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Best Way Travel

#1 User is offline   Mindy 

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Posted 15 April 2008 - 01:17 PM

Myself and three of my friends decided to go to Egypt for Spring Break this year. We researched travel companies and finally found Best Way to be the best deal. Dahlia was extremely helpful and was always polite when answering even some of my craziest questions and requests. After reading some of the messages on this board I was a little concerned, but it turns out I had no cause to be.

Best Way gave us an amazing adventure through Cairo and we literally never had to lift a finger. Our first night in the Maadi Hotel, the manager met us in the elevator and offered to come to the roof with us and show us the skyline. The next day our Cairo guide Amr met us and he was amazing and a lot of fun. We went to McDonald's for lunch because we like to see the differences in the food based on culture and he even shared his food as we were passing all of ours around and trying different things. We never had to worry as he even put us into our sleeper cabins on the train that day.

The next day we were met by our guide Mahmoud who we had for the majority of the trip. He amazingly managed to put up with four giggly girls for five days straight and he was extremely knowledgeable and really nice. He made excellent recommendations about our itinerary such as moving Abu Simbel one day earlier so we'd have a day to recover prior to going back to Cairo and taking a felucca ride a day earlier because the wind wasn't blowing very hard and that way it would be longer. We were really amazed at how much the entire experience was about us and what we wanted to do. It was also refreshing to have our private tour unlike all those huge bus tours we saw along the way. As for the cruise itself, I had requested rooms in the upper part of the ship because we have some light sleepers. We were rewarded with what the cruise staff described as the best rooms onboard. They were definitely bigger than most American cruise staterooms and both rooms connected onto a balcony in the front and we were the only people on the ship to have a private balcony! The food on the cruise was amazing and we were constantly taken care of and Mahmoud always checked in. We were very sad when we had to leave Mahmoud.

We then took a trip to Alexandria with Ahmed, which was an amazing experience as well. Once again, Ahmed was friendly and knowledgeable and we had a great time. For lunch, we requested a seafood restaurant and were rewarded with an amazing dining experience. The city of course is beautiful.

The only "hiccup" in our plan was that the cruise didn't start until a day later (we were supposed to be docked in Luxor that day anyway). But Best Way took care of this and put us up in a five-star hotel where we had laundry done and went to the pool and they also took care of all of our meals as would have been done on the cruise. As far as we were concerned, it was great and made the trip better.

All of this is to say, that I highly recommend Best Way Travel as do my traveling companions. We had an amazing time!

-Mindy
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#2 User is offline   waterwahine 

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Posted 15 April 2008 - 08:48 PM

Bestway Travels is great for economic travelers, not for luxury travelers or people who expect everything in a foreign country to be exactly the way it is in the U.S.

I went on the ten-day "min" tour with three other companions. We rolled with the punches, so to speak, and we were fine. It's Egypt--a developing country. Standards for everything are different--not just with this tour company, but for all of Egypt in general.

If you're looking for a luxury hotel, you're going to have to request a luxury hotel. The hotels we stayed at were rated as four and five star, but as we only paid $500 each (total) for a 10-day trip, none of us were naive enough to expect the American definition of a four or five star hotel. That being said, our rooms were spacious, clean, and air-conditioned. The beds were comfortable. The restaurant downstairs served tasty food. The gift shops gave us surprisingly competitive prices (as compared to the other tourist markets) on souvenirs.

Dahlia got us the best rooms on the cruise ship: upper deck in the front with private balconies--no one else had a private balcony on the entire ship. As for the cruises, you need to understand that the cruise schedules depend on the time of year you go, how many cruise ships are running, and what your position in the queue/line will be when you reach the lock in the dam on the Nile. The locks only accommodate two ships at a time. Our tour guide told us that during the high season, some cruise ships wait three days to get through the lock. As a result, cruises are often delayed a day, leave a day early, sit by the lock for hours or days, etc. Again, in Egypt, you need to roll with the punches. This isn't the United States. It's not even Europe. It's a delightful mix of the Middle East and Africa.

We were never without a Bestway travel guide. All were well-educated; one had a master's degree in Egyptology. They met us at the airport almost as soon as we walked off the plane, bought our visas for us, whisked us through customs, put us on the trains, met us at the stations, carried and/or found people to carry our luggage, and did all of it with a smile on their faces. We were also met by the head of Bestway Travel's bureau in Aswan, who took us all aside and asked us if we had any complaints or problems. We also knew ahead of time that they worked on the commission system and we planned accordingly. You aren't obligated to purchase anything at the shops they take you to. Just smile and politely say no. If you're nice to them, they're nice to you. It's really that simple.

We constantly asked to make changes in our itinerary, all of which were accommodated. For the amount we paid ($625 total with all the changes we made: upgrading to sleeper cabins, taking the optional tour to Abu Simbel, going to the Nubian village), it was an amazing trip. I'd highly recommend Bestway Travel to anyone who's on a budget but wants to see Egypt. In fact, I recommended the tour company to both my parents and they're going on a trip with them next year. I also plan on using their company when I go to Jordan and the Red Sea.

Every tour company is going to screw up once in awhile, but that doesn't mean they should be completely discarded. Take the above story with a grain of salt, ask for Amr in Cairo, Mahmoud in Luxor/Aswan, and Ahmed in Alexandria, and above all, roll with the punches, and you should have a great time with Bestway Travel.
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