How to Travel To Egypt Safely and Have the Time of Your Life
With all the unrest taking place in Egypt, I am sure you must be wondering like me, if it’s safe to travel to this enchanting destination. Well, it’s certainly worth checking with your local government travel warnings and recommendations prior to travel most anywhere in the world. Many leading travel experts do say that it is Safe to Travel to Egypt.
If you do decide to visit Egypt, there are many ways to help make your travel as safe as can be. Below are a few suggestions to assist in your travels to the Land of Pharohs!
Tension in the Middle East is not uncommon. We are so familiar with such scenes that for many of us, another war story is simply a one minute bullet point in the evening news. Something to note and then forget. But to those who live on the ground, who have livelihoods in these locations, it’s more than just news.
Along with its share of (often media-hyped) dangers, the Middle East – Jordan and Egypt in particular – hold some of the world’s great wonders. Thousands of retirees flock to these parts every year to witness the sheer beauty and unexpected contrast that makes up the “Cradle of Civilization”.
Tourism, therefore is one of those things that gets hit every time rumours of tension and in-fighting break out.
“Is it safe to go there? How can you travel through Egypt and Jordan safely, see all of its wonder and come out the other side having had an adventure like nothing else you have experienced before?”
One of the ways that Egypt Tourism has combated this – and one of the reasons that tourism and travel in Egypt has not only survived – but flourished – is through the growth of professional custom tours with private guides.
Tour guides are nothing new. We have all seen the well dressed Contiki Tour Guide walking gingerly through the marketplace showing off the local sites. But what is developing in the Middle East and in Egypt in particular, is a new breed of travel package ideal for those in retirement, as well as those with young families.
A number of travel agencies now specialize in Custom Tours that are put together by private guides who:
- Are native to Egypt
- Have qualifications in Egyptian History and Egyptology
- Know the streets and the sites to see like the back of their hand
Mahmoud Gebril from Osiris Tours, and a native of Egypt says,
“While media insist that Egypt is not safe for tourists, it may seem like the media can’t understand the difference between a country and a plaza.”
As an Australian who has always wanted to explore Jordan and Egypt, but never quite had the courage – or any idea of where to even begin to safely plan a trip – I spoke to Mahmoud about the advantages of taking up one of these custom tours.
Here are the takeaways.
A Custom Tour Guide Provides Security
Instead of having someone from out of town who has “trained” as a tour guide, a local can provide quick solutions to your real safety concerns.
A trustworthy local guides knows, simply by living and breathing the Egyptian life, where to go and where to stay away from. They know how to get you through busy Cairo, how to respond to an unexpected event and how to travel safely to each of the destinations you choose to see.
You just can’t beat local knowledge. A private guide can inform you on:
- The protection of your valuables
- How to dress for the day’s’ adventures
- What precautions are necessary to avoid legal or territory issues
A Private Guide will also be able to communicate to locals in their own language and because it’s in their interest and their livelihood depends on it, will always be looking out for your interests and safety. This is not always true of a pretty girl from Alabama dressed in a Thomas Cook outfit.
A Reputable Tour Guide Will Ensure You Wee All the Places You Want to See
OK, so you know about the Pyramids and you want to go see them. That’s Great! But did you know that there are more than 120 of them? Which ones do you go and see? Which ones have the history and mythology that you have read about and want to learn more of?
So you want to swim in the Dead Sea, or Climb Mount Sinai. What do you need to know? Who is going to do all the planning and preparation to make it possible?
Custom Tour operators with local knowledge are invaluable in these parts of the world. Not only, but I was surprised to learn from Mahmoud that as far as Osiris goes, many of these private guides have University Degrees in the History and Mythology of these amazing places.
They can customize a tour so no time is wasted on the planning, the getting lost, or the being turned back because you ended up in someone’s back yard desert war zone.
They will ensure:
- You are informed of the nature of the transport – so no surprises en-route
- The climate, terrain and present conditions
- The history and highlights that others from outside Egypt don’t know about
A Private Guide from a reputable local travel agency will customize a tour with the level of luxury that you request and can plan any kind of tour you want so that you see all that Egypt has to offer.
A Custom Tour Moves at Your Pace
One of the things that always kept me from getting on board with organized tours was the pace. I want to be able to stop at a coffee shop, investigate a market, or perhaps just sleep …. when I want to sleep. I never liked the idea of being herded onto a bus, marched through a museum or listening to the scripted story of an indifferent tour guide.
Private Guides work according to your timetable and:
- Are there when you need them
- Can come and go according to your needs and schedule
- Will ensure that you get to the places you need to be at on time
- Can change up the tour package on the fly
Ever been sick or taken ill on a guided tour? What on earth are you supposed to do? What does everyone else on the tour do?
A custom tour with your own guide means you have incredible flexibility. If you have health issues, these can be dealt with without a hassle. Your guide will know how to help you and how to arrange alternative travel plans.
Private Guides Are Often Less Expensive
I was surprised at first to learn this, but it makes sense. The simple fact is that it is usually cheaper to hire a local professional and ethical tour guide, than it is to put a fellow westerner on the plane and drag them across the world so they can point at things they (like you) read in a book.
Not only that, but we have all heard the stories of the guy who paid $170 for a 10 minute cab ride or the backpackers who paid $200 for a salad roll and a bus ticket.
Let’s face it, the world ain’t always honest! 🙁
A guided tour with a local, one who has a proven track record for his integrity can help:
- Avoid paying more for local produce than you ought
- Avoid paying exorbitant prices for accommodation and gifts
- Weed out the bargains from the tricksters and hucksters
Because many of these kinds of tours allow full customization of your trip. You also have the option of only engaging your Private Guide when you need him. No need to pay for services you don’t want or need. Your guide will be there when you need their help and direction, and will leave you alone to explore Egypt on your own when you don’t.
They can even organize the day trips, meals, sightseeing and travel for you and then get out of the way so you can get on with your Egyptian Adventure!
In Egypt, Jordan and other regions throughout the Middle East, the customs and culture are so vastly different, that unless you are Indiana Jones, you just can’t wander around on your own and expect to see all that you can see – in safety.
But these places are so remarkable, so unique, that you really can’t afford not to visit them. And you can! You can enjoy all of the myth, the legend and expanse of Egypt and the Middle East. You can do it at any age with safety and security!
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