Autumn is one of my favorite seasons.
Not because of rainy weather, colorful nature, or creeping melancholia.
But because it’s time to take a second summer vacation.
What I like about summer is the feeling of total freedom.
You don’t have to wear any clothes at all, just tank top and flip-flops.
Sun is shining all day long.
Everyone is carefree and has a positive vibe.
Then the autumn comes and the weather starts to suck, but not by very much.
So the closest region where I could still enjoy summer conditions is near the Mediterranean sea or the Red Sea.
Moreover, I had a lot of unspent cash in employee benefit wallet, which I have to spend or it will expire by end of the year.
So instead of putting employee benefits into pension funds, I chose to purchase an all-inclusive trip.
I think it’s better to spend money on new experiences now, then to save that money for later.
Anyway, I bought an all-inclusive trip for the first time last year and I enjoyed my time in Tunisia.
This year, I wanted to go to the same region due to the highly developed tourist sector.
I could go to Turkey or Morocco, but temperatures averages are below 20 degrees C in November.
Greek is completely out of season and Thailand is too far for a week retreat.
The only choice left is to visit Dubai, which is crazy expensive, or Egypt.
So visiting Egypt was a no-brainer.
Purchasing the trip
When you are traveling solo, you are by default at a disadvantage compared to couples or groups.
You will pay a forever alone tax because resorts usually don’t offer single bedrooms and booking a 2-bedroom can cost as much as 30% of the catalog price.
Then there are travel agencies and their outdated offers.
You would think that the price you see on their websites is the price you will finally pay.
100% of the time they will call you back apologizing that the trip was unfortunately sold.
So don’t put any hope or time into choosing a trip using their websites.
Here’s what I did
I browsed multiple legit travel agencies and travel brokers, who allows me to make a payment with my employee benefits.
I chose a trip, that seems to have the best ratings to price ratio
Haven’t spent too much time overthinking and swiftly made a reservation.
The travel agency representative replied with a confirmation, that trip was already sold and that there were no available flights for the chosen period.
I ordered them to find me another trip according to my preferences:
Min-max budget range, 5-star resort, all-inclusive service, private beach, gym, and a date range.
They sent me multiple offers and I chose the one having the best ratings to price ratio.
I checked Trip advisor if the star rating presented by the travel agency corresponds to the rating listed on Trip Advisor. It didn’t.
Then I looked at the user uploaded photos to see if the beach has golden sands or is covered with trash.
I also checked if there is a bar or a lounge inside the resort, a place where people can mingle over a glass of wine after dinner.
Its the best and only place for the solo traveler to pick up chicks.
Finally, I looked at bad ratings.
If multiple reviews state that food sucks balls, then it’s true and you should avoid that hotel if you like food variety.
In the end, I chose a mid-price 5-star hotel resort Brayka Beach (4-stars on Trip Advisor) in Marsa Alam, Egypt.
Reviews were average, but what got me convinced was the view over the bay. It looked like a paradise.
No preparation is required for an all-inclusive trip.
The only thing I needed to buy was good travel insurance, which covers the loss of baggage and unlimited health care.
Don’t make the same mistake of withdrawing US dollars.
I read on some travel blogs that paying with US dollars is preferred over Euros because locals banks offer better conversion rates from US dollars into Egypt pounds, but the opposite was the truth.
All prices were quoted in EUR and if I asked for the price in USD, they gave me a shitty conversion rate like 1.5 USD to 1 EUR. So I made a quick back of an envelope calculation and it turns out I would pay 30% extra.
Everything was so fucking expensive and they would laugh at your face when you mentioned US dollars.
That’s why I didn’t spend barely any cash. I didn’t want to waste my precious vacation time on those fuckers and negotiate each time I wanted something to buy.
I made a goal to pack as little as possible. For each piece of clothing, I would wear, I packed max 3 pieces. Excluding shorts of course. I knew 4-star hotels don’t provide any hygienic products besides soap so I had to packed mine.
Hygienic products always take up 20% of my luggage. I wish I could buy quality hygienic products made for travelers.
While packed luggage was half empty, my backpack was overloaded with all my electronic devices, cables, chargers, documents, and a bottle of water.
I made a snapshot in case I would need proof when filing an insurance claim.
I hope next time I will pack even less stuff.
Flight and arrival
Don’t expect anything from charter flights, not even a free coffee.
At the airport, you will fill an arrival card and pay 25 USD for VISA.
It is also a good moment to buy a data SIM card.
Unless the resort is a legit 5-star hotel, there won’t be any free wifi, not even in the lobby. My resort charged 7 EUR for 1 day and 45 EUR for 1 week. No thanks.
You will find multiple vendors at the airport. Vodafone, Etisalat, and Orange.
Just be beware of their sleazy sales tactics.
Never give them your phone upfront.
If you do, they will swiftly install their sim card and you will be negotiating from the position of weakness.
Another scam is the data limit.
It is divided between WhatsApp and everything else. You would think you bought a 10 Gb sim card, but the truth is, it’s 4.5 GB for WhatsApp and 5.5Gb for everything else. Just keep that in mind.
Moreover, the price excludes the price of the sim card alone. So add another 5 Euros on top of the listed price.
Next, don’t pay in dollars or they will fuck you in the ass with 30% noob tourist tax as I mentioned earlier.
If you arrive at the hotel before noon, then you will have to wait in the Lobby until the rooms are prepared.
30 min after arrival, they will give you the wristband that entitles you to fully enjoy all-inclusive service.
Egyptians are generally nice and if you suggest them to fuck off, they will leave you alone.
There were no signs of security threat, no marines with machine guns, no tanks, like in Tunisia.
Our resort had one security guards in each corner and that was it.
I felt safe.
Maybe if I traveled to Cairo, I would feel much different.
It always takes me 3 days to adjust to a completely new environment and to lose that initial shyness.
So what to do for the first 3 days if you don’t feel the need for socializing?
Explore the whole resort and don’t be afraid to go beyond.
Just to know where is a
– Animation programs
– Cocktail bars
– Sightseeing Spots
– Most beautiful scenery
– The best place to practice a morning yoga routine
When is a
– Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
– Animation programs
– All-inclusive drink and food schedules
– Check out
– Todo if you want to travel outside the resort
– Todo in the next 3 days
– Trips are available.
You can buy trips directly from your travel agent or from local resellers who are allowed to sell their trips to tourists in the resort.
The benefit of buying directly is that you know what you pay for. And if you are not satisfied with the service, you can sue your travel agency.
Locals are cheaper, but they can scam you over if you don’t ask enough questions, like if this trip includes a camel ride.
From my experience, locals will set the price much higher than your travel agent and they expect you to negotiate down to 50%.
There were a few trips to choose from. The trip to Luxor 130km far away for 150 EUR, a safari trip with a short sand buggy and quad bike ride for 60 EUR, and a snorkeling trip with dolphins for 80 EUR.
I guess there is nothing you can do in Egypt besides riding something or snorkeling and that’s ok. It’s just not my thing, not for that price.
I haven’t experienced a true 5-star all-inclusive service like you would get in Hilton yet, but in the Arab world, all-inclusive means there are 3 meal times.
The breakfast from 7 to 10, lunch from 12 to 14, and dinner from 18 to 21.
Drinks are poured into little glasses so you have to repeatedly go to the bar.
The food in this resort sucked big time.
Only breakfast was edible.
Want to know what breakfast of champions looks like?
3 egg omelets with cheese, tomatoes and onions, 1 toast with cheese, butter, and yogurt.
Then finish it with a sponge cake, chocolate croissant, and a cup of coffee.
Unfortunately, there was no bacon.
Lunch and dinner were similar. 2 types of served meat like veal, grilled chicken, or beef.
The rest was almost nonedible.
So I always went for meat with fresh tomatoes, a glass of wine, and a soup.
Beverages included juice a.k.a. water mixed with syrup, wine, and an Egyptian beer, which was surprisingly good.
All the fun was provided by the international animation team, a mixed group of Italians, Czech, Russians, German, and an Egyptian bodybuilding champion 2015 and 2016.
During the day you could participate in many fun activities such as beach volleyball or an aqua gym.
Each evening from 9 pm to 10 pm there was a live performance show.
The few memorable shows I liked were a fakir show a quiz night and a stand-up comedy.
Stand up comedy was hilarious as hell. If you want to know if your pregnant wife was faithful or if you want to see Leonardo di Caprio, the director, directing a family tragedy comedy. If you want to see a marathon in matrix mode, all with embarrassing interactive involvement of the audience, then you should travel to this resort.
I had a chance to talk with the animation team and most of them are young, ambitious, and ready to conquer the world.
For example, there was this guy Alex, he always wanted to do breakdancing professionally but chose to be an animator instead.
Being an animator you won’t break a sweat.
Each day, you can hit on new chicks and potentially sleep with them no strings attached.
It must be nice.
This was a 4-star resort advertised as a paradise for families, retirees, and couples.
The affiliated resort next door was on other hand a five-star hotel.
You could tell the difference.
Wealthy families, hot chicks with Louis Vuitton scarf sunbathing half-naked.
Damn, I wish I paid extra for an extra star.
Service was top-notch in comparison to resort in Spain and Tunisia.
The staff was helpful, always smiling and in good mood.
They even remember your preference so tips were earned.
Stunning, number one reason why you should visit Egypt.
You could walk along the beach and you could see living fauna under the water. Perfect conditions for snorkeling.
Beach was surrounded by a dead coral reef and it was prohibited to collect seashells.
There was no way to get any transportation to the nearest village 60 km far away.
Only if you called a taxi.
Nor that you want to, unless you are looking for souvenirs.
When I went out of the resort there was absolutely nothing, just total silence, sand and rocks, your thoughts, bright stars, and never-ending waves.
There were no distractions, only you and your inner voice.
Within 5 minutes my mind was so clear I immediately knew what I should do next in my life.
Maybe that’s why hiking is so popular here in the Czech Republic. Mountains provide a similar experience of an ever-present void.
I should seek nature more often.
Working from the beach
Is one of the biggest myth in the world.
You see pictures of digital nomads working from the beach on Instagram all the time.
Laying on the sunbed, furiously typing on a laptop keyboard and sipping a mojito while smiling into the camera.
Bullshit. I tried it myself.
The reality is much less romantic.
First, it’s so hot your MacBook could overheat and burn your balls.
Second, sand dust is getting everywhere so you spend all evening cleaning your MacBook from sand dust.
Third, Most of the time, there is no wifi connection on the beach.
Fourth, the reflection from the sun is so bright you don’t even see what’s happening on your screen.
So I think it’s funny when someone says he knows some rich guy, who is so rich, he works from the beach 5 minutes a day, trading stocks while surfing for the rest of the day.
What a complete bullshit.
Even digital nomads prefer to work in coworking centers and coffee shops rather than on the beach or at the pool.
I tried to work from the beach but I gave up very quickly.
Instead, I settled on a much different work schedule.
Wake up in the morning, get a shower, drink a cup of coffee, do 10 minutes stretching routine, continue with 20 minutes of handstand practice, and finish with yoga.
Then right after breakfast immediately get some shit done because you are most creative in the morning when fully rested.
Work for 2 hours and then get some lunch.
Get some rest after lunch by taking a nap for half an hour.
Next, go to the beach, pool, or just do some traveling.
When the sun goes down return to your apartment and reward yourself with a nice dinner and a glass of wine.
Go for a long walk, sort your thoughts, and come back with a clear plan for the next day, then work on your billion-dollar idea until midnight.
This schedule works well and it balances fun, entertainment, and focused work.
Maybe this won’t work for everyone and it might be different if you don’t live in an all-inclusive resort but in a rented apartment.
I religiously logged my time and I managed to squeeze 4 productive hours a day at max and I managed I finish basic UI for my secret project.
All in all, Egypt was nice and I would return if I ever have a family in the future.