Final Comments and Tally

Trip Start Aug 04, 2009
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Trip End Aug 22, 2009


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Flag of United States  , Ohio
Sunday, August 30, 2009

After I came home I had quite a job on my hand, organizing pictures, showing everything to the family, and working on the blogs.  Here is a final tally of everything:

Total Planned Budget [Tour, Airfare, Spending $]: $4083
Total Actually Spent: $4142

Some things I had planned to do I did not, such as the optional camel ride and hot air balloon excursion [canceled].  Then there were other things that I did extra and did not account for such as a second scuba dive and extra tipping. 

Major Costs Breakdown:


Tour: $1350
Local Payment: $300
Food: $300 [estimate]
Insurance: $80
Scuba Dives: ~$130
Layovers: $100
Airfare: $1250
Excursions and Temple Fees: ~$500

This was with eating out at tourist restaurants most of the time, taxing taxi's occasionally, a full taxi for the day to Saqqara, Memphis, and Dahshur split in two, layovers in Athens and New York City [long time at the airport in NYC due to rain], and doing most of the reasonable excursions.

Overall my costs in local currencies were $360 USD, 46.8 Euro, 3559.5 Egyptian Pounds, and 270.4 Jordanian dinars.

For those using GAP for Egypt/Jordan:


For people taking this GAP Adventures tour, the only USD that you would need to bring is $15 for the visa at the airport, and $300 for the local payment.  Although the excursions are listed in USD on the GAP website, the guide will accept local money at the proper exchange rate.  Most of the excursions on this trip were horribly over priced compared to what you can get on your own, but some of them are reasonable to pay just for convenience and lack of time to plan it on your own.  Your guide will arrange your visas in Jordan, since you are arriving in Aqaba there are some waivers that can be done to avoid the fee.  There is supposed to be a 10 dinar exit fee, but when I left it was not collected.  I thought that it was included in the cost of the airline ticket, but no one could confirm for me, and I was not about to ask someone at the airport for fear they would charge me after.  Do not worry when someone wants to collect your passport on the ferry.  They should be employees and will take it to the passport office when you get off.  Once you get off a bus will be coming to pick people up, get on quick because it fills up with locals and tourists, and takes you down the block to the office where you meet the guide and get your passports back.

Internet in Egypt/Jordan:

Only some of the hotels utilized on the tour had free wifi, but most had pay internet or an internet cafe located near by for much cheaper.  Internet cafes in Egypt run about 10 pounds for an hour.  I did not get on at any cafes in Jordan to check prices, but the hotel prices ranged from 2-3 dinar for an hour, so it was substantially more.  Some of our hotels in Egypt wanted to charge 30 pounds for an hour, but a two minute walk next door found cheaper places.  McDonalds in Egypt all have free Wi-Fi and they are in close walking distance to most hotels in Aswan and Luxor.

Student Discounts:

I have a valid student ID from my university that I used at most major sites to get a student discount.  I would say that ISIC cards are probably not necessary for most sites in Egypt.  Our guide took care of everything in Jordan so I could not try and see if there was a discount.  Your guide in Egypt might be nice enough to give you money back for using your ID at sites that are included in the tour price, but it would probably depend on the guide.  Most places were more than willing to accept my ID even though it wasnt ISIC.  One person on our tour got by with even using a business card with his schools logo on it at many places, although was turned down at sites like the mummy room at the Egyptian Museum.

Photos:


Most all photos in this blog were taken on a Nikon D80 and the underwater pictures were taken on an Olympus 1030SW dive rated camera [up to 10 meters, however I took it to 19 with minimal problems].  I have an 18-55mm and 55-200mm VR lens for the Nikon.  Night shots were done with a tripod and remote control on long exposure of 10-30 seconds depending on the location. 

I'll update this more as I think of minor advice and summarization topics.  If there is anything you would like to know, please let me know.  I will be more than willing to add it on here and to talk in private about the trip.  Thanks for reading!
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Comments

margw6
margw6 on

Web Access
Hi Jeremy,

We will be taking this tour in November. I have a small netbook. Is there wireless internet access at most of the hotels to make it worth taking with me?

Sounds like you had a great trip and thanks for writing it up for us.

Marg

jeremystravels
jeremystravels on

Re: Web Access
Only some of the hotels had wifi. A few of the places that had wifi could only be accessed in the lobby and some were fairly slow. From what I remember it was more common in Jordan for hotels to have wifi than Egypt, our hotels in Madaba and Amman did for sure, but there is free wifi at McDonalds which is under a 5 minute walking distance in both Aswan and Luxor. That is all I can remember though.

tarorootcake
tarorootcake on

camera
hi jeremy, thx for the blog! great pics too.
I jst got a DSLR and wondering what equip u used to get those beautiful nightshots. I bought a circ polar filter, did u use one during the day?

cheers!

jeremystravels
jeremystravels on

Re: camera
Thanks for the nice comments on my photos! My SLR is a Nikon D80 SLR 10.2 MP with just a standard UV filter on the lens and no lens hood [although I do own one, I did not take it]. For the night shots I put it on an adjustable tripod and used a remote clicker on 10-30 second exposure. Without a remote I would recommend putting the camera on a 3 second timer to limit camera shake and then do a long exposure at night.

My other cameras are an Olympus 1030 SW dive rated to 33ft [10m]. The quality is only ok, but its better than nothing or disposable quality for underwater shots. I also have a Nikon P4 but lent it out to a couple on our tour who had their camera stolen, so I did not take any pictures on that one.

jeremystravels
jeremystravels on

Re: Re: camera
I should also comment that I have an 18-55mm VR lens and a 55-200mm VR lens, both by Nikon. For most of the shots I used the 18-55mm, but when we were on the felucca on the Nile in Aswan and on the 4x4 in Wadi Rum I used the 55-200mm lens.

jeannep
jeannep on

Student Discounts
We are going with GAP on their trip to Egypt (only) in December. I am taking my two kids - age 17 and 26. The 26-year-old is also a grad student. Would his high school ID and her college ID work - or do we need to get a 'special' student ID for them in Egypt to get the discounts? Thanks.

jeremystravels
jeremystravels on

Re: Student Discounts
I did not have a special ID. No one on our tour did. In fact, one of our group members did not even have a student ID and just used a regular business card with his name as a student and his universities seal [although he got turned down a couple times]. Most places they will likely give you the discounts for the student ID unless it is visibly expired. A few times our tour manager tried to get discounts for us using our IDs and got turned down. I think that was mostly cause we were not present with him at the time. I believe everytime I tried to use it at sites like Luxor, Karnak, Saqqara, Memphis, Dahshur, I always got the student discount with a regular ID. I remember sometimes I had to verbally tell them again that I am a student, just to make sure they understood. I think one time they asked me where I was at, and after I said 'USA' that was it and they still gave it to me.

jeannep
jeannep on

RE: student discount
Great! Then I won't bother to try to get them an ISIC card. I also just checked out your photos. They are wonderful.

lsuetang
lsuetang on

Credit cards
Hi Jeremy,
Did you have to pay for the optional tours with GAP with cash, or were you able to charge it on a credit card?
Les

jeremystravels
jeremystravels on

Re: Credit cards
Unfortunately our tour did not accept payment for optionals with credit cards. The guides are not equipped with card readers. We were able to pay with either USD or local currency, however. People who did other tours with GAP prior to the Egypt and Jordan tour seemed to agree that this is normal. I don't think they accepted other currency than USD or local, though, so I suggest having enough in the bank to get it out at an ATM to pay for excursions.

tarorootcake
tarorootcake on

thanks
Did the same tour and your tips n pointers helped.
thanks!

chercar
chercar on

hi jeremy. I loved your blog on Egypt and Jordan. I am planning to do the same trip later on this year. I would like to know how to plan the Petra by night trip. On which days of the week does it take place?

jeremystravels
jeremystravels on

From what I have read it is only offered on Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday. I was disappointed with it though. It is marketed as supposed to be a secluded walk down to the Treasury in complete silence, but most people were talking the entire way down. The person running the show was visibly disgruntled by the number of people using their camera during the show and by people not staying quiet.

Sophie on

Thank you so much for your blog!!! I have already booked my GAP trip end of September, and reading your blog just confirmed my enthousiasm AND gave me some good laughs.... ;-)

jeremystravels
jeremystravels on

Thanks for checking out my blog Sophie! I am very excited for you to have booked this trip. I loved it so much I want to do it again (well, a while from now.. still lots to see). If you have any questions don't hesitate to ask!

Keith on

I booked this trip for sept of this year. What are the essentials to bring? Also is it all cash or are there enough ATMs around? As an Irishman I like an alchol drink what's it like having one maybe a hip flask?

jeremystravels
jeremystravels on

Check out my packing list for the essentials. ATMs are pretty prevalent and I never had problems getting cash out. In terms of alcohol, you'll find it, but not very frequently in Egypt at least. Jordan has more liquor stores present that I remember going into, they have a decent wine industry as well.

Keith on

Thanks for that yeah saw your packing list after I posted. May stock up on liquer in duty free in heathrow.What's it like travelling alone as this is what I will be doing on this tour

jeremystravels
jeremystravels on

You'll meet up with some great people on the trip. Getting around Cairo and in the city is interesting in its own right. I was alone and had no problem, meeting up with the group was easy. Check the gap message boards and see if anyone else will be in Cairo before the tour starts. I met up with a girl prior to the tour and went to Saqqara / Memphis / Dahshur on a day trip since we both arrived early.

Keith on

Perfect just now looking for a new backpack for the trip and looking forward to it Final question(I promise) How did you get on with Laundry was it all DIY or did you get it done in the places you stayed

Cheers

jeremystravels
jeremystravels on

Hmm. I seem to remember it all being DIY. I definitely did a lot of clothes in the sink/shower and then put them out in the room or on a balcony to dry in a few hours. I don't specifically remember seeing facilities to do laundry in, but at the same time I also didn't go out of my way to try and find any either.

Karen on

Great blog! I'm taking this same GAP trip over New Years and can't wait. The last GAP trip I took was to India, so I was super-careful about purifying even my bottled water and avoiding all fresh fruits/veggies (even salads) since they were washed with the water. From your pics, it looks like you guys ate a lot of fresh produce. Was this not a concern in Egypt and Jordan? I guess the same question with things like ice cubes in drinks. Any advice?

jeremystravels
jeremystravels on

I did not concern myself with ice or fresh produce while in Egypt and Jordan, even while eating at street vendors. I think the restaurants in Jordan are 100 times more hygienic than those in Egypt and are on par with Western standards. Although I don't recommend drinking water, eating the food should be fine. Maybe avoid eating the food served on the train, mostly because its disgusting and near inedible. That is about it though.

I even brushed my teeth with tap water and it was ok for me, but then again you may be cautious on that front just in case. The only thing I might avoid is eating fruit not served at a restaurant unless it has a peel, but I did not feel that it was entirely bad. Your TM could tell you the certainties when you have your group meeting just incase you are still worried though.

Karen on

Thanks, Jeremy! I look forward to reading about your around-the-world journey.

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