Taking a child to Egypt?
So looking at the map ,I see that Athens is really close to Egypt,so I thought about possibly keeping the camper in a campground & flying over to see the pyramids,camel ride and see a few sites for a few days and back again.( I could also leave from Turkey or other areas in this vicinity as long as a good campsite was near an airport).
What do you think about this idea for a family with a young child ( we are in our early 50's and she will be 6 in the fall)? How safe is it? Anybody got any ideas as to what airline would be or a ball park figure or good deal? What do you see as the biggest plus and minus about this?
Thanks in advance!
On the logistics - As far as I can tell, there isn't much in way of discount flights to Egypt from Greece, and I'd expect to pay around $350-$400 per person. Olympic Airways flies every day, admittedly at a stupidly early hour in the morning (expect to arrive between 2am and 4am). We're arriving on a one way flight that cost about CA$500 from London to Cairo with a 4 day layover in Malta.
So maybe we will just do the Italy,Greece etc,Turkey area & then head back to Amsterdam to do the trade & fly out in between deals for a few days.
My friend went with a bunch of Austrailians and said she did not see ANY other Americans.So I am still thinking on this one.My daughter and I are both blonds ( my daugter extremely so)thus we will not be able to blend into the woodwork.
I will keep an eye on your blog to see how you are enjoying it.I hate to miss the pyramids,but I also don't want to endanger my child.Its a fine line when traveling with children...especially in exotic destinations ( many places can be more risky for various reasons).
We have friends in Dubai,so could go there too.Still pondering possibilities.Thanks for your thoughts!
Kids can certainly travel at an earlier age, but be prepared for their perceptions to not fit the agenda you've envisioned. Younger children often don't understand when/why things sometimes go wrong, or when/why it's not all about me today. This is where the parent is the one who must be prepared to roll with the punches.
We're just back from a short trip to Turkey, where we had a great time. You're talking about something a lot more ambitious. You're right to be concerned about safety, and as always you'll have to judge for yourself. As has been mentioned elsewhere on the boards, the State Dept's travel advisories can seem hyperventilated, but they are based on true conditions on the ground. Be sure to read them.
Having said all that, if your major motivation is that your young child see the pyramids, I'd think twice. At that age, it's every bit as likely that if your child remembers the trip at all, it'll be the memory of bouncing on a bed. As a parent you can help build memories, but you can't dictate them. Stack the deck for memory-building by waiting for a few years. In the meantime, your child will have a tremendous opportunity of experience abroad--enjoy it all as a family and the memories will take care of themselves.
My child is just much older than her age and always has been.Thats actually a big reason why we are taking this extended RTW very slow trip and going to mostly homeschool as we go.She has always been on her own track ,walking and bilingual talking at 6m etc ,( told at 5m that she was developmentally like a 10m old from one Ped and at 9m that she was developmentally like an 18m old by another Ped and to go by her development not her age which was very good advice as she has continued never being her age),self taught reader by 2 and reading Harry Potter at 4 etc.This kid has a memory and curiousity like nothing you have ever seen & some have called it a "photographic memory".Her age peers will go to K next fall,but she is currently in 2nd grade with 8 and 9 year old kids ( accelerated 3 years) and that is still not enough as she is way beyond that level even tho she is till wearing 2T and 3t clothes and much smaller than these kids 3 and 4 years older.She also plays violin like a 12 year old and is very advanced at piano,is fluent in 2 languages and knows quite a bit in a few others.So we are dealing with something a little different here ,so traditional modes will not be our best bet or most optimal choice.Tho I think it would be valuable even if she were not so far ahead & such a fast learner.
My child actually knows quite a bit about ancient history already and has interest in this area.We have a great Egyptian museum in our area that she enjoys ( she actually really enjoys museums,history,geography,science and other cultures and has been an opera fan since she first started asking for it at a year old....started seeing shakespeare and operas at 18m regularly and has perfect theater manners since she is enthralled).Sure she is pure kid as well and will enjoy playground and pools & running around playing tag or soccer with other kids and we will leave time for that as well.
We have traveled with her since birth and its worked well for all of us.She is actually quite good at rolling with the punches ( she was in her first hotel at 2 weeks old and first camped at 9m ..when she was already running faster than me...and its worked well).Perhaps its easier because we only have one as well.She has always slept between us from day one ,so where ever we are is home
My main motivation is not about planting it in her memory forever.I am sure we will return to the pyramids another time.I am a big believer in "imprinting" and think everything we do ,no matter when we do it ,does have an impact.My main motivation is the fun and learning we can have at this point in time.We are looking into an option that tours with other families and one stays with an Egyptian family within walking distance of the great pyramids.Sounds like an experience we would all enjoy.
I actually think there are some benefits to going younger rather than after 10.Here is a child that has traveled all over the world starting at 5 and its been a blessing for all involved:
I heartedly agree with her statement:
"What a character defining experience this would be for
him whether or not he retained any retrievable memories. Imbedded in him would be an
understanding that the world is large, that there is much to explore and to learn and that
there is excitement and satisfaction in making friends of people in other cultures. What
better gift could we give him? A life long love of travel would be a wonderful legacy to leave
Anyhoo,glad that you enjoyed your recent trip to Turkey.We will be there next spring.What were your favorite parts?
Also, I'm not sure yet how it will work out, because it would cut some time off of the earlier part of our trip, but I think it would be great to be in Greece at Easter time.
by those who can't hear the music."
At first I thought I would just fly over from Athens because its not that far ( we would just leave the RV in a campground).But the cost was waaaay over budget.
One could possibly take a train or bus from Turkey,but that looks too long for our needs.Because my child is young, I want just a fairly quick in and out...anywhere from 5 to 10 days.I want her to take a camel ride to the great pyramids/sphinx, ( I like the idea of staying with a family nearby) ,boat down the Isle and see Luxor( donkey ride probably .That should leave an impact for a young one and be fun for all of us.She will love a hotel with a cool pool as well and I think there is a museum there thats very cool where they live like the ancient Egyptians.I am also considering a tour with a company that does it for families.
Because its a quck dip ( compared to the most of the rest of our itinerary) I want it planned well.Also if I take a flight I am hoping to maybe use part of my RTW ticket that I am not using.
How long are you planning to be in Egypt? It seems a little harder to get to than I first imagined.You might want a more indepth study with your kids since they are older.We are just going to do "Egypt lite"
Just a thought.Sometimes you can get better deals if you are a group & it would be fun to get 3 families midway thru thier RTW tours together & Egypt is unique.The only thing is its hard to tell how much tension will be in the middle east then.( My friend was just in Egypt in Jan and raved about how safe and cheap it was & how much she loved it ...& she has been traveling her whole life).
I hadn't thought of where to do Easter ( Spain is another good spot for Easter...valencia..,but we may be gone by then as I am not sure when Easter hits next year...sometimes its mar sometimes april).Good thought tho.I am sure lots of Tourists are out for Spring break then,so I suppose I would rather be in a non touristy spot,but who knows.
Also, it would be too soon to tell you if we can book a tour in Egypt, because several friends from the states have expressed some interest in joining us for that leg of the trip, and we will work to arrange that if we can. My oldest daughter has had Egyptmania for years, and even has her bedroom decorated in an Egypt motif. She wants to be an archaeologist some day, so this trip will satisfy a deep yearning in her, and she will be the most knowledgeable member of our party.
by those who can't hear the music."
And wow ,how nice to have your dd be the "archeologist" on your trip..she is going to have a blast! Sounds like you will probably want to spend more time there as well.Seems like a great place to meet people on your trip.( Most of our visitors are thinking of meeting us at our rental in Andalucia
My friend who was there this past Jan said she saw absolutely NO Americans.She was with a group of Austrailians so blended in.We want to be low profile as well in these days of living with the "worst president in history" ( loved his portrait on rolling stone!) and the level of anti Americanism out there.
I am the type who can not help myself picking up accents almost immediately & it was funny that when I last lived in Europe ,Americans would often ask me what country I was from! ( I lived with mostly EU girls ,so all that slow downed talking ...compared to my normal mile a minute style...with others of many different accents ...left me with a very strange unidentifiable one
Egypt really needs the tourist dollars and has been hard hit by how all the turmoil has impacted the tourist trade.
Check out our blog: http://blogs.bootsnall.com/kidsnall
I am still at the start of planning this part as well ,lets share links that look good.I kind of liked the stay in Egyptian homes for a couple of reasons...one because its nice to connect with a real family and also thinking that its usually hotels that are bombed by terrorist.
I'm not sure yet ,whether to make my own tour or go with one or a bit of both.
This is my one worry about Egypt and our insane president is not making things any better.( Sorry if my prejudice shows but that maniac is one of the worst presidents of all time and most hated and unpopular & I am afraid this idiot will try to blow up the world.Sigh...hope we make it thru the next 3 years).bush antics do not give me much hope about things calming down in the middle east.
I don't think I want to buy my ticket til last minute because of the instability.
On a good note,they talked about cheap flights into Egypt from Athens to Alexandra which is another thought.
Do you know if any has happened near Cairo ,Giza ,Luxor in the past?
Do you if there are any websites or books that give sort of insider information on how best to avoid terrorism?
I mean we have already decided not to take trains & commuter things during rush hours ( because of that pattern in Spain & London) and because thats easy for a traveler to avoid that possibility.
Even with terrorism,the odds are very much in ones favor ( no front page news on how many lived that day and were not affected by the terrorism).Still I would love to find info on how best to protect oneself and be as proactive as possible.
Just like their are ways to lesson ones chances of crime,are there any write ups on ways to more than likely avoid terrorism while traveling a world where it exists?
I am greek and live in Athens. I have been to Egypt a number of times, and for one thing it is a safe place to take your child, keeping in mind the heat and blazing sun.
The one time we flew from Athens to Cairo and toured around, I remember that booking it through a travel agent costed us a lot less. We ended up paying the public flight rates for a self organised trip that included 5-star acommodation. Try Pyramis Travel for a quote. Avoid organized tours as they are easy targets for terrorists. Even when going to the Pyramids, we preferred to arrive early and tour around on horseback with a local guide that we enjoyed greatly, and were leaving just as the buses were unloading tourists.
On another trip with my motorbike, when I was still single, I used the Port Said ferry to come back from Haifa, Israel to Piraeus. There are actually a few cruise ships that follow the route Piraeus, Patmos, Rhodes, Cyprus, Haifa, Port Said, Haifa, Cyprus, Crete, Piraeus, and do take vehicles. Their main passengers are greek pilgrims and truck drivers. I don't think this is worth doing unless you plan to travel extensively in the middle east with your vehicle.
Finally for the record, yes there has been a terrorist atack in Cairo, when 16 tourists (all greek) were shot in front of a hotel.
Enjoy your trip,
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