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Tuesday, March 22, 2011

The Artful Traveler: Egypt's Time Is Now

There may be no better time to visit Egypt than right now.

Popular attractions such as the Valley of the Kings in Thebes, the Great Pyramids in Giza, and the spectacular Egyptian Museum in Cairo would normally be inundated with thousands of tourists each day. Newspapers here and in the UK report that these and other sites are virtually deserted.

At the same time, some airlines and many hotels have reduced prices to lure back the 1.1 million tourists who left during the revolution.

England and other European nations have lifted travel advisories. Correspondents from the Guardian, The Independent and The Wall St. Journal all say that the country is safe despite the recent upheavals and that tourists are receiving a warm welcome.

Business is business, after all.

When we were in college, we used to get very cheap flights to Africa and the Middle East by booking with British travel agencies and tour operators. To get the best deals today, you should try the same approach. (Use your frequent flier miles to get to London for even greater savings.)

For example, The Independent reports that On the Go Tours has a nine-day cultural tour of the Nile valley for £649 per person. The price includes return flights from Heathrow to Cairo on 29 March, transfers, two nights sailing on the Nile on board a traditional Egyptian felucca (sailing boat), four nights' accommodation in four- and five-star hotels, two nights on a train, breakfast each day and some meals. A local tour guide, with a degree in Egyptology accompanies the trip (+1 (866) 377-6147; www.onthegotours.com).

Hurry and go soon, because travel experts think tourism will bounce back quickly (months, not years as in Yugoslavia, for example).

Read more about Egyptian travel at attractive prices in The Independent, the Guardian, The Wall St. Journal.

For a list of international travel companies offering tours to Egypt, click

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