Cairo, an overcrowded and lively city known for its ancient history, is also known for being a hotspot on every tourist and traveller’s list. Travellers come from all over the world just to witness the Pyramids or see the Sphynx, and in turn find a cultural wonderland of color and spices. With a population of over 10 million, Cairo is home to many expats who work abroad, travellers and students of Cairo’s study abroad programs.
Let’s take a look at what makes Cairo an affordable place to live…
The cost of housing in Cairo
From guesthouses to hostels, from homestays to finding a roommate, Cairo has a diverse range of accommodations options; any traveller or expat can find luxury and simplicity on the same street corner.
Here is what you can expect to pay for accommodation in Cairo...
- Guesthouses: $150 - $600 per month
- Guesthouses are a great option for any expat or traveller in Cairo. Those who travel to Cairo to work abroad often stay in guesthouses, because they are furnished, include all utilities and offer many amenities such as free Wi-Fi - all at an extremely cheap price.
- Hostels: $4 - $19 per night
- Hostels are usually booked in advance and mostly stayed-in by travellers rather than expats. Travellers usually stay short term, so the hostel charges per night, like a hotel. Some hostels, however, charge by the month if you make arrangements in advance to stay long term. Like a guesthouse, hostels are furnished and include many amenities.
- Apartments: $200 - $550 per month
- Apartments can be a great option for those who prefer to live alone. The price varies, depending on the location, and whether or not your apartment is already. “Serviced Apartments” are available in some areas, which are furnished apartments that are serviced like hotel rooms - just long term.
- Hotels: $13 - $330 per night
- Hotels can be extremely cheap. Even the luxury hotels have a fair price. Hotels are best for short-term stay, but can also accommodate lengthy stays, if it’s within your price range. Hotels usually include free laundry services and free Wi-Fi.
How much does food cost in Cairo?
Cairo’s markets are an amazing sight - and you can find almost anything there. Grocery shopping is the best and cheapest choice for someone interested in staying in Cairo for more than a few days. 1 kg of tomatoes (2 lbs) will cost about $0.50. 1 dozen (12) eggs will cost about $1.82. 1 quart of milk will cost about $1.15.
If you prefer eating out, you can pay round $11.75 for a meal at a local pub. Dinner at a fancy Italian restaurant will cost around $38.
How much does transportation cost in Cairo?
There are many means of transportation in Cairo, though most people just walk to their destination. If you are going farther than walking distance, the metro bus system is the next best option. With fares as low as $0.60, you can get anywhere easily. For just $18 you can buy a monthly metro pass. It will cost around $3.40 for a taxi to take you up to 5 miles, or if you prefer driving yourself, you can expect to pay $1.20 for a gallon of gasoline.
The average cost of entertainment in Cairo
Entertainment options are quite different in Cairo. While there are several shopping malls, and endless markets, movie theaters and concert shows, the true beauty lies in touring the ancient ruins. Tour packages are as cheap as $60 for a small group tour, and tickets are even cheaper if you prefer to go alone.
If modern entertainment is more your style, there are many options to keep you busy. Getting a coffee at a fancy cafe costs $3.10. 2 tickets to see a movie are priced at $10.10. If you would rather see an act or performance, 2 tickets to the theater will cost about $44.50. Dinner for two, at a local pub, costs about $25. A mixed drink at a high-class club costs about $8.40, while a beer costs $3.50.
Volunteer abroad in Cairo
There are many opportunities to volunteer abroad in Cairo. Firstly, travellers and expats should know that most volunteer programs do not pay for airfare or travel costs. Many organizations do not pay for accommodation, though if your lucky and search it out well then you may find some that do.
That being said, for a basic volunteer program, you can expect to pay anywhere from $10 a week, to a package deal as low as $300 and as high as $2000. Most volunteer organizations are free, but there are a few that charge a fee to help support your accommodation or put the money towards the cause.
What to expect as an expat in Cairo
Cairo is an Islamic city, and travellers and expats should fully recognize and respect the culture of Cairo and dress accordingly. Cairo holds many secrets, but its livability isn’t one of them. As an educated expat, you will have no trouble settling in to this dusty Middle Eastern heaven with money left to spare. Happy & safe travels!