insights

I just got home from the Egypt Jewels of the Nile tour and thought I would offer some insights on this trip for those who are about to embark. First of all, the tour director, Rachel is absolutely wonderful. In fact, all the staff you will meet on this trip are helpful and knowledgeable. Rachel and her staff will answer all your questions, no matter how many times they are asked.
Here are some things I wished I had known before I left for the trip:
Packing for Women
:1) you don't need to bring a lot of scarves to cover your hair- we only needed one scarf on one day and even that was optional for tourists
2) Unlike other tours we have taken, you don't need to dress well for dinner- I packed way too many nice dresses and only really needed three
3) As a tourist, you can actually wear shorts and tank tops- apparently nobody really cares if your arms and legs are covered because you are a tourist, you only really need to cover on the one day you go to the mosque
4) make sure you bring a two prong plug for charging your phone- the only hotel with USB chargers is the Regis in Cairo
5) If you are prone to breathing difficulties, make sure to bring your inhaler. The air quality is often poor.
Activities
1) Don't expect to see/do the following: the horse cart, Nubian Village, Souk in Cairo, any local markets
2) The camel ride is 15 minutes at the most and that includes picture taking
3) There is a lot of down time on the cruise boat- swim, sun, nap, or bring a good book
4) Rachel has a great list of things to do in Cairo if you get there a day early or stay a day later. If you want to do any of them from your hotel in Giza, go early in the morning. Traffic is so bad in Cairo that a trip that would take 30 minutes in the morning, will take you an hour and a half if you go after 10:00
5) There is very little opportunity to shop. You will be accosted by vendors at every site and several of the sites have a permanent vender row that you will need to pass through on your way out. You will have very little time to visit any of these. The best gift shop is in the Egyptian Museum of Antiquities, but again, you will have very little time to spend there.
6) You will have very little free time at any of the sites. I suggest that in order to see more of the site, you wander around the area within earshot of your tour guide while he is lecturing. Rarely will you have time to return to any area you have passed through.
7) Any time you fly, expect an early morning--on the bus by 5:30 or earlier.
The sites you will see on this trip are truly amazing and awe inspiring. Good luck as you prepare to travel.

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