Egypt is so vast and varied that one could spend a lifetime exploring it and only scratch the surface. There are a number of relatively inexpensive flight options from North America to Cairo or Alexandria, particularly if you can fly on short notice.
The airfare is the most expensive part of any Egyptian vacation. You will be amazed at the low hotel and travel fees inside the country. Our last hotel was in the centre of the embassy district, and only a few blocks from the Nile. It cost $15.00 per night for a double INCLUDING breakfast! Bear in mind that this is a two star hotel. If you are the type of traveller who does not wish to fight for toilet paper, or expects pristine cleanliness in a third world country, then many of the budget accomodations will not be for you. Our room was clean, but smelled of cat urine. Our fellow traveller’s rooms did not. There are a number of good internet accomodation review sites that you may visit to research inexpensive hotels. After breakfast at our cheap accomodations, we wandered shamelessly into the coffee lounge of the Cairo Four Seasons and bolted down cappucinos and chocolate croissants in splendor.
The pyramids, sphinx, and multitudes of other sites make Egypt unique. Perhaps one of the best places to start enjoying this vast history is the Egyptian Museum located a few blocks from the Nile, and right in the middle of one the biggest traffic gong shows on the planet. Traffic roars around two squares called Midans. Unless you are a seasoned traffic dodger with eyes in the back of your head, I’d strongly suggest approaching from the Corniche el Nil, the lovely tree lined sidewalk along the Nile. The Egyptian Museum is a bright pink building easily spotted if you turn right just North of the Nile Hilton, where guests do not fight for extra toilet paper since they are paying around $150.00 USD and more for their rooms.
Do not be detoured by “helpful” strangers who claim that the museum is closed, but that they have a key to the back door, or swayed by those who tell you that the large pink building is NOT the museum, and that the real museum is down the street! We chose not to have a tour, but wandered around for a few hours until we could absorb no more. More methodical travellers can easily book official tours through their hotel or one of the many companies suggested by budget travel guides or internet resources.
The museum is lovely and amazing as are the surrounding grounds. You will be overwhelmed with the gold, mummies, chariots and more in the collection of the finest treasures of all antiquity.
Since the Nile Hilton is beside the museum, it makes a nice stop for lunch, dinner or just a break from the crowds. It has a small shopping mall around it and is pleasantly green and serene. A walk back along the Nile will complete the perfect day. It is a joy to watch the young couples courting and see families wandering along its banks. Sailboats called feluccas drift by as they have for a few thousand years.