Egypt

Introduction

Welcome to Egypt!

Egypt, The Land of Pharaohs, is surely a bucket-list destination. With the mighty Nile River and astonishing monuments mixed with thousands of years of culture, travelers will find something that suits their interests.

Explore the hustle and bustle of Cairo’s bazaars and witness the iconic Pyramids of Giza and the Sphinx. Travel to the Nubian city of Aswan, a laid-back town on the banks of the Nile River, and immerse in the traditional Nubian culture. Experience the open-air museum of Luxor, home to some of Egypt’s most important archaeological sites. 

Be welcomed into the homes of locals to share meals and hear stories of their everyday lives. Sleep under the stars and sail along the Nile on a felucca, a traditional Egyptian wooden sailboat.

Close the trip on the shores of the Red Sea, where you’ll relax after multiple days in the hot desert sun.

Duration: 9 days & 8 nights

Start: Please be ready to begin your trip at Cairo International Airport (CAI) at 3:00 PM. 
Finish: The trip ends in Hurghada. Plan to depart at any time. Hotel check-out time is 12:00 pm. Travelers are responsible for their own transportation back to the airport. 

Airfare booking details will be sent after registration--please wait to book your flight until you receive further instructions.

What's Included

  • 9 days & 8 nights of shared accommodations in hotel rooms, and one night aboard a traditional felucca boat
  • 8 breakfasts, 2 lunches, & 6 dinners
  • Domestic Flight to Aswan*
  • High Tea at the Old Cataract Hotel in Aswan*
  • Walking tour of the famous Islamic street of El Moez
  • Orientation walk through Cairo’s Khan al-Khalili Bazaar
  • Camel ride to experience the Giza Pyramids and the Sphinx
  • Admission to the Egyptian Museum in Cairo
  • Kayaking activity along the Nile River
  • Experience Nubian culture with dinner at a local family’s home
  • Visit the iconic Abu Simbel Temples
  • Sail along the Nile on a traditional Felucca boat
  • Guided tour of Karnak Temple in Luxor
  • Cycle the west bank of Luxor
  • Visit the Colossi of Memnon
  • Experience the tombs at the Valley of the Kings
  • Enjoy a traditional home-cooked lunch in Luxor
  • Beach day on the Red Sea
  • Private Boat Snorkeling Tour from Hurghada*
  • Insider local knowledge of Egyptian cuisine
  • Transport and entrance fees to all included activities
  • Private airport pick-up upon arrival
  • Over30Experiences Trip Leader
  • Personal recommendations for optional activities
  • The chance to meet some kick-ass people
  • Access to the Over30Experiences community
  • Taxes always included, never hidden fees, & NO blackout dates

Travelers are responsible for international airfare to and from Egypt.
Transportation to optional activities is not included.
*Exclusive for the Over30Experiences Community

Highlights

  • Camel ride to the Giza Pyramids and Sphinx
  • Sail the Nile on a traditional felucca boat
  • Experience the Abu Simbel Temples
  • Visit tombs at the Valley of the Kings
  • Share meals in local family’s homes

Is this Trip for You?

This trip provides a great introduction to the history of Egypt while mixing in cultural and adventurous activities. Among those activities are eating meals in the homes of locals, kayaking on the Nile River, cycling on the outskirts of Luxor, and riding a camel to the pyramids.

Most accommodations are in modern hotels though there is one night spent sleeping on the deck of a traditional wooden sailboat. Though this nights is comfortable, it is more rustic than other Over30Experiences trips.

The weather will be hot and sunny. You should expect to sweat every day. We do our best to design activities so you are not visiting sites during the midday sun, but this may not always be the case due to local logistics outside of our control. Please prepare accordingly, stay hydrated, and bring a hat, sunglasses, long sleeves, and sunblock.

Egypt is not a safe destination for LGBTQIA+ travelers who wish to openly express their sexuality and/or gender identity. Please advise that discretion is advised for LGBTQIA+ and female travelers. More information on this can be found on our FAQ page.

“Cat-calling” and attempted gropings of female tourists can be common in downtown Cairo and on public beaches. Female travelers are advised to act confidently, as though they know where they are going when walking around the cities, and avoid making eye contact with local men. 

-Age recommendation: 30s and 40s
-Group size: 14 max, average 10-12.
-Physical rating: Light. Some activities include walking in the heat and swimming.

Travel Community

Travel connects us. Community keeps us connected.

Before your trip, you'll have the opportunity to join a custom WhatsApp and connect with others members of your group. Many travelers meet at the airport or for pre-trip drinks if they are from the same city. Others coordinate plans to stay in a country after their trip.

During your adventure, our Trip Leaders do their best to foster an open, supportive environment where people feel safe to truly be themselves.

After your trip, you'll be an official U30X Alumni and part of our larger online Travel Community, where you'll have access to our network of thousands of past travelers. We are constantly hosting meetups that range from simple happy hours to hikes to outdoor movie nights.

More than 70% of our travelers come solo, but they all leave with friends.

Itinerary Disclaimer

Travel can be unpredictable. Our goal is to provide you with the most rewarding experience.

While we intend to adhere to the itinerary, there is a certain amount of flexibility built into it, and on occasion, it may be necessary or desirable to make alterations.

Additionally, any travel times listed are approximations only and subject to vary due to local circumstances.

Meals

Eat like a local with delicious Egyptian dishes such as koshary, hummus, shawarma, and falafels.

Breakfasts will be served at your accommodations. Dinners are enjoyed at local restaurants consisting of Egyptian cuisine and will range from modern restaurants to local-style food stalls.

There will be two meals shared with a local family, providing a truly authentic experience. These will be dinner with a Nubian family in Aswan on Day 3 and a home-cooked lunch in Luxor on Day 7.

For the felucca sailing experience along the Nile on Day 5, a local Nubian family will prepare lunch, dinner, and breakfast the next morning aboard the boat. Meals on the boat will be vegetarian.

Sample Breakfast Menu:

  • Aish bread (similar to pita)
  • Variety of cheeses
  • Fruits
  • Eggs (Omelets, fried, boiled)
  • Tea, milk, and coffee

Sample Dinner Menu at local restaurants:

  • Rice, lentils, or pasta
  • Chicken, lamb, fish, grilled beef
  • Mixed vegetables (grilled or stuffed)
  • Shawarma, kebabs, and falafels

Must-try Egyptian dishes:

  • Koshary or Kushari: Egypt's national dish and popular street food. A traditional Egyptian staple, mixing pasta, rice, and brown lentils, topped with a zesty tomato sauce, garlic, vinegar, and garnished with chickpeas and crispy fried onions.
  • Fiteer Baladi: “Egyptian Pizza” cooked in a brick oven. Originally served plain, it can be ordered savory with meats, cheese, and vegetables or sweet with syrup, honey, or sugar.
  • Mulukhiyah: A green leafy vegetable chopped and cooked with garlic in beef, rabbit, or chicken stew, served with rice or bread.
  • Moussaka: a layered dish mainly composed of eggplant, tomato sauce, and minced meat. The dish varies from region to region. Some add potatoes or bell peppers, and others don’t call it moussaka unless it’s slathered with a thick layer of bechamel white sauce.

Transportation

You will be traveling by private ground transportation throughout your trip. 

On Day 2, you will take an included domestic flight from Cairo to Aswan, economy class.

On Day 6, you will sail along the Nile from Aswan to Luxor in a traditional Felucca boat. This is a wooden boat with broad canvas sails. The boat offers some shade and protection from the elements; however, there is no cabin or enclosed section. The felucca does have a shared bathroom facility onboard. A basic shower is available but do not expect great water pressure. All travelers will be sleeping in a common space on the boat’s deck this night.

Private ground transportation from the airport is included.
Public buses and taxi around Cairo are not included.
Optional activities do not include transportation.

Accommodation

You will stay in shared hotel rooms for six nights and one night aboard a felucca.

Aboard the felucca, all travelers will be sleeping in a common space on the boat’s deck for one night. A blanket will be provided to each traveler. There are shared bathroom facilities on the boat. The felucca experience is a private boat for only your group.

Laundry service is available at all hotels for an additional fee. Ask your Trip Leader for details.

Accommodations may vary but will be the same quality.

Solo travelers are paired with someone of the same gender.

Private room options are available upon request subject to hotel availability for an extra charge. Please understand that private rooms are not available on the felucca.

Travel Insurance

Travel insurance with at least $200,000 USD in medical coverage is required to participate on our trips. This must include coverage for repatriation.

Please note that travel insurance covers trip related issues such as trip interruption, lost luggage, theft, etc. Travel medical insurance covers things like repatriation, medicine, ambulance rides, and hospital visits/stays. 

We strongly suggest that the policy also covers personal liability, cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage and personal effects. Please ensure that all of the activities you plan on participating in are covered by your travel insurance.

Here are a few options for travel insurance that meet our minimum medical coverage requirements: Wanderwell, SafetyWing, and World Nomads. Some plans do not cover certain “high-risk” activities. Please make sure to read your plans coverage and make a selection based on your planned trip.

Wanderwell donates at least one percent of your insurance purchase to Explore Austin, a sustainable youth outdoor education program, via 1% for the Planet, selected by Under30Experiences.

We receive a fee if you purchase products through links on this page, at no extra cost to you.

We receive a fee when you get a quote from World Nomads using our affiliate links. We do not represent World Nomads. This is not a recommendation to buy travel insurance.

Cancellation Policy

Give us at least 60 days’ notice, and you can switch your trip for free, or we'll hold your Experience Credits for future use.

If you have an emergency cancellation that is less than 60 days before your trip, please refer to your travel insurance company, as they may cover you for some expenses. 

We cannot transfer trips or hold experience credits within 60 days of the trip because we have already secured reservations on your behalf.

Trip Leader Expectations

All Over30Experiences trips are accompanied by experienced Trip Leaders.

The goal of the Trip Leader is to facilitate an awesome experience and help our travelers have the best trip possible. They will provide information on the places you are traveling through, offer suggestions for things to do and see, recommend great local eating venues, and introduce you to our local friends.

You can expect them to have a broad general knowledge of the countries visited on the trip, including historical, cultural, religious, and social aspects.

Packing List

Please be eco-friendly!
Bring a reusable water bottle to refill from the tap.
Use as little plastic as possible by declining straws and plastic bags at restaurants and when shopping.
Please avoid aerosol bug sprays as they negatively affect the environment.
Bring "reef safe" sunscreens that do not contain oxybenzone and octinoxate because they kill coral.

We recommend using a travel backpack for your convenience or a medium-sized suitcase if you prefer. A daypack is also essential for carrying everyday items. Space is limited on transportation, so there is a limit of one piece of luggage and one daypack / personal item per person. You will be responsible for carrying your own luggage.

Do not forget a water bottle, sunscreen, sandals, sunglasses, and a hat!

Keep in mind that Egypt is Muslim country, which means more conservative dress than you’re used to will be required. Despite the heat, avoid shorts and tight or revealing clothing, and instead opt for loose, flowing pants, skirts, and shirts everywhere you go.

As a general rule, both men and women should remain covered from their shoulders down to their knees.

Egypt is known for being dusty and sandy, therefore we recommend avoiding wearing white clothing.

Below includes our staff picks of the best items on the market that we travel with!  All products selected are 3 ounces or less to comply with TSA carry-on size and are organically inspired when possible.

Some links on this page are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, Over30Experiences will earn a small commission if you make a purchase.

Passport & Visas

Guidelines for U.S. Passport Holders:

A visa is required to enter Egypt and can be obtained upon arrival at Cairo International Airport. Visa costs are approximately $25 USD.

Make sure you have an updated passport with you. Your passport must be valid for at least six months beyond the last date of your trip. Please consult the U.S. Department of State with any more questions.

Make sure there is no damage to your passport. Conditions that may constitute damage requiring you to replace your passport include water damage, a significant tear, unofficial markings on the data page, missing or torn-out visa pages, a hole punch, or other injuries.

Health & Insurance

Check out our Travel Alerts Page for up-to-date COVID requirements.

The tap water in Egypt is NOT safe to drink. Please bring a reusable water bottle (and even a straw) and join us in our efforts to be environmentally friendly and keep Egypt beautiful.

Please consult with your doctor before traveling regarding physical activity and vaccinations.

No inoculations are required to enter Egypt from the United States, but the Center for Disease Control suggests vaccinating for Hepatitis A and Typhoid.

More specific health information for travelers to Egypt can be found on the Center for Disease Control and Prevention website.

Money & Currency

We suggest bringing $350 USD in cash for establishments that do not accept credit cards. 

This is not the total cash amount that you should expect to spend on your trip. Please consider your spending habits for additional expenses such as alcohol, additional appetizers and desserts, snacks, souvenirs, and optional activities.

Egypt operates mostly on cash; however, credit cards are accepted at more modern shopping malls, restaurants, and hotels. ATMs can be found in each location we stay.

The official currency of Egypt is the Egyptian pound (EGP).

Remember to call your bank and credit card company to let them know you will be traveling overseas.

For an up-to-date exchange rate, download the XE Currency Exchange App.‍‍

Please be advised that US Dollar notes that are slightly torn, heavily marked, or faded may be difficult to exchange. It is best to bring notes in fairly good condition, in denominations lower than $100.

Safety & Security

Always carry a copy of your travel insurance, health insurance, vaccination card, and passport with you. A photo of these items on your phone is also a good backup.

Keep your passport and any valuables locked in the safe at the hotel.

Don’t leave valuables unattended.

Leave flashy jewelry at home.

US Citizens, please consider registering with the US Department of State “SMART Traveler Program” which can contact your family in an emergency.

Make sure you have the address of your hotel in the event that you're separated from your Trip Leader.

Weather

Egypt has a desert climate and is generally hot and sunny. 

Spring Season:

  • Egypt’s spring is between March and April.
  • Spring weather is more moderate though days are still sunny.
  • Temperatures range in the 80s Fahrenheit (27-31 Celsius).

Summer Season:

  • Egypt’s peak summer months fall between May and September.
  • Summer can be hot, especially in the desert.
  • Temperatures range in the upper 90s Fahrenheit (36-37 Celsius) and go into the extremes above 100 Fahrenheit (38 Celsius).

Fall Season:

  • Egypt’s fall is between mid-September and early November.
  • The weather at this time is said to be nearly perfect.
  • Temperatures range in the lower 80s (25-29 Celsius)

Winter Season:

  • Egypt’s winter falls between late November and January.
  • Winters are generally mild and sunny, but nights are chilly and cold.
  • Temperatures range from the 73-75 Fahrenheit
  • (23-24 Cesius) to the upper 40s Fahrenheit (7-10 Celsius).

cultural information

As a Muslim country, Islam is practiced by about 90% of Egyptians. Islam plays a large role in every aspect of society. Traditionally, Muslims are obligated to pray five times a day, with many heading to their local mosque to partake. The times are marked by a call to prayer, which echoes throughout every city and town in Egypt.

A wide array of cultural norms, including how people dress and interact with the opposite sex, are influenced by religion. Women are largely defined by their role as mothers and matrons of the house, whereas men are expected to be the provider.

If visiting Egypt with a partner, it’s important to note that public displays of affection are not common in Egyptian culture. Hugging, kissing, and even holding hands is inappropriate in public areas, and following these guidelines shows respect to the locals.

Clothing among the locals is generally conservative and traditional. You will see men wearing loose trousers and long sleeves. Gallibayas, the traditional men’s clothing, is a loose-fitting, long dress or shirt. Many women wear clothing that covers most of their bodies, but in places like Cairo, Alexandria, or the Red Sea Coast, standards are a little more relaxed and modern. It’s also very common for women to wear a hijab that covers the head and neck or a niqab that covers the face and head, especially in more traditional communities.

If you are invited to an Egyptian’s house for a meal, there are a few pieces of etiquette you should know. When you arrive, wait for the host to let you know where to sit, and don’t pass or eat anything with your left hand. Be sure to show appreciation for your meal, and don’t be afraid to take a second helping-–there’s nothing an Egyptian loves more than a guest who feels welcome!

Egyptians have a very relaxed attitude towards time and punctuality. While this doesn’t always ring true for tourism and business, don’t be alarmed if things take a little longer than expected. Those who adopt a “go with the flow” attitude are far more likely to enjoy a trip to Egypt.

Traveling in Egypt for Women

One of the most important pieces of advice for women visiting Egypt is to dress modestly in public areas: female travelers who wear tight t-shirts and short skirts will stand out significantly in a crowd and are likely to receive unwanted attention. Instead, women are advised to wear loose, opaque clothing which at least covers their thighs, upper arms, and chest. 

Unfortunately, “cat-calling” and attempted gropings of female tourists are common in downtown Cairo and on public beaches. Women travelers are advised to act confidently, and as though they know where they are going when walking around the cities, and avoid making eye contact with local men. Many female travelers find the best practice for dealing with cat-calling is to ignore any verbal hassle completely.

Traveling in Egypt when identifying as LGBTQIA+

Discretion is advised for LGBTQIA+ travelers in Egypt. Though homosexuality is not officially outlawed, gay men have been prosecuted using debauchery and public morals laws and given long prison sentences. Though you will see Egyptian men commonly hold hands, link arms, and greet each other with a kiss on the cheek, this is not a sign of homosexuality. If you keep this in mind, traveling in Egypt should not be a problem.

Traveling in Egypt during Ramadan

Ramadan is the 9th month of the Islamic calendar. In 2023, Ramadan begins on the evening of March 22 and lasts for 30 days until sundown on April 20.

Muslims fast during the daylight hours throughout the whole month of Ramadan. Non-Muslims are not required to fast. However, the courtesy and respect shown by not consuming food or drink in front of the fasting population is greatly appreciated.

During Ramadan, some businesses do reduce working hours and less restaurants remain open during the day, though restaurants in the main tourist areas may remain open. Restaurants tend to open later in the evening and stay open to early morning hours when Muslims are not fasting. Alcohol sales will be very lmited during the month of Ramadan.

It is common for historic sites to close earlier so be sure to check visiting hours beforehand.

During Ramadan, streets and homes will be decorated with fanoos, traditional Ramadan lanterns. Cities and towns will be less crowded especially closer to sunset with Muslims return to their homes to eat and pray. This offers a bit of peace and quiet when walking around what would normally be crowded neighborhoods.

Every evening at sunset a feast known as Iftar takes place. As Ramadan is about generosity and appreciation, it is common to see huge tables full of traditional Egyptian food erected in the street. The food is funded by donations from the wealthy in aid of the poor. Music, singing, and entertainment goes on long into the night.

Another thing to bear in mind is that at the end of Ramadan lots of Egyptians travel to spend the holidays with their family, so transport in the last few days before Eid can get pretty busy and booked up in advance.

Tipping Customs

Tipping 10–15% of your bill total is customary at cafes and restaurants, and loose change is acceptable for food purchases from street vendors and markets.

If you’re happy with the service provided by waiters, drivers, and other workers, leaving a small tip is a good way to show your appreciation. For smaller purchases, rounding up the bill or not asking for any change is an appropriate way of leaving a tip. If you are at a restaurant or hotel, check if a 10% service charge has already been added, and think about tipping a little extra for the wait staff, who will likely not directly receive any of this service charge. 

Key Phrases

  • Hello -- salaam 'alaikum
  • Excuse me -- ba3d iznak
  • How’s it going -- eh akhbaar?
  • Thanks -- shukran
  • How much is this? – bikam da?
  • May I take a photo here? – mumken akhud Surah hina?
  • Cheers! Good Health! – fee saḥitkum

Optional Activities

Aswan

  • Nubian Museum: 20 EGP (~$2 USD)
  • Visit the Unfinished Obelisk: 80 EGP (~$8 USD)
  • Philae Temple Light & Sound Show: 800 EGP (~$40 USD)

Luxor

  • Luxor Temple under the lights; 400 EGP (~$20 USD)

Hurghada

  • Boat and snorkeling excursion; 400 EGP (~$20 USD)
  • Scuba diving package; 1,000 EGP per dive (~$50 USD per dive)
  • Sinbad submarine excursion; 1,000 EGP (~$50 USD)

While your Trip Leader can assist you with booking optional activities available, please note that any optional activities you undertake are not part of the Over30Experiences itinerary. We offer no guarantees on the safety or standard of the activity.

General Rules

Respect the people around you and the environment in which you’re traveling. This includes, but is not limited to fellow travelers, Trip Leaders, the local community, nature, wildlife, and yourself.

Do your best to keep yourself and fellow travelers out of harm’s way.

It’s important to obey local laws and customs while on our trips. This includes, but is not limited to wearing appropriate clothing while visiting certain communities, refraining from taking photos of people without asking, avoiding the use of illegal drugs, having weapons, and soliciting prostitution. If you’re not sure about something, take time to educate yourself, or ask.

Travel involves contact with new cultures. When confronted with a different way of living than you’re used to, do your best to understand that neither way is better or worse. They’re simply different ways of life.

Know your limits! This applies to physical ability, emotional space, social situations, and alcohol consumption. If you can’t participate in something, be upfront about it. If you need a break from people, take it. Stop drinking before you get too drunk.

Trip Leaders are working in the travelers’ best interest. If they say something or ask you not to do something it’s not because they’re tyrants, but because they want you to have a good time and stay safe.

Lying or withholding information about any physical or mental condition that might affect your ability to participate in any of the activities may be grounds for removal from your trip with no refund.

Staying longer or arriving early?

Hotel recommendations in Cairo:

Hotel Recommendations in Hurghada:

Consider joining our Jordan trip before or after your Egypt experience.

Still need to book your flight?

Newsletter

To avoid missing out on special offers and community updates from Over30Experiences, get our newsletter here.

OUR SISTER BRAND UNDER30EXPERIENCES HAS

MORE THAN 1,000 FIVE STAR REVIEWS

"I just wanted to thank you for assisting me in my first U30X trip planning. This was literally the BEST thing that happened to me in a long time. Everything about it was great!!" -Gray P.