First and foremost, it’s crucial to understand that Egypt is a country teeming with opportunities and experiences, but it’s also a place where almost everyone you encounter, especially in tourist-centric areas, has an agenda. This agenda is primarily aimed at selling you something, whether it’s accommodation, guided tours, transportation, souvenirs, or sometimes even personal connections like friendship or marriage proposals. The warmth and friendliness of Egyptians can be incredibly inviting, but without a firm agenda of your own, you might find yourself unintentionally swept up in someone else’s plans.
It’s important to note that the propensity to sell experiences, services, and connections isn’t exclusive to Egyptians alone – even I am in the business of offering accommodation at Mara House in Luxor, tours to Egypt’s renowned sites, or the opportunity to join one of my own personally guided 11-night tours. However, my intention extends beyond mere transactions; I prioritize enriching your overall experience over the monetary aspect.
During your journey through Egypt, you may encounter fellow independent travelers who, like you, are charting their own course. They might share their planned itineraries with you and extend invitations to join them on various adventures. These individuals might also have just been enticed by seemingly exciting last-minute opportunities, but they often seek companionship and a sense of security in numbers as they deviate from their own original plans.
I had such an experience on my first trip to Egypt – our lovely and friendly tour guide very easily convinced myself and few of my friends that we really had to take his offer of an optional extra trip to Cairo. It was a total disaster for me and most of the others, and had I been aware back then of the dangers of deviating from my proposed trip, I might have thought twice about it and realized it would not be a good idea at all. You can read about it here. So, to help you keep focused and stick to your own plan I am giving you 7 tips.
Keep control of your Egypt adventure: consider these seven tips:
- Plan Your Accommodation in Advance: Before you set foot in Egypt, make sure your accommodation is booked. This not only ensures a comfortable stay but also provides you with a sense of security when you arrive and you will have definite addresses and contact numbers to leave with family or friends at home, who could raise the alarm if you don’t check in regularly as planned with them. This is always a good idea when traveling anywhere abroad or even in your own country for any extended time.
- Conduct Pre-Trip Research: Invest time in researching Egypt’s rich history, culture, and attractions that align with your interests before leaving home. Knowing what you want to see and experience before arriving will prevent you from making hasty decisions influenced by others.
- Determine Your Priorities: Decide on your personal priorities for the trip. Consider how you want to balance sightseeing, relaxation, enjoying local cuisine, and getting a good night’s sleep. Having a clear set of priorities will guide your choices.
- Plan the Must-See and Must-Do Activities: Identify the key attractions and activities that are absolute musts for your trip. Having a rough plan for these highlights will ensure you don’t miss out on the most memorable experiences.
- Be Inquisitive When Receiving Suggestions: When you meet locals or fellow travelers who offer suggestions, don’t hesitate to ask for more details. Seek clarity on their recommendations and how they align with your interests and priorities.
- Compare Suggestions to Your Priorities: Always cross-reference the suggestions you receive with your personal priority list, your energy levels, and your budget. Striking a balance between these factors is crucial for a fulfilling journey.
- Quality Over Quantity: In Egypt, decisions solely based on price can often lead to disappointment in terms of quality, quantity, or time spent. Strive for a middle ground that values quality experiences over quantity. If you feel strongly about visiting particular sites, consider investing in a knowledgeable guide and safe transportation for those destinations, even if it means fewer stops.
Remember that your trip to Egypt should be a quality-driven experience tailored to your preferences. Trust your instincts when you come across historical sites or cultural treasures that resonate with you. If you’re on a budget, prioritize investing in well-guided tours to truly appreciate the significance of places like Abydos and Dendera in Luxor, rather than rushing through too many sites at lower costs. To help you plan you will find the main sites and monuments in Egypt worth visiting here
In Egypt, the journey is as much about self-discovery as it is about exploration. Embrace the opportunity to immerse yourself in the wonders of this captivating country, and trust that your unique adventure will unfold as it’s meant to. When you read about the monuments you will instinctively know what you want to visit yourself. Just because most people want to visit the Pyramids and the Egyptian Museum doesn’t necessarily mean you should feel you have to visit them too. Or this trip just not be the right time FOR YOU.
Two of my own experiences of Perfect Timing at the Great Pyramid of Giza
I visited the Giza Plateau two or three times without feeling any desire at all to go inside the Great Pyramid. Then, one day, when I was there unexpectedly for some reason that I have since forgotten, my driver asked me, “Don’t you want to go inside the Great Pyramid?” Until he asked, I had not intended to do so; however, something about the way he said it ignited something in me that said “I definitely should go in today”. And I did—it was the right time for me; there was nobody else in the Kings Chamber. Something also compelled me to take the forbidden opportunity to hop inside the pink granite sarcophagus, and I had an unusual and memorable experience—the first of several in the Great Pyramid.
On another occasion, I had a group at Giza, and one lady suffered from really severe claustrophobia. She desperately wanted to go inside the Great Pyramid but was terrified. She was so terrified that she was actually in tears at the thought of it. I walked around the outside of the Great Pyramid with her three times, and at the end of each round, she went to the opening of the pyramid and ventured some way inside the entrance, only to turn back and run outside. Then, as we stood there and I was ready to concede it wasn’t to be, she turned to me and said, “After all that, I am more afraid of not making it to the top than I am of going inside!”
By now, the guardians at the entrance to the pyramid were aware of the problem and wanted her to make it to the top as much as I did—a bit like wanting your football team to score a goal. She headed into the opening a fourth time, and, I am not joking, she literally ran and made it all the way to the Kings Chamber and inside it. The entrance to the Kings Chamber is so low that you have to bend over and crouch down for a few steps to get inside. For me that day, when she did that, the last part of her flight reminded me of a baby coming through the birth canal. It was definitely an extraordinary experience for my friend. Such a long way to progress in one short couple of hours.
Feel free to message me if you would like to stay with us in Luxor and would also like some help in planning your trip.