Everyone knows that things don’t always go as planned, and traveling is no exception to that! Before Erica and I left we had about 2 weeks to come up with a general idea of what we wanted our vacation to be like, because we couldn’t really start planning until we found out for sure what days we were going to have off. After we had that figured out, the rest was pretty easy!
Since traveling I have found what works for me when it comes to vacation planning, but how I do it may not be for everyone! I have had friends and family tell me that I plan too much, that I don’t plan enough, and everything in between! However, if you want to see roughly how I plan my trips, head over to How to plan a vacation! for a few pointers!
Before we left on vacation this is what we had planned! I color coordinated the days we were spending in each city, with a little research I included at the bottom, as far as things to do, places to stay, and blogs to reference! I found this simple guide to be pretty helpful, but naturally the trip didn’t even go as planned for our rough outline!
So here is how the trip actually went:
- I flew from Minneapolis to Dallas to met Erica (free flight)
- The two of us flew on Etihad from Dallas to Abu Dhabi…why we thought this was a good idea is beyond me haha but they treated us fantastic, gave us lots of goodies and an entire row each so we could get some sleep on the 15 hour flight ($160 flight since we did a Zed Fare, airline lingo for standby on other carriers)
- Real short/real disappointing day. With the time change we arrived at the end of day 2, just in time to miss not 1, not 2, but 3 standby flights before we gave up and purchased confirmed tickets for the next day on Egypt Air from Abu Dhabi to Cairo ($280…being a normal person without flight bennies sucks)
- We had some time to kill before our flight so we hired a tour guide and went out to see Abu Dhabi!
- We saw the famous mosque, we did a quick tour of the heritage village, we explored downtown, then grabbed lunch before heading back to the airport
- We caught our flight from Abu Dhabi to Cairo
- We checked into Meramees Hostel ($9 each per night for a private room)
- We grabbed dinner with a hostel employee and he treated us to our first meal in Cairo!
***After this I will include the prices for everything, but before I decided to do this I totaled up ALL my flights, ALL the accommodations except for Wadi Rum, and everything I had spent in Abu Dhabi. My total was $1,000 give or take a few because I wasn’t keeping track as closely.
Day 4 (In depth recap of 1 day in Cairo How to see Cairo in a Day!)
- Woke up early and saw the pyramids ($35 for entrance fee, camel ride, a guide, and the tip)
- Bought a ton of oils for gifts and souvenirs ($129)
- Went to the Egypt Museum ($2)
- Ate lunch at a place we found walking around ($5)
- Spent $20 for our driver for the day, including tip
- $6 for other souvenirs at the market
- Dinner was free again
Total for the day: $197
- Headed to the airport bright and early ($6)
- $9 for breakfast in the airport
- Arrived in Luxor and paid $3 for a taxi to Bob Marley Peace Hotel/hostel (the hostel was $5 a night for a 3 bedroom dorm room, but its already added in the $1,000 I mentioned before)
Total for the day: $18
- $3 for transport tour of West Bank in Luxor
- $17 for our tour of ALL of West Bank! We saw tombs, temples, and king tuts mummified body!!!!
- $13 for snacks during the day and our lunch at this GREAT place called Sofra (I think we ate there everyday in Luxor)
- $3 for ice cream
Total for the day: $36
- We spent $1 on breakfast from the hostel AND snacks for the day (so affordable)
- We went to do a hot air balloon ride which got canceled
- Ate at Sofra again because we were obsessed…best hummus in the world!!! ($5)
- Checked out the Luxor and Karnack temples of the East Bank! ($6 total but we got 50% off by showing our airline badges and pretending they were student ids)
- $2 for taxi to and from Karnack temple
Total for the day: $14
- Hot Air balloon ride ($65 for transfer, breakfast, and ride…highly recommend this but we don’t even know the official name of the company because they are all kind of in it together, so we booked with one company and another company, or two, took care of us during the morning!)
- Took a 4 hour bus ride from Luxor to Hurghada for $5
- Spent $8 on lunch (at Sofra, duh) and snacks for the bus ride
- Paid $5 for our taxi to The Sheraton at Soma Bay (accommodations was already paid for, we used a night of free hotel that I had and it cost us $135 each for 3 nights at an amazing resort!)
Total for the day: $83
- A breakfast buffet was included in the resort fee so we ate a big breakfast to push our lunch back and skip dinner since prices were expensive on the resort
- We paid $23 for cocktails and lunch on the beach
- Went snorkeling in the Red Sea which was amazing! The Corals in Soma Bay were incredible! ($6)
- The rest of the day we just bummed on the beach until the sun went down
Total for the day: $29
- Scuba Diving Day!!!! Erica and I love scuba diving and made plans to get our PADI certification this year! Anyways, we booked scuba diving for $35 and that included our taxi, lunch, and 2 dives!
- We got dinner in the city of Hurghada before heading back to our resort which cost $5
Total for the day: $40
- $10 tip for our main man Khalid who organized everything from our taxis, to our scuba diving, the entire time we were in Hurghada! If you are going to Hurghada I will send you his FB info!
- $5 taxi ride to the Hurghada airport
- Spent $17 trying to use up the last of my EGP at the airport of food and coffee
- Flew Hurgada to Cairo to Amman ($230 but thats included already in my $1,000 from before)
- $14 for taxi ride from the Jordan airport to our Airbnb (Airbnb in Jordan price was about $56 each)
Total for the day: $46
- $1.50 for an über to Starbucks…we are basic white girls okay!! But really Egypt didn’t do breakfast very well, so we just wanted a nice familiar coffee and breakfast and Starbucks was close. ($9 for Starbucks breakfast)
- From our airbnb we spent $21 each to get to and from the Dead Sea (using uber), which was an hour away.
- $17 to just enter the Amman Beach, which was the cheapest option. This beach is locals only really and not very nice. You have to be in a 1 piece to get in the water at this beach, but if you want to spend more money (up to $150) you can splurge and go to private beach attached to the resorts in the area. Erica and I were fine with the cheap option and even though she didn’t have a 1 piece, she just went in the water with her shirt on and it was fine! The Dead Sea was INCREDIBLE! Probably my favorite part of the entire trip!
- We made a picnic lunch and spent $3 at the market that day and brought it to the beach
- That night we had dinner with a friend named Abraham who we met on the beach that day. We ate at a place in downtown Amman called Hamada which featured delicious falafel ($7)
Total for the day: $58.50
- We took an early morning bus (company called JETT bus which only leaves from Amman to Petra at 6:30 am) that cost $16
- $6 for snacks for the bus ride and coffee
- $4 for lunch at a place with super yummy chicken shawarmas nearby our hostel (Petra Gate Hostel $14 a night for a private room)
- This day we also found out about an empty place called “Little Petra” which had zero tourist there and was free! We spent a few hours there before heading back and cleaning up before dinner
- We ate at a place called 7 Wonders Pizza which was delicious and a nice change from hummus and falafel ($12.50)
Total for the day: $38.50
- We headed to the market for breakfast, snacks, and water for the day ($12)
- This was a shock to us, but the entrance to Petra was $76. I have seen a few wonders of the world, but this was by far the most expensive!
- Inside of Petra we ended up spending another $20 on various things such as more drinks, side hikes with a guide, and a horse ride.
- This day we grabbed lunch at the shawarma place again with our new friend Dan who we met leaving Petra and he was nice enough to give us a ride and treat us to lunch!
- That night we had dinner at a place in town (I don’t remember the name) that was terrible. If you go to Petra avoid the giant brown building in the center of the city. ($7.50 for dinner)
Total for the day: $115.50
- We left Petra and headed to Wadi Rum to camp in the desert. We booked through our Petra hostel and ended up paying $56 for the camp, dinner and breakfast, and a 4 hour jeep tour!
- Our taxi to Wadi Rum from Petra cost us $12 each
- In Wadi Rum we explored canyons, sand boarded, hiked, and off-roaded. That night we got together near a campfire and ate, talked, and played cards with our new friends from Jordan, Germany, and England!
Total for the day: $68
- We said goodbye to all of our friends and started home for our 2 day journey beginning with a taxi ride to Aqaba where we were catching a bus to Amman ($11 for ride and tip for our Wadi Rum guide Abdula)
- We bought snacks and our bus tickets which cost us $17 each
- When we arrived in Jordan we got lunch near the bus station for $4 each, then took an uber to Starbucks so we could hang out with wifi until it was time to go to the airport
- We spent $5.50 at Starbucks since its frowned upon to use their wifi and camp out for hours for free. Since our flight wasn’t until 2 am though and we had all of our bags, we didn’t have much of a choice.
Total for the day: $37.50
- Erica and I both booked a Zed fare flight on Lufthansa from Amman to Frankfurt which cost us about $130 each. From there I took Delta from Frankfurt to Detroit and got to sit in first class which was the perfect way to end my trip! (The Delta flight cost me $100 since I had to pay International taxes.)
- During the 2 days we spent about $40 for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, plus treats for our crews and taxi to the airport
Total for the day: $270
Which brings me to my grand total of $2,051 for the entire trip! I know some of my friends will think thats a lot, but in the scheme of things I think that is really good! We had budgeted $2,000 for the trip and just barely went over! For 17 days, we averaged $120 per day, and that included all airfare, transportation, food, and ALL activities! That is a lot for only $120! If I could do the trip over again there isn’t much I would change except for making time to get PADI certified in Hurghada! It would have only taken 2 more days and I think it would have been so worth it!
Usually Erica and I only take 1 big trip per year, but we are already talking about our next trip this May! Any guesses on where we might go?! And any suggestions for our “Bucket list girls trip” for next year?