Hire a guide in Cairo with kids
Africa,  Destinations,  Egypt,  Travel,  Travel Tips

Should you hire a Tour Guide in Egypt? The Pro’s and Con’s

Egypt has to be on your bucket list, but once you start researching, how do you begin to navigate so many amazing sites, or I’m sure you will come across stories of the ‘challenges’ of travelling through Egypt, mix in a different language and culture and sometimes it can all begin to feel a little bit overwhelming. We usually travel independently and will rarely hire a guide, but in Cairo, we did.

Read more below for why.

Do you need a tour guide in Egypt?

Let me explore the good, the bad and everything between to help you decide whether to hire a guide for your trip to Egypt.

Hiring a guide in Egypt for family travel
Why did we choose to hire a guide in Egypt? Read on

The Good- Why you should hire a tour guide in Egypt

1. In-Depth Insights and Historical Context

How would you like a personal expert to guide you through the hidden secrets and captivating stories of ancient Egypt? A tour guide typically has spent years to studying and training to share their expertise. As good as google is, the in-depth historical, cultural, and social insights a guide can offer can’t be replicated.

When travelling with kids, you have an opportunity to challenge your guides knowledge, with a game of 101 questions. Having someone on hand to bring stories to life and answer all those curious (or weird) questions really brought the worldschooling experience to life and eases the pressure on you to know all the answers.

We tried to answer all the kids questions about the Pyramids in this blog posts here but the guide will really enrich your visit, especially if you have curious kids with you.

2. Personalised Experience

With so many things to see and places to go, a guide becomes super useful for a few reasons. Firstly, logistically. They understand how to design an itinerary that makes sense geographically, knowing how to avoid or minimise experiencing the Cairo traffic. Secondly, the guide can advise what should be on your to do list. Just because someone says Ski Egypt is great (that’s me, I think ski Egypt is great) doesn’t mean it’s the best thing for you. So, use your guide to help you design the best plan for exploring Egypt, whether that is focused on history, culture, nature or food. A guide will customise plans for you.

3. Seamless Navigation No Time Wasted

As mentioned before, the benefits of having a logical plan for exploring means you don’t waste time. You do get an insight into a country when stuck in the traffic but I’m sure you would want to avoid it if you can.

Navigating a foreign country can be tricky, but a tour guide can make it easier. They take care of transportation, tickets, and all the little details so you can just enjoy the trip.

It also means you don’t have to haggle and negotiate every payment.

4. Local Insights and Hidden Gems

Local guides know their turf inside out, all the hidden gems, lesser-known spots, and authentic local vibes. Having a local guide adds a layer of insight that guidebooks can’t match. They can help you to experience a more authentic Egypt. This isn’t about following a map; it’s about going off the beaten path, immersing yourself in the local scene, and discovering those secret spots only the locals know. Guides often have the lowdown on local events, workshops, and experiences.

Another bonus is toilets. Now this is slightly random, but our guide made a very big point of telling us we were somewhere with a ‘good’ toilet. Very helpful information!

5. Enhanced Safety and Security

Navigating unfamiliar places with kids can get tricky. No matter what we research or read, sometimes you need on the ground knowledge to help. Like our experience with accommodation in Giza! Did our guide want to take us away from our accommodation in Giza? Yes, yes she did. Did we listen? No, no we didn’t

From scams and tourist haggling to harassment and terrorism, Egypt has some of the same struggles other developing nations face and having a guide can add an extra element of safety.

The Bad- why you shouldn’t hire a guide 

1.      The Cost

Admittedly, one of the reasons we rarely hire a guide is because we consider ourselves budget travellers and hiring a guides can put a dent in our travel budget. While the value of the insights and convenience is undeniable, budget-conscious travellers might need to weigh this factor carefully. Well, let’s face it. When we introduce the middle-man, the costs always soar, don’t they? Hiring a tour guide is no different. Unlike independent travel, where you’re only paying for your tickets, accommodation, a guided tour includes the guide’s fee, perhaps their meals, and even tip them too.

And while we’re at the topic of tipping, remember that in many countries, it’s more than a nice gesture – it’s quite expected. So be prepared to dig a little deeper into those pockets! 

Don’t forget though, there is always an opportunity to haggle and negotiate a better price.

2.      Reduced Flexibility

Traveling with a guide may limit your flexibility in terms of adjusting the itinerary on the go. If you’re someone who prefers spontaneous exploration, a guided tour might feel restrictive.

So you’re the free-spirited type, the kind of family who’d wake up one morning and decide, “Hey, let’s go camel riding in the desert today!”? Hiring a guide could limit that dynamism a wee bit. 

Whilst having a to the minute itinerary may work for some people, others may feel restricted by the schedules. Any spontaneous decisions or last-minute changes could be an issue. Even though a good guide will always try to accommodate your requests, they might not be able to divert from the planned itinerary due to regulations or pre-booked tickets. 

This isn’t necessarily a deal-breaker, but it’s something you’ll have to weigh up when making your decision. Ask yourself, “Do we thrive on fresh surprises, or do we crave the comfort of a routine?” Once you have your answer, you’ll better know if a guide is the right choice for your family’s Egypt journey

3.      Missing Out on Authentic Egypt experience

So, I know this was also in the good reasons to hire a guide but it can also work the other way. While guides can offer an authentic view of Egypt, those looking to experience all sides of the country, good, bad, and in-between, would miss out. A guide will want to show you the best side of the country and depending on past clients, may have a set idea of where you want to eat, and experience. For example, our guide took a lot of convincing to take us for street food and not the usual ‘tourist’ overpriced restaurant.

4. Increased Reliance on the Guide 

With a guide around, you may find yourself becoming more dependent on them for everything. From where to eat or what souvenirs to buy, to where the nearest restrooms are or which streets are safest. This could sometimes lead to missing out on the thrill of self-discovery and takes some of the fun of exploring away. 

On one hand, this might take the pressure off and allow you to just sit back and soak in the experience. At the end of the day, your tour guide should ideally be enriching your family’s experience, not determining all elements. 

5. Same route, same plans

As much as guides will ‘personalise’ plans and itineraries for you, there will also be an element of uniformity. Unless you are looking for something totally off the beaten path (and will likely need a more bespoke guide for), the chances are you all doing a version of the same loop of activities. Your tour is unlikely to be unique.

Go Bus for travel around Egypt with kids

Our budget solution to travel around Egypt

We have talked a lot about how Egypt is so much more than the pyramids and pharaohs, but to get out and explore what the country has to offer, you need transport. There is the usual, planes, trains and drivers but today I wanted to take the time to introduce a little gem- GoBus. For budget friendly travel, Go bus…

Why did we decide to hire a guide in Cairo?

We decided to hire a guide in Cairo for a few reasons.

  • Planning fatigue.

Planning fatigue is real. As a full-time travelling family, believe it or not but constantly planning flights, destinations, accommodations and activities can become…exhausting. So I let someone else do it for me.

  • Navigating a city.

Whilst we are experienced travellers, we had also spent the previous 5 years living in Brunei, also known as the Abode of Peace. We had been out of city life for a while and wanted to make our trip to Cairo as simple as possible.

  • Educational insights

I wanted to know all the answers, I wanted the kids questioned answering by someone who knew rather than leaving the sites with 7 million questions to research. Having a guide definitely enhanced our worldschooling experience in Egypt.

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Tips for Evaluating the Right Tour Guide for Your Family Trip 

This if where blogs, IG and facebook are your best friend. Find families and travellers with similar travel styles and expectations as you and ask for recommendation. Sure, check out tripadvisor too but have an element of skepticism when reading through. Reach out to guides, see how they respond and go with your gut. Don’t forget to consider the guide’s personality and interests, too. Do they enjoy working with children? Are they patient, engaging, and fun? It’s also worthwhile to verify their communication and language skills.

Would I recommend our guide. Yes and no. Our guide was lovely but after our trip in turned out the company she worked for wasn’t a particular fair employer.

Should yo hire a tour guide in Egypt?
Having a guide in the souks took us was very useful, she even bought our girls a little necklace. Very sweet gesture.

How much does it cost to hire a tour guide?

The cost of hiring a guide in Cairo can vary depending on several factors, including the type of tour, the number of people in your group, and the guide’s experience and qualifications. Here’s a breakdown of average prices:

  • Half-day tour: $20 – $50 per person
  • Full-day tour: $30 – $100 per person
  • Private tour: $60 – $200 per person
  • Group tour: $10 – $30 per person

Always reach out to several companies and get quotes for the trip you want, and always try and negotiate! And don’t forget to tip!

So, should you hire a tour guide I Egypt?

There are lots of factors to consider, and every family’s preferences will differ. Hiring a guide can be a great way to get the most out of your trip to Cairo but it is an added expense.

I’m glad we hired a guide for our first trip to Cairo, it was made much easier.

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Meet the author

Lisa is the founder of Boston Tribe Travels. She has lived and travelled abroad for the last 15 years, visited more than 30 countries and has done most of that with her husband and two children. As a full time travel family, they like to travel slow, worldschool and seek new adventures. From living in Borneo for 5 years to backpacking South America, Lisa shares a wealth of travel experience to empower more families to travel and learn together.