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Fodor's Exploring Egypt

This was the first book I bought. I usually don't buy Fodor's guides, since their normal line of travel guides is a bit too staid for me. Fodor is a well-known and well-established travel book series, and their coverage is organized and well-researched. Their guides are updated frequently, so they are a good source for correct cost and time information, which can be critical to planning.

But the "Exploring" series is another of the pictorial guides that provides a tour of the country in full-color photographs In the best Fodor traditional "gold guides" style, the Exploring series is packed full of useful information -- still a bit less in-depth than the other (less-well-illustrated) guides, but useful for cultural information. Fodor also offers nearly a dozen other guide series from compact city guides to full-color travel planners.

I think it was the photography in this book that pushed us over the edge to go to Egypt. The book is a lush photo tour of each of the major cities in Egypt. The bulk of the book is photos and descriptions of the cities and sites, with a few chapters on history and lodging options that will at least get you started.

A number of short itineraries are provided, and the book is organized as trips to each city, with the highlights and suggested sites. I found the sidebars and photo captions to more interesting than the text in most cases, with anecdotes and cultural tips.

All in all, this is a beautiful travel book, but I can't recommend it as a functional guide. I would be very surprised if someone was using this as their primary travel source! Fodor's cover blurbs claim that the guide is both practical and beautiful, but I'd lean more towards the beautiful, myself. Like most of the Fodor series books, it focuses on the main tourist sites, with a few forays into more unusual places. Beautiful, but more as an inspiration than a working guide.

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