How to Travel Solo to Egypt on a Budget
Who said Egypt is only known for its mummies, pyramids, and historical monuments? Those are just some of the many reasons to visit the country. In fact, there is so much more to explore and learn. On your solo trip to Egypt, you will not only have a cultural experience but also learn many new things.
However, travelling to Egypt can be pretty expensive. The cost of accommodation, transportation, food, visiting places, and shopping adds up and burns a massive hole in your pocket! But you can always plan your trip beforehand, instead of reaching your destination and then figuring out what to do. This will reduce your expenses and leave you with extra money to spend elsewhere. I know planning a trip can be a difficult task. And when you need to plan one within a specific budget, it can get very challenging. Due to this, you might even take a pass on some of the best places to see.
I don’t want you to go through this and miss out on all the fun things in Egypt. Having travelled to Egypt myself, I can say that it’s tough, but not impossible. Read this blog to find out how you can travel solo to Egypt on a budget!
Let’s plan first
Apart from Cairo and Giza, you can explore cities like Luxor, Alexandria, Aswan, Hurghada, and Sharm El-Sheikh. If you are on a short trip, I would suggest picking at least three cities from the list. That way, it will feel like a good wholesome trip! And I’m pretty sure Egypt will convince you to revisit to explore the rest of the places!
1. Accommodations on a budget
No matter what your budget is, you can always find a good place to stay in Egypt. You also get excellent services and safety, depending on how much you are willing to spend. Here are some of the best hotels and hostels that you can choose from.
Cleopatra Hotel Luxor
Located within a couple of hundred metres of most tourist attractions in Al Bairat is Cleopatra Hotel Luxor. The rooms here are quite large, and the hotel has an antique vibe. All necessary amenities like free Wi-Fi, excellent room service, laundry, safety lockers, airport transfer, and free parking are available here. One thing that is worth mentioning is the cleanliness of the rooms. It feels almost like your home and not a hotel. If you think that is all, the price will blow your mind. All it costs is $11 (172 EGP) for a night’s stay!
Valencia Hotel Downtown
This 3-star hotel is located right in the centre of Cairo with a popular neighbourhood. The best part about this hotel is that they have excellent service. Most of the staff speak English, so you will never have a problem here. Facilities like 24×7 security, free Wi-Fi, rental cars, air conditioning, bathtub, desk, fireplace, kitchenware, microwave, refrigerator are accounted for. I know many things are a bit extra. But all of this adds up for a fantastic experience at this hotel for $25 (392 EGP) per night.
Nefertiti Hotel Luxor
This is one of the most famous hotels in Luxor, thanks to its prime location. They have all the basic amenities that you need at a hotel. There is also a 24-hour front desk where the staff is ready to help you at all times. Additionally, they have a library where you can spend some time reading books and unwind. If you are in the mood for some barbeque, why go to a nearby restaurant? It has a restaurant that serves amazing barbeques. A night here costs $16 (250 EGP).
Cairo Hub Hostel
If you are travelling on a budget, you should definitely consider staying in hostels. Not only are they cheap, but they also ensure safety. One such hostel is Cairo Hub Hostel. In addition to all the basic facilities, they have a game room where you can interact with fellow hostelers. If you are an outgoing person, unlike me, you will have a lovely time here. Bowling, darts, canoeing, and hiking are some of the activities that the hostel can arrange for you. For as little as $7 (110 EGP), you can choose a hostel that is rated exceptionally at 9.9 out of 10!
2. Transportation on a budget
Egypt has all kinds of transportation facilities. The cities are well-connected, and travelling from one place to another is a piece of cake! The most common forms of transport for long distances are buses and trains. However, if you are in a hurry and want to get somewhere quick, taxis are your best option.
If you wish to travel by train, you can choose from three carriages. The first and the second are usually air-conditioned, so opt for them. Do note that railways are centred around Cairo as it is the capital and the biggest city. Mainline trains run from Cairo to Aswan via Luxor; Sallum via Mersa Matruh; Alexandria via Tanta; Damietta via Mansurah; Ismalia; Suez.
Bus and tram
Other modes of public transportation are buses and trams. They are available from early morning to late at night and are well-connected. So, whenever you wish to travel within the city, bus/tram is an option worth considering. But it is usually jam-packed, and finding space even to stand can get quite challenging! Another drawback is that the names of the destination on the bus/tram are written in Arabic, so you might not understand anything. All in all, it is an excellent budget-friendly option if you find space to sit or even stand!
The most common mode of transport that I used on my solo trip was a taxi. These are usually inexpensive and efficient and are easily available in touristy areas. There is also a government-run Limousine Misr that runs at all times of the day. It is slightly more expensive but provides services if you are outside Cairo, round the clock. Apart from that, you also have access to Uber in the cities of Cairo and Alexandria.
Click here to learn more about transportation in Egypt.
Mode of transport
Well-connected and comfortable
$17-38 (270-600 EGP)
Bus and tram
Inexpensive and easy availability
Starts from $0.06 (1 EGP)
Quick and safe
Base price - $1 (15 EGP)
3. Visiting places on a budget
There are so many tombs, pyramids, temples, museums, and other touristy places in Egypt that require an entry ticket. You can skip a few places that resemble the ones that you have already visited. However, I think it is okay to spend a little extra on visiting the tourist attractions that are historical milestones! After all, this is the reason most of us travel. And trying to skimp on this will leave your solo trip incomplete!
Pyramids of Giza
The pyramids of Giza are one of the seven wonders of the ancient world and the only one that still exists today. The three pyramids are located on the Giza Plateau and house the tombs of the ancient pharaohs. These pyramids are 138 metres high and are the true gem of Egyptian tourist attractions. The entry fee varies depending on how many of the pyramids you wish to see. Regardless, I would suggest that you explore all of them without thinking about the price!
Citadel of Saladin
This is one of the many UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Egypt and one of the most beautiful places you should visit in Cairo. As the name suggests, it was built by the famous ruler Saladin to protect Cairo and Fustat, which was the capital at that time. There are several beautiful mosques and Joseph’s Well inside the citadel. The entry fee is less than the cost of an average meal, and you get to see a lot for that price!
Valley of the Kings
Often referred to as the world’s most magnificent burial ground, the Valley of the Kings is a famous tourist attraction in Luxor. While there are 63 tombs and chambers inside, only around twenty actually contain the remains of kings. One such tomb contains the remains of the famous king Tutankhamun, who took the throne at the age of 8 or 9. There are various tombs here with separate entrance fees. Again, I recommend that you check out all of them as this is one of the most historical places in Egypt for sure!
You will need not more than two days to explore Luxor if you are on a short solo trip. This city, otherwise known as an open-air museum, has some spectacular temples and ancient remains. Many tourists hire a local guide for the day tours via a scammy travel agency. And honestly speaking, these local guides sound like school students who’d mug up on history books before taking exams. They tell you everything in one breath that you can barely understand!
I’d recommend you book a local guide via Airbnb Experience. Most of the tour guides on Airbnb are either students or people with a passion for travel. You can also save a huge sum of money if you go for the latter! You can read more about my experiences in Luxor here.
Alexandria isn’t your average tourist spot that you can explore within a couple of hours and get done with. It is one of the most famous cities in the country and an important industrial centre too. It was once known to have the largest library in the world. Unfortunately, only the remains of that remain today! And it is something away from all the dust and history, unlike the other cities in Egypt.
Alexandria has got some beautiful beaches, and YES, you heard that right! I really hope I’m not the only person who thought Egypt was just about pyramids and mummies! Thanks to Hollywood movies and cartoons for all the inspiration! The best part is that all the chic cafes are located a stone’s throw away, no matter where you are.
4. Restaurants on a budget
If you are hungry while exploring the places in downtown Cairo, there is always a snack that you can find around the street corners to have on the go. There are many street vendors selling piping hot corn and sweet potatoes near the bazaars. Trust me, they instantly give you the energy that you need for the rest of your day tour. They’re healthy and inexpensive too!
And don’t worry, I also know some restaurants that serve mouth-watering dishes. What about the cost, you ask? Well, the best part is that an average meal in Egypt doesn’t cost as much as you think. So, while you are here, why not try out some of the top restaurants that serve excellent dishes?
Whenever I think of food in Egypt, Samakmak is the first restaurant that comes to my mind. Known for its seafood dishes, it has a friendly atmosphere and a homely vibe. It might not be the most flashy, but their dishes will make you revisit it. There are various branches of Samakmak all around Egypt, and you can visit any one of those. An average meal costs $16 (250 EGP), which might be high, but is worth it for dinner at least once on your trip.
Koshary Abou Tarek
Koshary is one of the well-known local dishes. And this famous restaurant serves some of the best in Egypt. Unfortunately, it is always crowded with tourists and locals, so finding a table can be challenging! However, do check them out whenever you are in Cairo. I was lucky to have a meal here, which cost me around $10 (156 EGP). Totally worth it!
If you have had enough of the local dishes and want something familiar, then head to Chez Gaby. Located in Alexandria, it offers excellent Italian food. For only $10 (156 EGP), they offer a lot more than you can imagine! From pasta to pizzas, they have it all here. While the food is fantastic, the ambience, vibe, and overall experience are worth mentioning. It is unlike any other that I had in the country, and I totally loved it.
This restaurant in Giza Governorate offers outdoor seating with a gorgeous ambience. Andrea Mariouteya is one of my favourite restaurants in Egypt, hands down! No matter at what time you decide to go to this restaurant, you will thoroughly enjoy yourself. It costs around $20 (315 EGP) for a meal and beverages, which is standard for a delicious lunch or dinner.
5. Shopping on a budget
Is your solo trip really complete without shopping? I don’t think so. I always look out for places where I can buy souvenirs. Most of us do. Good for us, Egypt doesn’t disappoint when it comes to shopping!
Souk Al Fustat
Souk is another name for an Arabic market or a bazaar, and you will find many such bazaars in the country. The Souk Al Fustat is located in Cairo and primarily attracts tourists. They have a massive variety of things, most of which are handmade. Do note that your bargaining skills are of no use here as the prices are fixed. However, the products they sell are of great quality, and you will never feel that you have paid anything extra.
Aswan is not the most popular tourist location, but you will not regret it one bit if you decide to visit this ancient city. The best thing to take home from here is the high-quality spices. You can find these at an affordable rate. Other than that, every item you can think of as a souvenir is sold here, including clothes, jewellery, bags, and handmade items.
Han El Halili
This market is one of the most popular in Cairo, and you can find many souvenir shops here. It is also known for books, and you can get your name gilded on it. If you feel hungry after shopping to your heart’s content, you can always visit one of the many restaurants here that serve excellent local food.
Sharia El Souk
Located parallel to the Nile River, this is one of the lesser crowded markets in the country. So, if you love shopping in quiet environments, this is the place to be at! You can find almost everything such as spices, clothes, bags, carpets, souvenirs, among many other things, at this bazaar. Keep in mind that these things can be really expensive, so be prepared to haggle a lot!
Can you travel to Egypt on a budget?
I know Egypt is a fairly expensive country to travel to. But if you plan your trip in advance and follow most of these things, you will have a great time. You can then strike Egypt off your bucket list. Once you come back, you’ll realise that it wasn’t as expensive as you thought it would be. Make sure that you pack these things for your solo trip so you wouldn’t need to buy anything unnecessarily in the country. So, what are you waiting for? It’s time to pack your bags and fly to Egypt. Bon voyage!
An introverted blogger who is looking to make unforgettable solo travel memories with one short life.