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Summer in Egypt can be described in one word -- HOT! -- so it seems somewhat strange that packages during the summer months tend to rise in price with the temperatures. Fall and winter (if you can call days of 80 degrees winter) are the ideal season to visit but you may find these seasons the most crowded as travelers take advantage of more inviting weather conditions. When ever you decide to go, Egypt is one destination that every person should visit at least once -- having been three times, I am itching to go back!

Foreign Independent Tours (tel. 800/853-6453; www.fittours.com) has drastically reduced the price of its "15 Day Extensive Egypt with Hurghada" trip which is now priced from $1,999 for departures on October 19 and 26, 2006. The adventure includes round-trip airfare from New York to Cairo, domestic flights from Cairo to Aswan and from Hurghada to Cairo, 13 nights' accommodations in four and five-star properties, hotels and cruise ship (five in Cairo, four in an outside cabin on a Nile cruise and four in Hurghada), transfers, 31 meals (all meals on the cruise and in Hurghada), extensive sightseeing with an English-speaking Egyptologist, transportation in an air-conditioned motor coach, entrance fees, and even time for relaxation at a Red Sea beach resort. Highlights include the Egyptian Museum of Antiquities, the Great Pyramids of Giza, Sakkara, Elephantine Island, the Aswan Dam, Philae Temple, Edfu, the Temple of Horus, the Valley of the Kings and Queens and the beaches of Hurghada. Other 2006 departure dates are priced as follows: July 6, 13, 20 and 27 is $2,735; August 3 and 10 is $2,590; August 17, 24, 31, September 7, 14, and 21 is $2,365; October 5, 12 November 9, 16 and December 7 is $2,199; September 28 is $2,259; November 2 is $2,099; and November 23 and 30 is $2,299. Single supplement is $495.

The Egyptian Connection (tel. 800/334-4477; www.egyptontheweb.com) is currently offering a "Summer Fun in Egypt" land-only special priced at $799 per person based on double occupancy. This two-week package features Cairo, Aswan, Luxor, a Nile cruise, and staying at a Red Sea resort. Included are airport transfers, three nights' accommodations at the Sheraton Royal Gardens in Cairo with breakfast daily, a full-day sightseeing tour in Cairo with the Museum, Citadel, Pyramids and Bazaar, a camel ride at the Pyramids, one-way train ride from Cairo to Aswan (upgrade to a sleeper cabin with dinner and breakfast for an additional $100), three nights on board the five-star M/S Regency Nile cruise with three meals daily, sightseeing in Aswan, Kom Ombo & Luxor, six nights in Hurghada at the Iberotel Saraya at Makady Bay including buffet breakfast daily, transfers from Luxor to Hurghada and back to Cairo and 20 meals. A single supplement of $225 applies and kids under 12 sharing with parents get 50 percent off. Highlights are the Cairo tours, Aswan, Kom Ombo, Philae, a felucca ride down the Nile to Elephantine Island and the Agha Khan Mausoleum, Edfu, Luxor, the Valley of the Kings and Queens, the Temple of Karnak and Hurghada.

Friendly Planet's (tel. 800/555-5765; www.friendlyplanet.com) "Pyramid Express" is a quick and budget conscious introduction to Egypt, enough to whet your appetite but a trip that may leave you dreaming of returning and seeing more. This seven day tour is priced from $1,199 (representing a saving of $200 per person if you book by July 21, 2006). Included in this super low price is round-trip airfare from New York, arrival and departure transfers, deluxe five-star accommodations at the Intercontinental Pyramids Park Hotel and the Cairo Sheraton Hotel and Towers overlooking the Nile River, lavish buffet breakfasts daily and a half-day tour of the Pyramids at Giza and the Sphinx. Single supplement is $250, taxes and fees are $225 and an Egyptian visa is $28 (all additional). The September 6 departure is priced at $1,199 and departures on August 16, October 4, 24 and November 14, 2006 are $1,299.

Museum Tours (tel. 888/932-2230; www.museumtours.com) has a "Pharoanic Highlights" tour priced from $1,950 per person (with holiday season surcharges during Christmas (December) and Spring Break (April). This nine day fully-guided tour includes round-trip airfare on Air Egypt from New York, domestic flights (from Cairo to Luxor) eight-nights accommodation in four-star hotel, breakfast daily, and sightseeing to quintessential Egyptian landmarks like the Pyramids at Giza, the Sphinx, the ancient necropolis at Saqqara, the Egyptian Museum, the Karnak Temple, Luxor Temple, the Valley of the Kings, Dier El Bahri and the Temple of Hatshepsut, the Colossi of Memnon, and Khan el Khalili bazaar. This tour departs every Saturday during the year.

GAP Adventures (tel. 800/708-7761; www.gapadventures.com) features a number of Egypt and Egypt combination land-only tours at very reasonable prices. Their 15-day "Egypt Unplugged" trip is only $585 per person with a local payment of $200. This is the perfect adventure for people who are do not necessarily want to pay for extras that may not interest them, like visiting museums or sites. It is considered a "roam trip" which means that for this price you get a tour leader, accommodations and transport -- no entrance fees or meals. The Khan al Khalili Bazaar excursion in Cairo and the felucca sailing trip along the Nile are included, as are nine nights' simple guesthouse and hotel accommodations, one night in a local village, two nights aboard a traditional Egyptian felucca, and two overnight train trips. The tour visits Cairo, the Pyramids and Sphinx, Aswan, Luxor, Alexandria, Mt. Sinai, and Dahab on the Red Sea. This tour departs regularly (two to three times per month) from July 2006 to March 2007 from Cairo.

For slightly more ($785 plus $200 local payment), their "Discover Egypt" tour visits Cairo, The Pyramids and Sphinx, a Nile felucca trip, the Valley of the Kings, Aswan, the Red Sea, Suez Canal and Mt Sinai. Included highlights are a local guide and entry fee to Pyramids and the Sphinx, Egyptian Museum, the Citadel and excursion to Khan al-Khalili bazaar (Cairo), a Nubian village dinner in Aswan), Karnak Temple, Valley of the Kings, Medinat Habu (Luxor) and a Mt Sinai climb. Accommodations in guesthouses/hotels (eight nights), basic guesthouse with shared facilities (one night), felucca (two nights), overnight train, and two nights in beach huts with shared facilities. Transportation is by train, public and private buses, donkey (seasonal), felucca, taxi, metro, walking and camel. Three breakfasts, three lunches and four dinners are also included. There are up to eight departures per month from Cairo between July and December 2006.

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