Be prepared for a few early starts (we were up at 5.15 for Valley of the Kings, 4.15 for Abu Simbel). These did not detract from the experience in any way, however, as these early starts only served to thoroughly extend the days of a seemingly over-too-quick holiday.
Taking along squirty antiseptic hand gel was a good call after a day of handling threadbare Egyptian pound notes. Talking of cash, get some small change as soon as you can at the airport for immediate hotel porter baksheesh! Take some sleeping pills for the sleeper train! Quite a rickety ride at times and only got about 20 minutes sleep on the way to Luxor.
Be realistic in your expectations. From reading some (rather snooty) reviews/blogs beforehand I was expecting the hotels to be run down etc but everywhere we stayed was great. Yes, there’s the odd sign of wear and tear (a wonky socket here, a chipped tile there, and basic, beige-tastic train cabins with the odd faulty sink latch) but there was a good standard of cleanliness overall, and the rickety train was just part of the fun. It ain’t The Ritz. Get over it.
Be prepared for a bit of chopping and changing of the schedule. Abu Simbel was a day earlier than expected, and Valley of the Kings had to be moved back a day because of a bit of a sleeper train delay. Dahshur and Saqqara (not on the original trip notes) was also surprisingly offered as an optional extra.
Shop in the bazaar at Aswan rather than Cairo if you prefer a friendlier, more relaxed, less hassle experience.
Be prepared for mad internal flights to and from Abu Simbel. Quite an experience for a nervous flier!
Don’t be put off going during Ramadan. It was never a problem getting food and drink or seeing sights and only enhanced the experience.