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Please give advice on planning

Mumbai, India
Level Contributor
1,097 posts
123 reviews
Please give advice on planning

Our family (with 2 boys aged 14, 10) plan to spend around 10 days in Egypt.

We will not know till mid-September whether we can travel on our preferred dates - 1st week of November. Or have to postpone to the Christmas week.

As a back up, I'm also enquiring about booking the entire vacation through a travel company. However I'd prefer to follow our usual travel style of booking independently and supplementing that with local guides and drivers.

What follows is our tentative wishlist. Please give feedback on whether I should book these items independently or the best way to book the service.

1. Flights - Book independently

2. Hotels in Cairo, Aswan - Book independently

3. 4 day, 3 night Cruise from Aswan to Luxor with sightseeing guided by Eqyptologist - Should I book directly with a cruise company or through a local travel agent or an Indian travel company back home. I saw one of my shortlisted cruises offered at a much cheaper price on booking.com than listed prices on websites for travel cruises. Would booking.com be a reliable place to book a cruise?

4. Abu Simbel - Flights. Should I book these directly online? Or take an Abu Simbel package from travel agent, hotel or online seller? I have read that guides are not allowed inside the temple. So is a package necessary at all? Some cruise companies seem to offer Abu Simbel as optional add-ons. But they do not specify how they will fit it into the tour. Has anyone had any experience with this at all?

5. Visiting Pyramids at Giza - would it help to have a regular guide or an Egyptologist? Or just transport to the location? Should one book these through the hotel? Or how else?

6. Visiting Pyramids in Saqqara and Dahshur (perhaps Memphis, if time and mood permit) - how to book a guide and transport?

7. Visiting Coptic and Islamic sights in Cairo with a hired car and driver - what's the best way to book this? And should we hire a guide as well?

8. Eqyptian museum - would it help to have a guide? And how would I connect with a good guide?

9. Perhaps a visit to the Valley of Whales - what's the best way to do this trip?

I would appreciate any advice to help me plan our travel.

Shukran :)

9 replies to this topic
Level Contributor
366 posts
1 review
1. Re: Please give advice on planning

If you booked the cruise yourself or using booking it will be just a cruise but no sightseeing included, tickets or guiding....thats why it sounds cheaper but adding those on siye will make ya end up payig more !

London, United...
Level Contributor
9,751 posts
28 reviews
2. Re: Please give advice on planning

“...a regular guide or an Egyptologist?”

In most cases, “Egyptologist” is just a euphemism for qualified “guide”. On occasion, it’s possible to have an academically qualified Egyptologist as a guide but it’s usually for a very expensive upmarket tour.

West Kelowna, Canada
Level Contributor
2,483 posts
52 reviews
3. Re: Please give advice on planning

You can do easily do your visit to Egypt independently. You just need to do the research. Sounds like you have done that in your past travels so should be no problem.

Doing some reading ahead of time and visiting the site will make for a good visit. The more reasearch the modes you get out of your independent visit. Arranging transport is easy.

It is also easy to arrange for a local Egyptian tour company to take you to a site or sites if that is what you would prefer. If you book the cruise through a tour company you get the guide and admission to the sites included.

Most cruises sell the optional Abu Simbel tour at a pretty pricey cost. The most common way to visit Abu Simbel is by land tour. 3.5 hr drive one way from Aswan to Abu Simbel, then a couple of hrs there to visit the temples and then the 3.5 hr drive back.

You can fly as well from Aswan to Abu Simbel to see the temples. My suggestion is that you schedule your visit to Abu Simbel for your last day in Aswan and fly to Abu Simbel, visit temples and then fly to Cairo.

Scotland, United...
Destination Expert
for Luxor, Nile River Valley, Egypt
Level Contributor
11,866 posts
288 reviews
4. Re: Please give advice on planning

Talking about research, see here for reviews of cruises https://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/Attraction_Pro…

Whilst I don't use guides myself these days, I can appreciate that for a first-timer (I'm assuming) it is probably the best choice. Egypt is a culture shock and to arrive expecting to do it all yourself, or having done it yourself, is too much hassle for your first time.

But I echo the comments about 'Egyptologists' - I've never met a guide who didn't say he was one, even if he had only done the 6-month course at what we could call 'Guide School' And if he mistakenly points at a Rameses Cartouche and says Tutankhamun, how would you know he was wrong?

Mumbai, India
Level Contributor
1,097 posts
123 reviews
5. Re: Please give advice on planning

A big thank you to everyone for pointing me in the right direction :)

Juba, South Sudan
Level Contributor
100 posts
155 reviews
6. Re: Please give advice on planning

i am also planning a trip of 7 days in october-november and have taken some quotes. The quotes vary from around 80 dollars a day to 110 dollars per person.

package includes 2 night stay at cairo plus visits, 4 day nile cruise plus visits, 2 days at Hurghada. all interlinked destinations are by flight.

tried your style of individual booking too and I think it is not much of a difference. If you want to get the reference email IDs can share on personal message.


Los Angeles
Level Contributor
150 posts
59 reviews
7. Re: Please give advice on planning

I think you can do as much or as little of the booking as you want.

I usually like to book everything independently but this time I'm going to Egypt for a week in October with my mother and we've done a mixture of both. We booked all flights and hotels ourselves but we are using a local tour company for the sightseeing and transfers. It just seems easier and more efficient that way. It's also surprisingly affordable (I think) for a fully customized and private tour. I didn't want to have to piece together day tours and I didn't want to go it alone there after hearing all the tales of tout harassment. Plus, our time is limited and I didn't want to waste time trying to figure out things on the ground there.

In the end, we chose www.youregypttours.com for all our sightseeing and airport transfers in Cairo and Luxor (we decided not to do a cruise). Honestly, I'm relieved not to have to figure out any of the logistic details. My biggest dilemma is what exactly I want to see (which temples, tombs, pyramids, etc) when we are there.

Mumbai, India
Level Contributor
1,097 posts
123 reviews
8. Re: Please give advice on planning

Hi Praveen... I would be most grateful if you could share some of the information regarding quotes via personal message. Thanks :)

Mumbai, India
Level Contributor
1,097 posts
123 reviews
9. Re: Please give advice on planning

wired2theoworld... I'm on the same page as you, regarding using local guided tours to smooth the logistics and interface for this trip. I'll definitely follow up with the tour company you are using. Thanks for the help :)

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