Reasonable prices and tips for owner operators

Feb 2nd, 2010, 08:11 PM
  #1  
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Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 108
Reasonable prices and tips for owner operators

I was quoted $13K for a 17 day, private, guided tour, not including air to and from the U.S., covering most of the usual and some out of the ordinary sites in Egypt for 3 adults with 5 star accommodations and a short cruise. I have not been given the hotel names or cruise name yet, but will obtain those if we decide to continue to work with this owner/operator. I just wondered if we were in the right ballpark of price - grossly overpaying or just about right. We have always researched and been our own tour guides on our travels and so we don't have any history to compare this with and I can't seem to readily find private tour prices on the web. I apologize in advance for mentioning the taboo subject of price, but would those of you who have taken private tours in Egypt mind weighing in on the reasonableness of the ballpark price I've been given?

Secondly, I know that tips to drivers and other service providers are in order, but does one typically tip the guide over and above the fee quoted if the guide is the one organizing the trip and charging the fee? Has he/she already included his/her own compensation into the price? As I said, we have always traveled on our own and never done a guided tour before or had anyone organize or arrange any of our travel plans for us before, so this is a first for us. Thank you for your assistance.
castlevisitor is offline  
Feb 2nd, 2010, 08:45 PM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
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My first comment would be that until you have the names of all your hotels, and also the ship, you will not be able to determine if the price is a good one. Keep in mind that 4/5 star in Egypt, may not be the same as in the US or in Europe. Even if it is an international chain. Check out hotel reviews on the web. If you could get the names of the hotels, and give the name of your tour operator, I think people here could give you more opinions/experiences. On tipping, I'd give what feels best. Don't be caught up in tipping the same %rates as you would at home. Egypt is a very poor country, and any tip they get is very appreciated. I think we tipped about US$1 per suitcase, as ours were heavy, we'd let cab drivers keep the change if it wasn't too much, maybe a bit more if we liked them. As for your guide, I doubt if it's much different for an owner or an contractor in Egypt. Although tips were included in the price of our tour, we heard $10 per day per person for our guide, but we didn't agree with that, and must have tipped our guide less than half that amount. Especially since we did quite a bit of shopping that we know he also profited from. You should expect that your guide will probably get a kickback every time he takes you into a shop with him and you purchase something, especially if he tells you he recommends the shop, etc. So that's extra income. I personally don't think there is anything wrong with them doing that, because they are helping out other Egyptians and they are 'earning' their cut by taking you there, and hopefully helping you bargain down the price until you are happy. And you will probably not be pressured to buy. Just assume that the same rules do not apply on tipping, and then tip what makes you feel happy.
tinydancer is offline  
Feb 2nd, 2010, 10:48 PM
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Hi Castle.... yes, the taboo subject of price. A lot of people have not listed their prices on here, but I am going to. Anyone could also get a quote and find out what I am paying for....

I have been quoted US4475 - for 2 of us for 18 days in Egypt (with 3 of these nights on a nile cruise) and 6 days in Jordan with a private guide and driver. In that quote I also have 3 free days which we can choose to do what we want at a later date. I have been quoted $35 per person ($70 in total as there are 2 of us) for a guide and driver for these days if we want them.

The hotels we are staying at are 5 star and include Mena House Oberoi, Cairo Marriott, Movenpick Aswan, Steinberger Luxor and in Jordan at the Marriott in Amman, Dead Sea and Petra.

I hope this helps you get an idea of what other people are paying.

Do I think it is a good deal. Hell Yeah!!! Coming from Australia where prices for things take into account the US dollar at it's lowest, and then the price is set for a year even if the Dollar goes up. However, at this time the Aussie Dollar is up and by purchasing in US dollars I can get this a lot cheaper. By booking an Aussie tour for a similar tour I would of paid DOUBLE and the value would of been lesser too because it would of been a tour with 30 other people.
MissGreen is offline  
Feb 2nd, 2010, 10:49 PM
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Join Date: Oct 2009
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By the way, that price includes internal flights to Luxor, Aswan and Jordan.

It does not include flights from Australia.
MissGreen is offline  
Feb 2nd, 2010, 10:50 PM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
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Oops... I should of said $4475 PER PERSON.. I've said it is for 2 people but perhaps I didn't make it clear enough!
MissGreen is offline  
Feb 2nd, 2010, 11:16 PM
  #6  
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Hi Tiny dancer and MissGreen,
Thank you for your replies and for the information. I was hoping to get a comfort level on price before investing too much in the process and your information has been very helpful in that regard. I can't wait to post my first trip report although it will be difficult to add anything to the wonderful trip reports I have read on here (which have been soooo helpful in planning our trip.)
Thanks to everyone for your help!
castlevisitor is offline  
Feb 3rd, 2010, 03:52 AM
  #7  
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
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After reading the other responses, I just thought I'd add that we went on a Insight Vacations Splendours of Egypt last April 2009, and we paid AUS$3329.00 each for the 12 day tour (1st day arrive, last day depart) staying at the Cairo Marriott hotel at Zamalek, and including a 7 night cruise on the MS Giselle. We were extremely happy with the value we got. Also, I might add that just because a tour books you into a good hotel, it doesn't mean the hotel will automatically give you a 'good' room. We usually expect to inspect our room before we have our bags brought up. We're not really picky, but we don't like to look out on people walking by our window, car/buses in the parking lot, dogs barking, or have a room which is so small or laid out so poorly that we can't open more than one suitcase at a time. I'm sure prices have gone up since then, but who knows, with the financial crisis, they could be on the way down again. But Egypt is pretty much in high demand and there are millions of tourists everywhere. Ask for a view and you could get lucky and actually get it! We do.
tinydancer is offline  

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