Saturday, September 13, 2008

Credit Crunch Holidays

With money so tight at the moment and the collapse of one of the UK budget charter airlines holidays need to be good value, inexpensive but interesting and use a scheduled carrier. What about Egypt? What about EgyptAir?

Egypt is not the first destination to come to mind but with internal costs extremely low even when you add on a flight the holiday becomes affordable. I have flown EgyptAir to the UK on numerous occasions and once to Japan, I prefer getting the greater leg room and luggage allowance. With charter airlines you seem to pay extra for everything which a scheduled flight provides automatically. EgyptAir is competitive on price and flies into all Egyptian cities like Cairo and Luxor. For non British tourists scheduled is your only choice and many other airlines fly here from all the European destinations as well.

There are 3 types of holidays 5*, 3* and backpacker. Do remember these stars are Egyptian ones so paying through the nose for a 5* hotel is not going to give you a Tiffanies experience. So why bother. Backpacker accommodation is great for the young and young at heart and is certainly cheap out here. But the real bargains are in 3* hotels or self catering apartments like mine. Flats in Luxor BTW flat is British for apartment :) We offer 3 bedroom apartments that sleep 6 with fully fitted kitchens, Western bathrooms AND a swimming pool, free Wi-Fi, in-house restaurant. All for $50 USD low season $70 USD high season. Divided by 6 now where could you get such great accommodation for the price. Now that is a bargain.

Similarly food experiences like falafel, foul and koshery are ridiculously cheap and very nourishing. Koshery a mixture of lentils, pasta, rice and a sauce is under 20 cents. But if you want the Egyptian experience try Felfela in Cairo or Sofra in Luxor. Real Egyptian food at real Egyptian prices. A great meal for under $10 but don’t worry it is not spicy like Indian food but really tasty. And also don’t worry about a dickey tummy. Actually fresh food cooked locally is safer than many a buffet left out for hours.

Add to that the most stunning array of historical sites like the pyramids and sphinx, Tutankhamen‘s tomb, the temple of Hatshepsut, the most famous female Pharaoh, the sound and light at Karnak temple, camel rides in the desert, sailing boats at sunset on the Nile. Now that is a holiday.

A word about safety. There are some odd areas of Cairo I would not fancy walking around at 2 am, that is the same in any country. Think about downtown New York or the East End of London however the tourist areas are safe and mugger free. In fact we (Although I am British I live here in Luxor, Egypt) are not quite sure what muggers are? Refreshing isn’t it?

Any troubles you have read about are likewise miles away from the tourist areas. Would you let a problem in Mexico stop you holidaying in Canada, exactly? Giza and Gaza are not the same place. The only problems you will get round the pyramids at Giza are camel drivers trying to get you to take a ride. That is a monetary one as well as a flea ridden one.

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