Egypt on own

Nov 7th, 2010, 01:15 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Oct 2010
Posts: 14
Egypt on own

I have decided to DIY-buy separate tours (desert. Nile cruise, mt Sinai). My main concern is pay deposit through bank TT and not sure of the authencity of the agents. Moreover, those agents that were reccomended on this forum, were rather expensive.

Any advise on DIY? It will be my husband and I travelling together for 19 days. Will appreciate the time you put in to share with me. Thks a million!
doreen_lim is offline  
Nov 7th, 2010, 05:41 AM
Join Date: May 2008
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I have started to do research for our trip May 2011. The hardest thing for me was coordinating dates-the Nile cruise boat that I wanted only had Tuesday departures. Then the Lotus boat to Dendara I could find that only through Memphis tours-departures Tuesdays and Sundays. I had blank calendar pages of the months May, June, and July-link to upload them was given to me from Greece forum. It helps to pencil everything in, and then erase to make changes!! I also spent hours checking out various hotels in downtown Cairo, Giza area, Aswan, Luxor, Sharm. Then finding a tour to the white desert and diving for my husband. Reading all the reviews from this forum and Trip Advisor forum. I'm retired so I have the time but believe me-it takes hours!!! Then, I decided to e-mail some agencies with my proposed itinerary listing choices for hotels, Nile cruise but leaving off the Sharm part of our trip. I listed all the things I wanted to see and do. I just sent that off so it will be interesting to see what kind of price I get back. If the agency is a little higher-like less than $500 what I've figured-I may decide to book with a local agency just for peace of mind. Lady Egypt and Freelancers have been recommended on this and TA forum. When you find an agent, google the name in your computer and see what comes up for reviews. I would rather go through agents that have been recently (within 12 months) been used/recommended by someone here or on TA if you do an agent to coordinate everything or DIY with various agents for the separate tours.

First thing I did was decide on the Nile cruise due to departure date-they don't depart daily. Then decide-3, 4, or 7 night cruise. Pencil that in on calendar. From there going backwards I penciled in days for Cairo, Giza, Sakkara, museum, etc. Then 2 days, 1 night for the white desert, and so on. I have 7/8 nights filled before I embark on the cruise ship-4 nights Cairo, 1 night desert tour, 2 or 3 nights Aswan. Then I allowed 4 nights for the cruise I chose. Then 3 nights in Luxor. Finally 5 nights in Sharm before flying to Athens.

Hope this helps and good luck!!!
chris45ny is offline  
Nov 7th, 2010, 05:51 AM
Join Date: May 2008
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Just noticed that you posted you question in the Africa and Middle East forum. Yo'd get better response if it was in the Egypt forum. Just my opinion.
chris45ny is offline  
Nov 7th, 2010, 06:49 AM
Original Poster
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Thks for advise. How do I edit and send this question to the egypt forum?
doreen_lim is offline  
Nov 7th, 2010, 07:35 AM
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There is no separate Egypt forum.

If you select Egypt in the View by Country tab, you will get all the posts related to Egypt. But they are still all on the African & Middle East forum.
Grcxx3 is offline  
Nov 7th, 2010, 10:20 PM
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I went through Lady Egypt and was very happy. Our Rep told us of a recent couple who was booked with Lady Egypt for the majority of the time but planned to go to the Giza Light and Sound themselves, perhaps to save money. The agent told me that they were charged quite a lot of money to go by taxi to and from the light show. He said it would of been cheaper to hire a driver from Lady Egypt. I don't know all of the costs of everything but in Egypt I would not assume that "doing it yourself" is cheaper. Many times our guides were able to buy us things at a cheaper rate than if we had bought them ourselves.
MissGreen is offline  
Nov 8th, 2010, 09:19 PM
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I personally don't think I would have liked Egypt if I did it on my own. I witnessed those who were on their own get especially hounded for tips and trinkets by all the sales people at each of the sites - even after saying no several times. They didn't get near us and our guide, and when one tried, a stern look from our guide was enough to shoo him away. He gave us good information on cab rates, which was helpful since we quickly learned of many tourists who got sent on incredible distances from unscrupulous cab drivers trying to rack up their fares. We learned so much more about the country, customs, and culture than from reading a tour book. There are many guides out there if you're concerned about budget.
alina555 is offline  
Nov 10th, 2010, 10:39 PM
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I usually do-it-myself, but decided this time that is was better, and perhaps even less expensive, to have a private tailored tour. Too much to coordinate in my opinion.
Binthair is offline  
Nov 11th, 2010, 04:56 AM
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I think that you are inviting a lot of confusion and frustration by trying to do it on your own. How are you going to get plane and train reservations. What about drivers? Cairo
and Giza, in particular, will be bad. Is this a vacation or an endurance test?

wanttogo is offline  
Nov 11th, 2010, 01:35 PM
Join Date: May 2008
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Think that doreen_lim means to book tours on her own for the places of interest she mentioned. Correct me if I'm wrong , doreen. If I understand when in Cairo will book tours for sightseeing there. Nile cruise-can easily book that. Desert-another tour company. And so on. I think she doesn't want to do one of those complete pkg. tours that cover Cairo, Nile, etc. We are doing the same thing-not completely DIY. We'll book our own international airfare as we are continuing on to Greece before heading back to US. There are guides and/or tour agencies in Egypt for the Pyramids, downtown Cairo, etc. We found a recommended agent for our white desert tour. Booking Sonesta Moon Goddess directly on their website. Hotels in Cairo, Aswan, Luxor can be booked DIY quite easily. We will have guides for our trip except for the end in Sharm. I found it easy to be able to book flights within Egypt via EgyptAir. Now, I've also sent out my complete itinerary/wish list to some local agents as recommended either here or TA forum but still waiting to hear back with ball park quotes. When I looked at the pkg. tours I couldn't find one that could fulfill everything on my list so I had no choice but to do it this way. A somewhat DIY is possible and as I'm researching, I'm gaining so much info about Egypt. This has been fun for me.

P.S. I'm retired so I have the time to do all the research. Our tip isn't until May 2011.
chris45ny is offline  
Nov 11th, 2010, 02:15 PM
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hi chris45ny,

your itinerary is almost identical to mine! will be visiting late december 2010, early january 2011 for a two week trip with my eleven year old daughter (departing and returning to athens, greece) and am booking each segment separately. would you be kind to share what you have learned so far or what arrangements you are considering? just decided to take this trip to egypt and i feel a bit overwhelmed. your help will be most greatly appreciated. thank you.
lunamdr is offline  
Nov 11th, 2010, 07:27 PM
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lunamdr-Don't want to hijack Doreen's post. You can e-mail me at [email protected] and I'll be more than happy to share with you more specific info. Tell me how much time in Egypt, how much time in Greece. Roughly our trip begins May 15, 2011 departing east coast NY. We are in Egypt until June 18, 2011 when we fly to Athens, Greece. From Athens 9 night self drive road trip-various stops-to Crete to stay with friends-to Rhodes 3 nights, Santorini 3 nights, Mykonos 3 nights with day trip to Delos. Fly home on or about July 17, 2011.
chris45ny is offline  
Nov 12th, 2010, 06:13 AM
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Oh, boy. I have to chime in. A gentle forewarning to the DIY crowd. Egypt is chaotic. It's very difficult to communicate if you only speak English. Prepare to be stressed out and frustrated. However, if you happen to be fluent in Arabic...
Treesa is online now  
Nov 12th, 2010, 09:17 AM
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I am pretty much always a DIY traveler. For our trip to Egypt, for the reasons Treesa stated, and the fact that we had six people in our group, we decided to have someone else "organize" our trip, and we were very glad we did. It didn't mean we didn't have free time -- since ours was a private tour for the six of us, we came and went at our own pace-- but it meant we didn't have to deal with all the inherent hassles, which in Egypt are many. Although there are plenty of tourists in Egypt, there just isn't the tourism infrastructure of, say, Vietnam (where we're headed next, and were able to make all of our plans independently and easily -- we will hire guides and drivers from time to time, but don't at all feel the need to be shepherded around).
sf7307 is offline  
Nov 12th, 2010, 10:13 AM
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Are you kidding? Where did you stay that you didn't have people all around you that spoke pretty decent English? I'm watching Amazing Race these days, and last night they were in Hungary where NO ONE spoke English except at the 5* hotels and all I could think is WOW - Glad Cairo isn't like that. Here everyone will try to help you if you need help and speak English. They will go find someone else that speaks it, if they don't. I am AMAZED to read your post that you couldn't communicate with people here. I'm so sorry.
Casual_Cairo is offline  
Nov 12th, 2010, 02:04 PM
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I have to say, CC, that that was not our experience. We didn't come across scads of people who spoke 'pretty decent English'. For the most part, when we were not with our guide, we got by with "traveler's hand signals".
sf7307 is offline  
Nov 12th, 2010, 05:01 PM
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How about learning a few words/phrases in Arabic ahead of your trip, or carrying a traveller's phrase book? I never had any problem communicating in Cairo, everyone spoke english, some more, some less...with the millions of people in the streets, even the least tourist-visited area should have someone who can understand you...besides, the locals will most appreciate your effort in speaking their language (however basic!)
bbb123 is offline  
Nov 12th, 2010, 05:03 PM
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oh, and by the way CC....I do speak Hungarian and it is much more difficult than Egyptian Arabic...
bbb123 is offline  
Nov 12th, 2010, 05:52 PM
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I am also surprised that folks had problems finding Egyptians who spoke English. I would sometimes run into this problem when I was shopping in the more local places, but never in the main touristy areas.
Grcxx3 is offline  
Nov 12th, 2010, 06:13 PM
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We were only in Cairo four days but we had no trouble communicating. Except with taxi drivers who did not understand SLOW DOWN in any language.
colduphere is offline  

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