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Pyramids of Giza

Getting There: Trans World Airlines provides direct flights from New York's JFK to Cairo International Airport (CAI). Alitalia, Delta, and Swissair provide flights from JFK to CAI via stops in Europe. Egyptian Air connects Cairo and Luxor. Web links and 1-800 telephone numbers for these airlines can be found at this magazine's Airlines page.  If you are an independent traveler, it is recommended to utilize Lonely Planet Egypt for arranging the details of your itinerary and the transportation options. Other travel options are to sign on with a package tour which includes the major ancient Egyptian sites. The Egyptian segment of our package trip was handled by Abercrombie and Kent. Egypt-only tour packages are offered by U.S.-based companies such as Abercrombie and Kent, Grand Circle Travel, and Overseas Adventure Travel, as well as local Egyptian tour companies.

Staying There: A range of hotel accommodations are available in Luxor and Cairo. Lonely Planet Egypt provides information on a good selection of accommodations,  restaurants, night life, museums, the major pharaonic sites, and an excellent summary of Egyptian history, art, and architecture. The best time of the year for touring Egypt is in the late fall, winter, or early spring months. It is recommended to tour the major pharaonic sites with an accredited Egyptologist. If you are taking a package tour, the services of such a guide are generally included. If you are an independent traveler, an excellent Egyptologist is Hesham M. Mansour, English-speaking Tour Guide and Accredited Egyptologist, 2 Al Assaita St., Luxor, Tel (095)372908, Mobile Tel +20 123226117.

Arabic is the official Egyptian language, and English is spoken by the majority of Egyptians who are involved in the tourism industry. The currency is the Egyptian Pound, with an exchange rate of roughly four Pounds per U.S. Dollar. Since Egypt is one of the world's poorest countries, tourism is a major source of income. Tipping, or baksheesh as it is called, is viewed as an essential means of supplementing income. Tipping is expected by guides, taxi drivers, restaurant servers, hotel room cleaners, baggage handlers, restroom cleaners, doormen, musicians, etc. Don't be intimidated into paying baksheesh if you feel the service does not warrant it, but remember that more things warrant baksheesh than is customary in the U.S. or Europe. The Web sites listed below are provided for additional information on the major sites, hotels, restaurants, maps, and transportation. Be sure to plan well in advance for any special medical requirements, such as immunizations, for your travel to Egypt. A full run-down and recommendations are provide in the Lonely Planet guidebook listed above. Be sure to study up at least to some degree on Egyptian history, art, and architecture before you make your voyage.

Egypt Map
Egypt Map  (Courtesy: CountryWatch.com)

Useful Web Links:

Egypt Travel Guide: official site of Egypt Ministry of Travel, including hotels, transportation, sites in Cairo and Luxor, etc.
Egypt Consular Information Sheet: info on passports, etc. from the U.S. State Department
Cairo Monuments and Sites: Giza Pyramids, mosques, museums, etc.
Luxor Area Sites:  Temples, West Bank Sites, Museums
Egypt Maps: including Cairo and Luxor area maps