Planning a Trip
By Plane -- Hurghada International Airport is connected to most of the capitals of Europe and the major cities of Russia by direct flights. Operated by Aéroports de Paris, its facilities are modern and relatively efficiently run. It has a full range of banking facilities, and taxis are easily available. If you are coming direct to Hurghada on an international flight, you will probably have to purchase a visa (hard currency only; $15/£7.40) here.
By Ferry -- The terminal for the fast ferry to and from Sharm el Sheikh is in a shabby end of town, and I recommend arranging a pickup before you arrive. Women traveling alone will not feel comfortable looking for a taxi here, particularly late at night.
By Taxi -- To get anywhere around Hurghada, you will need a car. There are orange-and-blue taxis everywhere, driven by men who have been drawn from all over Egypt by the rumors of quick and easy cash and women. Negotiate the price before setting out, and be prepared to pay substantially more than Cairo prices. Women should avoid solo taxi travel and understand that sitting in the front seat will be taken as an explicit sexual invitation.
By Foot -- Hurghada isn't a good place to walk around. The main streets are shallow gullies running between the high walls of hotels or through messy unplanned shopping areas. The level of hassle is second only to Luxor, and, in many instances, a lot less friendly. Distances that would be walkable are turned into tedious treks by the unpleasant landscape and constant offers of cars, shisha, T-shirts, and drugs.
By Car -- With or without a driver, a rented car is a good option for getting around Hurghada and moving up and down the coast. The roads are fairly good and the traffic, by Egyptian standards at least, is light and fairly sane. Car rental will cost LE165 to LE275 ($30-$50/£15-£25) per day and, in theory, requires an international license, a passport, and a major credit card. In practice, it's still worth trying if you have an American license (though not British or Canadian for some reason), your passport, and cash.
To rent a car, you can try CRC (tel. 065/3463366 or 01/06107387), apparently operated by Peugeot. It has a good size fleet of compact 206s and some of the bigger 306s and 406s. Prices start at LE165 ($30/£15) per day for the subcompact 206 and go up from there. A free allowance of 120km (75 miles) per day will get you around town and out to Gouna and back with a margin to spare. Extra distance is LE1 to LE3 (20¢-55¢/10p-25p) per kilometer.
Hertz has locations both at the airport (tel. 065/3444146) and in downtown on Touristic Villages Road (tel. 065/3463176). It's an excellent option for renting a car to get around the Red Sea coast. Expect to pay a little more than CRC, but you'll get a little more in terms of convenience and quality of car. Both locations are open daily 9am to 1pm and 6 to 8pm.
Easy Way, 18 Sheraton Road (tel. 065/3445246 or 01/22616349; fax 065/3445209; www.easyway-redsea.com), rents late-model Volkswagens. Prices start at LE50 ($9.10/£4.60) per day with the first 120km (75 miles) free and extra kilometers at LE1.35 (25¢/10p). A driver for the day is about LE85 ($15/£7.85) extra.
About the best things that can be said about the Hurghada tourist information office (tel. 065/3446513) is that it's cool inside, and they usually have a photocopied map they can give you.
Most of the hotels around Hurghada now offer Internet access. At the lower end, you'll find a few PCs in the lobby (expect to pay LE10-LE15/$1.80-$2.70/95p-£1.40 per hour for access); at the higher end, expect an in-room access point for your laptop as well as PCs in the business center (expect to pay upward of LE80/$15/£7.40 per hour for these services in five-star hotels). Outside the hotels there are scores of small businesses offering better service for a lot less (LE3-LE8/55¢-$1.45/25p-75p an hour). The best place in town is the unfortunately named Hooligan Club, which has 20 PCs as well as a place to plug in your laptop. It's located down a side street next to the Albatross hotel and charges LE4 (70¢/35p) per hour.