Tourist traps in Egypt, like in many other popular tourist destinations, refer to places or experiences that may not offer good value for your money or may not live up to the expectations set by advertisements or recommendations. Here are some common tourist traps to watch out for when booking tours in Egypt:
Know what is at the Site you are visiting
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
- Valley Temple at the Sphinx
- Solar Boat – may be closed
- panorama for photos
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 might 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.
Double check with Tour Operator what is included
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.
SHOPPING while on Tours
Wherever you travel around the world, you’ll probably encounter shopping opportunities throughout your day of touring. People’s preferences vary; some embrace these opportunities, while others do not. Avoiding them completely can be quite challenging. Most tour guides will present you with chances to shop, although the quality of these opportunities can vary.
I have noticed in 2023 that quite a lot of our visitors are interested in taking home quality souvenirs from Egypt ranging from Alabaster and Arabian lamps to gold to genuine perfume essences to small silk rugs for their walls as opposed to the usual knick-knack souvenirs.
However, you should feel comfortable expressing your desire to skip visits to shops, factories, or workshops if you’re not interested and you could do this at time of booking a tour if you have any reservations about it.
There are no free tours
“Free” Tours: Be cautious of “free” tours, especially in major tourist areas. These tours are often led by people who are not licensed guides at all, who expect tips at the end, and the quality of the information and experience can vary widely. The other danger with taking a “free” tour that is suddenly offered by a stranger is you don’t know where you are going and neither does any one else – would you do it at home?
7 more 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. Is his fee included?
- 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 For example, you could find you have got up early in Aswan to fly to Abu Simbel and be delighted that you are then flying direct to Cairo or Luxor, only to find yourself sitting in a plane for an hour or so in Aswan or 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.
- TIPPING: Tipping is rarely included but is expected by Guides and Drivers.
- INAUTHENTIC EXPERIENCES: Be wary of tours that promise authentic experiences but end up being rushed and lacking depth. Research tour operators and read reviews to find those that offer genuine cultural insights.
To avoid falling into tourist traps when booking tours in Egypt, it’s essential to do your research, read reviews, ask for recommendations from fellow travelers, and be prepared to negotiate prices when appropriate. Booking through reputable tour operators with a track record of quality service can also help ensure a more enjoyable and authentic experience while exploring Egypt.