Looking To Find A Reputable Travel Agent In Egypt? Egypt 7000 Is Travel Betty’s Recommendation.
June 22nd, 2007 · 12 Comments
When you’re booking travel through a foreign travel agent, especially when it’s for an extended period of time and for a trip you’ve been dreaming about since you were in 2nd grade and first heard about these strange and amazing “Ancient Egyptians,” you’re going to have a lot of questions. Are they legit? Are they going to deliver what they say? How are they going to expect payment? What if something goes wrong? What if I need to change plans? Why aren’t they immediately replying to emails? It goes on and on. In the end, the best you can do is research, get recommendations and then have faith (and travel insurance).
When I first started planning our trip to Egypt, I decided to use an agent because of logistics. Usually I revel in such details as choosing the perfect hotels. But usually I don’t have more than one or two hotels to worry about and I can easily make most bookings online. Since we were pretty much going to sift through every grain of sand in Egypt on a five-week odyssey, I chose instead to book with a company I’d been hearing good things about for years in Frommer’s Budget Travel magazine called 2Afrika.
2Afrika was absolutely lovely and helpful, but as Travel Boyfriend and I kept finding more and more must-see sights in Egypt and hey, why not maybe throw in a side trip to Petra, Jordan, 2Africa let us know that it might be better for us to use a company specializing in complete customization. 2Afrika does a great job piecing together already-formed packages, but we wanted a very specific day-by-day itinerary. Luckily, they introduced us to Egypt 7000, a company they actually work closely with in-country. It was difficult to find much information on Egypt 7000 online, but because the recommendation came from a company I respected and had already been very helpful, and because I knew from research that there are tons of Egypt-based travel companies that aren’t well-known in the States, I decided to take a chance. I would be lying if I said this didn’t cause a lot of anxiety during the planning, but in the end the worrying was for naught.
When we arrived in Cairo, we were met by our first representative from Egypt 7000. He helped us through the airport’s red tape and dealt with our lost baggage (courtesy of Charles de Gaulle airport). Before we were even sure our luggage was lost, he had half of the paperwork filled out (nice touch). Next we were met by our awesome driver, Ayman and Cairo-based rep, Mohammed. As we expertly sped through the crazy Cairo traffic on our way to the travel office, we had a million questions and concerns (as well as Travel Boyfriend’s big thick planning binder, god love him). Mohammed informed us that it was his job to worry and our job to enjoy ourselves. And once we met Egypt 7000’s owners, Nahla and Rahab, we were able to do just that. They were kind, courteous, well-informed and they allowed me to pay by credit card so that I didn’t have to carry over $5000 in cash with me from the States. (And also so I had extra protection in case anything went wrong. I recommend paying by credit card whenever possible when dealing with foreign agents.)
From my first shared sips of strong Egyptian tea with Nahla, I knew we would be lovingly cared for by Egypt 7000’s many representatives. And mind you, this wasn’t us being cared for along with 30 other people on our big group package tour. This was me and Travel Boyfriend privately traveling as two. Five weeks for $2600 each including three in-country flights, private car and driver, guides, entrance fees, lodging, a 3-night Nile cruise, a 4-night Lake Nasser cruise, most breakfasts and a random assortment of other meals. (Note: We used frequent flier miles for the San Francisco to Cairo travel) The only time we had a problem, at the icky Siwa Shali Resort, it was resolved immediately and above and beyond expectation.
I can’t stress enough how much better Egypt 7000 made our trip. Because of their hard work, I was able to thoroughly enjoy myself while exploring Egypt, instead of proving to no one of consequence that I could suffer through all the mishaps, miscommunications and misadventures alone. Don’t get me wrong, it’s fun to come back from a trip with dramatic crazy stories of near or actual disasters. But surprisingly the dramatic crazy stories can sometimes even come from a trip where everything goes right.
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