Giza Plateau and Cairo Skyline
Hotel and Hostel Availability
Egypt is one of the most popular travel destinations in the Middle East. As such, it has many western and local hotel options and there's really something to meet everybody's travel budget and style. Particularly in the major travel destinations such as Cairo or Sharm el-Sheikh, you will find many western chains and resorts such as the Marriott, Hilton, or Sheraton. Alternatively, there are countless locally run hotels and guesthouses of varying quality and price. Do read some reviews or check out the room before committing to a place as the quality varies dramatically and the prices do not always match the level of service.
Egypt is a country of negotiation. It is important to remember that when booking a hotel. If you arrive without reservations, negotiate hard. This is the expectation, not the rarity, and if you don't negotiate you absolutely will pay too much.
Finding the Best Prices
The key to finding the best prices in Egypt, be it accommodation, tours, or anything else, is to negotiate hard. Everything in Egypt is negotiable. Don't shy away from it, but don't get frustrated with it either. It's important to understand this is the expectation, and it's a learned skill. Take it lightly and don't let your anger get the better of you. See it as a game and you'll have a much more enjoyable trip.
Aside from negotiating, there are a few other tricks for saving money on accommodation in Egypt. Stay at locally owned hotels and you'll pay a fraction of the cost you pay in western chains. The quality can be quite nice as well. There are hostels in most of the touristy areas, but if you're going off the beaten path then you may have more of a challenge. In this case look for local guesthouses which are likely to be the best deal.
In Egypt you can find many different types of accommodation. Depending where you are, you may find a more concentrated gathering of resorts, budget guesthouses, campgrounds, or hostels. In cities along the coast like Sharm el-Sheikh you will find the most resorts. These facilities can be quite luxurious and are a wonderful place if you're looking for a scenic vacation with some good diving. The nearby neighbor, Dahab, has far more budget accommodations and hostels. The town also has a very different vibe. In popular cities like Cairo or Luxor you will find almost every type of accommodation. These cities cater to a variety of tourist types and because of this they have the necessary facilities.
Nile cruises are another type of accommodation and they come in a range of levels. Before booking a cruise, confirm that you understand what type of boat you will be on and everything that is included in the cruise.
Cairo is a large and chaotic city. The attractions are spread out throughout the city and the hotels are in equally as diverse neighborhoods. Before you make a reservation you should really ask yourself what you're hoping to get out of your time in Cairo. Wherever you stay, you will likely have to travel around the city at least some in order to visit all of the major attractions. The pyramids are actually in the suburbs of Cairo. Most people choose not to stay in the hotels near the pyramids as this will make everything else during your trip inconvenient. One of the more popular neighborhoods is Midan El Tahrir. Here you will find many different hotels. There are western chain hotels as well as locally owned budget options in this neighborhood. There are also many different restaurants and activities nearby. The Egyptian Museum is walking distance away as is many different forms of public transportation. Garden City is another popular neighborhood that is centrally located and has many different types of affordable accommodation. If you're looking for more upscale accommodation and restaurants then head to Dokki and Mohandeseen, which is along the west bank of the Nile River. It's a pleasant place to stroll around as well.
Luxor is one of the most popular cities to visit in Egypt. It has every type of accommodation you could want, from camping to five star hotels. Seasonal pricing is also very variable in Luxor. Don't be surprised if you see a fifty percent price drop during the low season. The low season in Egypt is during the summer months and the high season is during the winter months.
Most people arrive in Luxor by overnight train. Once you reach the train station you'll probably be approached by somewhat aggressive touts who will want to show you to your hotel. These people are best avoided and you will be better off locating your own hotel. The prices will be less and the selection will also be better. If you do not have reservations, remember that everything in Egypt is ALWAYS negotiable.
There are plenty of budget hotels around the city, but you'll likely get the best bang for your buck if you stay at a locally run mid-range hotel. Prices are usually not dramatically more than the budget selection and the comforts and facilities are often of a higher quality. Higher end hotels are generally more expensive, but if you're looking for great luxuries for an affordable price you should be able to find it, particularly if you're traveling during the low season.
Luxor at Night