Accommodation in Cairo

Finding Accommodation, Flatsharing, Hostels in Cairo

Home > Expat Guides > Africa > Egypt > Cairo

Cost of Living

The cost of living in Cairo is less than that of Europe and the USA. However, before the revolution that displaced Mubarak, local food and produce were generally cheap while imported goods were quite expensive. Household expenses like utilities and cleaning services are very low. Most Egyptians live just above an expat’s idea of poverty. Living like a local results in a low cost of living.

During the protests, necessities became scarce and access to cash was restricted. Since the revolution, Cairo and Egypt as a whole have struggled to regain normalcy. Basic food stuff, fuel and other necessities remain temporarily heightened. Cost of living should return to low levels in the future.

Example of Costs

    Food Costs
  • Milk - EGP 8
  • Cheese - EGP 25
  • Bread - EGP 9
  • Coca Cola - EGP 9
  • Bananas - EGP 10
  • Fresh whole chicken - EGP 30
  • Imported can of beer - EGP 20
  • Fine wine - EGP 60
  • Imported Cigarettes - EGP 10
  • Telephone line (monthly rental) - EGP 26
  • Monthly energy costs - EGP 50
  • Room in shared apartment - EGP 1,500
  • Rent for a 2-bedroom apartment - EGP 3,000
  • Metro - EGP 1
  • Petrol - $0.65 USD Regular/Gallon
  • Three-course dinner in restaurant - EGP 110
  • Fast-food meal - EGP 30
  • Cup of coffee in bar/cafe - EGP 14
  • Beer in bar - EGP 26

Use the Cost of Living calculator to help estimate costs.

Household Help

Hiring help is very affordable in Egypt and many expat families that never imagined hiring household help do so here. Before hiring help, consider the cost, loss of privacy, and the challenges of an employer/employee relationship. Despite the availability, it is still not for everyone.

Typical Positions

  • Cleaners (Maids): You can hire a cleaner for a full day, or just a half day, to wash clothing, clean the house, sweep, etc. Some can even cook Egyptian food for lunch or dinner.
  • Cooks: Most cooks will be highly skilled at cooking Egyptian food, but may not be experienced with Western foods.
  • Nannies: Egyptian women are extremely apt at childcare. Be prepared fro differences in sanitation and discipline.
  • Drivers: A driver can be invaluable in Egyptian traffic. Older drivers usually have an excellent knowledge of the city. Some expats prefer to hire a car with a driver included in the contract, though it may be cheaper to hire someone with their own car through a rental agency.
  • Watchmen (Security Guards): Most apartment buildings for expats have security guard, but some expats live in buildings without protection and choose to hire outside help. Some neighborhoods are more at risk for nighttime robberies, or while you are away at work.
  • Manual Workers: If you have renovations or repair work that needs to be done at your residence, you should find a contractor to handle it and find the necessary workers.


In Cairo - everyone must be tipped. Known as baksheesh, this can be quite frustrating. Check your receipts at shops to make sure it wasn't charged without your knowing. This charge can be contested if you ask about the charge.

Prepare for your Housing Search

Research, research, and introspection should define your pre-accommodation search. Familiarize yourself with the different areas and find where you want to live. Read blogs from the area, find official resources, visit the different areas. Ask yourself questions like:
How big a place do you want? A studio? A three room flat?
Where do you want to live? Somewhere close to your work? In the trendiest part of town? East or West?
What's your price range?
With answers to these important questions you can begin to think of a specific place.

Short-term Accommodation

Short-term accommodation can help you and your family get situated after the move without having to make any permanent decisions quite yet. They also offer the opportunity to get to know the area and your needs before picking permanent accommodations.

A serviced apartment in Cairo usually features such amenities as high speed Internet, air-conditioning, fully fitted kitchen, quality furnishings, daily maid service, laundry Service, daily continental breakfast.

To find the perfect short-term rental, go to Subrent.


A flatshare is usually a great value and can provide an expat with an opportunity to get to know a new city with a local. A room in a shared apartment costs about EGP 1,500.

An important trait in any roommate situation is having boundaries and a clear understanding of what each roommate requires. To protect yourself against potential problems, make sure to have a contract that explicitly states rights and responsibilities.


Hostels are generally the cheapest option and provide a clean and safe temporary abode. There is often a closing time at hostels that can be as early as 20:00, but is usually at midnight. They may also have lock-out times during the day while the hostel is being cleaned. They may also require light household duties like sweeping, cleaning dishes, etc.

Update 4/12/2011


Facebook Twitter Google+ LinkedIn Pinterest Addthis

Recommended Service Partners

Online marketplace for mid-long term accommodation

Looking for cheap accommodation in Cairo isn’t easy and can be time consuming. Fortunately the times of browsing innumerable adverts, making hundreds of phone calls and visiting dozen of houses belong to the past: with Uniplaces now you can look for your room comfortably sitting at home. You can pick a room in a shared home with other expats, a studio flat if you want more privacy, or you can team up with other friends and rent an entire apartment just for yourselves.

The booking system is very simple and doesn’t require any visit: all can be done in advance thanks to the detailed descriptions and photos of the rooms and you can secure your room before even getting there. Moreover the Uniplaces team will be available for any questions and help.

Uniplaces is an online marketplace for booking mid-long term accommodation with thousands of verified properties.

  • If you’re looking for a room or a flat, you can search for ads in your new city: Search
  • If you have a room available and you wish to rent it, get in touch with us: Contact

Do you have comments or personal information to communicate about this article? Add your comment.

Go to the Forum to talk more about finding accommodation, flatsharing, hostels in Cairo, accommodation.

Find more definitions and general answers on expatriation issues in the Expat FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions).