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first time family trip to two of our travel icons - pease help

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Sending a please advise out to all fodorians, we are planning a family trip to two destinations that have always been our travel icons.

Egypt for the usual suspects as well as culture and the renowned bazaars and Italy for the monuments, history and of course the food.

We are wanting to spend time prodominently in one (at most two) location(s) in each country so we are not constantly unpacking our suitcases.
We are travelling from Australia so to get 'up north' we will need a stop over on the way, we were thinking singapore or hong kong?

With Egypt, friends have suggested a personal guide for Cairo, especially for pick up from the airport as this is open to fraudsters (??), and to tour the pyramids. We usually are independant travellers but conceed that in Egypt would need to have a package tour or some kind to see to best spots in a short time and be a litte more secure. Suggestions here would be great.

Italy, friends have suggested to take an apartment in Rome and 'mingle' with the locals. we are eyeing off one near the colosseum yet at the moment thinking this could be a little 'out of the way' from the renowned steps and fountain. comments here will be appreciated too. we are planning to tour pompei yet are unsure of hiring a car or take a designated tour (ie to travel from Rome down to pompei and back).

we will be travelling in september for approx 5 weeks (2012)

so itinerary known so far is:

syd to singapore (hong kong) for one night

singapore (hong kong) to cairo for 4 nights (including museum and pyramids and bazaar)

cario to luxor (by boat?? 3 nights) do not want to travel by overnight train, then on to aswan for 2 nights for the light show at abu simbel. then fly to cairo then on to rome

rome for 7nights to see all and eat all!! travel (somehow) down to pompei and sorrento fly from Naples to sydney,

you will see days/nights left off this mudmap of an itinerary. becuase it is just that a mudmap a general run down of the basics open to comments and suggestions to what not to miss as we trust the fodorians and wish to absorb each country for the time that we have in each.

thank you, looking forward to your comments.

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