15 Replies Latest reply on Aug 17, 2012 9:40 PM by gilpearl

    Egypt

      Before health issues limit our travel, we would love to visit Egypt, which has long been on our "to do" list.  Generally we avoid organized tours and do our own research on sites and accommodations (preferring bed and breakfast places in Europe).  In view of recent events in Cairo and Aswan, we are in a wait and see mode; however, we are continuing to gather information about travel options.  We would appreciate hearing about others' experiences and recommendations for travel to Egypt.
        • Re: Egypt
          Padraig
          We traveled to Egypt 3 years ago and had a great trip. We went with Grand Circle Travel which met all of our expectations. The trip took us from Cairo to Alexandia to Aswan and included several days sailing on the Nile with stops.  A must trip, but unfortunately you must wait until the political issues are resolved.  We had fierce security protection, but understandable considering the billions of dollars in income from tourism. Good luck and hope you're able to make the trip soon
            • Re: Egypt
              Thank you very much for your information.  Let's hope that stability returns soon to Egypt--a country with such a great history and so much promise now.
              Jeanne
               
                • Re: Egypt
                  Iconoclast
                  I spent a year in Egypt as a Fulbrighter, and probably wouldn't recommend a do-it-yourself trip there right now.  Risk to your physical safety (being kidnapped, murdered, etc.) is minimal, but the infrastructure is crumbling.  Trains & busses may not run; sites may be closed; you could get stranded & not be able to make it to the airport, etc.  And if you should lose your wallet or passport, good luck!  A guided tour would be much safer, but there are still significant difficulties that even they might not be able to overcome.  (Also, keep in mind that much of the Tut exhibit from the Nat'l Museum is in the US right now.)  I know it's not the same, but Lebanon & Jordan & Morocco are pretty good destinations right now.  On the other hand, if it's adventure you're after, I say go it!
              • Re: Egypt
                I very much appreciate your advice and will "wait and see" for now.  Your Fulbright must have been a special experience.
                Jeanne
                 
                  • Re: Egypt
                    rloutfy

                    My wife (from Texas) and I (born in Egypt and lived here over 50 years) were in Egypt two years ago and planning to go this year (maybe).  What I heard (including from professors from the American University in Cairo) that it is as safe as any big city in the US.  Just need to avoid some parts of the city and some circumstances.  This is a good time to go to Alexandria, the red sea, and upper Egypt.  You can do the research and adventure in these places by yourself and take organized tour in Cairo where most of the trouble is.  Please note the election is coming in mid Nov. that might be terrible time to be there.  My accountant and his wife went two years ago our company lawyer and his wife went last year and they all loved it. Both couple went with organized tour.

                      • Re: Egypt
                        Thank you for your thoughtful observations.  Your suggestions about having guides in Cairo (and I presume Aswan?) and doing it ourselves in Alexandria are very helpful.  We are waiting to see how things turn out after the elections and hope it will be safe to travel in February or March.
                        Jeanne
                         
                          • Re: Egypt
                            Art99
                            I went to Egypt December 2009 with a tour group. I'd personally recommend going with a group. It was a challenge getting around, and it seemed like the guide saved us lots of aggravations. This was my only recent trip with a guide. I've also led groups to several other countries; but sometimes it is worth it not to do it alone.
                              • Re: Egypt
                                Thank you for your input.  Would you tell me what tour company you used and whether you would recommend them?
                                 
                                We'll certainly investigate tours as well as the feasibility of combining tours with free time to explore more museums on our own.
                                 
                                Jeanne
                                 
                                  • Re: Egypt
                                    Art99
                                    Yes, OAT (Overseas Adventure Travel). A friend recommended them and made a referral to us which provided a small savings for our booking.
                                      • Re: Egypt
                                        Thank you for the recommendation.  We will check them out.
                                        Jeanne
                                         
                                          • Re: Egypt
                                            hopalong2day
                                            Hi Jeanne,
                                               I was finishing a Fulbright last spring and visited Egypt in May.  I was there for a May day rally with thousands of people in Tahrir Square.  I mingled and had not problems.  I was at a hotel 1/2 a block from the square.  Bin Laden was killed while I was there, and though I felt nervous, noone hassled me in Cairo.  Great bargains and a chance to see sights with few crowds.  I had an entire pyramid to myself and 10 minutes alone in Abu Simbel.  I did have a hustler in Luxor con a dollar out of me.  He worked at the hotel I was at and invited me to tea, then told me the bill was $20.  Then he threatened to cause a riot when I walked away.  He scowled, but took the dollar and left.  It could have happened anywhere.  The bigger hassle is all the touts.  With fewer people, you are inundated with offers to buy stuff.  You just have to endure it.  I went there without a plan and booked a six day tour in my hotel.  It was "organized," but I traveled alone.  It meant I had guides and pickup at the train station.  I'm sure you could get even better deals if you just showed up in Luxor and other places, but I only had a week and was fatigued with having to deal with touts and desperate hotel recruiters trying to get me to go to their hotel, so I took the "tour," though I rarely am that organized when I travel, preferring to get the lay of the land and play it by ear.  Its been almost a year, but everyone was saying not to go back then too, so...  Don't rule it out.  Not only your health, but political considerations may make it difficult for Americans to visit Egypt in the future, so I'd give it some serious thought. Check out the Lonely Planet forums.  They usually are up to date with recent travelers.
                                              • Re: Egypt
                                                Dear Hopalong, 

                                                I love your whimsical ID, and I very much appreciate all your helpful information.  We also prefer to tour independently as much as possible.  Unfortunately I have to schedule some surgery now, but the outlook is very good, and I'm hoping that once that and the ensuing radiation are behind me, we'll be able to travel.  By then the presidential issues will be resolved and there should be less turbulence.  

                                                The touts do sound like a real annoyance, and it is too bad that we have to deal with them when we want to be immersed in the awe of incredibly beautiful sights. 
                                                Anyway, my thanks again for your thoughtful sharing and my best wishes as you hopalong to your next adventure. 

                                                Jeanne
                                                 
                                                 
                                                 
                                                 
                                    • Re: Egypt
                                      Hildegaard
                                      rloutfy said...

                                      My wife (from Texas) and I (born in Egypt and lived here over 50 years) were in Egypt two years ago and planning to go this year (maybe).  What I heard (including from professors from the American University in Cairo) that it is as safe as any big city in the US.  Just need to avoid some parts of the city and some circumstances.  This is a good time to go to Alexandria, the red sea, and upper Egypt.  You can do the research and adventure in these places by yourself and take organized tour in Cairo where most of the trouble is.  Please note the election is coming in mid Nov. that might be terrible time to be there.  My accountant and his wife went two years ago our company lawyer and his wife went last year and they all loved it. Both couple went with organized tour.

                                      I was glad to read from a long-time resident of Egypt. I lived in Cairo (el Maadi) from mid to late-'90s and am still in touch with friends there. I concur with everything rloufy says. We always depended on Egypt Panorama Tours for in-country touring. Whenever you decide to go (after the elections), it'll be an amazing experience!
                                        • Re: Egypt
                                          WEdward
                                          Thank you so much for the information. Any more suggestions for good tour group and organized tour would be greatly appreciated. Visiting Egypt has been a life-long dream for my husband 70, and I, 60.
                                            • Re: Egypt
                                              gilpearl
                                              WEdward said...
                                              Thank you so much for the information. Any more suggestions for good tour group and organized tour would be greatly appreciated. Visiting Egypt has been a life-long dream for my husband 70, and I, 60.
                                              Grand Circle Travel has a wonderful river cruise on the Nile that includes Egypt, Alexandria and more.  I haven't taken that particular trip myself but I know many others who have.  I would like to do it soon.  I'm actually leaving this coming Thursday for a 16-day river cruise from Moscow to St. Petersburg.  I enjoyed my first trip to Greece with Grand Circle two years ago so much that I'm doing this one to Russia.  Some people on the Greece trip had taken 5, 10, some even more river cruises with Grand Circle Travel.  I would certainly recommend it, based on my trip to Greece.