Lets face it, some countries are expensive, some are very cheap and others are somewhere in between. The burning question if you are thinking of visiting Egypt is can Egypt be visited on a budget? Stuart Cheese, the UK Director of Operations for One World Tours says yes it can and tells you how to make the best of your money.
1. Take and Organized tour
Egypt is an expensive place to “wing”, so while you could just turn up at the airport and go for it, my number one tip for keeping to a budget is to book a tour. 7 days including Cairo, Aswan, Abu Simbel and Luxor will only cost you around £200 and that includes all your transfers, accommodation and site visits. A very good start to Egypt on a budget.
2. If you take a taxi – go straight to where you are going, do not get taken somewhere you had not planned on going to. Whether you are taking an organised tour or not. If you have free time, then you may decide to take a taxi ride somewhere. If you do, be sure to make 100% that you do not want to make any stops en-route. Taxis in Egypt are very cheap, but unfortunately, they will often suggest you stop off at perfume shop etc. They do this simply because, they will be on a kick back from the shop owner on anything you buy. So do keep this in mind.
3. Felucca on the Nile in Luxor
If you have an afternoon free, then a really inexpensive afternoon is a Felucca sailing on the Nile in Luxor. If you set out about 1 o’clock in the afternoon, you’ll sail up river to Banana Island where you’ll have a while to have a wander around and get a drink if required. Sailing back you will get to see the sun setting over the Valley of the Kings. It’s a stunning site and well worth the £5 – yes £5, it will cost you for the sailing. A truly magical afternoon
4. Food is CHEAP !!!
Not much more to add to this. Food in Egypt, not matter where you eat is very cheap indeed. If you go western (takeaway), then you can expect to only pay about 1/3 of the price. If you eat at local (Egyptian) restaurants, then you will be looking at a 3 course meal and drinks costing you around £5 (GBP). Now that’s a holiday in Egypt on a budget !
5. Sound and Light shows
If you have decided to take in the Sound and light shows (in particular at Philae Temple and Karnak), there is a strong argument for not visiting them in the daylight. The sound and light show at Karnak is stunning and I actually think it’s even better than visiting in the daylight and Philae in Aswan is the same – The sailing back across the Nile twth the Temple lit up is worth the money alone. I would not suggest missing The Pyramids in the daytime though – these would definitely be seen during the day and at night
6. Don’t pay for extras you do not need
A little planning can save you time and money. The Valley of the Kings is a perfect example. When you buy your entry ticket, it gives you access to the Valley but more importantly to 3 tombs. This is where research comes in. You can of course buy extra tomb tickets, but to be honest, if you pick the right 3, then there’s just no need to look at the others which will come in as very poor seconds. A note here is also that you have to pay extra to get into King Tuts tomb. Only do this if you really want to say “I have been in Kings Tuts tomb”, otherwise give it a miss, it’s definitely not the best of the tombs in the Valley of the Kings.
7. Overnight trains
why pay for a night in a hotel ? Overnight trains from Cairo to Aswan / Luxor and from Luxor / Aswan to Cairo are great for a couple of reasons. 1 They are very cheap and 2, they take the place of an overnight hotel stay. So you not only do not have to waste a whole day travelling (the train ride from Cairo to Aswan is around 12 hours) but you lso save on not needing a hotel for the night. If you happened to want extra comfort, you can actually upgrade to a private sleeper cabin on the trains and whilst it will cost you about £35 you get a bed, an evening meal and breakfast. So once again a great little budget tip
8. Don’t give Baksheesh to everyone who asks for it ! If you do not know what Baksheesh is, you will do by the time you get back from Egypt. Baksheesh is a tip in Egypt for doing just about anything, this can be carrying your bags, taking a photo for you, being in a photo with you ! or even in the case of children, a tip just for the asking. So just be careful, if you gave to everyone who asked for it, you would end up having anything but a budget holiday in Egypt !
9. Take lots of pens !
This may sound odd, but if you offer an Egyptian child a pen or a quid, the kids will take the pens every time. Pens are hard to come in Egypt and so if you take a box of 50, you’ll be very popular indeed.
10. Have a big breakfast
Don’t forget that breakfast will almost certainly be included in your hotel stay, so make the most of it and have a hearty breakfast and with most hotels (although you may have to ask) if you are leaving early, they will even box up a continental breakfast for you.