To tour or not to tour

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May 26th, 2004, 03:57 PM
  #1
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To tour or not to tour

We have been debating whether a tour group is really for us. We really enjoy having time for shopping, exploring, etc. in addition to the traditional tourist sites. We like to have the choice to leave a museum after two hours instead of five if we choose to. We enjoy eating and seeking out restaurants. We have read the many posts on this discussion about how everyone has been happy with MISR, Globus, and other tours from egyptontheweb. We have never taken a tour and always think that we could never be a part of one when we see one walking by. We always take the time to research and plan every aspect of a trip ourselves.

However, Egypt seems to be the one place that we would consider taking a tour group. Does anyone have any advice on this, especially if you're also usually the non-tour type?
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May 26th, 2004, 08:04 PM
  #2
sandi
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With either MISR or egyptontheweb you don't necessarily have to be with a group. You can get a set itinerary (tour) but travel independently. Your time in Cairo can be on your own (though best with a guide and driver). Then your time on the Nile Cruise would be with other individual travelers, and there's always the trip to Abu Simbel. If you want you can always add on a day or two in Cairo or Luxor to explore on your own, return to the Museum (one can never get it all in with a single visit), shop leisurely in the Bazaar, etc.

I don't believe Globus does other than group tours. So I would contact MISR and egyptontheweb and see what they have to offer.
 
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May 27th, 2004, 03:45 AM
  #3
 
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I empathize with your concerns about group tours - the only group tour we have ever taken was to Egypt. We finally decided on group since the logistics of navigating the language, culture, transportation seemed a little much for us.

For us, the upside of the tour was seamless transportation between cities, to sights, arranging admissions, etc. I think we ended up seeing far more in the time we had than if we had done it on our own.

The downside was, as you mentioned, the rigidity of schedule. (Also 2 forced shopping trips to selected stores).

You might consider a tour to get you to Aswan, Luxor, Abu Simbel - will probably include a day or 2 in Cairo - and add a few days at one end or the other to explore Cairo on your own.
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May 27th, 2004, 05:15 AM
  #4
 
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My wife and I (early 40's) just spent two weeks in Egypt independently without a hitch: eager hospitality is the norm, and Arabic is not necessary.

My two favorite moments - sitting and drinking tea with a local inside a tomb in the Valley of the Queens, and more tea in the West Bank village home of our driver - would not have occurred on a tour.
While I'm certain that those on tours see more sites, I'm equally certain that they meet far fewer people, and have much less of a sense of the Egyptians themselves.

I suppose it depends on why a person chooses to travel: to see the sites, or to have an adventure.
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May 27th, 2004, 05:40 AM
  #5
 
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My husband and I travlled in Egypt for 2 weeks in March and we definately are not the tour types. We booked through an Egyptian tour operator and had our own private driver and guide just for the two of us. We totally designed our own itinerary, chose our hotels and Nile cruise boat and what we wanted to see and not see. It was very personal and we felt like we were travelling with a family. We had brought a duffle bag full of stuff for kids at an orphanage in Luxor and our guide and driver happily took us there to deliver the items, so we had a lot of flexibility to do what we want. It was very reasonably priced. A previous poster mentioned seemless transportation around Egypt. That is a definate advantage of using a tour operator. It is an ordeal just to check in at the airports in Egypt and we were glad to have our guide to handle that for us.
We travelled with Experience Egypt and I would be glad to share our itinerary with you. My email is [email protected]. I highly recommend travelling with an Eyptian outfit. I found in my research that they cost about 1/3 - 1/2 less that US or UK based operators for the same product. Plus you get the personalized attention I mentioned above and the money stays in the Egyptian economy (believe me - they need it!)

Anway - am glad to answer any questions.
Lori
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Jun 2nd, 2004, 07:24 AM
  #6
 
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I don't believe that people that have never been on a tour with a group are qualified to say independently is a better option. I have done both and I can tell you that if I want to know and see as much as I can I would pick a tour always. It's one thing to read travel books and know all about where you are going but nothing compares to having a person who is educated to do this for a living and actually lives where you are going. They can also tell you more than just history. I think everyone who travels should do both. When our A & K guide took us anywhere in Egypt our itiniery was a guide and we had the option as to how long we stayed. We ate in lots of restaurants, shopped, even toured other Nile cruise boats with him!
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Jun 2nd, 2004, 12:10 PM
  #7
 
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See my thoughts on TEMPO TOUR thread
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