.Here are some tips on how you should “read between the lines” when booking tours in Egypt
What is on the Site you are going to see? Example: You are booking a tour to the Giza Plateau in Cairo. What is there to see on the Plateau? There is the
- Gt. Pyramid (famous one) which is the Pyramid of Khufu
- Pyramid of Khafre
- Pyramid of Menkaure
- Solar Boat
Many tour descriptions are vague, others can appear specific but maybe are not as specific as they appear. If the description says something like
- Entry to the Giza Plateau
then you need to check with them EXACTLY what on the Giza Plateau is included. Some will include in a sub-description that the entry to the Gt. Pyramid is “optional extra”. This means you pay on the site for it on the day. Very few include entry to the Solar Boat – that is also extra on the day. Unless you are claustrophobic why on earth would you go to the Pyramids and NOT go into one of the greatest places of mystery on the planet? Why would you go to the bother of booking a tour to a site and not see everything on the site? Or book a tour to a site that includes a bus, guide and no entry fees? A tour is a tour is a tour and you should have an enjoyable time with no surprises on the day!
The same goes for the Cairo Museum. Your tour will not include the Mummy Room and sometimes does not include Tutankhamun’s Treasure Room. Your tour price probably only includes entry to the museum, transfer and guide.
If you don’t want to be surprised by requests for extra money to see the full range of things you can see on a site and you don’t want to be disappointed because you didn’t bring much money because you thought it was all paid for then MAKE SURE YOU CHECK THE LIST OF WHAT IS INCLUDED when booking tours in Egypt.
Practically no tour advertisement or operator will tell you there is a shopping excursion during the tour. If they do – it will be presented as an opportunity not a disadvantage. Be aware that this shopping expedition takes time out from your tour time, lessens your experience; and the goods you buy will cost you more than you would pay for them another time – commission is being paid to the guide and driver for everything you buy. If you are on a group tour you have no option but to sit in the bus or the shop during this expedition.
This practice of taking tourists shopping during tours does the tourist industry in Egypt no good. It makes tourists angry, takes away from the sightseeing experience and results in unfair trading with everyone competing on price under false pretences. It also devalues and denegrates the guide and driver if they are being paid a low wage and are left having to make their money from your shopping.
7 THINGS to REMEMBER when BOOKING TOURS in EGYPT
- FOOD………Is it included in the price…. lunch, dinner, drinks, How much is this likely to cost you?
- GUIDE – Is the guide a Transfer Guide or Egyptologist guide? There is a difference
- INTERNAL FLIGHTS….if they are part of your itinerary are they included in the price?
- OVERNIGHT TRAIN…if this is part of the itinerary……do you get a bed or are you going to be sitting up or even in a reclining chair for anything from 9 to 14 hours? If it is reclining seat…can you upgrade to a cabin with a bed and how much is it? Be aware that the trains can run up to 3 hours late.
- TRANSFERS….which are included and which are extra?………Examine the timing of your transfers and if you are going to have sufficient rest time before sightseeing or are you doing something like getting off a sleeper train and heading off on a day of sightseeing that is going to let you exhausted…..e.g. you could find you have got up early in Aswan to fly to Abu Simbel…delighted that you are then flying direct to Cairo/Luxor..only to find yourself sitting in a plane for an hour or so in Aswan/Luxor waiting for more passengers to board the plane. This could mean you had breakfast at 5 or 6 am and are not going to eat a decent meal again until around 4 or 5pm….a journey that ensures exhaustion and high stress levels! But at least if you know this is going to happen you can be prepared and take some food and extra drinks with you.
- BALLOON RIDE….how long are you actually going to be in the air and how far is your balloon going to travel? What is the safety record of the company?
- TIPPING… Tipping is never included but is expected by Guides and Drivers.
Please feel free to contact me with any questions you have.