Need help in calculating costs

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Feb 14th, 2005, 11:39 AM
  #1
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Need help in calculating costs

I've come up with some approx. costs for a trip to Egypt from NYC and need everyone's input please!
Travel dates are somewhere between 9/01/05 and 11/30/05.
Roundtrip airfare: $800.00 per person (Egypt Air)
Hotel: I'm only looking to spend $150 per night double occupancy and double bed with terrace. (Is this too much to ask for?)My list includes Mena House, Nile or Ramses Hilton in Cairo, St. George Sonesta or Moudira in Luxor and Old Caterac in Aswan.
Meals: $100 per day (B,L and D)

I'm I on target or way off?
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Feb 14th, 2005, 12:26 PM
  #2
sandi
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Are you planning on arranging all of this on your own, or will you be using a tour operator in the States or in-country Egypt? ... and just want an idea if the prices being offered are in line with your thoughts as regards a budget. Bye the way, you don't mention for how many days you plan to be in Egypt?

The airfare you mention seems rather low if booking on your own, as the "season" starts in October thru January and even into February and March. Not only has the temperature come down, but Egyptians also travel their country.

While you can probably obtain hotel rooms at those rates, it's not a certainty. Then in addition to booking your hotels, you have to determine transportation from Cairo to Luxor and then Aswan, unless you're planning a cruise - between Luxor/Aswan. You can do the overnight train from Cairo or fly, consider both and related costs/time. You've omitted the cruise if you are considering to do so. There are also the transfers to/from Airports and/or train stations. And most all who have visited Egypt, agree that Abu Simbel is a must to visit.

Of course you can arrange thru your hotel a driver/guide and vehicle to take you to sites in Cairo and this shouldn't be expensive, nor will entrance fees be.

But, there are lots of details that go into planning such a trip, and I'm sure you can find many in-country tour operators who can arrange everything for you - traveling "independently" (no group stuff) - at very reasonable prices.

Do a search on this board for "Egypt tour operators", read the comments, and submit your ideal itinerary to two or three of these companies and see what prices they come back with. I'm sure you'll find them to be quite competive and can take care of everything for you.
 
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Feb 15th, 2005, 07:15 AM
  #3
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Thanks Sandi!
I havenít decided what I want. Iíve always had an aversion to group traveling as I donít like feeling rushed from one point to another. As for the length of time, I figure somewhere between 13 to 15 days. The object of this whole exercise is to figure out what a reasonable budget would be based on using the hotels I mentioned.

Itís funny that you find the airfare low as I got the quote directly from Egypt air here in NY for the dates I mentioned.

My next step is exactly what youíve suggested, but first I need to get myself familiar with some of the costs independently so that I can have a better understanding once I put together an itinerary that would cover all places Iíd like to see.
I greatly appreciate your input and comments...
Regards
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Feb 15th, 2005, 07:34 AM
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I've been doing some research on a trip of my own to Egypt, though I will be doing all my traveling before mid-October. My experience so far has told me that you can probably do this trip (including airfare) for somewhere between $3000 and $4500 if you want to stay at top-end hotels and travel independently. (I can't tell you about the whole terrace thing because that simply doesn't matter to me.) I tend to travel independently myself, but I've decided that it's too much hassle in Egypt, and I want someone who will deal with the details for me, but that's a personal decision. I'm probably going with a small group of friends, so it makes sense for us to have a private guide and driver because we can split the costs. I've already received several price quotes from independent travel operators. It matters a great deal in terms of price if you travel before October 1, and you get huge discounts in hotel rates if you use a tour operator, so that's another argument in favor of a less than completely independent trip. I'd welcome advice from any Fodorites out there, particularly about good tour companies.
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Feb 15th, 2005, 08:07 AM
  #5
sandi
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When we visited, we did an independent itinerary, with a private guide and driver in Cairo (Pyramids Sphinx, Memphia, Saqqara, Museum, Bazaar, Old & Coptic Cairo), flights to Aswan, then Abu Simbel, return flight to Aswan, board Nile cruise boat (5-nts)*, then return flight from Luxor to Cairo for a final day.

We stayed on arrival at the Movenpick Ville Jolie in Giza, down the street from Mena House which was wonderful. Attended the final performance of AIDA at the Pyramids; cruised on the Movenpick Radamis Nile cruise boat. Upon return to Cairo, stayed at the Sheraton el Gezirah (sp) on island in middle of the Nile and enjoyed Cairo and the Bazaar on our own.

* on Nile Cruise we had an English speaking guide for a group of about 15 (might have been 12); guide was excellent and group size was fine with us.

Our price was nowhere near $3,500 or $4,000, rather just less than $2,000 and this was the end of October into November.

For airfare we flew Royal Jordanian (via AMS), spending 2-days visiting Petra and Jerash (including hotel, private guide and vehicle, breakfasts, tours w/lunch, transfers - $200 or $240/pp) before continuing onto Cairo, as well, we had a hotel room and bkfst on return from CAI via AMM [it was a very early departure homebound]). The r/t airfare from JFK was $825, compared to Egypt Air almost $1,200.

So, there are a wide range of prices, accommodatons, Nile cruise boats, etc. One has to find what works best for them.
 
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Feb 15th, 2005, 08:25 AM
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So Sandi ... did you go on a tour, or did you book everything independently? If it was a tour, which company did you use? We will probably do a slightly longer trip so we can spread out our sightseeing, but this sounds great, and the prices you paid are encouraging. (I do think you can save a tremendous amoung of money in Egypt by using a tour company over an independent trip, unless you are going the backpacking route or want to stay in really cheap hotels.)
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Feb 15th, 2005, 10:51 AM
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Dear Doug,
I was wondering if you've taking into consideration travelling during RAMADAM which this year falls in October. From what I've been reading, it is not a good time to travel to Egypt....But I like what you said about travelling in September, which is the option I leaning towards, although I was getting some discouraging info regarding the temperatures....
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Feb 15th, 2005, 11:43 AM
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sandi
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Doug - We did a tour, but it was for independent travel. We did the few days in Jordan on our own thru Royal Jordanian airlines. For the Egyptian portion, we booked thru a tour operator in the US who used an outfitter in Egypt. Beats meet, but I've gone thru my files and can't find the name of the Egyptian tour outfitter. However, if you do a search on this board, you will find a few names of in-country Egyptian outfitters who have been received well by posters here. I'm sure you can send your itinerary to a few of them and get competitive pricing. Another alternative is to contact Debbie of Casual Cairo Detours at:

www.casualcairodetours.pyramids.net

Debbie is an ex-pat American living in Cairo about 7-8 years, and she provides good service and lots of alternatives. I believe she can do all you want, but if not (i.e., the cruise stuff, air transfers, Abu Simbel, Luxor and/or Aswan), she certainly can direct you to a reputable company.

Roxby - As to travel during Ramadan, it's not really a big problem. With the exception of some small establishments that might close, life goes on. All the major sites are open. The only thing tourists should be aware of and seriously take into considertion is that since Muslims fast during the day, it's not a good idea to be walking down the street "eating." Sure, there will be food served in restaurants and on the cruise boats... but that's just the way it is.

While September might seem a better month considering Ramadan in October, remember that in all likelihood September will still be hot. But then it is always hot once you leave Cairo, along the Nile, in Luxor and especially further south in Aswan and Abu Simbel. But being a true desert, expect the temps to drop in the evenings, as much as 30-degrees (unlike, say Las Vegas, where when it's 110 during the day, at nite it might go down by 10-degrees - not much of a change).

Hope this has been of help.
 
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Feb 15th, 2005, 12:07 PM
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Thanks, Sandi. Everything you've told us has been a great deal of help. I was originally trying to organize the trip in September before Ramadan despite the heat, but we may need to push the date out a bit so more people can go. Roxby, I think traveling on your own might be more of a challenge at this time just because things close at odd times and transportation schedules move around a bit, but I certainly don't see it as a problem if you are on an organized trip, which will take these things into account. After all, Egypt has had tourists for about 2000 years, so they have a pretty developed system.
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