Egyptian Budget Travel Guide: Cost of Traveling to Egypt

By Mark Wiens 18 Comments
Budget Travel Egypt
Travel in Egypt – Budget Travel Egypt

In comparison to Europe or North America, everyday expenses in Egypt are low.

From SE Asia, prices are quite similar with regards to food, accommodation and living expenses.

Vegetarian meals can be eaten for less than $1 per meal and beds can be bought for around $4 a night.

Egypt is blessed with an abundance of magnificent ancient historical sites – but almost all charge entrance fees.  The normal fees for each site range from about 30 LE – 80 LE ($5.20-$13.85)(1/2 price for students), which seems like quite a bit when thinking in Egyptian terms, but is really quite reasonable considering the significance.

Egypt was a little bit of a different story from my usual traveling habits.  My budget was a little higher than usual, aiming to see first hand the ancient sites that I had dreamed about.

At the end of my stay, I managed to see almost everything I wanted to see, eat my fill of Egyptian street food and kept a reasonable budget.

Egyptian Visa

Upon arrival for American citizens: $15 USD, payable at a bank (in the airport) before going through customs at Cairo International Airport.

18 Days Cost of Traveling to Egypt: 

(What I spent)

$394 + $15 Visa = $409 USD (2362 LE)

Average per day = $22.72 USD (131 LE)

NOTE: I will use 1 USD = $5.77 Egyptian Pounds (LE)

Cost of Traveling to Egypt
Abu Simbel – Cost of Traveling to Egypt

Main Places I Went in Egypt:

At the Siwa Oasis in Egypt
At the Siwa Oasis in Egypt

What I spent most of my money on:


The first word I learned in Egypt was baksheesh. The most common form of baksheesh revolving around tourists is a combination of tipping and permission for favors (in monetary form).

The tourism industry in Egypt is run on baksheesh, from paying a Pound to use the bathroom to a random guy or giving a guard 5 LE to show you some hieroglyphics.

It will be a part of your budget in Egypt if you like it or not.

Ancient Egyptian Historical Sites – 630 LE ($109.18)

(About 35 LE / day – but I didn’t go everyday)

Temple of Hatshepsut
Temple of Hatshepsut

My biggest cost of traveling to Egypt was entrance fees to historical sites which I had planned for and was not going to miss.  If you are not so much into history, your budget can be greatly reduced in this area.

If you are going to Egypt and want to see the ancient sites, entrance fees are inevitable. Student prices are almost always ½ the price of normal adult tickets. I attempted to use my over-due student card and received moderate success, depending on the ticket vendor (always worth a try).

ISIC Student cards are preferred and accepted at all the sites – very beneficial if you have it.

Egyptian Street Food
Cost of Egyptian Food

Food – 507 LE ($87.87)

(About 28.2 LE / day)

Exploring culinary traditional food from around the world is where my passion lays.

Egypt was no different and I ate a lot of local Egyptian street food and at the occasional sit down restaurant. Within this budget I also drank plenty of fresh fruit juices and fruit concoctions.

Tip: Vegetarian food throughout Egypt can be eaten for less than $1 / meal.  Meat on the other hand can easily cost 3-5 times more.

Egyptian Kofta
Egyptian Kofta


As usual, alcohol becomes quite an expense if you drink habitually.

Bars in Egypt are secluded into indoor areas with blocked windows. Beers usually run 15 – 30 LE ($2.60 – $5.20) per large bottle. Since drinking is not a part of many Egyptians, I steered mostly clear of alcoholic beverages and focused on historical sites and food.

Transportation in Egypt
Transportation in Egypt

Transportation in Egypt – 486 LE ($84.23)

Taxi: If you need to take a taxi, locate a white taxi, as they use the fare meter. A 30 minute ride will probably cost about 15 – 20 LE, quite affordable. Avoid the black taxis as you will probably be overcharged!

Cairo Metro: 1 LE for a ride

Microbus: Egyptians are very friendly and will attempt to point you in the right direction and show you which bus to take (may not always be right!). Need to have extra time and be flexible!

Distance Train: The train can be a little confusing and never completely made sense to me. I heard all kinds of stories about tourist’s only being allowed to purchase sleeper bed cars.

We arrived at Ramses Railway Station in Cairo to attempt to buy a 2nd class ticket to Luxor. The ticket vendor seemed to be sleeping or non-alert as the train arrived. We decided to just get on the train without a ticket and get charged on the train itself. We sat in 1st class seats.

It proved to be very comfortable and although we got moved once, we had great seats. 2nd class with 4 seats across is also very sufficient with loads of leg space.

Tip: You can always talk to a train attendant to see if he has open seats somewhere, if he directs you to a better seat, a little tip (baksheesh) is necessary.

Check out Seat 61 for the best information on trains.

Accommodation in Egypt
Accommodation in Egypt

Accommodation – 119 LE / 5 Nights ($20.62)

(About 23.8 / night)

Here’s where I slept:

There is a wide range of accommodation is Egypt. I did a combination of couchsurfing, staying at hostels, sleeping on a felucca sailboat and taking overnight transportation.

It is possible to find decent guest houses and hotels for 20–30 LE ($3.47 – $5.20) per night.  Some places are better than others and some offer dorm rooms or rooms with 2-4 beds.

2 Night, 3 Day Felucca (Egyptian Sailboat) Trip

From Aswan, it is possible to take a felucca sailboat trip and end up back in Luxor. Most hotels / guest houses in Aswan offer a package deal, but it’s good to ask around to compare prices.

We began our Nile felucca sailing trip in the afternoon, stopped for dinner and the night, waited around in the morning, sailed in the afternoon again, stopped to eat and sleep, got dropped off on the bank of the Nile in the morning, got picked up by a tour van, drove to Kom Ombo to stop at the temple, drove to Edfu to stop at temple, and finally arrived in Luxor at 2 pm the 3rd day.  All food and lodging was provided.

I booked through the Noorhan Hotel, paying a very low (haggled) 115 LE ($19.93) for the entire trip package.

Siwa Oasis Desert Safari

Siwa Safari Desert Oasis Tours: Tours in the Western Desert and Oases
Name: Sayed Abou Seif
Email: [email protected]
Phone: 002 010 6893687

Our full day desert safari package cost 150 LE ($26), including accommodation, dinner and breakfast the next day.  Find a group to go with.

Check out more information about traveling to the Siwas Oasis here.

Shopping / Souvenirs

There is an over abundance of tourist shopping in Egypt. Usually souvenirs at sites of interest are over priced, though with a fair amount of chitchat, there are deals to be made. The Aswan market souk is a great place to buy things to take home from Egypt.

I purchased my awesome Jellabiya for 65 LE ($11.40).


Egypt is a fascinating country to explore with depths of history and culture.

While most tourists tend to book pre-packaged trips directly out of the airport into their air conditioned buses, it’s rewarding to be your own tour guide and accumulate your own information. The cost of traveling to Egypt in my opinion is quite low for what you can do and see.