How Much Does a Trip to Egypt Cost: Budget Breakdown

Mar, 10, 2024

Our family of three traveled to Egypt for two weeks in August of 2023. Across our travels to Cairo, South Sinai, Mount Sinai, and Giza, we found Egypt to be incredibly affordable. This post will break down exactly how much we spent on our trip so that you can better estimate the cost of a trip to Egypt for yourself.

When researching about travel to Egypt, I immediately noticed it is a very affordable destination by American standards. Compared to American destinations, Egypt is very doable on a budget!

We stayed at some of the most luxurious hotels in Egypt, and our total Egypt trip cost was less than $1,700 per person including flights, food, accommodation, and excursions.

Mother and father holding hands with toddler son while walking in hotel garden with the great pyramid of Giza in the background

Our Egypt Itinerary

To best understand the budget breakdown of our trip, I think it’s important to understand exactly what we did and where we went. We were traveling as a family of three consisting of two adults and one two-year-old. Naturally, if you are traveling with more or fewer people, the costs will look different but you can scale them accordingly!

We spent two weeks traveling around the greater Cairo area and the Sinai Peninsula. We opted not to visit Upper Egypt (Luxor, Aswan, Valley of the Kings, Abu Simbel) because we knew we’d have our fill of Ancient Egyptian History right in Cairo and Giza. 

We began our trip with five days in downtown Cairo, followed by two days at the luxurious Marriott Mena House Hotel on the Giza Plateau. In Cairo, we hired a private tour guide for several days to take us to visit Coptic Cairo, Islamic Cairo, the Great Pyramids of Giza, and the Sphinx. On our own, we also visited the Grand Egyptian Museum, several beautiful churches and mosques, and a handful of easy-to-visit archaeological sites.

From Cairo, we flew to South Sinai and stayed at the posh Le Meridien Dahab resort (now called Retac Qunay) for several days. We also hired a private driver to take us to St. Catherine’s Monastery at the foot of Mount Sinai for a sunrise hike, where we stayed in the monastery’s guest house for a night. This was easily the highlight of our entire trip.

From the Sinai Peninsula, we flew back to Cairo to rest up for a day before our long trip back to the United States. We stayed at the Le Meridien Hotel connected to Cairo International Airport and were wowed by its amenities and service.

family of travel journalists dancing in the desert in front of the great pyramids of giza

Egyptian Currency and Conversion Rate to Dollars

Egypt uses Egyptian Pounds as its currency. We tried to get our hands on some Egyptian Pounds before we left the United States, but we found that most banks don’t carry them. As I recommended in my post on the most cost-effective ways to get foreign currency, we opted to withdraw Egyptian Pounds directly from ATMs in Cairo.

At the time of our travel, one dollar was worth about thirty Egyptian Pounds. As of March 2024, that is still the case, and the exchange rate has hardly varied between our trip and this article’s publication date.

Egyptian Visa Costs – $25 per Person

When you travel to Egypt, there are a few fixed costs you will need to pay that apply to all travelers. The most apparent of these is the visa fee. Most travelers visiting Egypt will need to attain a tourist visa before crossing through Egyptian immigration.

While there are several ways you can get an Egyptian tourist visa, our preferred way is the Visa on Arrival. The Egyptian Visa on Arrival is easy, quick, and more affordable than a traditional consular visa. 

To get a Visa on Arrival in Egypt, you will need to pay $25 in cash per person at the bank counters immediately before the immigration lines at your arrival airport. We went through this process in Cairo. Note that credit cards are not accepted, and you should bring US dollars.

The cost at the time of this post’s publication is $25 per person. As a family of three, we paid $75 in cash to obtain visa stickers, which were then put into our passports by Egyptian border control officers.

Our Cost of Flights to Egypt – $1,100 per Adult, $2,400 Total

We flew from Pittsburgh to Cairo through Washington D.C. on our way to Egypt. The first leg was on United, and the second leg was the direct Egyptair flight from Dulles International Airport to Cairo. This whole flight leg cost us about $500 per adult.

On our way home, we flew from Cairo to Pittsburgh through Rome Fiumicino Airport and New York’s JFK Airport, all ticketed by ITA Airways. This flight cost us about $580 per adult.

In total, our round-trip airfare from Pittsburgh to Cairo cost less than $1100 per adult. Our son was less than two years old, so his flights cost significantly less (about $200 round trip).

This airfare may seem low to many readers. A big reason for this is that we opted to travel during the low season instead of the high season. When you travel during the peak season, it isn’t uncommon for the cost of airfare to double because of the increased demand.

man holding an Egyptian visa in cairo airport
Here we are applying for our visa upon entry. You can read the full breakdown in our post: Entry to Egypt: How to Get an Egyptian Visa

Our Cost of Accommodation in Egypt – $1,445

I mentioned before that we opted to stay in some of the most deluxe hotels in the cities we visited. We stayed in the Steigenberger Hotel El Tahrir in downtown Cairo for three nights, the Le Meridien Hotel at the Cairo Airport for two nights, the Marriott Mena House Hotel on the Giza Plateau for two nights, the Le Meridien in Dahab for five nights, and the St. Catherine’s Monastery Guest House for one night. 

Our total cost of $1,445 breaks down to $481 per person for the whole trip, or $37 per person per night. Apart from the Guest House at Mt. Sinai, we stayed in all 4-5 star hotels. While staying in a mid-range hotel in each city would have saved hundreds of dollars, we found the prices of luxurious hotels to be very accessible.

Our Downtown Cairo Hotel Expense at Steigenberger El Tahrir – $361

The Steigenberger El Tahrir, a four-star hotel in the heart of downtown Cairo, cost about $120 per night after taxes. This totaled $361 for our stay. We loved this hotel’s posh amenities and found its location to be very convenient and safe.

The breakfast was a bit pricey, but very worth it at least once. The prices for drinks at the lobby’s bar were very reasonable and free snacks were included. We would have loved to stay here for more time, and the price felt like a steal.

Street in Cairo with cars lining the sides

Our Giza Plateau Hotel Expense at the Marriott Mena House – $234

The Marriott Mena House is widely regarded as the top hotel in all of Egypt. It is a former royal palace that has been converted to a 5-star hotel, and it is located within walking distance of the Great Pyramids of Giza. We elected to pony up for a room with a direct, uninterrupted view of the Great Pyramid of Khufu.

Full disclosure, we used Marriott rewards points to help soften the blow of this hotel. We used a total of 60,000 Marriott rewards points and $234 to cover our two-day stay at this incredible property. Had we paid the full price without using points, the cost would have been $478 per night.

All things considered, even that price is a steal. While it is way outside of our budget range, I can’t begin to describe how glamorous this hotel is. I have stayed in some of the top hotels in the world, and this is truly in the upper echelon. 

A comparable room in the United States would probably cost about $2,000-2,500 per night.

This hotel’s amenities are top-notch. Its swimming pool and workout facilities are world-class, its multiple restaurants are wonderful, and the service is top-notch. I rarely leave a property with an immediate urge to return, but this hotel has been calling me back ever since. We did not partner with this hotel, and my words are my own.

Our Cairo Airport Hotel Expense at Le Meridien – $220

Generally speaking, airport hotels leave much to be desired. At the Le Meridien at the Cairo Airport, this is not the case at all. This property blew our socks off.

This five-star hotel is packed with amenities ranging from exquisite dining options to a full-service coffee shop, a great pool, great lounge spaces, and more. On top of that, it is connected directly to the airport by a pedestrian bridge! Rather than navigating an airport shuttle (which they do run for free) or hailing an Uber, you can walk right across into the airport terminal.

We stayed at this hotel before flying home. It was the very end of our trip, and apart from one final excursion to check out some churches in Cairo, we just wanted to relax while here. The Le Meridien Cairo Airport Hotel wound up being the perfect place for just that.

We stayed in this hotel for two nights at $110 per night. So, for a two-night stay in a deluxe five-star hotel, we only paid $220.

precious pregnant woman holding her small bump while wearing a blue swimsuit by a pool
We were able to enjoy the pool during our brief 24-hour stay at the Cairo Airport Hotel (That’s our baby in there!)

Our Dahab Resort Expense at Retac Qunay Dahab Resort and Spa – $550

When we stayed at this resort, it was under the Le Meridien umbrella. It has since changed ownership and belongs to Retac Qunay. Still, at just $110 per night for the nicest room on the property with a private hot tub and sea view, it was a great deal.

This resort has a full-service coffee shop, a main restaurant, a separate restaurant that serves a specific cuisine (was Brazilian during our stay but might change due to the new management), and a pool bar. There is also a full-service spa, five pools, a private beach on the west bank of the Red Sea, and a recreation room.

While this resort was nowhere near as glamorous as the places we stayed near Cairo, it was still very nice. For just $110 per night, it is an absolute steal. The breakfast was especially great, with a strong blend of both Egyptian and Western foods.

To be fully transparent, we partnered with the resort’s previous management for a complimentary stay. They didn’t have the opportunity to review our post before it went live, and it was an honest review. 

While we didn’t pay for this stay, I would absolutely have paid $550 to stay here for five days and I would do so again. I receive no sort of compensation from the hotel for saying that, and my partnership with the property has since ended.

Our Mount Sinai Accommodation Cost at the St. Catherine’s Monastery Guesthouse – $80

We had the unique opportunity to spend a night at the St. Catherine’s Monastery Guesthouse at the foot of Mount Sinai. This is one of the oldest monasteries in the entire world, and they have several rooms available for guests to stay in, similar to a motel. This is by no means posh and it is very barebones, but the experience that we had was the best takeaway from our entire trip.

Getting a hold of the monastery to book a room was tough, but I wrote a whole section on how to book a room at the Guest House in my blog post about hiking Mt. Sinai. The going rate at the time was $80 U.S. dollars in cash. This included a small room with two twin beds, plus breakfast and dinner in the monastery’s meal hall. 

This was one of the most charming, personal, peaceful experiences I have ever had and I would highly recommend it to anyone. $80 was very steep for what we were given, but the money went to a great cause. While our trip included visits to the pyramids and other epic places, the tranquility we found on Mount Sinai was one of the best things we will forever remember from our trip.

Our Cost of Transportation Within Egypt (Uber, Domestic Flights, and Car Hires)

As I mentioned in my Cairo Travel Guide, the best way to get around Cairo and most other parts of Egypt is Uber. While there is decent public transportation in many parts of Egypt, we found Uber to be very reliable and incredibly affordable. Local transportation is usually my favorite way to get around in more expensive countries, but cheap Ubers are hard to beat.

In the United States, I rarely Uber because of the price tag. In Egypt, it is a whole different story. In cities where there is Uber (which is most major tourist hubs), rides are plentiful and very cheap.

Taxi drivers in Cairo have a questionable reputation, and Uber is a much better option. That is not to say that taxi drivers aren’t trustworthy, but Uber drivers are tracked by the app and all have to pass background checks. On top of that, there is no need to haggle when you use Uber.

mother in white and floral dress sitting in the back of an uber with her toddler son
We survived on Ubers and pre-booked drivers during our visit to Egypt.

Egypt Has Several Great Domestic Airlines

Egypt is also served by a couple of domestic airlines that offer competitive airfare. We flew on both Egyptair and Nile Air during our time in Egypt, and we had nothing but positive experiences. While Nile Air is a no-frills airline, we experienced great service and on-time arrivals.

If you hire a private tour guide, there is little need to secure transportation. Naturally, having a private driver is the easiest form of transportation. On the days that we had a driver, we found the rates to be very accessible and the service to be top-notch.

Many sources say not to drive in Egypt. I don’t fully agree or disagree with this advice. As a seasoned traveler who speaks a bit of Arabic, I’d absolutely be comfortable driving in Egypt – even in Cairo. Many of my friends, on the other hand, would not recommend it.

A typical ride across Cairo cost us less than $5. We stayed in downtown Cairo, and almost any part of the city could be reached for less than $15 in an Uber.

Our round-trip flights from Cairo to Sharm-el-Sheikh cost about $120 per adult, plus baggage. Egypt is a fairly large country, and domestic flights are often the cheapest way to get from point A to point B. A one-way ticket on Nile Air to Sharm from Cairo for $60 beats any kind of train or bus option easily.

Average Cost of Food While Visiting Egypt – $600

Generally speaking, food is very affordable when you visit Egypt. Depending on where you eat, prices range from unbelievably affordable to moderately pricey, in my experience.

If you eat at a good local restaurant that is frequented by both locals and tourists, you can expect to pay between $10-15 per plate for dinner. If you find a more local spot, you might pay more in the $5-10 range. Tourist-focused restaurants, like anywhere, charge much more.

We had a great meal at a falafel restaurant that included several appetizers, drinks, entrees, and a dessert for $40.

Street food is hit or miss, but will always be cheap. If you aren’t a local, your body might not agree with street food. However, if you decide to try it out anyway, you will probably only pay a couple of dollars for a filling meal of local food from one of the endless street vendors.

For our entire trip, we paid less than $600 for food. This includes three square meals a day ranging from street food to fine dining. Depending on your preferences and group size, this number is highly variable.

Expected Budget for Activities While Visiting Egypt (Museum Entrance Fees, Private Tours, etc.)

As I’ve commonly mentioned in this post, Egypt is a very affordable country to visit. With that being said, tourism is one of its biggest industries and there are certainly instances where visitors have to pay up for a good experience.

A Nile River cruise is a good example. There are plenty of Nile Cruise options that seem affordable and attract tourists. However, since just about everyone wants to go on a Nile River cruise when they visit Egypt, there are hundreds of providers.

With so many Nile cruise providers, there is a wide range of prices. Nice Nile River cruise options last several days and connect cities along the Nile River. Other options leave from a port in Cairo for dinner and return two hours later. There is always a spectrum, and you usually get what you pay for.]

We Opted for All Private Tours During Our Trip

We opted for all private tours during our trip. While group tours offer much more attractive prices, we were traveling with a toddler and wanted the flexibility that comes with having your own tour guide. At times when our son needed a nap, we were able to park the van and chat with our guide for a while.

While there is always a range of prices, I think it is most helpful to simply list what we paid to give you a general idea of normal costs. As always, I did extensive research before booking anything to make sure I balanced cost with quality. The prices I list below do not include tips.

  • Private full-day tour of the Giza Plateau (pyramids, sphinx, camel rides, and not-included lunch) – $70 
  • Museum entrance fees in Cairo – $82
  • Private driver for 48 hours from Dahab to Mount Sinai, plus private Bedouin Guide for the hike up Mount Sinai – $358
  • Private full-day tour of Coptic Cairo and Islamic Cairo (our tour guide Henry was INCREDIBLE) – $166

What to Know About Tipping in Egypt (Baksheesh!)

Baksheesh is an Arabic word that refers to tipping, and it has an infamous reputation in Egypt. While countries all over the world have different tipping norms, Egypt (along with many other parts of the Arab World) is very unique.

As a tourist in Egypt, you will be encountered with many “helpful individuals” in search of baksheesh. While it wasn’t as bad as we expected, demands for tips were still all over the place. One of the funniest ones occurred in the Cairo airport when the security officer who screened our luggage held his hand out for a tip.

Baksheesh is never obligatory. While it is important to respect cultural norms, many Egyptians take advantage of tourists they know have plenty of money. I recommend observing what Egyptians do, and following suit.

I recommend observing what Egyptians do, and following suit.

In my airport example, we were in the domestic terminal at Cairo International Airport. We were the only obviously non-Egyptian people passing through the security checkpoint at that time. None of the other groups before or after us were asked for Baksheesh, but we (clearly non-Egyptian people) were.

In a case like this, I advise that you smile politely and keep walking. You don’t owe them anything, and nothing will happen if you simply pretend you didn’t see them extend their hand.

On the other hand, when someone truly does provide a service or benefit for you, like a tour guide or a porter, it is commonplace to tip them. Tips vary greatly depending on the type and extent of service provided. I will say that I was normally moderate with my tips (or so I thought) and everyone I tipped expressed earnest gratitude. 

Cost of Booking Egypt Tour Packages Versus Planning Your Own Trip

I get a high off of planning travel. I take pride in that. I would never consider booking one of the seemingly endless Egypt vacation packages that are available.

I paid roughly $5,500 in total for my family of three (plus one in the womb!) to visit Egypt for two weeks. I received quotes on Egypt tour packages that cost almost that much per person.

With that being said, there are many wonderful tour providers in Egypt. I travel internationally very frequently and am very comfortable planning my own trips, regardless of the destination. I also speak many languages and feel comfortable in most parts of the world as a result.

If you have the financial capacity and prefer to let someone else handle things, booking an inclusive Egypt tour package could be a great idea. I’ve spoken to many travelers who went this route and had great experiences. Travel packages remove a lot of the hassle from trip planning, and most providers are willing to tailor your trip toward your desires and preferences.

With that being said, Egypt vacation packages tend to cost much more than self-planned trips. I paid roughly $5,500 in total for my family of three (plus one in the womb!) to visit Egypt for two weeks. I received quotes on Egypt tour packages that cost almost that much per person.

At the end of the day, it all boils down to your preferences, your budget, and your time and willingness to navigate things on your own.

If you want to plan a trip to Egypt on your own and don’t want to pay the price that comes with these private travel packages, I’d be happy to talk to you about your trip.



Hi, I'm Greg. I'm an avid traveler who has traveled to over 50 countries all around the world with my wife and kids. I've lived in Italy, Mexico, China, and the United States, and I dream of moving abroad again in the future. With this blog, I provide my audience with detailed destination guides to my favorite places and pro-tips to make travel as stress-free as possible.

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Meet The Author - Greg

Hi, I'm Greg. I'm an avid traveler who has traveled to over 50 countries all around the world with my wife and kids. I've lived in Italy, Mexico, China, and the United States, and I dream of moving abroad again in the future. With this blog, I provide my audience with detailed destination guides to my favorite places and pro-tips to make travel as stress-free as possible.