Tim Egypt 73 Comments

If you are planning a trip to Egypt, there is no doubt that you have a lot of questions. Should you hire a guide? What places should you visit? What do you need to pack? And the most popular question of all…is Egypt safe to visit?

We spent 12 days in Egypt at the end of December 2019. During this time, we visited Cairo, Giza, Luxor, Abydos and Dendera, Aswan, and Abu Simbel. For various reasons, we chose to drive along the Nile River from Luxor to Aswan, rather than taking a cruise, which I will address in this article. We learned a lot during our visit and have a lot of valuable information to share with you.

Since arriving home, we have received an overwhelming number of emails about safety and the expectations of a trip to Egypt. Tim has been answering these questions in great detail and we decided that it would be worth writing an article with answers to all of your questions.

Here are our Egypt travel tips. If you still have questions, let us know in the comment section at the end of this post.

Egypt Travel Tips

Where Should You Go?

Egypt contains some of the oldest, grandest sites in the world. Sure, everyone is familiar with the great pyramids on the Giza Plateau, but there is a lot more to Egypt than just the pyramids. The lesser known and more fun to visit pyramids in Saqqara and Dahshur are well worth the day trip from Cairo. You can also spend a day or two visiting the churches and mosques in Cairo, walking through Old Cairo, and getting a history lesson at the Egyptian Museum. 

Alexandria, with its location on the Mediterranean Sea, makes a nice day trip from Cairo.

In Luxor, not only can you visit the exquisitely decorated tombs of the ancient kings and queens of Egypt, but there is also the enormous Karnak Temple and the Temple of Luxor. The West Bank contains so many tombs and temples that it takes days, yes days, to see all of them. It is one of the largest open air museums in the world.

Queen Hatshepsut Temple Egypt Travel Tips

Temple of Queen Hatshepsut on the West Bank of Luxor

In Aswan, drift on the Nile in a felucca and visit the beautiful Philae Temple.

Philae Temple Egypt Travel Tips

Philae Temple

Abu Simbel, a temple that is located near the border with Sudan, is well worth the time. This temple is dedicated to the Ramesses II. In the 1960’s the entire temple, including the mountain of rock it was carved into, was painstakingly disassembled and moved to higher ground, as water levels rose after the construction of the Aswan High Dam.

Tim and Tyler Abu Simbel Egypt Travel Tips

Tim and Tyler at Abu Simbel

If you want some chill time, check out the opulent resorts in Hurghada.

Finally, add some adventure to your trip by visiting an oasis in the Sahara Desert.

We didn’t have enough time to get to everything on this list, so hopefully you’ll see us back in Egypt within the next few years to explore some new places.

Valley of the Kings Egypt Travel Tips

The tomb of Ramesses V and VI in the Valley of the Kings

When Should You Visit Egypt?

The best time to visit Egypt is the cooler months of the year: November through March. In the southern part of the country, at Luxor and Aswan, rain is unlikely. In Cairo, haze can be an issue in the morning during the winter months, so it’s best to time your visit to outdoor sites (such as the pyramids of Giza) to the afternoon hours. During the winter months, it can rain in Cairo and Alexandria.

Expect the biggest crowds in December and January.

During the summer months, temperatures can be oppressive. Temperatures can range from 40 to 55°C (104 to 130°F). In Luxor and Aswan, this is a dry heat, but up north around Cairo and Alexandria, the humidity can make the heat feel even worse.

Luxor Temple Egypt Travel Tips

Luxor Temple

Visa on Arrival

Most visitors to Egypt will need a Visa.

If you are a citizen of the USA, the European Union, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Norway, Russia, and a handful of other countries, you can obtain a Visa on Arrival at the airport.

We recently received an update that Canadian citizens have to apply for a Visa with the consulate before arrival.

In the Cairo International Airport, just before passport control, there is a bank window where you will purchase your visa. It costs $25 USD and you will pay cash. Take the visa and your passport to passport control. The officer will add this visa to your passport and stamp your passport. It’s a very easy process.

SIM Cards

If you want a SIM card for your trip to Egypt, there is an Orange kiosk in the Cairo International Airport (near baggage claim) that can provide you with a SIM card. The process is fast and relatively cheap. You will need to show your passport and make sure that your phone is unlocked before your trip to Egypt. We had great cellular service throughout Egypt with Orange.

We have also had very good luck using Airalo, which is a company that sells e-SIM cards, in various countries in Europe. You can purchase your e-SIM prior to your trip and activate once in Egypt. This saves you time, since you don’t have to buy a SIM card once you arrive in Egypt. We have not used Airalo in Egypt but our experience in Europe has been fantastic, even in more remote areas.

Inside Karnak Temple Egypt Travel Tips

Inside Karnak Temple in Luxor

Is it Safe to Drink the Tap Water?

Do not drink the tap water, brush your teeth with the tap water, or eat uncooked foods that may have been washed with tap water (such as lettuce, uncooked fruits & vegetables, etc.). We used bottled water for drinking and to brush our teeth.

Bring Your Own Toilet Paper

The bathrooms at the tourist sites are not typically stocked with toilet paper, so it is a very good idea to bring some with you.

Be Prepared to Tip the Bathroom Attendant

In Egypt, most bathrooms have an attendant, a person who keeps the stalls clean, provides a small amount of toilet paper, and hands you a towel to dry your hands (in some cases). It is customary to tip this attendant before or after you use the bathroom. It doesn’t have to be much, 5 EGP is sufficient. But small change can be hard to come by, so save this for when you need to use the bathroom.

Be Prepared to Tip… A Lot

There are numerous scenarios when you will be expected to tip for a “service” that was provided.

When visiting tombs and temples, the attendants will offer to take a photo of you. If you agree, you are expected to give him a small tip in return. If you take a photo of a camel or if you take a photo of a tomb attendant, you will also be expected to give a tip. After camel rides, felucca rides, etc., it is also expected that you will give a small tip at the end of the experience.

Tipping is always optional, but there is an expectation for it.

How much you tip depends on the service provided. For things like photos, we gave the person our spare change or 5 to 10 EGP. For tips after meals and things such as a camel ride, 5 to 10% of the price what you paid is customary.

Tipping is not expected but it is appreciated in restaurants.

Best Views of the Pyramids of Giza

Pyramids of Giza

Using Cash in Egypt

In Egypt, the currency is the Egyptian pound (EGP). $1 USD is equivalent to 31 EGP (as of January 2024).

Until 2023, all tourist attractions and activities needed to be paid for in cash. Now, attractions are only accepting credit cards. I still recommend having some Egyptian pounds, for tipping and to make purchases in markets, but visitors no longer need to carry huge amounts of cash.

We withdrew all of our Egyptian pounds from ATM’s in Egypt. There are ATM’s in the Cairo International Airport, so this is a great place to make your first withdrawal. Our hotels in Luxor (the Hilton) and Aswan (the Movenpick) had ATM’s and we used these every day to withdraw more money.

The maximum any ATM would ever allow us to withdraw per transaction was 3,000 EGP. On some occasions, we had to use the same ATM card multiple times in order to have enough cash for the day.

Mosque of Muhammed Ali Egypt Travel Tips

Mosque of Muhammed Ali in Cairo

Discounts on Entry Tickets for Children and Students

If you are traveling with children, they might qualify for a discount ticket. One of our guides told us that at most tourist sites (museums, temples, tombs, pyramids, etc.), kids 5 years and younger can get free entry. Children ages 6 years to 12 years get a 50% discount. And those aged 12 to 30 can qualify for a student discount (50% discount) if they have a valid International Student Identification Card (learn more here).

You must bring the plastic card with you because a copy or a photo of the card is not typically accepted.

We did not know about this Identification Card before our visit. Tyler and Kara were 16 and 15 years old during our visit. Sometimes, the attendant would accept their passport as identification, but it didn’t always work so sometimes we had to pay full price.

If you are traveling with kids under the age of 12, it might be a good idea to bring a passport or another form of identification to prove their age. Some attendants were very strict with offering discounted tickets.

Bab Zuwayla Egypt Travel Tips

Tyler and Kara at Bab Zuwayla in Cairo

Luxor Pass and Cairo Pass

The Cairo Pass is a ticket that allows you to visit all of the main sites in Cairo and Giza. The Luxor Pass is ticket that allows you to visit all of the archaeological sites on the East Bank and West Bank of Luxor.

These are expensive passes (costing $130 to $250 USD, depending on the pass) so they are not worth it for everyone. But if you plan to spend a lot of time in either Cairo or Luxor, they could save you some money.

For full details on these passes, read our post Luxor Pass and Cairo Pass: Are They Worth It?

Photography Passes

The rules for this change constantly.

Recently, the rules have changed, allowing tourists to take photos with their cellphones in most tombs and temples for free without a photography pass.

We have also heard reports in 2023 that photography passes might be a thing of the past. Many people have been writing in that DSLR cameras are now allowed and no photography passes are necessary.

For most people, taking photos with a cellphone is sufficient. We typically purchased the photography pass at each site (this was in 2019), since it’s important to capture great photos for this website, but honestly, in some tombs, our iPhones were almost as good as my DSLR.

If you plan to use a tripod, there is an additional fee for this (typically 20 EGP).

Tomb of Queen Nefertari Egypt Travel Tips

Inside the tomb of Queen Nefertari in the Valley of the Queens

How Much Does it Cost to Visit Egypt?

Traveling through Egypt is similar in price to traveling through Southeast Asia. If you are a budget traveler, you can see and do a lot in Egypt without spending a lot of money. And if you like the idea of adding in upscale hotels and a cruise on the Nile River, you can do so without spending a small fortune.

For more information, take a look at our article How Much Does it Cost to Visit Egypt?

Should You Rent a Car in Egypt?

We do not recommend driving in Egypt.

The roads in Egypt are congested and chaotic. Traffic rules are different in Egypt than in places like the United States and Europe, and at times, it almost seems as if there are no rules.

The streets of Cairo and Giza are so congested and chaotic that it is not worth the stress of navigating them yourself. Cars fill every available space on the road and there is no effort to paint lines on the road, since they would be ignored anyway. It is not unusual for tuk-tuk’s or motorbikes to drive against traffic on these roads, adding to the chaos.

All the while, it is an almost constant cacophony of car horns. The horn plays a vital role in friendly communication between drivers. There is no road rage here, everyone seems to be very patient even though they are sitting in some of the worst traffic we have seen.

There is a different flow and rhythm to the traffic in Egypt, and if you are not accustomed to it, driving can be stressful and difficult.

On the rural roads, there are security checkpoints and you need to be able to effectively communicate with the officers. We had a driver and a guide. Our guide conversed with the officers at these checkpoints in Arabic. It did not seem as if the police at these checkpoints spoke much English, so if you were on your own, getting through these checkpoints would be much more stressful than if you had a guide and driver.

Finally, the rural roads are just as crazy as the city roads, but in a different way. Congestion is lower but speeds are higher. These two-lane roads are treated as three lane roads. The center of the road is the passing lane, for both directions of traffic. That means you will play a lot of games of “chicken” with the oncoming cars. Meanwhile, you or your driver are keeping a lookout for donkeys, tuk-tuks, motorbikes, tractor trailers, and pedestrians.

We highly recommend hiring a driver, rather than renting a car, for your trip to Egypt.

Tuk Tuk in Old Cairo

Tuk-tuk in Old Cairo

Should You Hire a Tour Company/Egyptologist?

Typically, we prefer to travel independently. Rarely do we book a tour. And never do we take packaged, multi-day tours when we travel.

However, with concerns about safety and hearing “horror” stories about how independent visitors felt like they were constantly hassled for tips, we decided to hire a guide.

After a lot of research, we hired the company Egypt Tailor Made, based on their impeccable reviews on Trip Advisor. Basically, we took nine of their day tours and strung them together to form a customized itinerary. They exceeded all of our expectations. One of the reasons our trip to Egypt was so positive is because of the exceptional service this tour company provided.

For each day of our trip in Egypt (with the exception of our day trip to Abu Simbel, which we did independently), we had a guide and a driver. This took away all of the hassles of transportation, negotiating fees for certain services, and knowing the best times to visit each place. Our guides would shoo away persistent shop owners and introduce us to local foods that we would never have tried, had we been on our own.

We could just sit back and enjoy the trip and let our guides handle the logistics. 

Since we traveled in a small group (it was just the six of us…the four Earth Trekkers and our moms), we got personalized attention and we could easily customize what we did each day.

If you like the idea of taking the hassle out of getting around Egypt and want knowledgeable guides to teach you about the places you are visiting, it is worth the small extra expense to hire a guide and driver in Egypt.

Egypt Travel Guide

Is a Nile Cruise Worth It?

We did not cruise the Nile River for various reasons.

For one thing, it’s expensive, especially to cruise with a company that gets good reviews. Plus, on a cruise, you have very limited time at each location. Most of your time is spent drifting along the Nile River, which I am sure is an amazing experience, but we wanted more time at each site.

On a cruise, you tend to do your sightseeing on a set schedule with a large group of people, and that was not the experience we wanted.

Feluccas in Aswan

Feluccas on the Nile River in Aswan

We booked hotels in Luxor and Aswan with views of the Nile River, so that we could still get the “Nile experience.” In Aswan, we frequently rode the motorboats on the Nile River and we took a sunset felucca cruise. These boat trips, along with our hotel stays, made us feel like we had a great Nile River experience. Plus, we got to spend as long as we wanted at each site, in our private group.

We don’t feel like we missed out on anything by not taking a Nile Cruise.

Is Egypt Safe?

Safety is a big concern for most people when deciding whether or not to visit Egypt. We were no different.

In recent years, tourism to Egypt has increased and more and more visitors are coming home with reports of how safe they felt while in Egypt.

So, we booked our trip with a little bit of trepidation. During the months leading up to our flight to Cairo, we kept an eye on the US State Department website and we wondered, once here, how safe would we feel?

Never once did we feel unsafe. Yes, there is a big police and military presence. Seeing guards with rifles and driving past numerous police checkpoints on the roads can be unnerving at first. Every time you enter a hotel or enter a tourist site, you will pass through a metal detector.

But all of this is being done to keep tourists safe. Tourism is a very valuable industry in Egypt so a lot is being done to protect tourists.

The Egyptians are some of the friendliest, most welcoming people we have met. They would approach us, ask us how we were enjoying our visit to Egypt, and ask us to spread the news on how safe we felt.

Egypt is a big country, and safety depends a lot on the area that you will be visiting.

If you stick to the main tourist areas, which include Cairo, Alexandria, Hurghada, Luxor, Aswan, and Abu Simbel, Egypt is safe. During our visit, we never felt unsafe in Egypt. However, we did stay in the popular touristy regions and we traveled with a guide and driver.

Places to avoid include the Sinai Peninsula and the western Sahara Desert, near the border with Libya.

Here are some things to be aware of when traveling through Egypt:

Security Checks: As you enter most sites, as well as many hotels, you will go through security. You will put your bags through an x-ray machine and you will walk through a metal detector (similar to airport security but not quite so rigorous).

Military and Police Presence: It is common to see armed guards and armored vehicles at the sites you will be visiting and along the roadways. They are there to protect you and the site you are visiting.

Convoys: Prior to our trip I had read that when hiring a driver for road trips, for example from Luxor to Abydos (or Luxor to Aswan, or Aswan to Abu Simbel), you have to leave at designated times in order to travel with other vehicles, all in a convoy escorted by police. That no longer applies and tourists no longer travel in convoys. They now rely on the security checkpoints along the roads to help ensure your safety. However, we did still receive a police escort several times on the drive between Luxor and Abydos.

Dendera Egypt

Hathor Temple in Dendera

A Few Essentials for Your Packing List

Here is a quick checklist of things to pack for your trip to Egypt. Some of these might be obvious (such as sunscreen), but some of these may not be things that you have thought of.

  • Backup Cash: bring some backup cash in USD or Euros just in case you have any issues with the ATM’s or if you run out of EGP. Include small bills like $1 USD that you can use for tipping, if you run out of small Egyptian bills.
  • Snacks: especially if you have long driving days and for big sightseeing days, such as on the West Bank of Luxor
  • Swimsuit
  • Sunscreen
  • Sunglasses
  • Power Adaptors: we brought type C and type E/F and we primarily used Type E/F
  • Toilet Paper
  • Extra Toothbrushes: just in case you rinse one with tap water 

Step Pyramid

The Step Pyramid of Djoser in Saqqara

In Conclusion

Egypt is a wonderful country to add to your travel wish list. Go now, while tourism is still relatively low. Take advantage of lower crowds and lower prices…tourism is picking up and I expect that trend to continue for the next few years.

If you have any questions that we did not address in this article, let us know in the comment section below.

More Information for Your Trip to Egypt

EGYPT ITINERARY: With 10 days in Egypt, visit Cairo, Luxor, Aswan and Abu Simbel.

PYRAMIDS OF GIZA: Plan your visit with our article How to Visit the Pyramids of Giza. We also have an article about where to get the best views of the pyramids.

LUXOR: Get on overview on what to do in our article Best Things to Do in Luxor. We also have detailed guides to the East Bank of Luxor, the West Bank of Luxor, and the Valley of the Kings.

ASWAN: For a list of the top experiences, read our article Best Things to Do in Aswan. We also have a guide on how to visit Kom Ombo, Edfu, and Esna while driving between Aswan and Luxor.

ABU SIMBEL: In our guide to Abu Simbel, we cover what you need to know to plan your day trip.

Read all of our articles about Egypt in our Egypt Travel Guide.


Egypt Travel Tips and Travel Guide


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Comments 73

  1. Avatar for Rachelle Losey
    Rachelle Losey

    We traveled to Luxor, Cairo, and Sharm El Sheikh in September 2023. It was a phenomenal trip! We attributed our incredibly positive experience in Egypt to hiring Egypt Taylor Made per your recommendation. I was sorry to hear about the other traveler’s experience. We have nothing but positive to say about this tour company. They showed up on time each day with an Egyptologist guide and driver in a nice, comfortable, air-conditioned minivan for our group of four. They were flexible with our itinerary so we could see what was most important to us each day. They were highly educated in Egyptian history (one had two master’s degrees in Egyptology) which made it fascinating for all of us especially our 8-year-old who loves all things Egypt. Egypt Taylor Made took all of the stress and hassle out of our trip and added to the experience so richly by all of the education they provided to us along the way. The service was also very affordable averaging about $250 per day for all four of us for what seemed like a first class, private, tour experience. We have said so many times that we are so thankful we read your recommendation and found out about this tour company! I wish there was a tour company like this for the historical sites of Italy and Greece – do you have any recommendations?

    1. Avatar for Julie

      Hello Rachelle. Thank you for taking the time to write in and share your experience with Egypt Tailor Made. Unfortunately, I do not know of tour companies in Italy or Greece that offer a similar, well-priced experience for a multi-day trip. We have visited both Italy and Greece independently so we haven’t researched or used a tour company. However, in Italy, we took tours of historical sites and walking tours. We booked many of these through GetYourGuide and LivItaly and have had favorable experiences with both of them. Cheers, Julie

  2. Avatar for Tanya

    Hi Julie,

    we spent two weeks in Egypt this February, and hired ETM for a large part of it (Days 2-12) upon your recommendation, so I wanted to check back with our experience, and a (lot of) word(s) of caution to anyone considering ETM; things have changed at this company since your trip/the pandemic, and I hesitate to recommend them.

    This was our itinerary:
    Day 1: (mid-afternoon) Arrival in Cairo
    Day 2: Saqqara, Dahshur, Memphis, Giza plateau
    Day 3: Cairo (Citadel, Al-Azhar mosque, Khan el Khalili, Egyptian Museum)
    Day 4+5: Overnight excursion into the Western desert; overnight train to Aswan
    Day 6: Philae Temple, Unfinished Obelisk, Felucca ride, Nubian village (this is where we stayed, rather than Aswan proper)
    Day 7: Abu Simbel
    Day 8: Aswan to Luxor drive with stops at the temples of Kom Ombo, Edfu, and Esna
    Day 9: Luxor West Bank (Valley of Kings, Howard Carter House, Temple of Hatshepsut, Colossi of Memnon)
    Day 10: Luxor West Bank (Medinet Habu, Valley of the Nobles, Deir el Medina, Ramesseum)
    DAy 11: Luxor East Bank
    Day 12: Day trip to Abydos and Dendera; overnight train back to Cairo
    Day 13-14: Alexandria
    Day 15: back to Cairo; departure

    People should stick to what you did; the desert excursion was uncomfortable and time-consuming, and Alexandria was frankly terrible, a waste of time and money. Day 8 was my personal favorite. The overnight train was a pleasantly delightful experience, better than any I’ve ever taken in Europe.

    Our first guide with ETM (days 2-5) was so terrible that we almost rebooked our flight and returned home after four days. I’m not going to mention his name, nor even my complete list of grievances, but here’s the top five:
    a) I primarily hired a guide to avoid harassment. Instead, he deliberately brought us into uncomfortable situations where there was pressure to buy things we didn’t want. After Saqqara, Dahshur, and Memphis (he was aware that I was excited for Giza and wanted to maximize my time there), he took us for an unscheduled stop at a “papyrus museum”, which was nothing but a glorified gift shop. When we didn’t buy anything and he missed out on a commission, he cut our time at the Giza pyramids short in what I am sure was retaliation. He didn’t take us to all the panoramic points, and only up close to the Great Pyramid, despite my specifically requesting to be taken to the other ones as well—so much for “tailor made”. We left the plateau with over an hour to go until closing time… to be taken to a perfume shop. Again, not on the agreed upon itinerary, but apparently standard practice not just for this unfortunate guide, but ETM, judging by reviews I read later—I’m surprised you didn’t mention it/weren’t subjected to it. In this shop, we were isolated and taken upstairs, and they succeeded in talking us into buying a bottle of perfume—the sampler was admittedly lovely. Back at the hotel, I checked the bottle because it looked larger than 100ml to me, and since we were traveling with hand luggage only and there was no indication in regards to the 100ml capacity, I was worried that it would get confiscated at the airport. So I googled the place, with the intention of checking the reviews for “export problems”, and oh boy, the things I found. I broke the seal, and sure enough, what we were sold was not the same product we had been presented with. We contacted our guide (we didn’t accuse him of being in on the scam, but he definitely earned a commission on the sale), and he apologized and we eventually got our money back the next day… but not before he had given the lady at the store our phone number, unasked, and she’d contacted us, which is just all sorts of not okay.
    b) The next day, the provided water bottle in the car was not sealed. My partner took one sip, and that was enough, he caught a gastrointestinal infection that lingered for the rest of the holiday. Our guide had zero empathy or understanding, he huffed and puffed when I asked him to be taken to a pharmacy, he came inside with me but was no help whatsoever with the clerk (I was aware that I was getting overcharged but just wanted the damn medicine). He guilted my sick partner into eating two massive meals he didn’t want out in the desert because “not eating would be rude”.
    c) The desert excursion was supposed to be a get-away from chaotic Cairo, to enjoy the starry night sky and the remote desert silence. Our guide sat in the tent watching an Arabic sitcom on his phone without earphones.
    d) As a guide, he was both contemptuous and useless—lovely combination. I had done my research, and it was clear that this bothered him, he would’ve preferred guests he could lead around blind to what they were missing. I would ask questions, and he wouldn’t be able to provide an answer to a single one, despite having introduced himself as a PhD in Egyptology/Archeology, I forget which. He was visibly annoyed at any question, let us explore the Egyptian Museum on our own, playing on his phone on a bench, and huffing whenever we rejoined him. (as an aside, the Egyptian museum felt dated and half-empty; a lot (including all but two mummies) has been moved to the National Museum of Egyptian civilization, which opened in 2021, and to the GEM, which is set to maybe open later this year)
    e) After four days of this crap, he had the audacity to demand a higher tip than what we were willing to give.
    I couldn’t make this stuff up if I tried, and this is but the tip of the ice berg. It was so uncomfortable, we couldn’t wait to be rid of him and the driver both; by the end, we definitely weren’t feeling super safe in their hands.

    Our second guide in Aswan and Luxor was a former teacher, and much, much better, on both a human and knowledge level. He actually took note of what we were interested in, adjusting the itinerary accordingly, and had a great gift for taking us to each place in a way that perfectly avoided the influx of crowds. Both guides were not salaried ETM employees, but freelancers.

    Even though the second guide was fine, even great, I personally did not enjoy the experience of a fully guided holiday. This was our first after having only traveled independently, with maybe a hired guide for a day trip here and there. We were mostly back at our hotel by 2PM or even noon, so there was a lot of time spent poolside doing nothing, which some people may appreciate, but it’s really not for me. At the same time, I felt rushed at each site—if we’d been on our own we would’ve filled the days up nicely, because we would’ve spent more time at each. I am pretty unhappy with my resulting photos, and feel like we missed out on things.

    I had been dreaming of visiting Egypt since I was five years old, almost thirty years, and a large part of our holiday was disappointing and/or frustrating, in large part due to ETM. All things considered, I would not recommend them—what we got was in no way proportionate to the amount we paid. If I were to do it again, I would only hire a driver to take us from place to place while we visit each site at our own pace, and 7-10 days in Egypt is plenty.

    That’s all; I hope it helps anyone reading. I’ll put a price list below so you can add them/double-check if everything is up to date, these are from mid-February 2024. Every one of these was exclusively cashless; the Temple in Abydos was the only one that required cash. The first guide additionally made us pay for the car/parking ticket wherever required (they ranged from 10-40 EGP, but I’m not sure as I didn’t get to keep those tickets); the second guide/driver covered the parking themselves.
    – Saqqara: 450 EGP
    – Dahshur: 150 EGP
    – Memphis: 150 EGP
    – Giza Pyramids/Sphinx: 540 EGP
    – Salah el din Citadel: 450 EGP
    – Egyptian Museum: 450 EGP
    – Philae Temple: 450 EGP, plus 200 EGP for the panorama. I paid 200 EGP roundtrip for the boat ride for both of us based on your post, but I have no idea if this was appropriate. I saw no signs, and our guide tipped separately as well.
    – Unfinished Obelisk: 200 EGP
    – Abu Simbel: 615 EGP
    – Kom Ombo temple: 360 EGP
    – Edfu temple: 450 EGP
    – Esna temple: 150 EGP
    – Valley of the Kings: 600 EGP, 20 EGP roundtrip for the buggy (Additional Tombs: Ramesses V & VI: 180 EGP; Aye: 150 EGP)
    – Howard Carter House: 200 EGP
    – Temple of Hatshepsut: 360 EGP. 20 EGP roundtrip for the buggy
    – Valley of the Nobles: Sennefer & Rakhmire tombs: 100 EGP; Ramose, Userhat and Khaemhat tombs: 150 EGP (plus tips for each tomb guardian…)
    – Ramesseum: 180 EGP
    – Deir el Medina: 200 EGP (plus tips for each tomb guardian…)
    – Medinet Habu temple: 200 EGP
    – Temple of Abydos: 200 EGP
    – Temple of Dendera: 240 EGP (Catacombs: 100 EGP)
    – Alexandria Citadel: 150 EGP
    – Alexandria Catacombs of Kom el Shoqafa: 150 EGP
    – Library of Alexandria: 150 EGP

    1. Avatar for Julie

      Hello Tanya. Thank you so much for taking the time to write this comment. It’s great to hear other’s experiences and thank you also for the updates on pricing. I’m sorry you had a less than positive experience with ETM. It’s the first I’ve heard of that but it is good for others to know, as they plan their trips. Cheers, Julie

  3. Avatar for Karen

    Hello all,
    I like some advice of safety traveling to Egypt now. I have a trip in 2 weeks and hesitating if we need to cancel? We were so looking forward to this trip and with all the activities happening now , we are undecided:(. I am wondering if there are some touring there now ? Thanks.

    1. Avatar for Julie

      That’s a good question. I recommend checking the US State Department’s website for recommendations as to whether or not it is safe to travel to Egypt right now. Cheers, Julie

  4. Avatar for Blythe

    Hey all,

    Thanks for sharing your experience. I am heading to Egypt at the end of the month. I was wondering if it was safe to bring Laptops? I read somewhere that when flying out of Cairo you need to check the laptop into your hold luggage and can not take it carry on.

    Additionally is there s reputable site for Egypt E-Visa Purchase?



    1. Avatar for Julie

      Hello Blythe. In 2019, we took our laptops with us in our carry on luggage without any problems (all 4 of us, since we all have a laptop). I don’t know if something has changed since our visit but that sounds like a very strange rule and I have never heard that, not in Egypt, or in any other place we have traveled to around the world. We bought our visas in the airport on arrival and it was fast and easy. I don’t have any e-visa sites to recommend. Cheers, Julie

      1. Avatar for Tanya
  5. Avatar for Vicki Jones
    Vicki Jones

    I’m concerned about packing . I know your family travels a lot. Did everyone take their own roller bag or backpack? What did you pack for ten days in Egypt? We’re in our 70’s and I’m a photographer I want to take the lightest amount as possible. What do you think about one lens 24-200 on a mirrorless & an iphone 14. Should I leave camera home I don’t sell or blog.

    1. Avatar for Julie

      Hello Vicki. Between me, Tim, Tyler, and Kara, we probably had 2 medium suitcases and one small suitcase (I can’t quite remember since it has been a few years but that’s typically what we do for a trip of that length). All of the photos we took were either with an iPhone or a Canon 5D Mark IV with a 24-70 mm lens. If you’re a photographer, it’s worth bringing a camera and using the iPhone as backup for places where cameras aren’t allowed or very expensive. I think one lens on a mirrorless camera is great (we now have a mirrorless Canon and I love it). Have a great time in Egypt! Cheers, Julie

  6. Avatar for Caitlin

    Really informative article, thank you!
    PS: Egypt has changed its visa policy for Canadians as of October 2023 and Canadians now have to apply for a visa with the consulate before arrival.

    1. Avatar for Julie
  7. Avatar for Aniruddha Takalkar
    Aniruddha Takalkar


    Thanks for this informative article. Lots of questions come to mind when planning a trip like this but one quick question about water. You mentioned not using tap water even for brushing. I see you stayed at some good reputable hotels. Can you still not use their tap water for brushing? And what about showers? I suppose you could possibly ingest some water while showering. Little curious and confused about this whole water to use.

    1. Avatar for Julie

      Some people are more “sensitive” to the tap water than others. However, Tyler, Kara and I brushed our teeth with the water and were fine. But I have heard that other visitors get diarrhea from using the tap water to brush their teeth, so it partly has to do with your flora and what your body is accustomed to. We all took showers without precautions and had no issues. So, if you want to play it safe, brush your teeth with bottled water. If you aren’t so worried about it, then use the tap water. Cheers, Julie

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