I’m on my way & Returned….FINALLY 😎

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Comments

  • ToddE

    My wife likes to dress up occasionally and I am interested in whether the hotels and ship have irons and ironing boards available. I don't think she could do the trip with just a carry-on even though that seems to be the most recommended option. Has anyone else taken a normal suitcase and how was their experience?

    I admit, I am no where near the norm. I travel with only one suitcase - Briggs and Riley Baseline International Wide Body Carry-On.

    I do not like to check my luggage at the beginning of a trip. I travel Business Class and I know my luggage is given priority; however, I prefer my luggage to be with me for the beginning of the tour. I'm more willing to check on my return home.

    I've been using the Briggs & Riley for over a decade. I've used it for 3 week tours. Everyone is always amazed when they see my luggage compared to all others and always ask how I fit all of my multiple changes of clothes and shoes in it...I love to dress up. Coordination of key pieces is key. It's amazing how much you can fit in that compressible suitcase. FULL DISCLOSURE - I always wear the most bulky pair of shoes on the plane. For this trip I wore ankle boots with a thick trekking sole for the Petra hikes and sandy and rocky conditions throughout the tour.

    I carry my DSLR camera bag and I pack a nylon travel backpack to use when traveling on the coach (I don't take my camera bag on the coach). I also pack a Longchamp Le Pilage tote bag which I use to carry any small souvenirs I may purchase. I try to keep it simple.

    Irons/Ironing Boards were available in the closets at the Kempinski, Old Cataract and Mena House. The Movenpick wasn't memorable and I don't recall. Irons/Boards were available on request on the Oberoi Zahra.

  • I will be interested in hearing your experiences with private guides. If all goes well, we'll be on the tour that begins November 14, 2022 in Amman and ends at Mena House November 26. We are adding 3 extra nights and won't be flying home until Monday, Nov 28. (Our flight doesn't leave until 23:55 on Nov 28 so are trying to decide whether to book a room for the night of November 28 as well so we have the option to relax there rather than "hang out" at the airport or stay with a guide for the afternoon.)
    We'll use our extra time in Cairo to spend extra time at the GEM. If it opens in early November, hopefully, Tauck will take us there initially. We'd also like to visit the Museum of Egyptian Civilization; see the "Whirling Dervish and Tanoura Show" in Khan al-Khalili at the Welaket al-Ghouri Performing Arts Center Saturday evening, and visit the Ramses Wissa Wassef Art Centre which is only 3.8 miles from Mena House.

  • edited January 2

    OBXnana
    6:44PM
    I will be interested in hearing your experiences with private guides. . . . . Our flight doesn't leave until 23:55 on Nov 28 so are trying to decide whether to book a room for the night of November 28 as well so we have the option to relax there rather than "hang out" at the airport or stay with a guide for the afternoon.

    We are doing something similar, but staying only 1 day extra at the end of our J&E this March. Our flight leaves at 2:45 am on what would be Day 14, so, even though we won't be spending the night, we decided to book a post-stay room to have a place to leave our bags, rest, shower, etc. before heading to the airport. From what others have experienced, the Tauck transfer leaves the hotel about 4 hours+ before the flight. That allows for a 1hr. drive to the airport and arrival the recommended 3 hr before an international flight.

    We are arranging for a guide on Day 13, and plan to travel with him to Dahshur and Saqqara (and possibly Meidom) to see more than what is typically seen on tour.

  • AlanS - Thanks for letting me know that you've booked a "post-stay room" too. I think it will be a good move.
    When we arrived early back in 2009, one of the sites we enjoyed with our private guide was the Memphis Outdoor Museum. https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g730107-d552698-Reviews-Memphis_and_Sakkara-Saqqara_Giza_Governorate.html The large statue of Ramses II that we saw there is evidently the twin for the one that will be in the entrance to the GEM. Very impressive even though it is lying on the ground and missing its feet. (It is covered with a roof against the elements.) We also climbed inside the Red Pyramid at Dashur but not sure that was worth it. Not much to see at all and my legs bothered me for 2 days from walking at a stoop.

  • edited January 2

    My guide suggested the outdoor museum, too but with everything else I want to see there probably won't be enough time.

    I've read there is, or was, a definite ammonia odor (?!?@%??#) in the Red Pyramid but it may be gone now. Between the Red and Bent Pyramids in Dahshur, both of which have a long steep descent to the burial chambers, supposedly the Red Pyramid is the slightly easier of the two. I only want to get close to inspect and take photos of the exteriors of both. Same for the Black Pyramid which is a 1.4 km hike from the Bent Pyramid. Depending on what my camera can capture from the Bent Pyramid, I may take photos of the Black Pyramid from there or walk (800 m) to the Bent Pyramid Valley temple to photograph the Black Pyramid. Unfortunately, there doesn't seem to be a road through the desert connecting Dahshur with Saqqara. I think part of the military complex blocks the route.

    Most of my planning is focused on Saqqara- Tauck has been taking people to and into the burial chamber of the (rubble) Pyramid of Teti I and inside the Mastaba of Mereruka (and/or Kagemni) so I don't need to see them again. I want to tour the inside of the Serapeum which is the ceremonial tomb of the Serapis bulls and contains a number of incredibly huge, smooth, and perfectly cut black granite(?) sarcophagi. I also want to enter the step pyramid of Djoser and the recently opened "Southern Tomb" complex at the south end of the Djoser Pyramid courtyard. Also, if open, (my guide is still researching this) I would like to enter the nearly 100' deep shaft to the underground mummification workshop and burial complex which is southeast but close to the (rubble) pyramid of Unas (which itself is at southwest corner of the Pyramid of Djoser complex. Also . . . if any are open, I would like to see any of the tombs where they recently discovered 150+ (and counting) mummies (of people and cats) and the tomb of Wahtye in the Bubasteion area not far from the Saqqara ticket office.

    Finally, and to start the day, if it looks like there will be time, I want to go south to the Faiyum Oasis area to see and enter the Meidom Pyramid. It is nearly an hour south of the Mena House so might be the first to be eliminated from my ambitious plan.

  • The only issue with staying later, being gone for most of the day and flying out after midnight will be arranging for a PCR test. I'll need to get one after midnight the night before, early in the morning before we head out touring, or late afternoon/early evening before heading to the airport.

  • Alan
    Assuming you're headed home, you don't need a PCR test to reenter the US. An antigen test will do, so long as it is done by a lab or proctored via telemedicine.

  • I think some people have.commented, not necessarily for this tour, that when staying later, Tauck has still helped them with testing

  • Yes, British is correct. No matter how many post-tour days you are staying, Tauck will assist in finding a place for testing.

  • I concur…there was one couple staying 1 extra day and another guy staying 2 extra days. The TD introduced them to the doctor administering the test and they set up their appointments at that time. The doctor agreed to return to the hotel and test them in their rooms.

  • I'm taking this trip in February and absolutely LOVE all of your information and advice. I hope the rest of your journey was as spectacular!

  • edited January 3

    I knew Tauck was helping to set up testing, but since we still have a few months (71 days) I didn't dig deeper. For some reason I thought the returning-to-the-US test would be the same as the departing-the-US test required by most foreign countries. At least for now, Ken is correct.

    State says, "Both nucleic acid amplification tests (NAATs), such as a PCR test, and antigen tests qualify. A self-test can be used if it meets the requirements of the order including real-time proctoring by a telehealth service affiliated with the manufacturer of the test and that generates a test result that can be reviewed by the airline before boarding."  

    We still have a narrow window on our post tour touring day. I wonder if it would be useful to have a telehealth kit like the COVID-19 Ag CARD or one of the machines that connect to a computer as a back-up. Unless their service is 24/7, I would need to account for the 6 hour time difference.

    I wonder what the group that went to Alexandra, Egypt for a few days after K&T did? If testing is still required next Christmas I might need to go to a local testing site or test my self since we are going to Hamburg for a fewdays after our XMAS Mkts cruise.

  • I just spoke to a friend who was scheduled to travel with friends to Egypt on January 18th. They just re-scheduled for January 2023. Unfortunately another friend of hers and her family were traveling in Egypt. Their son tested positive in Luxor and required to be quarantined in the hospital. I am not sure if his symptoms were that serious or if the hospital was the designated place to quarantine. If I find out more information, I'll pass along.

    I feel extremely blessed I was able to complete my tour and all my traveling partners remained safe and COVID free throughout the journey.

  • Oh dear lord!! A nightmare!! My biggest fear….

  • I discovered today that the additional insurance we have covers us for transport if we are in hospital with Covid to the US from another country, unless it is a level 4 country on the day we go there. It’s a bit of a relief.

  • British....Is this Tauck insurance or a separate policy you purchased?

    I discovered today that the additional insurance we have covers us for transport if we are in hospital with Covid to the US from another country, unless it is a level 4 country on the day we go there. It’s a bit of a relief.

  • It’s Emergency Assist plus. We pay an annual fee. It’s also good within the US. As long as you are more than 100 miles from home, they will help you in an emergency

  • I was on the J & E trip in December. All (5 of us total on this trip) 3 packed in a carry on or backpack and one 22 inch suitcase each. One couple used a larger bag and it was 2 days late so neither had clothes for that time. Pretty upsetting for them. I always mix my 2 suitcases, half mine and half my husbands, in each bag. There wasn't any, what I would call "dressing up". There are sport coats to borrow at the Old Cataract. If your trip starts at the Dead Sea, you may want to pack your swimsuit in your carry-on so that you don't miss that experience.

  • Debi Horan >(5 of us total on this trip)

    Wow...I thought my group size of 12 was small and intimate, but a group of 5, oh my. What was the make-up of the group - couples vs solo travelers? Our tour had 4 solo travelers; however, 2 of the 4, were virtually introduced by their Tauck friends, and for all intent purposes, they participated in most activities as a couple.

  • Wao. Debi Horan
    That's really small... I feel for the TD's and guides...
    I'm not really sure I would like that small of a group.. I believe 16 is perfect size top 20. But I'm glad you went and came back fine...
    Have a great day.
    Bye

  • Our trip was two couples and one single woman. Got along fine and absolutely included our single, Carol, at everything if she wanted to join us.good group, although small.

  • Debi- I sent you a PM.

  • Debi Horan awesome for including us single gals. I really enjoy traveling solo and meeting and sharing with other couples on the tour. I've established lasting friendships with folks on Tauck tours.

  • How much cash did anyone that's gone recently bring with them? Thanks.

  • How much cash did anyone that's gone recently bring with them?

    ToddE When I arrived in Jordan I stopped by the ATM in the airport and exchanged $100 USD. I used most of it to buy souvenirs at the gift shop at Mt. Nebo and the rest I used to tip the attendants at the Dead Sea, the golf cart drivers, etc. Most places accepted credit cards and of course US cash--they actually preferred cash.

    I exchanged $80UDS money in Egypt once we arrived at the Old Cataract Hotel. Most of the money was for the camera fees $65USD and the rest for tips.

    The TD provided everyone with the "pee fee"--5 Egyptian pounds that was to be given to restroom attendants. Initially she provided everyone $25 (Egyptian pounds) which equated to less than $2 USD. More was provided more as needed. Be aware, some attendants will ask you for $1 USD. They are happy as punch when you give them the $5 Egyptian pound.. The fee is for them to hand you tissue paper to dry your hands. It's a mess, but I found that most restrooms used tissue paper to dry the hands.

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