trekkers. Available at: https://www.earthtrekkers.com/luxor-pass-cairo-pass-are-they-worth-it/ (Accessed: 28 September 2023).