From the chaos of Cairo to the stunning silence of the Sahara, Egypt has it all. Wander the impressive Egyptian Museum, overflowing with priceless antiquities, or relax on the blissful beaches of the Red Sea.
One of the oldest civilization in the world, Egypt’s splendor doesn’t stop with its ancient wonders. Visit the bustling bazaars throughout the country’s cities, and chat with locals over a shisha pipe in a cafe. Travel Egypt for a mysterious and enthralling experience that will leave you with more questions than answers.
Read on for our Egypt budget travel guide!
Population: 95 000 000
Experience the magical allure of the elusive Siwa Oasis in the great sand sea.
Be enthralled by the architectural wonders that are the Great Pyramids of Giza.
Talk to the gods atop Mt. Saint Katherine in the Sinai Peninsula.
Renowned in antiquity, the great Library of Alexandria has been rebuilt.
Egypt has been hit hard by recent political crisis’, and the cost of travel in this already inexpensive country has plummeted. We enjoyed the local street food koshari frequently, where we could get a filling meal that set us back only $0.57. Couchsurfing is a great option in Egypt, as the locals are usually quite friendly, but you can crash in a dorm for $3, or a double bedroom for $5. Overall, we spent less than $1000 in two months of thorough travel through Egypt. Be careful, though. Egyptians are masters at the art of getting tourists to pay more than they should. Chai tea should cost 2-5 Egyptian pounds, but merchants will try to convince you to pay 20. Observe what locals are paying for things, and try to get the same price. Bargain is the name of the game.
Air travel to Egypt is usually pricey, so start looking at flights well before your travel dates and book early. Your best bet is to fly into Cairo International Airport (CAI), and from there you can take overland transport to start your exploration of Egypt, or connect with a domestic flight to a far-reaching area. For more specific locations, Borg Al Arab (HBE) serves Alexandria, and Sharm el Sheikh and Hurghada both have international airports (SSH and HRG respectively) that are particularly popular among European countries. Other smaller international airports in Egypt are located in Sohag (HMB), Aswan (ASW), and Luxor (LXR), so take out your pen, paper and calculator and start researching your options!
Is it safe to travel to Egypt? It depends. There is a lot of bad press about Egypt right now, and any good news goes unpublished. Just be smart. Don’t post ridiculing photos of law enforcement online, steer clear of demonstrations and abide by social codes. Be respectful of the local culture, drink bottled water, don’t wear a t-shirt with an American flag and dress modestly. Avoid the contentious areas such as North Sinai and the Libyan border. Regardless of your choice, the situation in Egypt remains potentially unstable so keep yourself updated and trust the locals. Scorpions are a thing and love slipping in sleeper’s shoes. Be sure to travel with a reputable travel insurance.
When to go
For Egypt, temperature is the best determining factor of when to visit. The country gets very hot between May and September, so try to avoid visiting during those months, particularly if you are interested in exploring desert regions like Siwa Oasis and the Sinai peninsula. Temperatures are routinely 40 degrees Celsius or more under the desert sun. Prices are highest in peak tourist season between December and January, but you can still find cheap deals if you do a little research and behave like a local: steer away from the geared-for-tourist options and check online to book accommodations after overnight buses. Fall seems to be the ideal shoulder season for traveling to Egypt.
Why we love Egypt
Egypt had been on our short list of travel destinations for years, and when we finally stepped out onto the footsteps of pharaohs all we could think was, ‘why didn’t we come here sooner?’ For one, we love the culture. We had engaging encounters with locals who were as curious about us as we were of them. The vast majority of people were incredibly friendly and accommodating, and we never felt unsafe. Then there is the diversity. Despite its homogeneous reputation, Egypt is home to several different cultures and ways of life. And of course, the history. The still-standing architecture of the past is enigmatic and awe-inspiring. We felt so privileged to be privy to the exquisite tombs and mysterious pyramids that sprinkle across this barren landscape. The sheer history and complexity makes this country unlike any other.