Salaam to all. I read this forum for months while planning our trip to Egypt, and thought I would share a few thoughts on how it went (Sept 17-Oct 4). It was truly amazing, beyond my wildest expectations. We did Cairo, Luxor, Aswan, Abu Simbel, a Nile Cruise, and ended with a few days of beach time in Sharm el Sheikh. A lot of people have asked me what was the best part and it's hard to pick out one thing, though cruising up the Nile was spectacular. You can hear the donkeys braying by the sides of the river, and you watch Nile life go by - fishermen, kids doing cannonballs into the water, cattle grazing, Minarets lighted up in green for Allah. Probably you see the same things they've been doing on the Nile for thousands of years. Other highlights: climbing the Great Pyramid, the sound and light show at Philae, dinner and stargazing with the Bedouins, walking through the bazaars with our guides, the Al Moudira hotel in Luxor (magic), Felucca trips in Cairo and Aswan, snorkeling in Sharm. It really was the trip of a lifetime. You obviously have your fill of great of advice here but I'll share a few things we learned for what it's worth. 1. We brought US$150 in $1s, $5s and $10s for tips and we went through it very quickly. I would bring double that, and more in $1s. We found it was hard to hang onto small bills and every day we were looking to make change. 2. What to wear. Huge topic obviously but in a nutshell, I would just use common sense and don't worry about going out and buying a whole new wardrobe before you go. In the hotels if you're having dinner you can pretty much wear what you want - sundress with a shawl, for example. If you're walking through Islamic Cairo I would wear long sleeves and capris or pants. I did wear longer shorts, but mostly around the hotels and when we were in Sharm. 3. Sun: It did get very hot at the sites during the day. Two of our guides carried umbrellas - I was wishing I had brought one. 4. On our Nile Cruise, they told us on the very last day that we could leave a tip that would go into a joint tip pool. We had tipped the staff very liberally along the way and were surprised nobody had mentioned this communal tip at the start. 5. Be prepared to be tired. You're up early every day and it's very hot and you surely will have a packed agenda. (If you go to Abu Simbel you have to get up around 3:30 to make the 6 a.m. flight). We were wiped out. We planned 2-1/2 days of beach time in Sharm and then went back for two last nights in Cairo. We wish we had scheduled more R&R time to unwind, maybe 4 days of beach. Other travelers from the states we met broke up the trip home by stopping somewhere (Corsica, Greece, for example). 6. Just say no. Your travel company and/or your guides will try to show you everything (as they should - it's all amazing). But resist the urge to do it all and build in some down time. Maybe the Pyramids in the a.m., and some pool time after lunch. 7. At the bazaars, try to go with a guide if you can. They can help you bargain. Just assume the first price they give you is double what they would settle for. If you want to play hardball, be prepared to walk away if they won't budge on the price (they will!!). 8. Try to learn a little Arabic before you go. I took a short course and had a few phrases to use - nothing fancy, Arabic is hard!! But it's incredible how much Egyptians appreciated it, and it really broke the ice and opened the door to some wonderful conversations. Plus, if you get hassled for money you can say firmly "la shokran" - no thank you. They'll be so surprised to hear you say it in their language it may just stop them in their tracks. :-) Anyway good luck to all planning a trip - you are in for something special. As mentioned, it's truly amazing!