What better way to make new friends than to explore, learn, and experience the history and culture of a destination with them? Michaela did just that on her recent On the Go Tour through Egypt where she saw some pretty spectacular places and took part in some unforgettable activities. She shares with us her Top 5 Rules to making the most of your next Egyptian experience.
Rule #1: Get insured!
Any Flightie will always reiterate the benefits of travel insurance. Before my trip even began, I was thankful that I’d purchased the RBC Deluxe insurance package. Due to a curfew imposed at Cairo airport, there was a huge unforeseen schedule change on my KLM flights which meant I had to overnight in Amsterdam in each direction (23 hour stop in one direction, 18 in the other). Because I had the Deluxe package, all of my accommodation and food during those forced overnights was taken care of by the insurance company. Who wants to get stuck sleeping in an airport when you could be in a 4* hotel? That alone makes the insurance purchase worthwhile (not to mention being fully covered medically during my trip, and knowing my baggage was protected too)!
Rule #2: Cover up!
I attempted to arrive in Cairo well covered but had an incident on the flight with the leggings I was wearing – they split all the way up one leg right to the crotch – so I definitely felt conspicuous, not only for being fair skinned, but also for having an indecent amount of inner thigh showing. Ladies, when you’re in any public areas, like the airport or markets, keep your knees and shoulders covered. Don’t feel too intimidated by the stares you get to go explore – just make sure you keep covered (including covering your head, out of respect) and bring a tall guy with you! The morning a few of us spent wandering through Luxor was one of the most rewarding parts of the trip. We had the chance to meet some Egyptian families and even had a young boy on a bicycle escort us through the streets!
Rule #3: You’re worth more camels than that!
When you’re at the main tourists sites, like the Pyramids or the Valley of the Kings, you will be offered many many camels in exchange for your hand. Don’t sell yourself short. At least hold out for someone to offer to construct some sort of monument in your name. If it’s good enough for Queen Hatshepsut, it’s good enough for me, right? Besides, what am I going to do with 2 million camels anyway. Potential suitors aside, the sights of Egypt are spectacular. I didn’t realize truly how much work the aliens put into building the pyramids until we reached the Great Pyramid and saw that each stone was almost as tall as the average person, and equally as wide. And despite what everyone else says, the Sphinx was exactly the size I expected to be.
Rule #4: Do it all!
Don’t miss out on any opportunity to participate in any extra activity that you may be given the chance to do. We were fortunate enough to get to do a sunrise hot air balloon ride in Luxor. I am by no means a morning person, but the breathtaking views of the city, temples, and mountains over the Nile was well worth the 4am wakeup call. In Dahab, we were given the option to do a night time hike up Mount Sinai. I nearly missed out on it, because I’d failed to bring adequate footwear, but I was able to borrow some 3 sizes too big runners from someone, and was so thankful to be able to go. We set out from our hotel in Dahab at 11:00pm, and began our hike up the mountain at about 2am. Don’t be deceived by how scorching hot the desert is – the mountain is dang cold! Bring 2 hoodies, a scarf, and some gloves. It was well below 0 degrees up the mountain and is not an easy climb by any means, but seeing the sunrise over the mountaintop was a incredible payoff. Even small extras, like paying a few extra pounds to see the mummies in the Egyptian Museum, are totally worth it. It truly is fascinating to see how well preserved they were and try to imagine that shrivelled, leathery, body having been an actual person thousands of years ago (plus the room they’re in has better air conditioning than the rest of the building).
Rule #5: Have fun!
Our tour was jam packed each day. One day we were visiting ancient temples, the next day we're snorkeling in the Blue Hole, and a few hours after that we were quad biking through the desert to a Bedouin camp. It was hot and tiring, and every minute was amazing. Although the tour was full, there were plenty of chances to spend a few hours relaxing in the sun, and order some cheap poolside Stella beers. The benefit of touring with a company like On The Go is that not only do you get to stay in some spectacular places (our hotel in Cairo was right next to the Pyramids, in Luxor we all had balconies overlooking the Nile, and in Dahab the resort cascaded down a hill to the Red Sea) and be guided by an expert Egyptologist, like our guide Waleed, but you become part of a new family. Everyone on the tour is there for basically the same reason – to explore, learn, and experience the history and culture of Egypt. What better way to make new friends!
Want more information about Egypt or On -The-Go Tours? Michaela Buskell is an International Travel Consultant at our Commercial Drive location in Vancouver and can be contacted by E-mail or calling 1-888-718-0841.