While it's possible to see Egypt as an independent traveler, most people prefer to book a package tour or private tour. Here's why:
- Having a tour guide to explain sights as you're looking at them helps you get more out of the trip. A guide can also be an excellent resource for questions about Egyptian culture and history.
- Package tours can sometimes work out cheaper than booking the individual hotels, boat rides, and admissions yourself
- Special permits or government escorts are required to visit some areas, and a tour operator can easily arrange this in advance.
- Transportation without a tour can be hard to arrange on your own.
There are several different options:
- Book a package tour with a group: This is the most economical way to go, especially if you're interested in seeing just the major sites and don't need to go off the beaten path. Themed tours can be a fun way to meet people with similar interests to your own.
- Book a private tour with close friends or family: This way, you share the expense of a private guide.
- Book your travel yourself, and hire a private guide yourself: This is the least expensive option, but you have to do more work yourself. You can hire an egyptologist once you arrive in Egypt (see the questions below). They are available at all the major sites, but you'll be limited to who is available at that moment, and quality varies a great deal.
Questions to ask:
- What level of education will the guide have? Do they have a background in Egyptology? Are they fluent in English?
- If something goes wrong during the trip, is there a local number to contact the company?
- What are the agency's policies on cancellation?
- What sites are included in your tour?
- What accommodation will you be staying in?
- Ask to see a breakdown of expenses
- What tips are you expected to give during your tour? Expect to tip your guide as well as any drivers during the trip.
- Can the tour accommodate any special needs or dietary needs?
- What level of physical activity will be expected?
Having a private guide gave us greater appreciation of the temples and tombs. Our guide was highly educated, and was able to take us around the sights at our own pace and explain everything to us. He also took the time to teach us to decipher some of the hieroglyphics. We, of course, had lots of questions about details and all the new things we were seeing and he was able to give us great, thoughtful answers. We felt that having a guide gave us a depth of understanding that we would not have gained had we visited the sights on our own. We felt that having a private guide was worth the added expense.
Questions and Answers
how can i book a nile cruise that is not part of a package tour?
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