Traveling through Egypt can be quite costly, especially with the large number of touts who will try to rip you off when taking various different Egyptian transportation. What I will do in this blog post is break down each city to show you some of the best ways to get around through different Egyptian transportation.
Taxi drivers are not your friend.
This is especially true in Cairo, where the level of price gouging can be quite alarming. For example, when I stayed at Le Meridien Pyramids, which is literally a 5 minute drive from the Pyramids of Giza, our hotel quoted us 220 Egyptian pounds. This price is absurd, because checking with Uber, the price from our hotel to the Pyramids is actually a mere 22 Egyptian pounds!
Put off by the insane price quote of our hotel, we quickly went the Uber route. Our hotel learned that we were planning on taking Uber, and tried to price match. However, we completely lost trust in our hotel, and stuck with our original plan. This turned out to be one of the best decisions we could ever make in Cairo.
If you plan on getting around Cairo, Uber is the way to go. Their prices are only 10% of what normal taxi drivers will quote you. While taxi drivers and companies are scammers in general, this dishonest practice is especially prevalent in Cairo. Don’t fall for their trap and go with Uber instead!
Our friendly Uber driver
Simply download the app to your phone to start using their service. You don’t even need to pay the Uber driver directly. Once your trip is over, payment will automatically be taken from your credit card. Uber, which acts as the middleman, will then transfer the money to the Uber driver.
Should you get poor service, Uber will gladly refund you your payment, by taking it away from the driver. Unfortunately, at the time of writing this article, Uber is only available in Cairo.
Travelling between Cairo, Luxor and Aswan by Train
One of the cheapest ways to travel between these three cities is to take the Egyptian train, located at Cairo’s Egyptian National Railway Station.
As a tourist, a ticket to board the local trains costs only $7 USD, however, these tickets are not available for purchase at the station in Cairo. Instead, they will try to sell you the $100 USD premium tickets, especially made for tourists! Don’t worry, here are ways to board the cheaper local train:
1) You can purchase the local train tickets online on: https://enr.gov.eg/ticketing/public/smartSearch.jsf – Create an account then make your purchase. You can also use the website to check the arrival and departure times. The trains are surprisingly punctual (though delays do happen).
2) You can also just get on the train and sit where you’d like! Once the train starts moving, a conductor will make his way throughout the train to check each passengers ticket. If you don’t have a ticket, he will sell you one at the same price as the train station. The downside to this method is you may get relocated to another seat as I have personally experienced with this method. My sister, Karen and myself had to share two seats between the three of us for a portion of the train ride after we followed this method. It’s just part of the adventure.
3) In Luxor and Aswan, tourists are allowed to buy tickets to the local train at the station itself. At the time of purchase, your seat will be assigned as well so you will not be relocated mid-way. That’s what we did when we took the train from Luxor to Aswan.
Travelling between Cairo, Luxor and Aswan by Plane
While taking the local train can be a neat adventure the first time around, it does get old fast. People are constantly smoking between corridors with the fumes seeping in the cabin. My sister got bronchitis because of the smoke.
The toilets are also quite horrendous and will make you want to cry. (Email me if you want a picture of it)
Why not take the plane instead? During our trip to Egypt, we discovered that Air Egypt actually sells last minute plane tickets for a significantly cheaper price! Three days before the flight date, we were able to secure an $80 CAD flight from Aswan to Cairo. We were able to avoid another 14 hour smoked filled train ride back!
Much to our surprise, two days before our flight to Egypt, the price dropped again to $60! We were definitely choked knowing that we could have saved another $20! Regardless, at least we found out that these last minute plane tickets are available and you can fly between cities in 1-2 hours as oppose to 10-14 hours. It’s definitely a huge time saver!
Arranging a mini-tour bus (and other Egyptian transportation) in your hostel in Luxor
Believe it or not, arranging a tour with your hostel can actually save you money! In Luxor, there is a hostel called The New Everest that arranges budget friendly tours in the city. Their price beats the price gouging taxi drivers, and you even get a tour guide. This is also an awesome way to meet other travellers. I have personally made friends with people from Malaysia, Morocco, and the UK through this method and I’m glad we went this route.
They can also help arrange your Egyptian transportation in Aswan which makes things much more convenient.
Visiting Egypt doesn’t have to be a huge nightmare. Simply follow the guide above, and you are sure to save yourself hundreds of dollars on a wide variety of Egyptian transportation on your next visit to this ancient country.