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Totally Naive

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Totally Naive

Without sounding like an Ignoramous (an ignorant person),

I've been wanting to visit Egypt for a long time (high on my list of 100 places to visit before I die). Not sure when this visit will occur, but I should begin making inquiries so I will know what to expect.

Is there a time of year that is considered "off season", so hopefully airfares and hotels are less expensive?

What is the weather?

Where is the best area to stay for freedom to visit the museum, and to take side trips...ex. Luxor?

Is Cairo near the Nile? I would love to cruise this river.

What is the currency...and what is the current rate compared to the American dollar?

How is safety for Americans? Better yet, what is the attitude for Americans?

Are there flights directly from JFK...and what is the best airline?

Thank you much for any responses.

Manchester, United...
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1. Re: Totally Naive

Is there a time of year that is considered "off season", so hopefully airfares and hotels are less expensive?

You can get cheap fares anytime of the year given you book early. I would say that anytime of the year outside Christmas and New Year is good to visit price wise. The summer July and August is sometimes cheaper especially for upper Egypt, Luxor and Aswan but it is too hot, 45 degrees or more, so it is not worth the saving. November to early December and mid January to March will be the best times to visit.

What is the weather?

hot in the summer, cool in winter, sunny year round

Where is the best area to stay for freedom to visit the museum, and to take side trips...ex. Luxor?

I assume you mean the Egyptian museaum in Cairo. You can stay anywhere in Cairo, the city center or Zamalek will be better. You can also stay at the Pyramids district, quieter than the city but far from the rest of the city's attractions. Although cabs are available, safe and cheap, trip can tae up to 45 minutes in traffic jams. That is why I reocommend staying near the center.

Luxor is 850 klm south of Cairo. To see it, you can either fly or take the sleeping train. If you are on a tight schedule you can do it on a day trip, but it is better to stay there for three days.

Is Cairo near the Nile? I would love to cruise this river.

The Nile crosses downtown Cairo. You can take dinner cruises in Cairo's Nile, but if you want a multiple day cruise, those run between Luxor and Aswan and last for either 4 or 7 days, where the cruise stops at various temples on the way.

What is the currency...and what is the current rate compared to the American dollar?

Egyptian Pounds (LE). 1 USD = 5.65 LE

How is safety for Americans? Better yet, what is the attitude for Americans?

Very safe and Egyptians love Americans and their culture (music, movies, food etc), most Egyptians have family members living in the states. G. W. Bush and his crew are not populer, but they are not populer even in America, so don't worry. You will see that people in Egypt drow a fine line between American politics and American people. There is no need to claim you are Canadian etc. You will be safe and will safe all the time as shown by Americans' trip reports on this forum.

Are there flights directly from JFK...and what is the best airline?

Thank you much for any responses.

Only Egypt Air flies a daily service between CAI and JFK. Delta will start flying the same rout next June. The other option will be to connect via Europe. A range of Airlines offer this possibility including KLM, Air France, Iberia, Alitalia and others. Prices depend on the time you book.

Orlando, Florida
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2. Re: Totally Naive

Wow! You've answered it all darsh. Thank you so much. I believe I can begin planning for a visit in 2009...probably for my daughter's graduation present. I am so excited. And since Delta will begin flying into CAI, we will hopefully have enough skymiles for free seats. Since it is Africa, it will most likely be more than the standard 35,000 miles.

Much planning to do :-)

Seattle, Washington
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3. Re: Totally Naive

Hey, aqua...I tried to book my upcoming trip to Egypt on miles, too, and was kinda shocked: Africa requires 80,000 Skymiles, minimum/120,000 on the high end. Yikes!

Kuala Lumpur...
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4. Re: Totally Naive

A very good answers from Darsh. I agreed with his suggestions especially about Luxor and Aswan. Would not suggest going to these places in Summer though the prices is cheap coz it is really hot and you could fried egg over your head! Winter is the best time to go but the price would be moderate to expensive.

Nile Hilton, Semiramis Intercontinental, Helnan Shepherd and Ramsis Hilton are all located along the Nile and with Nile view and Sofitel hotel too!

Walking distance to the Egyptian Museum would definitely be the Nile Hilton just from the back door of the hotel 5 minutes walk and 6 minutes walk to downtown!

Cairo is very safe for any tourists including American. Just like Darsh mentioned, the egyptian didnt like the US Government but not the Americans.

Make sure you have plenty of small changes if you are planning to take public transportations like taxi and Metro.

Book your air ticket to Luxor and Aswan thru' www.egyptair.com.eg and pay in LE which is cheaper.

Take felluca near the Grand Hyatt Hotel for the cruise along the nile which is cheap. The whole boat between 40 - 60LE and you could bring your own food or drink and dont forget to bargain for the price!

Dinner cruise I would suggest the Pharoah dinner cruise at Giza for the egyptian design and feelings.

Hotels around the Pyramid areas is good if you intend to stay far from the noise and busy traffic but the down side it would take between 45 - 1 hour just to get to town!

Clothing - wear decent clothes like loose blouse, capri, jean, medium length skirt, medium lenght t-shirt sleeves. No low cut, tight jeans, shorts cos this will attract attention especially Cairo is more conservative compared to areas like Sharm El Sheikh, Hurghada, Luxor and Aswan which caters for tourists.

If you wish to visit Citadel and Mohamed Ali Mosque, suggest you wear decent clothes to show respect and you may tip the door man of the mosque who collect your shoes or you could bring plastic bag for your own shoes. As you wish.

Tipping is a way of living in Egypt as people dont make good money and salary. Only tips those you think deserve it.

Remember always to bargain for cab or buying stuff at the Khan El Khalili bazaar.

Wendy, local expert always recommend a bazaar near the Ibn Toulon Mosque which have a good selective of souvenirs and with good prices.

Hope this help.

Orlando, Florida
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5. Re: Totally Naive

Well Vegas,

You've just shocked me. I have no way near that many Skymiles. I guess I will need to get early tickets throught EgyptAir. Or another thought is to use the miles for tickets to Europe. Then book to CAI. I will need to look into this.

And thank you Peekaboo67 for more wonderful information and advice....particularly the attire. Luckily, the USD will go far (although it's difficult to imagine that someone else's currency is lower than US).

Since I won't be getting free airline directly to CAI (the biggest expense), I may need to travel during the summer months to cut back on expenses. Is the end of June, early July considered summer?

You also stated

<Take felluca near the Grand Hyatt Hotel for the cruise along the nile which is cheap. The whole boat between 40 - 60LE and you could bring your own food or drink and dont forget to bargain for the price!>

Is felluca the name of a boat? And is this a day cruise? And is the Grand Hyatt in Cairo? Sorry for all the follow-up questons.

Kuala Lumpur...
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6. Re: Totally Naive

Since I won't be getting free airline directly to CAI (the biggest expense), I may need to travel during the summer months to cut back on expenses. Is the end of June, early July considered summer?

---------------------------------------------------------------

Yes, June and early July is considered summer in Egypt. During this time, the hotel and furnished apartment in Cairo would be very expensive due to the wave of the Arab tourists from the Gulf!

Nov - Feb. is the months to come to Cairo since it is winter and the prices is cheaper but not to Luxor and Aswan!

I was shocked to learn also that 80,000 miles needed for Cairo frm the States. That is too much.

There is cheap flights from Europe but not directly to Cairo, these flights usually goes to Sharm El Sheikh or Hurghada and Luxor. Flight like www.airberlin.com or www.flyniki.com., www.skyeurope.com. Once from there you will have to fly down to Cairo or take the bus. You will have to calculate whether it is worth it or not...

You also stated

<Take felluca near the Grand Hyatt Hotel for the cruise along the nile which is cheap. The whole boat between 40 - 60LE and you could bring your own food or drink and dont forget to bargain for the price!>

Is felluca the name of a boat? And is this a day cruise? And is the Grand Hyatt in Cairo? Sorry for all the follow-up questons.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Yes it is the name of a small sailing boat along the Nile in Cairo and it is a day cruise and you could do it either in the morning, afternoon or in the evening. Yes, Grand Hyatt Hotel is in Cairo and about 10 minutes away from downtown and by foot 30 minutes walk. It is a 5* hotel.

Here is the website, just for you to see.

bestegypttours.com/egypt_hotels_resorts_nile…

if you wish to stay at a good hotel with good prices and highly recommended in the forum, I would suggest the Longchamps hotel in Zamalek.

http://hotellongchamps.com/rooms.htm

Safe areas with so many shops, restaurants, cafes and a diplomatic area. To downtown about 10 - 15 minutes by taxi.

Hope this help.

Orlando, Florida
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7. Re: Totally Naive

Again peekaboo, thank you for the suggestions, tips...and particularly the "eye-opener" that it would be MORE expensive to go when school lets out in US.

Now I'm wondering if I should do one of those "organized" tours...even though I prefer to travel on my own?

london
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8. Re: Totally Naive

I strongly recommend you not to go to Egypt in summer, which would be at least June, July, August and September, because the heat means you really can't do very much in the way of sightseeing. The temperature can reach 50 0c and you can't leave your hotel between about 11 and 4 with any degree of comfort. As the tourist sites generally close at dusk around 5, you are very limited.

|Any time between October and April is good, though Xmas and Easter are busy.

Orlando, Florida
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9. Re: Totally Naive

Thank you all for the wonderful information. Now I have an idea of what to expect. I will continue to follow this forum for more helpful details.

Verity1, I doubt I will travel during the summer. I looked into some tour companies, and there are no summer dates listed. I guess my daughter will have an early graduation present : -).

I also looked into airfare. I figure if I use my Delta Skymiles to fly into Madrid (maybe spend an overnight), there are a couple of airlines that can get us directly into Cairo and back for $550.00. (Alitalia and Iberia). This is not bad.

It pays to begin planning early.

Liverpool, United...
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10. Re: Totally Naive

Hello,

Sorry, I am really late joining to with this post (have been busy with visitors and daughtes engagement ! so guess that is an ok excuse.

The above information will help you to plan your trip and to be more aware about Cairo especially.

It is a good idea to get a guide book and read up about the country - so it will not be strange to you when you arrive. The Lonely planet guide is good one to have.

Also if you have time now, you could look at the Cairo attractions and read the member reviews and inside pages, with lots of good photos.

Cairo is a huge city, the biggest in Africa, traffic is heavy and there is much to see, so do some research and you will be better able to decide what really interests you.

I used to think that it was ok to visit without a tour company or a tour guide, but to be honest with all the traffic problems etc., I now believe that is ok for young travellers of a budget and having a lot of energy, but for others getting a private guide with transportation is a good idea or booking an inclusive holiday if you do not want to make the effort to do all the research and communication.

You have time to plan and lots of willing Cairo Forum people to help you.

Best regards

Wendy