Written by: Nadia
We dreamt about going to Egypt all our lives. In fact, we were about to go in 2013, but a few days before our trip, the social conflict arose in the country so we had to cancel. Then, in 2018, we saw a few of you were going to Egypt, so we decided to plan our trip. This is how we did it. In this post we will answer the most common questions about planning a trip to Egypt, we will give you some tips and we’ll discover our detailed budget. Ready? Let’s go!
WHEN IS THE BEST TIME TO VISIT EGYPT?
The best time of the year will be the fall or spring. It won’t be as hot as in summer but the weather will be nice. We already had a travel to Nepal planned for spring, so we decided to visit Egypt in October. It was quite hot though, almost 45 º C.
HOW CAN I FIND A CHEAP FLIGTH TO EGYPT?
It really depends on the country you are flying from. We always use Skyscanner to find cheap flights and we usually get stopover flights because they are cheaper. We got a flight with a stopover in Athens and it was quite a long one, so we visited Athens for one day. We walked the entire city and explored every main attraction. It was great!
HOW DO YOU MOVE ACROSS EGYPT?
You can use domestic flights but we had some time and wanted to keep it cheap, so we used the sleeping train to move among Cairo, Awsan and Luxor. It costs around 80 € one way.
GUIDE, AGENCY OR BY OURSELVES?
We didn’t want to go by ourselves this time because Egypt is pure History and you need somebody to explain all those things. We also didn’t wanted to go in a group trip with an agency because we value our privacy and freedom, so we decided we would hire the services of a private guide. We explored a few options and the most recommended guide in Egypt was Mohamed Hassan. We contacted him, told him what we wanted to see and the days we had and he designed an itinerary for us. He was an amazing guide and his knowledge of the History is impressive. He was very kind to us and took good care for us. He could only be with us the first 3 days but he left us in good hands, because he has contacts all over the country. The rest of the time we spend it with another guide also called Mohamed. We loved him! He was fun, wise, loving and professional. We felt him as part of our family. We really recommend them both, they are the best!
ITINERARY: WHAT ARE THE MAIN ATRACTIONS? HOW MANY DAYS DO I NEED?
You’ll need two months to see everything and seven days to see the basics. We had 10 full days, see we could see more than the basics. This was our itinerary:
- We got to our hotel in Cairo
- Cairo Museum
- Pyramids Sound and Light show in our hotel
- Giza Pyramids
- Sunset over the Pyramids in our hotel
- Sleeping train to Aswan
- Elephantine Island
- Boarding the cruise
- Philae Temple
- Abu Simbel
- Edfu Temple
- Kom Ombo Temple
- Museum of mummified crocodiles
- Luxor Temple
- We leave the cruise ship and head to our hotel in Aswan
- Karnak Temple
- Hatshepsut Temple
- Kings Valley
- Colossus of Memnon
- Dendera Temple
- Luxor Museum
- Sleeping train to Cairo
- Coptic district in Cairo
- Mosques, synagogues and churches of Cairo
- Travel Cairo-Athens-Madrid
Mohamed took care of everything. He booked the sleeping train and the cruise for us and everything except for the accommodation. We will post a travel diary where you’ll experience our trip and itinerary in detail through our words.
We chose our hotels wisely. We loved all of them and quite a few were very special:
Cairo (first two nights)
We stayed at Pyramids View Inn. Amazing choice. We got a room with a balcony and view over the three pyramids. It was absolutely incredible. We could see so close the pyramids from our own room. And the terrace of the hotel has an amazing view too. You can see the Light and Sound show for free from there! It costs 150 € for two people for two nights, breakfasts included!
We stayed in the Elephantine Island, not in Aswan itself. To cross the river, you must travel for 3 minutes in faluca and it costs 0,2 €. Our room had a nice Nile view and it breakfast was included. It costs 20 € for one night for two people.
We were very lucky with this one. We didn’t know when we booked, but it has views over the Luxor temple and its restaurant is Tripadvisor Number One for the city. It was the Nefertiti Hotel Luxor. It costs 30 € for one night for two people.
Cairo (last night)
We stayed in the Heritage Hostel Cairo, in Tahrir Square, next to the Museum. It was nice and safe and it costs 28 € for one night for two people.
Mohamed booked for us a room in Solaris II, an amazing and luxury cruise ship that really looked like Titanic inside. There was an amazing double stair, a restaurant, a party lounge, a bar and a beautiful swimming pool with solarium over the deck. We loves our stay and felt like Jack and Rose watching the sunset on the deck.
HOW SHALL I DRESS?
Bring summer clothes, as it will get really hot. In the most touristic places you can wear whatever you like, but in some places, like Cairo, if you are a woman, you shouldn’t show your legs or your shoulders. The best colors to take pics are white, red and blue!
WHAT ABOUT THE TIPS?
It’s not mandatory but it is expected. You are expected to tip the guides and drivers and you should do. Anybody who gives you a service expects a tip from you. Of course, the tip won’t be the same for a guide who’s been with you for days and for a waiter.
IS IT A DANGEROUS COUNTRY?
Not really. Just take care, like everywhere else. Don’t go to places you are not supposed to do and be respectful. Your guide and drivers will always protect you so you feel safe. And police is all the time taking care of you. Don’t worry, you will be ok!
DO WE NEED ANY SPECIAL VACCINATION?
No, just the common ones.
DO I NEED A VISA TO ENTER THE COUNTRY?
Yes, it is mandatory. But the process is very simple. Before the passport control in the airport (Cairo, Luxor, Aswan or whatever), you’ll get a form you’ll have to fill in. Pay the tax and it’s done.
Here you can find our detailed budget. It was a tailored trip, so have in mind yours might differ. The cruise ship includes all meals and we also had the meals in Cairo included. Just drinks were paid apart. The prices are per person:
Guide pack, including all visits for 10 days, cruise, transfers and sleeping train: 880 €
Meals in Luxor and Aswan: 35 €
Beverages: 16 €
Hotels: 114 €
Flights: 225 €
Tips: 30 €
Total budget per person for 11 days: 1300 €
Remember it is valid just for our trip, because it was completely customized. Yours might be higher or lower depending on your itinerary. For us, it was priceless because it was a dream come true. We had our trip tailored and designed just for us and honestly, it doesn’t differ that much from a group trip!
Remember we’ll soon post our travel diary, so stay tuned!