Egypt holds some of the world’s greatest wonders. Travelers booking flights to Egypt journey to a land full of history and mystery. Located in northeast Africa, Egypt is bordered by the Mediterranean Sea, Israel, the Red Sea, Sudan, and Libya. The larger of its surrounding countries, today Egypt is the common hub that binds them. But more than 6,000 years ago, Egypt was a land ruled by Pharaohs and fought over by kings, emperors, religious sects and colonies.
Today, travelers booking flights to Egypt will find a fusion of cultures and religions. The majority religions are Muslim and Coptic Christian, each bringing its own traditions and influences to the diversity of this country.
Lots of tourists book flights to Egypt’s largest city and capital, Cairo. It is a growing metropolis, home to more than 17 million people. Situated along the banks of the Nile River, visitors booking trips to Egypt for a tour of Cairo are welcomed with intense activity and bustling city scenes. But beyond Cairo is an unexplored Egypt waiting to be found.
Egypt has a variety of sights to explore: from the ancient Pyramids and Sphinx at Giza to the modern resorts of Sharm el Sheikh and the Mediterranean port city of Alexandria. Travelers book flights to Egypt for a host of different reasons. As the “seat of civilization” Egypt has one of the richest histories of all countries on the planet, but it also boasts modern touches. The resorts on its coastlines draw those keen to do little more than lie back in the sunshine or swim in the warm seas. But the bustling cities appeal to those who want to see something of the urban African lifestyle. Cairo is seldom missed by travelers and is filled with museums, shops and bazaars; Luxor is the gateway to the Valley of the Kings and the ancient “City of Palaces;” Alexandria has monuments from Alexander the Great; and Aswan, an old trading town, is the starting point for many Nile cruises.
Egypt’s Mediterranean coast can be cool, but the rest of the country is sizzling hot, especially in the summer. Be prepared to sweat – the desert is hot and arid. In the winter months, bring a coat, as the weather can go down to 32 degrees in the evening.
Peak Season: Any time between October and May is considered a great time to travel to Egypt, due to cooler weather. Since there’s such a broad timeline, booking a cheap flight to Egypt should be easily accessible. When winds pick up a bit during March and April, tourists typically lay low, creating more room for the adventurers who love a good wrestle with the gust. Accommodations will often be fully booked and prices rise during this time of year.
Spring time, between March and April, is one of the best times to visit, for both the chance of finding good deals and the climate. The weather is still very warm, but has not yet reached summertime peaks, and the tourist levels are reduced from the peak travelling times.
Off-peak Season: During Ramadan holidays, most of the country’s tourist-friendly areas like restaurants and museums close down in reverence, beckoning a different kind of traveler. If you’re one scintillated by local flavor and religious observance, book a trip to Egypt during Ramadan to experience the sacred feeling of humanity.
The least popular time to visit is during the hottest months as temperatures can be hot to handle. If you do travel during this time—and this can be when the best bargains are to be found for flights to Egypt—stick to the coast where the breezes make it seem cooler.
This depends on what you are looking for, if you want to avoid the busy season, then aim for the really hot months or Ramadan as you’ll find the cheapest flights to Egypt. Additionally, you’ll have more time to immerse yourself more into the Egyptian culture as many tourists aren’t around. If you aim to secure your flight tickets 2 or 3 months in advance then you will have more luck finding cheap flights to Egypt. The peak months can still be quite cheap, so planning ahead and checking for festivals will help you keep costs down. Being flexible will also help you find the cheapest flights to Egypt, so try not to anchor yourself down too much to a specific month, week or area.
The Cairo International Airport is the major airport serving Egypt. The fastest one-way flights from the lower east coast take around 16 hours, while flights from New York City take approximately 11 hours and 54 minutes. West Coast travelers from Los Angeles can expect an 18 hour flight, and it takes around 17 hours to arrive from Seattle.
The busiest airport in Egypt, Cairo accepts flights from all across the globe and with most major airlines. EgyptAir is the most popular airline making the trip. Several other airlines are available, including Lufthansa, Delta, United, Swiss Airlines, British Airways and Air India.
In Egypt, the summers are extremely hot with highs around 112 degrees Fahrenheit and in the winter, desert temperatures can drop to around 32 degrees. Unless you are traveling during the winter months, it’s a good idea to plan for the heat. In winter, a light jacket is probably enough to keep you comfortable. You should also pack long sleeves and bring an umbrella. In the summer, choose lightweight cotton, shorts and a swimsuit for cooling off on the beach. Opt for a comfortable pair of walking shoes or hiking boots if you plan to trek the ancient ruins, and temples and mosques require women to cover their head and wear long sleeves.
There are several options you can choose to get to the city. One of the most convenient ways is to pre-book a shuttle once you’ve booked your flights to Egypt. That way once you arrive at the airport you can simply jump on without having to worry. Alternatively there is a bus service that operates throughout the day. They operate from the car park of Terminal 1 and most are air-conditioned. That said you might prefer to just get into one of the many taxis that are outside. Be prepared to haggle and prepare yourself to have driver after driver try to poach you into their taxis. Make sure you agree on a fee before you get in and if you don’t feel safe simply do not get in.
Buses run from the airport but there aren’t dedicated stops along the route so you’ll have to just demand where to be dropped off. More than likely most other people on the bus will be getting off in the center, too, so you could just follow the crowd. It’s better to pay up front or agree on the fee so you don’t get ripped off. Taxis are available 24 hours a day and will take you directly to your hotel so they can be classed as convenient in that respect. Make sure you agree on the fare beforehand though and if you can split the fare with a friend then it’ll be more worthwhile.
Very similar to Sharm El-Sheikh, your cheapest option is to take a bus from the airport. You’ll have to tell the driver where and when you want to get off the bus as there aren’t bus stops set out along the roads. You could rent a car from the airport too, however this isn’t recommended as the roads can be a bit hectic to travel. Taxis are available too and although more expensive than the bus they will take you to your hotel. Just be prepared to deal with drivers hassling you from the moment you leave the arrival terminal.
Flights are possible in Egypt, though not the most cost-effective means of travel. The national carrier is Egypt Air.
Most travelers get around the country by bus, taxi or train. The train is efficient and reliable, but often takes longer than the bus. For short distances, it is almost always better to take a black and white cab, or catch a bus, which is the cheapest option as well.
Service taxis, known as servees, are popular and common. This is the very cheapest way of getting around, but you need to be prepared for long waits. The car, often a Peugeot, will not stop until full, and will drop off all passengers where they choose.
Air-conditioned buses run frequently, and allow seat reservations up to two days in advance. Routes like the 66 and the 72 run from the Nile Hilton to other hotels, and the 800 remains your ticket to the pyramids. To add more local convenience to your Egypt travel, look for taxis with orange license plates that line up at hotels and street corners. On a busy road, simply wave your hand to flag down a ride.
Safety is most important when traveling through the desert. Driving deep into the desert can be dangerous, so remember to bring a spare tire, and to drive on sand as you would drive on snow. Bring a compass and use common sense. If you get stuck, place a rag behind your wheel and slowly drive in reverse – spinning will only drive you deeper into the sand. Locals will drive along and help you if necessary, so don’t abandon your vehicle. At night, it’s courteous to blink your high beams at passing cars, to signal that you are awake and alert on long highway stretches.
Exploring the River Nile is one way to see the area from a different perspective. View wildlife in their natural habitat and get a good look at some of the temples that line the waterway including the Kom Ombo. You can also navigate the waters of the Suez Canal and view the Peace Bridge near Ismailiya.
If you like animals, grab a group, schedule a tour and ride a camel through the desert. The Oracle Temple of Amun and the ruins of Shali are two major points of interest. There are six different Oasis spots in the western desert where you will stop for a cool beverage and a place to escape the heat.
Water lovers can go diving along Egypt’s coastline to see the native marine life and coral. You can also hire a glass-bottom boat and paddle along the shores of Sharm el-Sheik where you can watch the fish.
The Luxor Museum is ideal for history buffs. View a collection of artifacts from as far back as the Old Kingdom and to the Mamluk period. The displays are well-notated and explained which makes it well worth the visit.
Spend time at the local markets and shops at various spots throughout the region. In Luxor, there are many gold and silver smiths, so you can find unique jewelry at excellent prices. There are also fair trade shops where you can haggle with the locals over crafts, pottery, glass and textiles.
Pyramids: Visiting Giza and the Sphinx are must-see attractions for all visitors to Egypt. Tour these grand and ancient tombs of kings; Great Pyramid of Kufu, the Pyramid of Kafhke, and the Pyramid of Menkaura. Tempt your fate by venturing inside the Father of Terror–the Sphinx.
Marsa Alam: What was once a small fishing village on the coast of the Red Sea is now an established holiday destination for those looking to book cheap flights to Egypt during the winter months. The tropical atmosphere allows for intense scuba diving experiences and prime viewing access to some of the Mediterranean’s most exotic wildlife. Swim among huge coral reefs and see hammerhead sharks, spinner dolphins, and huge dugongs. The best places to stay in this area are the newest resorts—Hurghada and Sharm el Sheikh.
Abu Simbel: For a historical adventure, head to Abu Simbel, an archaeological site that holds twin temples constructed by Ramessess II. Constructed in the 13th century BC, the temples were situated on a mountainside, and relocated to a smaller hill in the 1960’s. Take special notice to the entrance doorway, where the king’s name is livened in the form of the falcon-headed sun god.
Lake Nasser: Although this may be the world’s largest artificial lake, there’s nothing fake about its beauty. More than 2,027 square miles in size, this human-made addition to the environment was built in Aswan. Be sure to stop in to the multitude of tombs, temples, and churches surrounding its shores.
Egypt Hotels: There’s much to do and see in Egypt; finding the right hotel is essential for successful travel. Book Cairo hotels for city stays with few side trips. Hurghada hotels and Sharm el Sheikh hotels are perfect for travelers seeking a more resort-like stay.
Travelers extending their vacations and flying to other spots will find many airlines to choose from. Cairo is the official hub for EgyptAir, EgyptAir Express and Nile Air. There are three terminals with an International food court, plenty of duty-free shops and many public information points to help you find your way.
Public transportation is unique in Egypt. Pickup trucks transport people back and forth between villages and the main roads with a dozen or so travelers squeezed into the rear. Tuk-tuks are small scooters with seats which are ideal for a quick ride. When traveling back and forth to the airport, microbuses or minibuses take passengers to the bus and train station. These rides are usually cramped, so it’s a good idea to plan ahead and give yourself plenty of time.
(prices quoted are from London)