We have been wanting to visit Egypt for a while now so when the opportunity to get away over the Christmas and New Year period arose we knew we needed to head there for a break. We joined Expat Explore on their 10 Day Explorer Tour through Egypt taking in the sights of Cairo, Aswan, Luxor and Hurghada.
The reason we chose Expat Explore was that they were the cheapest in price with all the same sights and in the end we were happy with our choice.
Pre-departure they emailed us our itinerary with the optional excursions and additional costs for entry fees included so that we could budget properly. As well as following up with our pre-trip questions regarding flights, insurance and uhealth and safety advice.
From the start they were very professional. Landing in Cairo we were personally greeted the day before our tour and transported to our City centre hotel. That drive was an eye-opener to Egypt with crazy lane changes, honking, swerving, flashing lights with animals, people and vehicles everywhere.
El Tonsy Hotel is your base for your arrival and last night. Luckily we didn’t expect much as our door didn’t lock which was a bit dodgy and the rooms were freezing cold with a broken heater and only one blanket. You wouldn’t think you would need heat in Egypt but it was the middle of winter and it was chilly at night. No complaints with the location though as we could see the Pyramids in the distance and were only 5 minutes walk from the Nile and 15 minutes to Tahir Square (perfectly safe by the way). Plus they have a little bar/restaurant with cheap food and free Wi-Fi. Just buy your snacks and water from the supermarket across the road and you will get on fine.
It’s quite hard to break down a whole trip into one post but here goes:
Your tour starts with the best in my opinion by touring some sights of Cairo. The steeply angled Step Pyramid, mind-blowing Pyramids of Giza and the smaller than expected Sphinx. This day was definitely the highlight.
That night is spent aboard the train for 10-12 hours to Aswan. I highly recommend the Sleeper train for an extra £50 per person. Others that caught the standard train froze their butts off while we had a toasty sleep with a served dinner and breakfast. Unfortunately Expat Explore never told us about the provided food so we ate before we got on-board but what we could fit in was delicious.
The tour splits in Aswan as one group embarks on a River Cruise aboard a 5 star ship while the others spend time in hotels and on a Felucca. No surprise that we went with the cheaper option aboard the Felucca so the next few days are from that point of view.
The afternoon is yours at Sara Hotel on the banks above the Nile. We lapped up the beautiful rays of the sun and managed to turn our pasty white bodies a more fitting slightly white shade. The Hotel was great until the toilet next-door erupted sending a river of smelly waste across our bedroom floor (throw your toilet paper in the bin not the loo)! Luckily we woke in time to rescue our bags from the watery mess! Not the fault of Expat Explore and we didn’t blame the Hotel either as shit happens.
Your day begins by visiting the monstrous High Dam for 10 minutes (fairly boring) and a drive past the Unfinished Obelisk. While the highlight is definitely the Philae Temple. When the sunsets across the Nile reflecting off the stonework it really is quite magical.
The evening ended with an optional dinner in a traditional Nubian families house. The food was scrumptious and you better bring your singing and dancing shoes.
The following day and night is spent relaxing aboard the Felucca for a sail up the Nile for several hours. Sleeping no more than 8 people you will be snug if you bring your own sleeping bag like us. The rest of our crew were jealous as it did get quite chilly in the evening however blankets were provided.
With delicious pita bread and falafel cooked on the boat you will not be disappointed with the food either.
The day ends with a bonfire on the Nile shoreline as you sing and dance with the crazy fun Nubian crews. This was definitely one of the highlights of the entire trip for us.
Travel Tip: Don’t be put off by doing your “business” amongst the reeds of the Nile. Just enjoy the view and remember to bring your own toilet paper (which you need everywhere in Egypt anyway).
By all accounts, from the other tour members, the River Cruise is just as great with 3 nights on-board in comfortable accommodation, a pool and buffets morning, noon and night.
Waking to a sunrise breaking the morning chill is a glorious way to start a new day. Unfortunately there is little time for relaxation before you are off the Felucca and on a bus to Kom Ombu and Edfu Temples. I must say, all of the transportation was more than adequate with toilets on the buses and room enough for everyone. It’s lucky because you do spend the majority of the time being driven around.
The Lotus Hotel in Luxor was probably the pick of them all. Situated on the Nile bank with a swimming pool and tasty buffet breakfast.
One more day, one more busy schedule. Rushing to beat the crowds at the Valley of the Kings it’s another 8am start. You are only allowed to visit three tombs and we recommend the guides picks which were Ramses II, IV and IX.
Travel Tip: You are NOT allowed to take your camera with you off the bus. Please don’t ruin it for everyone by taking photos as you will be charged by security when caught.
We also squeezed in the crowded rock carved Hatshepsut Temple but only drove past Luxor Temple as we ran out of time as you need to drive 6 hours to reach Hurghada that night.
Day Seven and Eight
The next two days at the Red Sea are yours to do whatever you like so use them wisely. We joined most of our group for a spot of snorkelling and diving. The dive and the staff were great but the whole day seemed a little rushed which was a shame. Keep an eye out for our post on our diving experience in Hurghada.
So nice being able to relax on a beach and read a book after such a hectic schedule. It’s hard to leave and the 6 – 8 hour bus ride back to Cairo is tough.
Travel Tip: If you plan to do the tour over New Years Eve then you will have to depart Hurghada half a day early which sucked as it meant celebrating the New Year at the Hotel in Cairo. Bit of a let down but when hasn’t New Years Eve been!
Your final day of sightseeing is spent around Cairo. Our favourite part of the day was definitely the Cairo Museum with an excellent tour guide. It fits perfectly at the end by seeing all the history close-up after having learned about it over the last 8 days.
By the time we hit the old area of Cairo and the Coptic Hanging Church we were spent on history but our guide made a good effort at keeping us entertained.
The last group activity is free time for an hour or so at the Khan El Khalili souk markets where the touts try to prise your cash from you for the last time from every nook and cranny.
With the tour over it’s time to head home. Our flight was late the following night so we walked around the city and Souks on our own for the day. Expat Explore provides transport back to the airport which was great.
The trip was awesome but we think it’s important to note the little things that could make a huge difference to the overall experience:
- It felt like we were always hungry. Maybe it is just Kiwi’s and Aussies that eat all the time but it seriously felt like we were constantly starving with lunches being served usually after 4pm and dinner at 9pm onwards. It might be the Egyptian way to eat at those times but not for us. Travel Tip: Buy lots of snacks for the road which are very cheap at supermarkets.
- There was sometimes a lack of direction in what seemed to be happening. Everything is done on Egyptian time so be patient.
- We were often delayed or behind schedule with little to no guidance as to how long it would take to get from place to place. A little knowledge goes a long was as then we can plan ahead.
- More free time would be great to explore places on your own rather than have our hands held everywhere.
As we said above, the trip was amazing and the little positive things far outweighed the negatives which helped make it a memorable trip.
- Pre-departure information and care was extremely good.
- The tour was exceptional value for money and it was the cheapest tour we could find even though we still saw all the same sights the other groups did.
- The guides were extremely knowledgeable and never failed to answer any questions we had. The insights into the daily lives of the people around us was a nice break from all the history. They also ensured you never felt unsafe or uncomfortable.
- The Felucca trip was better than expected and overall so was the accommodation and transport options.
All in all we highly recommend you book with Expat Explore if you are considering a trip through Egypt.
Make sure you subscribe now and come back soon so you can enjoy reading our new posts which will cover everything else in more detail.
Disclaimer: Expat Explore provided us with a discount for our 10 day tour of Egypt however as always our thoughts are always our own.
Here Are 5 Essential Air Travel Tips That You Ought to Know About!
Taking a long vacation is all one can long for after experiencing a tough time at work or at home. That small break can you do your body, mind, and soul sound, especially when one is on the verge of a mental breakdown. You ought to plan yourself accordingly more so concerning your travel arrangements. It will enable you to have an adventurous time right from the time you leave your front door. Here are essential air travel tips that you must know about when planning for your trip.
Book your flights smartly
Booking any flight that appears on your schedule won’t do you any right; instead, it might cost you lots of cash. You ought to be flexible as you check out Sydney to Hong Kong flight time. You ought to check out various air travel websites as well as apps to find the ideal flight for your travel destination.
If you are planning on flying, you must limit the amount of luggage that you’ll carry. It would be best if you packed a few everyday items that you use.
Pack only clothes that you might need. To pack all these, you ought to have the nitty-gritty details concerning your trip.
Check out the location, activities you’ll engage in, type of trip as well as stay duration. It will act as a basic guideline for all items that you might require.
Make your luggage easy to identify
The last thing you would want to deal with during your pleasant trip is worrying about your luggage, more so when they get loaded randomly on the plane. It would be best you made your luggage easy to identify.
You can tie a small noticeable ribbon or a put a sticker, which will make it different from other bags. You can also choose to write your home address as well as a phone number. That way, in case of anything your sideways, you can quickly get a call.
Come with some form of entertainment
It never hurts to come along with some leisurely activity. It will come in handy more so when the flight lacks an inflight entertainment system.
You can choose to use this time to catch up on a movie, listen to a podcast, or finish that novel that you have put off for quite some time. It’s a good time to disconnect with the hassles of life and relax.
Be mindful what you eat
It’s easy to get a stomach upset when traveling to a new destination. You ought to know what you are eating at all times.
Some food might affect your flight experiences. Therefore, you must avoid gassy foods. You might discover that carb-rich meals might assist in reducing jet lag.
Travelling can get a little bit hectic, more so when air travel is concerned. You ought to be cautious about fight times, including Sydney to Hong Kong flight time, among other necessities. It will enable you to have a pleasing as well as a fun time all through.
What To Do If You Have A Car Accident While Traveling
Travel is exciting. Generally speaking, this is a good thing. But, sometimes a trip can turn out to be eventful for the wrong reasons.
The last thing you need is to have a car accident, even a small one, while you are traveling. It puts a real dampener on things and if you do not take the right action an event like that can carry on having a negative impact on your life even after you get home. With this in mind, I thought I would put together a few tips to help you to navigate what can be a tricky situation.
Call a lawyer
Regardless of where you are, it is wise to speak to a car accident attorney after an accident. In particular, if someone has been hurt or it looks like there could be a lot of damage. .
You can never be sure where these cases will lead, so having the support of a lawyer is useful. Most car accident lawyers offer a free initial consultation. So, you can use that to ask them what to do next and ascertain if you are likely to need their services.
It is best to start by explaining that you have had your accident while vacationing. This will enable them to advise you about whether you need to hire a lawyer close to where you live or where you had the accident.
Notify the insurance firm
Also, ask them about what to say when speaking to the insurance firm. You will definitely need to contact them. Usually, there is a time limit for doing this, so be aware of this and make sure you comply.
But, you will need to be careful about what you say. Regardless of where you are in the world, it is not wise to admit blame.
Notify the car hire firm
If you were driving a hire car, at the time of your accident, you normally have to notify them too. Again, your lawyer will be able to advise you about what to say.
This will ensure that you do not inadvertently end up taking the blame or agreeing to pay for something you shouldn’t. You need to speak to your car hire firm within the timescales agreed when you signed the contract.
Follow the local rules and regulations
Before you leave home, you need to have familiarized yourself with driving rules of the area you were traveling to. There are differences. For example, you have to understand how serious an accident has to be for it to be obligatory to call the police to the scene of the accident. In some parts of the world, you have to deploy warning triangles and put on high visibility vests. Not knowing and complying with these special rules can get you in a lot of trouble.
Contact your travel insurance provider too
Wherever you travel to you should always buy a good travel insurance policy that includes cover for medical emergencies. Most of the time, this is how your medical expenses will be covered. But, as you can see here if you are held responsible for the accident you will almost certainly be liable for the other party’s medical expenses. That is why it is very important to only hire a car if good car insurance is included.
Three Reasons You Need To Try Camping
Holidays are that point of your working year when you finally get to relax, finally get to step away from the laptop and finally get some much needed time to recover from the stresses and strains of work.
It’s the pin on the calendar that gives you something to look forward to and the point where you know all that planning and work was worthwhile.
But are that person who finds it hard to put down the laptop and step away from their phone. Perhaps, you find it hard to switch off and worry about how the business is functioning in your absence.
In this blog, we take a look at three reasons why camping is the ultimate getaway for the stressed out executive.
Image from Pixabay: CC0 licence
Why Basic is Better
What’s the first thing you do when you check into your luxury hotel? That’s right, you ask for the wifi code and make sure your charger is plugged in. A home from home environment is great but when that home turns into an extension of your office, then you’re not going to be able to switch off and focus on where you are, even with the best will in the world.
Taking yourself out of your comfort zone and limiting your options is a bit like tough love, hard to do but ultimately a decision that everyone benefits from.
Gone is your focus on charging a phone and instead you’re thinking about when to fire up the BBQ or how many blankets you’re going to need that night.
Great for All Types of Families
Including couples, friends and those with children. Simply put camping brings people together. The campfire toasting marshmallows, the walks into the countryside and the late nights talking and playing cards together. No phones, no TV and no distractions, just you and your family remembering what it’s like, just to talk and be together.
The Great Outdoors
Watching your kids or your dog enjoying bounding around outside is great for the soul. Just taking time to enjoy the views at a campsite such as Rest Point Caravan Park in Walpole will help you to reconnect with the great outdoors and remember what’s it like to forget your responsibilities, just for a little while at least.
You might also give yourself the opportunity to try a new sport, get back on your bike or just enjoy some gentle exercise in the fresh air with the prospect of a tasty BBQ at the end of the day.
You might not feel like a natural camper but if the alternative is being cooped up in your hotel pouring over your emails, then make this an option that you add to your list. Be brave, go and buy a great tent or go to a site where you can rent them and take a chance on the great outdoors. Breathe some fresh air, admit there’s no wifi and enjoy a holiday reconnecting with the people and pets you value most.
Meet Cole and Adela
We have been wearing out our jandals (Kiwi for flip-flops) on our travel adventures around the world since 2009. We think our blog is thought provoking and a little witty. But we have been proven wrong before. Find out more about us here...
New on Four Jandals
- Here Are 5 Essential Air Travel Tips That You Ought to Know About! January 21, 2020
- Playing Online Poker January 20, 2020
- The Best Gaming Genres for Travelers January 17, 2020
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