Has Egypt long been on your family bucket list? Make this the year you stop dreaming and start planning!
We will talk you through exactly how to make an Egypt family holiday a reality. Get your notepads ready because we’re going to cover a lot! Let’s make your family holiday in Egypt happen, from the number of days you’ll need to see the highlights to all the practicality of tours, transport, and what to pack.
As an independent family travel blog, we’re not here to sell you anything, just the facts you need for an amazing family trip to Egypt.
- When Should I Book a Family Tour of Egypt?
- How long do I need in Egypt?
- What are the highlights of Egypt?
- Family Tour Package for Egypt vs Self Guided
- Getting Around in Egypt
- What does an Egypt family tour cost?
- What do I need to know before my Egypt Family Holiday?
When Should I Book a Family Tour of Egypt?
This is a two-pronged question as there’s the best time of year to visit Egypt, as well as your children’s ages to consider.
Best time to visit Egypt
Egypt is best visited in the cooler winter months and shoulder seasons as summer temperatures can reach more than 40°C (104°F). With kids of most ages, you’ll likely find this uncomfortably hot for exploring – though not impossible if you make very early morning starts.
The cooler winter months from November to April are best for outdoor exploration but also expect greater crowds at popular tourist sites, particularly over the Christmas to New Year break.
The Red Sea resort towns remain popular year-round, though the most pleasant water conditions for diving will be experienced around late March through to November.
The autumn term break in around October is ideal for families looking to visit off-peak, as is the February half-term break if you’re looking for low crowds and ore interested in exploring than sun-seeking.
Best age for visiting Egypt
The appropriate age and stage to visit Egypt will be very personal to your family.
Whilst we always encourage families to travel with their kids as soon as they feel comfortable doing so, Egypt is the type of once-in-a-lifetime family vacation you may want to hold until your kids are a little older. A few things to consider:
- All primary/elementary age children are likely to study the ancient Egyptians at some point. A trip to Egypt around this time will be a great compliment to their learning and likely see them more engaged; there are a fair few temples to explore!
- Most tour companies will consider children as half price or at least discounted until around the age of 12; after that, you may well be paying the full adult price for teens.
- There are minimum ages in places with some tours only taking children from age 5+.
- When travelling with smaller children, note most of Egypt is not particularly stroller friendly so do plan on doing a lot of carrying.
How long do I need in Egypt?
As any intrepid traveler knows, properly seeing a country takes months. Still, not all of us have the luxury of that much time to truly live and experience a country to its fullest.
We would argue that you need at least 7 to 10 days to see the highlights of Egypt Lower and Upper Egypt. 14 to 16 days will see you at a more relaxed pace and able to include a more relaxing stop at the Red Sea too.
- We have a detailed itinerary here for 7 days in Egypt, similar to what most organized tours will follow.
- Check out a longer 15 day Egypt Family Tour example here if you have longer to spend on the Egypt family holiday.
What are the highlights of Egypt?
So bearing in mind the length of time you have to visit Egypt, what would you want to fit in?
These are some of the most popular tourist highlights and attractions in Egypt you will most likely see on an Egypt holiday itinerary between one and two weeks:
Cairo & Giza
Most international flights come into CAI so your family tour of Egypt is likely to start and end here. Some of the incredible tourist highlights in Cairo include:
- Giza Pyramid complex
- The Egyptian Museum
- Grand Egyptian Museum (from late 2022)
- Memphis City
- Islamic landmarks in Old Cairo
- Saqqara Step Pyramids
- Dhashur Pyramids
- Salah El-Din Citadel
- The National Museum of Egyptian Civilization
- Khan El Khalili Bazaar
Travelling further south you will come to the area known as Upper Egypt. The Nile River from Luxor to Aswan holds much of the magic of a family trip to Egypt. Around Luxor the tourist highlights include:
- Karnak Temple
- Luxor Temple
- Valley of The Kings
- Hatshepsut Temple
- Colossi of Memnon
Aswan & the Nile
The Nile river is deep enough to cruise between Aswan & Luxor. As well as the experience of cruising the Nile itself, the highlights you’ll see along this route and beyond Aswan to near the Sudanese border include:
- Edfu Temple
- Kom Ombo Temple
- The High Dam
- Philae Temple
- Elephantine Island
- Abu Simbel Temple
The second-largest city in Egypt, not all family tours will cover Alexandria on the Mediterranean coast. It lies in the opposite direction to the main highlights of Upper Egypt but can easily be added as a day trip from Cairo to the start or end of a trip. Highlights in Alexandria include:
- The Catacombs
- Pompey’s Pillar
- The Citadel of Qaitbay
- Alexandria Library
Hurghada & The Red Sea
Many will book stand-alone trips to Hurghada to enjoy the beautiful beaches and warm waters of the Red Sea. You can theoretically day trip from Hurghada to Luxor but be mindful it’s a VERY long day with kids; we’d consider the two different destinations. Highlights in and around Hurghada include:
- Red sea snorkelling and scuba diving
- A boat trip to Giftun islands
- Eastern Desert safari, quad biking & tented Bedouin dinner
Other parts of Egypt to consider visiting
Not part of a usual Egyptian tour package but also worth considering in Egypt, depending on where your interests lie are:
- Dahab, Taba and Sharm el-Sheikh on the Sinai Peninsula – Red Sea resort towns popular for water sports and package holidays
- Hiking Mt Sinai – approximately 3 hours north of Sharm el-Sheikh
- Marsa Alam – smaller and lesser-known resort town to the south of Hurghada on the Red Sea
- Siwa Oasis – found between the Qattara Depression and the Great Sand Sea in the Western Desert
- Marina El Alamein – an exclusive resort town on the Mediterranean coast
Map of Egyptian Tourist Highlights
Family Tour Package for Egypt vs Self Guided
There’s certainly no hard and fast rule that says families must join a guided tour or take package holidays in Egypt. However, if you are only in Egypt for a brief family holiday to see the highlights, it’s a country we’d strongly recommend leaning towards something more organized.
Don’t go thinking packed tourist buses and tight schedules. A “holiday package” in Egypt can still be very well personalised to just your family, or at least small groups of less than 20 people.
Some companies that specifically offer extensive multi-day family tours to consider:
These tours will usually be in small groups, but keep digging; you may find other local companies that will offer you very similar itineraries with personalized drivers and guides just for you.
(NB we are not affiliated with nor earn any commission in these recommendations; these are based on our writing team’s experience and feedback from readers at Family Travel Middle East).
We are affiliates for Get Your Guide though – they offer several multi-day trip options that may better suit those with a shorter itinerary, start searching here:
The Fine Print of Egypt Tour Packages
We will caution that you should always read the fine print on what’s on offer! Things to look for:
- Are all entry tickets included, or just meals, accommodation and transfers?
- Are there minimum age limits? Particularly cruising the Nile certain vessels won’t take very young children.
- What discount applies to children and at what ages? Some heavily discount under 5’s, for example, but then they are not given their own seat on transport or sleeping berth.
- What exactly are “family-friendly activities included” – when we pressed one tour provider we were told this meant “we offer colouring books” – hardly life-changing.
- Is it just your family with your own guide, or will they mix groups?
- Is there a compulsory tipping kitty, or pay as you think appropriate?
Getting Around in Egypt
If you have chosen the organized tour route, there’s much less for you to think about when it comes to transport. However, in choosing your Egypt tour provider, you will want to know important cost differences and timing, depending on what sort of transport you choose.
Your family trip to Egypt will almost certainly be split into at least two parts; touring around Cairo and Upper Egypt (Luxor to Aswan). Whilst you might be with the same tour company throughout, your guides and drivers may change for different trip components while you undertake the transfers on your own; others, you’ll keep the same guide escorting you throughout.
Cairo to Upper Egypt
The quickest and easiest way between Lower and Upper Egypt is to fly. Domestic flights run regularly from Cairo to Aswan or Luxor, even direct to Abu Simbel. This is also the most expensive way to travel; you’ll need to weigh up convenience vs cost.
The train is the next most popular way to get from Cairo to Luxor or Aswan. From Cairo to Luxor is around 10 hours, and all the way to Aswan about 13 hours. You will pay more for the overnight sleeper trains, but these are more comfortable than the standard trains.
A bus is also possible between Cairo and Upper Egypt. Timings are similar to the train but we’d argue the train is more comfortable over that length of time, and safer.
There’s no problem to mix and match your transport, you might like to train & cruise one way, then fly back to Cairo or vice versa.
Transport in Upper Egypt
Between Aswan and Luxor, you can cruise the Nile instead of taking a plane, train or bus. There are choices to take the larger “cruise ships” or floating hotels, or smaller vessels such as a Dahabiya, which normally accommodate only 10 to 15 people plus crew.
There are pros and cons to each which we’ll cover in another article!
Check out this detailed guide to Nile Cruising with kids from Our Globetrotters to understand exactly what to expect on a larger boat.
What does an Egypt family tour cost?
If you’re in the early stages of researching an Egypt family trip you’ve no doubt found prices vary vastly!
Depending on inclusions and the type of transport you use, a very broad estimate you can expect to pay:
- From $600USD per person with sleep bus transfers for 7 days
- $1500 per adult for 7 days (with internal flights and 4* cruise option)
- A fully inclusive tailored family trip may be as much as $3,500USD per person
In our experience, discounts vary widely on kids’ pricing. We paid only 50% of the adult price for children under 12; other families have reported only getting 10-20% off the adult price for under 18’s.
Note our point above if you are taking younger children and want them to have their own seat and bed, you will need to include them at a child’s price.
What do I need to know before my Egypt Family Holiday?
Now that you have flights and tours booked in, the next step to think about is your visas, currency and packing needs.
Visa for Egypt
Most visitors to Egypt need a tourist visa valid for 30 days, unless they are from an exempt country.
Some nationalities can pay the $25USD for a visa on arrival at the airport, but it is wise to arrange your e-visa in advance.
Packing list for Egypt
The most obvious thing to think about is what you will wear in Egypt. It is a predominately Muslim country, but there are many instances where you’ll want to think about not just dressing for religious respect but for the weather conditions too; remember, the summers might be sticky hot, but you better believe it can get cold in winter too!
Don’t forget all those non-clothing items too, we have a complete family packing list for Egypt here which includes things like power sockets and adaptors you’ll need, through to guide books, gadgets and day pack essentials you’ll want to keep cool and comfortable in Egypt.
Dealing with Baksheesh
Ah baksheesh, baksheesh!. There’s no avoiding it, and it’s a vital part of the Egyptian economy, so how do you deal with it? We’re talking about tipping. A tourism industry that hugely runs on the generosity of tips for services rendered, but not all tips and services are created equal!
We honestly found working out the right gratuities a bit of a battlefield point in traveling to Egypt so head on over to this Baksheesh guide to Egypt. We give our 2 cents on how much we think you need to allow for tipping (hint, even if you’re not from the US, consider getting hold of a nice big wad of $1 bills to carry around).
Currency in Egypt
Speaking of which, what money will you need?
The local Egyptian currency is the Egyptian Pound. As at early 2022, the approximate currency exchange is 1EGP= 0.055USD
USD is still commonly used in tourism but you will get the better exchange rate if you can pay in EGP.
Safety in Egypt
Not always the easiest of topics to approach when travelling anywhere but a necessary one. Egypt, unfortunately, does not have a stellar reputation over the past couple of decades when it comes to safety on many fronts.
This can be a big concern for many travelling families so we put together this detailed guide of genuine safety concerns we feel you need to consider when visiting Egypt as a family.
Don’t forget to always check current safety advice from your own Government too. The safety threat does, unfortunately, vary by nationality and its something that you and the kids will invariably notice during your trip to Egypt.
- US Department of State – Egypt Safety Warning
- Australia DFAT Smart Traveller – Egypt Travel Advice
- UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office Travel Advice for Egypt
- Government of Canada Egypt Travel Advice
This is certainly not to put you off a family trip to Egypt but to make you aware of potential issues and give some perspective – we’re sure you’ve all got naysayers around you who may disagree with your Egypt travel plans.
Where to stay in Egypt
This could be largely dictated by your tour operator if you’ve chosen this route to plan your Egypt family vacation. In all the major cities, you will find a vast range of accommodation from 5-star luxury to hostels.
Generally speaking, accommodation is cheaper than you’ll find elsewhere in the world, but standards can vary too; set your expectations that 3*, 4*, 5* may not be of the same quality and rigorous standard as say, Dubai. Staying at larger brand name hotels, you will find rigorous security precautions in place.
For self planners looking for accommodation recommendations, you may want to check out:
We are working on more family accommodation round-ups for you in Upper Egypt too.
Travel Insurance for Egypt
If you didn’t book travel insurance simultaneously with your trip, do it now!
Never underestimate the importance of travel insurance for your family, and make sure you are fully covered for eventualities at your destination. Think not just theft and loss of items, but trip delays, cancellations or health emergencies overseas.
We use and recommend World Nomads (but do check if they currently cover your country of residency, a lot has changed in the travel insurance world since COVID).
Ready to visit Egypt?
Egypt is undoubtedly a family trip of a lifetime that’s bound to appear on everyone’s bucket list. With a little careful planning, you can make this dream a reality. Pick the time of year and number of days that will work best for you, and go in with an open mind and plenty of memory space in your camera!
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