How to choose tour group for Egypt

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May 7th, 2013, 06:49 PM
  #1
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How to choose tour group for Egypt

I've been studying forums for recommendations of tour groups for Egypt trip next April with grandson. Not sure how much I can trust what I read, especially since one company will warn you that many others are scams. Any suggested methods or high recommendations?
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May 7th, 2013, 09:17 PM
  #2
MD
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
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Sorry, all you can do with the internet is read, read, read - assimilate what you find and digest it all and see if it seems real.

For example, we just got back from our second trip to Egypt. We started by searching Google for guide and tour group recommendations. We built a list of names, and then started searching specifically for those names.

Eventually we emailed one choice, who eventually became our tour organizer and our guide for the Cairo leg of our trip - Ahmed Hamed Yousif. ([email protected])

For most choices you will end up listing, there are multiple recommendations and evaluations on fodors and tripadvisor - at the very least, wade through these, good and bad, and see what people complain about. (Unfortunately, it appears frommers.com is starting over from scratch in the last week or so, all their old forums are deleted.)
Read carefully. From the spelling and grammar, you can usually tell if the comments are real or "astro-turfing", someone trying to fake a grass-roots collection of positive postings. A native English speaker can spot too when someone who does not speak English well tries to fake a posting.

For example, for our guide Ahmed, we have made our posting - http://bloggage.me - plus we found these posts - http://lizandrichardsa.typepad.com/l...-into-egy.html and http://www.slowtrav.com/tr/tripreport.asp?tripid=1979
Ahmed also emailed us references, the emails of satisfied customers who happily recommended him, who were *not* gmail addresses and had proper English (and we actually googled a few of their names...)
It's one thing to fake a single posting, it's more obviously real when it's part of a large and consistent blog posting.

Of course, you get what you pay for. If you are part of a group of 50 on a tour bus, your trip will be less satisfying than if you have a private guide. If you book through a company in your home country (USA? Canada? Britain?) odds are they simply subcontract to a bunch of Egyptian service firms anyway.

I have heard the same cautionary tales too - not that these are scams, but that the bigger the group, the less personal, the less likely they will pay attention to requests or complaints.

(For example - on a boat trip to Tiran Island, a couple on the boat had booked through an agent. They expected(were promised?) 3 one-hour scuba dives, they got one and the tanks were not fully pressurized so they only got 20 minutes. They could argue with the agent when they got back, after the trip was over, their time was wasted, and the agent had their money. THIS IS WHY you want to check reputations...)
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May 8th, 2013, 06:15 AM
  #3
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
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Many here prefer private tours and use Lady Egypt who will design itinerary to your wishes.

Besides the contact in reply above, another often recommended is Debbie Senters of Casual Cairo Detours, who posts here regularly and is a great resource.
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May 8th, 2013, 06:21 AM
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MD - do you know if Ahmed free-lances for A&K? I swear I saw him in the Fish Awy Coffee Shop with 2 tourists last week, or the week before (can't remember) but wearing an A&K badge. Didn't get close enough to see the name on it and was embarrassed to go up and ask him if it was him. LOL
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May 8th, 2013, 06:48 AM
  #5
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Thank you for your generous and thoughtful replies. I will dig in.
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May 23rd, 2013, 05:29 AM
  #6
 
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Let us know if you use that guideexplorer site. I tried to look at it, but my browser wasn't up to their standards apparently, as I was given the option to "download a "good" browser". Ahem? Excuse me? Not their finest marketing technique I'd suggest. LOL
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May 24th, 2013, 03:46 AM
  #7
 
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I went alone to Egypt in November, 2009, and used Lady Egypt. It was truly an incredible experience. I had one guide in Cairo and another for the Luxor, Aswan, Abu Simbel portion of the trip.
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Jun 4th, 2013, 04:16 PM
  #8
 
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Used Lady Egypt in 2010 for a 5 week Jordan and Egypt private tour. Best decision I EVER made! 5 star hotels, often with an upgrade to a suite when our Egyptian rep/guide checked us in, personalised service, professional behaviour, knowledgeable and personable guides for HALF the price of a quote I got in Australia for a tour with a busload of 30 fellow tourists.

I tell everyone how great they are.
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