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Go to Egypt without a Tour?

My DH suggested it is the best time to go to Egypt. We have always traveled "Through the Backdoor style" , but only in Europe so far. I would love to hear from anyone who had done it!

Posted by
9110 posts

Have at it. Driving in Cairo is a bit of a bear, but once you're out of town running out to Alexandria or up to Luxor is enjoyable. Once you're south of the Aswan it gets a bit grim (haul water, gas, etc). I had somebody hold my hand the first time to Thebes, but there's really nothing to it. My little sister was there about this time last year when all the mess was going on, but she said she just walked around it. You can get lost in Cairo without too much trouble. If you don't want to spend forever unloosing yourself, you might want to get your hotel to scribble the name/address in Arabic - - personally, I just keep going in circles until I find the river. The subway is easy to hive out.

Posted by
8954 posts

I prefer to travel independently, and do things on my own. Have even managed to travel a bit through China even though I don't speak a word of Mandarin, but Egypt kicked my ass....not literally of course:) For a variety of reasons I found it very challenging, and is the one place I believe most folks would be better off with a guide or tour.

Posted by
1366 posts

Absolutely. Did this last year (Dec 2010 - Jan '11) right before the uprising started. Took the kids as we usually do. Hit most of the highlights along the tourist trail (Cairo, Pyramids, Luxor, Valley of the Kings, Esna, Edfu, Aswan, Abu Simbel). We did not make it to Alexandria or Siwa. We did it all on our own. Had no issues. Due to time and cost, we chose to fly between Cairo and Luxor and on the return from Aswan to Cairo. Flights inside the country on Egypt air were quite cheap (<$100) One interesting thing I noticed is that a lot of the service providers speak English (due to the long history of tourism in Egypt). Hence, getting around was quite easy. Only organized tour we took was the ride to Abu Simbel from Aswan since everyone needed to travel in a convoy. We arranged this through the Keylany hotel where we were staying. The tour was very cheap (<$20 per person) for the ride to Abu Simbel with stops at the Aswan High Dam and the Temple of Isis on the way back.

Posted by
49 posts

We traveled to Egypt during the elections end of last year, and it was so incredible! We traveled independently with 2 young kids and had a magical time. We thought the driving was incredible, ha, no road rules are the rules, so we found out quickly how to play: ). We did do some tours of sites, as we found so much more information and could go places that single travelers could not. No tourist craziness, we went to the Red Sea and it was sooo incredible, we are planning a trip back for 2014. I hope you take on this adventure and go for it! Peaceful travels!

Posted by
14412 posts

Browse the Trip Advisor forums for Egypt, especially the trip reviews. That will give you a better insight into what's been happening recently and you can PM the posters there to ask specific questions. Though I'm not familiar with the Egypt forum, all the others that I've used (extensively) in my travel planning have been invaluable.

Posted by
129 posts

Check out Lonely Planet forum. They have a lot of good info and great advice! I hope RS will include the Middle East and other countries in his tour guides one day!