A tour company will bring together a package for you, They will book your Hotel, Cruise, Excursions, Guide and Driver. They will charge you for this.

A - You can do it in the UK at the same time as you book your holiday and you will have more come back as it is part of the package. (This assumes the company you chose is a member of ABTA and ATOL!!) If you book the same tours with your rep on holiday you do NOT have the same cover for some reason. Chances are it will be the most expensive route.

B - You can book with a Tour Company on line in advance. This is also expensive.

C - You can book with a Local Company when you arrive – The least expensive method.

Most of the above act as middle men and they book you whatever you request and this is reflected in the price.

Tour Guides

They frequently work from a pool and are employed by the Tour Company as and when required, unless they happen to own the company.

Site Guides

Are available on sites and will approach you after the ticket office, with a host of stories such as ‘I have the keys’ to get you to hire them.

Before asking for your package check what you can do on your own with a good guide book.

Check YOUR OWN insurance cover as these companies may not be insured and yours might not cover you if anything goes wrong – e.g. Balloon flights

When you put those magic words “HELP REQUIRED WITH TOUR GUIDE“ on the forum you will be inundated with recommendations and private messages. Many of these will be from members with a vested interest in the company they are recommending, but will conveniently omit that from their profile & posts.

Even if you read about a good company on TA please always:-

1 Check the members profile see how much they have contributed to the whole TA site over the years, i.e. not necessarily just Egypt

(It's amazing how many members never ask any thing on the forum before they go, but manage to find the best company/guide ever and write a glowing report – It may, of course, be that they are asked to do so...)

2 Check when they last used this company actually for a tour guide. (and not just used them for pick up to and from the airport.)

3 What they saw and what was included in the price? (prices can go up.and down)

4 When you get in touch with Tour Companies make it clear what YOU wish to see and not just where they want to take you.

5 Get a break down of what is included in the price.

6 Also get a few comparison quotes

Make it clear if you do not want to do Perfume, Papyrus, Alabaster, Carpet or any other Factory/Cousin’s Shop at all. If you wish to do them that is your choice. If you're on a larger tour that stops so others can visit a place, stay in the bus whilst the rest go in - you could possibly get your money back since they had wasted your time on an un-advertised departure from the itinerary.

You may want to take a lunch box from the hotel and sit in the car or go to a place of your choice.  (Why pay for 2 hours break in a restaurant that they will get commission for taking you there?) Remember, though, the driver/guide should have a break for their lunch.

If they ask for a photo copy of your passport ask YOUR OWN passport office if this should be done. Advice for one home country may not be the same for yours – Don’t listen to what anyone else says.

Paying in advance - never do this unless by credit card. Checking with your credit-card company about the rights you have if you made a part or full payment and, for some reasons you had to cancel or others thing go wrong and you try to take the company to court.

As for sending money direct or by wire - you will have more faith than most!!

Never put all your eggs in one basket and book and pay for all tours up front. What happens if you are not satisfied with the service? Almost all the local tours you make can be paid for AFTERWARDS!

Remember you can always get something cheaper but does this get your money back if anything goes wrong?