Egypt: an ancient land of mystery and monuments dating back thousands of years. I have always dreamed of seeing the pyramids and the mummies that once resided inside burial chambers, so when I saw a deal for a tour on TourRadar for a ‘Felucca Odyssey’ tour through Travel Talk Tours, I immediately jumped at the chance to finally jet off to see what would prove to be an amazing country.
Travel Talk Tours
The tour I found on TourRadar was through a company called Travel Talk. Travel Talk operates tours in many countries throughout the world and happened to be having a sale during the time I was looking to go to Egypt. After reading numerous positive reviews, I booked a trip and eagerly counted down the days until my departure.
I had never before traveled to a country with a tour group. Usually, I spend a lot of time carefully researching what to do, where to stay and how to travel between the destinations and sights I would like to see. I must admit, I was a little excited to leave all the planning in someone else’s hands, knowing from reviews that I would be covering a lot of ground during my trip, which included all of the places I wanted to see (mainly the pyramids) and some I did not know much about (ever heard of Edfu Temple?).
Travel Talk did a great job of answering any questions I had prior to my departure. They secured my arrival details in order to provide me complimentary pick up at the airport (yessssss no haggling with a taxi driver!?!) and sent me a pre-departure brochure that detailed aspects of the trip such as the culture I could expect to encounter, the food I would be eating, as well as how much money to bring with me for shopping and paying for entrance fees to various monuments.
Travel Talk Tours has a unique payment option in order to help younger people and travelers on a budget afford to travel by splitting the payments into several parts: a deposit to hold the spot on the tour, a second part prior to arrival and a third part open arrival in the destination. This was a great option for me as it provided a way for me to raise the funds over time as opposed to paying for everything up front. They also had optional activities throughout the trip that I could choose to pay for once I arrived if they interested me, but were in no way required (though I opted to take part in almost all of them – who knows when I will be back in Egypt!).
Once I arrived in Egypt with my boyfriend (the trip was a surprise birthday gift for him… I know, I know I am the best), a Travel Talk representative met us at the arrivals gate. He brought us to the parking lot where a driver was there ready to bring us to the hotel. At the hotel, we paid the rest of our payment and received the schedule for the next 9 days. Below is the basic outline of Travel Talk’s Felucca Odyssey Tour:
Day 1: Arrival and Group info meeting. Optional Dinner Cruise on the Nile with a Belly Dancing Show and Buffet Dinner.
Day 2: Sakkarra Step Pyramid Tour & a visit to the Pyramids of Giza. Optional choice to ride a camel. Visit to a traditional Egyptian Essence & Perfume Gallery. Drive to Luxor.
Day 3: Visit to the Valley of the Kings and Queen Hatshepsut Temple. Visit to traditional Alabaster Factory. Drive to Aswan. Optional Diner in a Nubian Village.
Day 4: Optional trip to Abu Simbel (my whole tour group went! Recommended!), Sight seeing of High Dam and Philae Temple. Get on board Felucca boat!
Day 5: All day sailing down the Nile! Super chill and relaxed. Bonfire on the beach with the crew and African drumming at night!
Day 6: Say goodbye to Felucca and its crew. Visit Kolombo and Edfu Temple during drive north to Luxor. Luxor Temple by Night.
Day 7: Optional Hot Air Balloon ride over Luxor. Visit to Karnak Temple and Traditional Papyrus Gallery. Drive back to Cairo.
Day 8: Cairo City Tour: Egyptian Museum, Hanging Church and Citadel. Shopping in the El Khalili Bazar. Optional Sound & Light Tour at the Giza Pyramids at night.
Day 9: Say goodbye! Complementary ride to Cairo Airport.
Traveling with a Group: The Pros
This was my first trip on a group tour, so I was a little nervous at first about how it would go. Below I list some of the positive aspects of group travel.
- Ease & Convenience: One aspect of traveling in a tour group that I really loved was not having to think about scheduling or planning. Everything was well thought out and it saved me the time I usually spend prior to a trip doing extensive research on the best things to do and places to stay.
- Local Guide: Adham, the guide for the entirety of the trip, was fantastic. He was extremely knowledgable about all of the places we went and eager to share stories with us. Having Adham with us also provided a good insight into local customs, food and navigating the Egytian world in the instances we were given free time to roam. I was very grateful to have him with us on the trip!
- Numerous Activities: A great thing about this tour was the amount of activities and monuments we saw everyday. Each day, we woke up early and started a jam-packed day. While we were quite busy most days, this particular tour also built in time for relaxing on a traditional felucca sail boat (hence the name Felucca Odyssey). Sailing down the Nile and spending two nights on the boat was one of my favorite parts of the trip, to be honest. We also were able to see and do things that I don’t think I would have been able to if traveling on my own, such as having dinner with a Nubian family and getting traditional Nubian henna!
- Transport & Accommodation: Not having to thing about how we were getting form point A to point B might have been another one of my favorite things about traveling in the tour. When visiting certain countries in the past, I have had to sometimes be on my guard about taxi drivers trying to rip me off or spending a long time going back and forth due to a language barrier. Having a driver to drop us off and pick us up from each spot was really convenient. It was also nice not thinking about where we would stay every night. All of the hotels on the tour were either 4 or 5 star accommodations and very comfortable. It made it one less thing to think about prior to leaving for the trip!
- Safety: This was probably one of the main reaons I decided to book this trip with a tour as opposed to traveling there on my own. With the political unrest that Egypt has experienced in recent years, I felt it was wiser to travel in a group with a local guide. Adham, the guide, provided us tips on how to stay safe throughout the trip – including how to deal with merchants and the best ways to make our way through the bazaar when shopping at the end of our trip.
Traveling with a Group: The Cons
While my first experience traveling on a group tour was mostly positive, it wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows… here are a few from the negative side.
- Freedom: While it was nice having everything planned out, this also meant a lot less freedom with what I could do. At each place we visited, we had some free time to wander and roam on our own. However, we didn’t always get a ton of time simply because we had other places to see and things to do. Since I am used to traveling my own schedule, it took a little time for me to adjust to not really having a say in the day-to-day activities.
- Other Travelers: This cannot be helped but when you travel in a group, you have to accept that there may be a few people you just don’t connect with. Most of the other travelers in our group were young (20s-30s) and like-minded travelers. There were a few younger people that did show their age on the Felucca by getting a little too rowdy at night and frankly doing things that were a bit dangerous. Overall though, we had a lovely group of people who I plan to stay in touch with!
- Hectic Schedule: Again, this is something that was hard to adjust to, but that I ultimately appreciated. Each day we had to wake up early in order to ensure we had time to get to everything on the schedule. There was some down time in the middle of the week when we went sailing on the Nile and just basically chilled all day, playing games, drinking and eating. While it seemed very ‘go, go, go’ we did see A LOT during our 9 days in the country.
While I did, at times, wish I had more freedom during the trip and fell into bed exhausted each night after busy days, overall I would highly recommend this tour! It was a unique experience and an adventure that I will not soon forget! Travel Talk took very good care of everyone throughout the duration of our time in the country and we were all able to see, do and learn so much about the incredible country of Egypt!
Trip Planning? Pin this for later!
Have you traveled to Egypt with Travel Talk? Share your experiences in the comments below!
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.