About Family Tours to Egypt
Touring with the Young, and Not-So-Young
To a certain extent, taking my family to Egypt recently was an experiment. More and more, whole families are vacationing in Egypt, and that means bringing along children of all ages. So, I wanted to know a little more about how this works out, for both parents and kids. And the answer is...pretty well! Everyone came home happy, from a memorable and enjoyable trip. But we, as a family, made a few discoveries along the way.
Egypt as a tourism destination is all grown up. It has matured into a place with something for everyone, including each member of your family.
A specific member of a family with specific interests often encourages a trip to Egypt. Where tours are concerned, that interest is usually in classical antiquities, though it may also be driven by an interest in mythology, scuba diving, or even New Age discoveries. Regardless, it is probably unusual for every member of a household to have the same reasons, or the same level of desire to visit Egypt. This particularly applies to children, but may also be just as applicable to one's spouse. Therefore, certain allowances must be made to satisfy everyone.
Though our son is interested in Egypt, nevertheless getting him up early for tours everyday not only proved to be a challenge for him, but on a few occasions, a challenge for my wife as well. There were days where I heard the dreaded, "What kind of vacation is this anyway...too much work!", which mostly meant, "leave me alone, I want to sleep a little longer". And while my wife did participate in most excursions, there were even a couple of days that she felt like taking a break. A certain amount of understanding is in order, as well as allowance for some mix of activities.
One of the Grand Shopping Malls Going up in Egypt
After the first week, and urging my son not to miss anything, we came to a better understanding, and established a better pace. He was truly interested in the monuments and sightseeing, but sometimes he wanted to relax, wake up late, and go swimming or participate in some other activity. As we allowed this to happen, things went much more smoothly. A few times, my wife opted to sleep in and take in some shopping instead of seeing monuments.
Today, Egypt is more than ancient monuments. In fact, it is unlikely that most of the tourists who come, do so for classical antiquities. Indeed, current statistics point to Egypt's largest draw as being beach destinations on the Red Sea and Sinai, and every day this country seems to add new entertainment adventures.
Golf at the Pyramids
For a typical family, including some of these non-antiquity diversions may be a great idea. Perhaps your husband isn't that keen on the antiquities, but playing on a championship golf course in the shadows of the Pyramids would give him real bragging rights back home. For that matter, what about a game of bowling along the Nile, or even a fishing trip on Lake Nasser, where record breaking fresh water fish have been caught. For many women, Egypt is simply a shopper's paradise and Cairo is one big mall. What makes this all so special is it is easy for a spouse to play golf or shop while the other takes in Sakkara or Old Cairo. For kids, there are always the swimming pools found in most hotels, but there are also amusement parks, Internet Cafes, and even youth clubs at many of the better hotels. Younger kids tend to love shows including belly dancing and whirling dervish, and generally doing the "night thing" with parents. They also seem to love riding camels and horses, as well as sail boats on the Nile. Older kids can enjoy just getting out on their own a bit, as well as visiting the discos and other entertainment found at many hotels.
Sometimes we found a "taste of home" was called for. No problem as a trip to McDonalds, Pizza Hut, TGI Fridays, or even the Hard Rock Cafe is a good fix. Even my wife, who has a much more exotic taste for foods than I, every so often craved a cheeseburger. She found the McDonalds in Luxor to be exactly like home, of course with the exception that it overlooks the Temple of Luxor.
A KFC in cairo
Building in a side trip to Sharm El-Sheikh was a real bonus for the family. While this is still Egypt, it feels nothing like the Egypt of the Nile Valley. It is a well-organized vacation beach resort, with all manner of water sport, from scuba to parasailing, and with no small amount of shopping and nightlife, including good live shows all along the promenade. And again, one spouse can easily take a side trip to St. Catherine's Monastery and Mount Sinai, while the rest of the family suntans.
Never underestimate having friends along for the trip. Optimally, it is great to travel with family friends, particularly where families have similarly aged children. This can be a real godsend for the kids, but also for the parents. There is plenty to do at most hotels, but having kids along of a similar age will encourage them to take advantage of every entertainment, as well as giving the grownups a break. Of course, sometimes its nice to have along good adult friends as well.
It is all a matter of diversity, and the more diverse the family's interests, the more diverse of a vacation one should plan to Egypt. If you don't leave out Cairo's major league opera and art galleries, the beach, sports of all kinds, chances are that everyone in your family will have the time of their lives.
Last Updated: June 14th, 2011