We just finished the main part of booking our trip the other day. We will be gone most of a month and taking a tour that starts in Cairo and ends in Istanbul.
We are leaving a few days early and will will hang out for a couple days in Cairo or try to get up to Alexandria since it is not included in the tour portion of our trip.
Booking With Gecko from Canada
I learned something interesting when booking this tour. Gecko is based out of Australia and they do book anyone directly outside of Australia.
The Canadian prices are also quite a bit higher than the American quotes because they were printed back when the exchange rates were quite a bit lower. They can be paid in American money. This is what we did. It saves quite a bit.
I tried calling an American company that deals with Gecko in case this didn’t pan out originally, and they told me I had to book with the Canadian Gecko affiliate. This is Trek Escapes. We phoned the one in Calgary and they were more than friendly and would take the American cash payment, so it all worked out in the end.
If you live in Canada and are interested in this same tour, check out Trek Escape’s Cairo to Istanbul tour on their site. It is the same as Gecko’s but you can book through them if you live here.
You have to commit to a $300 deposit, but you can hold your spot on the tour for a week before you have to place your deposit. The remainder must be paid 70 days before the tour begins.
You can get your deposit back only if the tour does not run. This would be political issues in the region or if the tour does not meet its minimum number of people. For Cairo to Istanbul this is 5 people.
The cheapest flights we found came in around $1,900. On the way over we go from Calgary to Toronto to Rome to Cairo. The way back is Istanbul to Rome to Toronto to Calgary. It was going to take 1 layover for sure on the way over, so one more won’t be too bad. There is a fair bit of time in each place so missing flights shouldn’t be a big worry. They are all Air Canada and Alitalia (the Italian airline).
It looks like we will need them for all 4 countries, but from reading the site it appears you can get them at the borders. The only questionable one is Syria which can be expensive if you try to get it at the border. I think we will apply here for that one.