Egypt

Salām 'alaykum from Egypt! 

 

The Retired Toddlers spent 2+ weeks touring Egypt as a family!

 

 

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Activities / Accommodations

 

{We get asked a lot how much does it cost to go to Egypt? Keep reading for a breakdown of our costs for this Egypt trip.}

 

Make sure to follow @RetiredToddlers on Instagram & Facebook & YouTube.

Michelle is a full-time traveler who also runs a business with Beautycounter. 

Learn more about her business here or request free samples.

 

 

 

What is the best tour company in Egypt? We used Real Egypt Tours to book our tours and loved working with them! They helped us find some off the beaten path excursions that led to some amazing adventures and were perfect for visiting Egypt with kids!

 

Upon arrival, Real Egypt Tours met us at the airport and transferred us to a hotel we booked: Hilton Pyramids Golf in Giza.  We are Diamond Members with Hilton, so it helps that we get the added benefits and meals.  The place was in much need of an update when we were there, but it looks like they are doing renovations now.  There was also a kids club, but small and not much to it. We were, however, able to drop the kids off to color and such (about an hour is enough there) and sit outside by the pool to get some work done!  Also note, that when we were there, smoking is allowed in the lobby and many of the common areas and rooms of the hotel. This is quite a nuisance and I wish Hilton, being an international and educated brand, would ban smoking in the hotel. 

 

 

Egypt is still one of our favorite trips ever. And yes, Egypt with kids is a perfect family vacation!

 

Here is why... 

 

We got to explore lesser known pyramids and learn about the extensive Egyptian history.

 

 

Took a trip down the Nile River on a private felucca sailboat.

 

 

And an overnight train ride from Cairo to Aswan. (Click the arrows on the right next to the picture to scroll through our Overnight Train in Egypt adventure!)

 

 

 

Of course, a trip to Egypt isn’t complete without a tour around the Great Pyramids (there are 9 of them!).  We took a camel ride around the Pyramids and then got to explore these massive structures with our guide! 

 

 



A view inside our trip...

 

The first day, we went to visit Saqqara & Dashur - lesser known pyramids and totally worth going to see.  They are over 4000 years old! There was hardly anyone there and we felt like we had the pyramid grounds to ourselves!  And what more do kids need to keep entertained than rocks, sand, massive pyramids and stories from long ago?! 

 

At Saqqara, it is worth going down into the tomb - the one located through the parking lot, where you need to duck down low to climb into the tomb (it’s a small space to climb down into)  - you pay extra money to take pictures, but do it! The hieroglyphics on the walls are perfectly intact and it’s just incredible.

 

Dashur { دهشور‎ Dahšūr } has the pyramids known as the  “Bent Pyramid” & “Red Pyramid” and are some of the oldest pyramids in Egypt. These were the Egyptians attempts to build smooth sided pyramids.  The Bent Pyramid was a real learning curve and you can see many parts of it crumbled. The Egyptians took that knowledge to build the more sturdy Red Pyramid and later the Great Pyramid of Giza.

 

 

 

 

Later that morning we went to lunch and then stopped at the Fagnoon Art Centre, a community art center where we made some art and enjoyed some down time.

 

Given that we travel full time and are traveling with kids, we like to do half day tours and have days off - to give us a chance to reboot and not wear down so quickly!  In Egypt, it’s hard to stop because it is a treasure hunter’s paradise with an enormous history. It is hard to take in until you see it first hand.  We had so many Travel Highs on this trip, it was hard to come down from them before having the next amazing experience!

 

Although we usually opt out of seeing all the churches and museums when we travel, a trip to Cairo isn’t complete without a visit to the National Museum (which I believe is now relocated to Giza near the Great Pyramids). Henley was so excited to see mummies, but check out the video for her disappointment when finding out they weren’t white. Her expressions are always priceless.

 

Seeing King Tut’s belongings, food, games etc that was found in his tomb is quite incredible as well.

 

 

One day, we fought crazy Cairo traffic and took a visit to Khan market- seeing the market in action is quite an experience and it was great to have a guide to explain everything to us.  We also stopped to eat the infamous meal of Egypt - Kosheri. It’s a must try experience. Apparently this is the best place to get it - located in downtown Cairo - called Koshary Abou Tarek.  You can see us eating it in our video - pasta with chickpeas, tomato sauce & I can’t remember what else!

 

 

Later that night, our guide helped us navigate getting on the Overnight Train, departing Cairo headed to Aswan!  Thank goodness the guide was there to help us get on! We boarded and were on our own until Aswan. The overnight train is a must - for the experience of it - and for kids (not for the luxury!)!  We had two adjoining cabins. Nothing fancy and I suggest bringing your own food as what was served wasn’t great. But the kids enjoyed it and we slept well with the rocking of the train!

 

We took a drive out to see the Unfinished Obelisk - which is quite remarkable. It’s over 3000 years old and the largest known obelisk.  Bring a guide to share the story of this masterpiece gone wrong. It gives a lot of insight into how the Egyptians cut these massive structures from granite and tried to move them!  (Oh, and that pilot cap that Jagger is sporting below was another gift that Turkish Airlines gave to all kids on board!)

 

 

 

We took a boat ride out to Philae Temple -  located on an island in the Nile River. What is remarkable about this temple is that with the construction of the Aswan High Dam,  it was completely relocated to nearby Agilkia Island. If it would have remained on the original island, it would have been flooded and destroyed.  UNESCO helped move the entire thing, which is an amazing feat! 

 

 

What is great about the start of the Nile (located in the south of Egypt) is that this area of Aswan has really clean, pure water!!  So much so that our guide reached in with a cup and took a drink. This is NOT the case near Cairo, where trash is dumped into the Nile and it is incredibly polluted.

 

We took a small private boat ride around to a few different spots on the Nile.  This is one where we got to climb to the top of some sand dunes, which was HOT, but fun for the kids to play in!

 

 

 

We also took a boat ride to the Nubian Village.  To be honest, I think I would have skipped this in hindsight. It was a bit touristy, but yet lacked a lot.  We enjoyed tea in a local home, but even that wasn’t like our typical in-home experiences with families. We were just kind of there, drinking tea by ourselves. 

 

However, we did have an absolute magical experience under the stars in a Felucca Boat down the Nile with kids!! 

 

 

 

This was certainly a highlight for us! We boarded with all our luggage and 2 local crew members on a private Felucca Sail, where we enjoyed the Nile, the views, the breezes, food cooked on board and stopping only at the bank where it is safe to jump off and “use the bathroom” - aka in the Nile or among the trees along the side!  We played, ate and then slept under the stars that night on the Felucca. The next morning we swam in the Nile and headed north of Aswan to pick up our tour guide and continue to Luxor.

 

 

Read more about our Felucca Experience here and see our video as well. It was unforgettable!   

 

 

{Side note:  there are no railings, just ropes, so make sure your kids are good listeners. Also note, there are only certain spots where it is safe to swim in the Nile. While you no longer have to worry about crocodiles (due to the construction of the High Dam), you do need to worry about really strong currents - strong enough to flip a boat.  Make sure you have guides that know what they are doing!}

 

 

(Click the arrows on the right, next to the picture to scroll through our Felucca in Egypt adventure!)

In Luxor, donkeys were waiting for us (the kids each had their own before we really knew what was going on, but to this day, it is still one of Jagger’s favorite experiences - riding on his own donkey!).  We rode through a small village, enjoying the dirt roads and village life. (Although one of the ongoing problems we saw in Egypt is people dumping trash everywhere. No bueno!)

 

 

We then rode our donkeys to a local family’s home in the village. This is the kind of in home local experience we live for! To see how local families live with just the simplest of materials. The mother of this lovely family taught us how to make Egyptian bread in the outdoor oven. The kids loved kneading and rolling the dough out!  The family had a feast for us of local fresh ingredients. They also had some farm animals and a small farm. To this day, Henley has said she wants a ‘chick’ after playing with all the baby chickens on the farm. 

 

(Click the arrows on the right, next to the picture to scroll through our in home Luxor cooking experience!)

 

We took a short boat ride across the Nile to reach downtown area of Luxor and one evening, we visited the Luxor Temple.  To be honest, I almost scratched this from our plans as we have seen many old temples and needed some rest.  Our guide insisted this one was well worth it and I’m soooo glad we went. To see it lit up at night is incredible. And leading up to the temple are miles of mini Sphinx lining a walkway that they only recently discovered to be under buildings lining the bank of the Nile. It’s just incredible the history that is still being uncovered there everyday.  Bottom Line: Go to the Luxor Temple … and go at night!

 

 

We also went to the Valley of the Kings - another incredible area with new tombs being discovered all the time!  We picked a handful of tombs to go down inside - each very different. Including King Tut’s Tomb, where we saw King Tut’s Mummy (his belongings found in his tomb reside at the National Museum).

 

 

 

 

Egypt is a must. Go sooner than later, while it still isn’t a hotspot tourist destination.  We don’t always recommend going through tour companies, but I think it’s a must in Egypt. We spent a month researching and talking to various tour companies located in Egypt and international tour companies. Part of what makes or breaks a trip is a good tour, so do your research. We can absolutely recommend Real Egypt Tours - Samir and Adele planned an incredible custom tour for us complete with tons of unique experiences in Egypt!

 

 

 

Check out more details of our Egypt Trip, as Featured In...

 

The Kangaroo Mamas

 

Tampa Bay Parenting

 

 

Is Egypt Safe?

 

To be honest, Jake (my hubby) was the one that wanted to go to Egypt. I, of course, given my view ingrained in me from the media, was hesitant. But instead of ruling it out, we started to do our own research. I was searching through a family travel group where someone had posted, asking everyone's opinion on which was safer, the USA or EGYPT?  

 

Guess what?

 

Almost every single answer from recent travelers from both countries said .... drumroll please.... EGYPT.  That was my wakeup call.

 

Is Egypt safe?  I dunno. It's corrupt, like most countries. There are many guards with guns, like many countries. Did we feel safe?  YES. Surprisingly, we never felt unsafe. (We also weren't out drinking late at night and such.)  And, we also went with a tour company that knew the areas and safety.  I would love to say on here that it felt completely safe, because it did. But I am a realistic person and know that no place is completely safe, including the USA.  

 

Do I recommend Egypt to other families traveling with kids?  All. The. Time. 

 

Would I go back to Egypt?  YES!

 

 

 

 

How much does it cost to go to Egypt (in $USD)?

 

$977.80:  Flight to Egypt (from Italy), 4 seats: Turkish Airlines:  (btw, this is one of our favorite airlines. professional, courteous and they give the kids each a bag of organic wooden toys on each flight!)

 

$100:  Visas (on arrival) $25 each x 4

 

Used Points: Stayed at Hilton Pyramids for 5 nights in an Executive Junior Suite:  See Review Above

 

$2,365 Real Egypt Tours:  included 1 Overnight Train, Overnight Felucca, all tours, hotels, many meals, transportation and amazing service.

*  Aswan Hotel:  Helnan Aswan

* Luxor Hotel:  Steigenberger Nile Palace

 

$1,078: Flight from Egypt to Morocco, 4 seats:  EgyptAir

 

+ various other meals, but really most all our costs were included in Real Egypt Tours price.  

 

Total:  $4520 (Approximately) for a family of 4 for 13 nights in Egypt and $2K of that was flights!

 

 

 

 

Michelle is a full-time traveler who also runs a business with Beautycounter. 

Learn more about her business here or request free samples.

 

Make sure to follow @RetiredToddlers on Instagram & Facebook & YouTube

 

 

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