A year ago, our last trip of 2020 came to an end in Hawaii. Since then, as borders have remained closed and planes grounded, we’ve been working hard behind the scenes to ensure that whenever travel does open up again, we’ll be ready. And not only will we be ready, but that we’ll be able to deliver the same incredible travel experiences and level of dedicated service our guests know and love us for, while also ensuring that hygiene and the wellbeing of both our guests and team, remains the number one priority.
In March of this year, we were thrilled to be able to run our first tour of 2021 – the Best of Egypt. International tourism resumed in Egypt on July 1st 2020, and effective from January 26th 2021, for US tourists to visit they must present a negative PCR test taken at a maximum of 72 hours before their flight departs.
Two guests who were travelling on this tour were Jason and Lauren Fidler, a father and daughter from Iowa, USA. We caught up with them to find out what their experience was like, whether their enjoyment of the tour was impacted by new restrictions, and the memories they will remember forever. Here’s what they had to say…
Was this your first time travelling with Trafalgar, or have you travelled with us before?
This was our first time traveling with Trafalgar.
What made you decide to book this tour and travel at this particular time?
We booked this particular tour because it was the first one going this year. We didn’t go overseas last year and needed to live a little.
What was the main appeal of travelling with Trafalgar?
The main appeal of going with a guided trip was that all the arrangements are made and there is nothing to worry about. The only decisions to make are if you want to take any of the optional excursions, which we did a couple and are glad that we did. But not too many because we value our free time as well.
How did you prepare for this trip – what tests did you have to do to fly and to enter Egypt, etc?
In order to get into Egypt we both had to take the PCR covid test. We then had to take this again in Egypt in order to return home.
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How did it feel to be travelling again after so long spent at home?
Traveling, especially now because there are very few tourists, is always great. It takes your mind off everything going on back home and you get to see some incredible sites. We didn’t get to go where we wanted to last year so it felt good just to get away. We try to take a father daughter trip once a year.
What hygiene and social distancing protocols were in place on the trip, and did they help you to feel safe and well looked after?
All the guides and drivers wore masks religiously. Every time we got into or out of the van, the driver squirted our hands with sanitizer as well as the door handles etc. Everyone took it very seriously. Even the general public, most of them wore masks as well.
How did your Travel Director look after you on your tour, particularly with regards to hygiene and wellbeing protocols?
Our Travel Directors treated us like kings. We were the first guests that they had seen in a year so they were almost as excited as us to be there and doing what they love.
As far as washing hands and being mindful of the virus, they all were very diligent at cleanliness and social distancing.
Was your experience impacted at all by these new protocols?
Our experience was not impacted in the least. It doesn’t take long to wash your hands.
Were there any sights or experiences that were closed or changed as a result of the pandemic?
All the sites and businesses were open. On the flights over to Egypt however, alot of the businesses and almost all the sit down restaurants were closed in the airports which makes a long layover even longer when you can’t waste some time at a restaurant!
What were some of the highlights of your tour?
The highlight for me, and it was hard to pick because I was blown away numerous times, was getting to climb inside the Great Pyramid. I didn’t think they would let you on it let alone climb inside for a modest fee. The other highlight was the lack of tourists, and no queues anywhere. Lauren liked the Luxor temple the most.
Getting to meet the local family in Luxor was also great. They fed us bread, cheese and molasses that they had made themselves. The man of the house was very nice and went out of his way to show us everything on the farm and tell us how they did things. Lauren’s favorite part was all the animals she got to see, everything from camels to goats up close.
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What would you say to others who want to travel, but are still cautious of doing so?
I would tell everyone to go asap. I really don’t understand why people aren’t traveling to Egypt in numbers yet. You will never get to see Egypt without thousands of tourists unless you go soon, in my opinion. As far as being safe, I was never worried about getting sick.
Do you think that travelling with Trafalgar made the whole experience easier? If so, why?
This is our second guided trip. I never thought I would like it because I usually do what I want to, but having everything taken care of down to the smallest detail, makes the trip that much more enjoyable because you don’t have to worry about anything except getting where you need to be on time. Our trip was wonderful and I can’t think of anything that wasn’t done to make it the trip of a lifetime.
Jason and Lauren travelled with Trafalgar on our Best of Egypt tour, in March 2021. If you are interested in travelling with Trafalgar to Egypt, or anywhere else in the world, please visit our website or organise an Explore From Home appointment with one of our Travel Experts.