The Egyptian economy might be in the dumps and the political situation fairly unstable but the US government just relaxed the travel warnings against it and Egypt is the best deal going right now. I just got back and had the TIME OF MY LIFE. I swear. After the jump I present the top ten reasons (and deals!) why you should book your trip to Egypt NOW:
1. The weather. Once again I am under snow-induced house arrest in NYC. In Cairo it is 70 degrees.
2. You will have the Pyramids all to yourself. Seriously – I walked around the Tomb of Khufu in the Great Pyramid by myself for an hour before I hopped on a camel for a solo tour of the desert. It was like a private, VIP tour.
3. If you book now you can have a Four Seasons holiday at Holiday Inn prices.
From my article in the NYPOST: Abercrombie & Kent, a well-respected, luxury travel agency, is charging $3,495 (regularly $6,995), not including airfare, for a 10-day trip that includes a five-day Nile cruise on the deluxe Sun Boat 3. I did the exact same trip at the end of October, even traveling down the Nile on the exact same boat used by Abercrombie & Kent, for far less. I booked my own flight on Kayak and the tour through SEEgypt (a female owned and operated company in Cairo) for a grand total of $2,000 — $1,495 for the tour, and $551 for the Lufthansa flight from to Newark to Cairo via Frankfurt. The tour included internal flights, English-speaking guides, the boat trip, several meals and transport to and from the international and domestic airports.
I stayed with my friends in Cairo, but rooms at the historic Mena House were going for $115 online (regularly $250) and rooms at the Four Seasons Nile Plaza were down to $170 from $280.
4. You will be treated like Cher. All over Egypt I was stopped repeatedly by locals who told me, “Thank you for coming — we love you! Please come back!” During a stroll on the Palace Road, I was invited into one of the 800-year-old madrassas (Islamic schools) that normally don’t allow non-Muslims to enter — and was even treated like an honored guest.
5. No lines. Anywhere. Luxor, Karnak, Dendera, Edfu and Kom Ombo — were, for all intents and purposes, empty. In the Valley of the Kings and Queens — 300 miles south of Cairo — I walked around Hatshepsut’s tomb and those of several kings unimpeded by crowds.
6. You will see things no one else has seen. For $5.
7. The flights are cheap (see #3).
8. The food is amazing.
9. You can buy a stuffed leopard rug – or anything else you’ve ever not known you wanted – at the Khan el Khalili Bazaar. Where else is that gonna happen?
10. You will actually be doing some good by helping a struggling/fragile economy. AND THEY ARE STILL UNCOVERING SHIZZ EVERYDAY LIKE THIS 4600 YR OLD STEP PYRAMID.
PS: Yes, there are protests and some of them end in violence. Any good driver knows where, when and how to avoid the protests. And the violence is not towards tourists, whom both sides want to return to the country to bolster Egypt’s economy. Just in case, read my list of How Not To Get Killed Or Maimed before you go.