|How to Tour Egypt|
|I'm an independent traveler, but even I use guides, drivers and tour companies when I visit Egypt.|
As a guidebook author for decades, I may be the epitome of the independent traveler with no need for private guides, drivers or organized tours.
In Egypt, however, I do what most visitors do: I set up an itinerary with a tour company, the company hires guides and drivers for me, and all goes smoothly.
This is the way I've always done it, and in fact they way most people have toured Egypt since Napoleon started the trend in 1799, and this is the way Egypt is set up to host you. This system has advantages that outweigh the disadvantages.
Particularly if your travel time is limited (and whose isn't?), you would do well to go with a group, or have a tour company organize a private itinerary for you.
Here's how it works:
1. You contact a travel agency. You discuss your plans with the travel agent, choose a tour or plan an individual private itinerary.
2. The travel agency, working with an Egyptian "ground operator" (local tour company), makes all the arrangements for your trip: transport within Egypt, hotels, Nile cruise, guides—whatever you may require.
3. You're met upon arrival in Egypt by a tour company representative, who welcomes you, helps with your luggage, escorts you to your vehicle, and introduces you to Egypt as you drive to your hotel. He lets you know that he is always available by mobile phone to anwer any questions or solve any problems.
4. At your hotel, the representative makes sure you're comfortable while he checks you in, then assures that you get to your room and that your luggage gets there as well. The representative may even call you in your room shortly after arrival to assure that your room is just as you wanted.
5. When you're ready to begin touring, your company representative introduces you to your guide and driver, makes sure that the day's schedule is all set, and sends you off. If other events are planned during the day, the representative will make sure—perhaps in person—that all is going as planned.
6. When you travel to a new destination, your representative will arrange for your airport transfer, meet you at your hotel, supervise transport of your luggage, escort you to the airport, dock or train station, check you in for your flight, cruise or train, and make sure you that all is set for your journey. When you arrive at the destination, another company representative will meet you, help with your luggage, escort you to your vehicle, and to your hotel for check-in, etc.
In other words, you're very well taken care of. If there's a problem, your company representative and/or guide will arrange a solution, often in minutes. (In Egypt, where the old and new coexist, this can be important.)
Above, Mr Bassem Sabry,
Tour Representative, Cairo.
Below, Mr Ashraf Amin Ahmad,
Professional Guide, Thebes.