BUDGET TRAVEL IN EGYPT
After arriving in Egypt from Malaysia on my big trip, I was well prepared for my bank account taking a bit more of a hit.
What I didn’t expect once I landed (via Yemen, a story for another day) in Cairo was how cheap everything was, maybe the drop in tourism has a a lot to do with this.
Definitely a good surprise that’s for sure.
I’d say that paying for a room is reasonably comparable to South East Asia, depending on the area of course, some places dorms don’t seem to exist. But in the places they do, well, they are pretty good value.
In Luxor, southern Egypt, I was paying about $3.50AUa night for a three bed dorm room. It was one of the better hostels I’ve stayed in, incredibly helpful staff, great location and a $1.40AU breakfast !
Cairo did have dorm rooms but were a bit ‘pricy-er’ at around $8.00AU a night.
We took a 17 hour train journey from Cairo to Aswan for around $10 AU in second class. The trains are very cheap but you can forget about trying to line up to buy a ticket.
The ticket men are incredibly slow and then once it is your turn they just tell you to buy the ticket on the train, even though they will sell tickets to Egyptians.
You can buy the ticket when you get on the train (you pay a little extra) but be prepared to move every few stops as other people can book your seat as they have booked ahead. Sometimes you may not even get a seat, not cool for a long journey.
Otherwise the trains are a reasonably smooth journey and pretty hassle free although you may need industrial strength hand sanitizer after you use the toilets.
One of my favourite things is eating, but unfortunately Egyptian food isn’t exactly that healthy. It mostly consists of ‘foul’ (a bean mix), falafel (a rissole style bean mix) and koshari (mostly pasta and chick pea mix). But the good news it all tastes pretty good and if you find the right place it can be incredibly cheap.
In Cairo we found a busy little place where I got 3 falafel sandwiches for 4 Egyptian pounds (about $0.65AU) ! And it was good too.
But as with any place it just depends where you look, some places will charge 4 times that, but if you can get some local advice or look around a bit you can really get some bargain food (just be prepared for quick weight gain).
Most people won’t just sit around and eat, you’ll want to go do something. Seeing temples or sight seeing can add up if your not careful but if your from the western world the prices shouldn’t hurt too much.
Most temples were always around 80 Egyptian pound (around $13AU) or about half that if you had a student card. The guy I was travelling with at the time wasn’t actually a student but he had about 10 student cards he got made in China that he used, saving him quite a bit of cash. Not that I would recommend that 🙂
One of the best deals we got was going hot air ballooning in Luxor at around $35 a person ! I was going to go ballooning in Myanmar (about $320AU) but I’m glad I didn’t. I highly recommend trying it, the team was very professional and a lot of fun.
So as you can tell Egypt has surprised me as to it’s affordability. My budget was $30AU a day and I can say I comfortably stayed under that even with the odd temple and hot air balloon ride thrown in.
I find no matter what country you visit there will always be a way to cut your costs and stay close to budget but in Egypt you shouldn’t have a problem.
Adrian Landsberg started The Lifestyle Compound for his love of entrepreneurship and travel. In October 2103 he quit his job of ten years to chase his dream of going on a multi-country, bucket list smashing mission. Recently he has bungee jumped naked, walked the most dangerous hike in the world and trekked to Mount Everest Base camp. Adrian enjoys writing about building passive income, self improvement, travelling and living a life full of fun and passion.