Sep 12

Is it safe to travel to the Middle East?


This is a very general question with not one but a multitude of answers. People have been inquiring lately about how safe is to start a trip to the Middle East now. The Middle East is an area very much in flux, there are countries that are very stable and other that may present some changes and challenges abruptly.


Well it is important to say that there are many countries that make up what we call the Middle East. Actually other countries are strictly not geographically part of this area but because of  their cultural or religious background are always considered in the same group, this is the case for example of Egypt.

Destinations such as United Arab Emirates and Jordan are generally very safe. Tourist infrastructure is excellent and people are normally very friendly and welcoming with tourists. Other places such as Egypt con be volatile and we have seen many ups and downs in its social stability, but as a country it has always been quite friendly and a generally safe destination for tourists and what is even better, Egypt has amazing hotels with great value, I would not hesitate to plan a trip to Egypt, just be always very attentive to new developments there as situation can change easily, but even more important is that one has to stay away from any protest.


Other places such as Lebanon always present certain challenges since the country can sometimes be a little unstable, so exercise a normal level of caution when planning a trip there. Qatar, Kuwait and Oman are among the safest destinations to travel right now, but maybe not the most affordable, they assuredly come with amazing possibilities for the visitor.


Syria is another fantastic destination. Right now it is in the middle of a serious internal conflict. In spite of that as of December September 2014 some of the most luxurious hotels in Damascus are still open and tourists keep arriving to the city now in lower numbers than before. We will probably not consider a trip to Syria in this particular situation and will advise extreme caution to anyone visiting there.


Iraq continues presenting the same challenges, it is a very unsafe destination and infrastructure is at best basic. Erbil and the surrounding area has been an exception. This is a beautiful region of Iraq that for years have remained extremely safe, but in the last weeks even Erbil is becoming not the smarter call for travelers.  Turkey is considered by some as part of Europe but for practical and cultural reasons it is always looked upon as being part of the same group. The past year we heard about political unrest and some internal conflicts but hotels remained open and the airport and the excellent local airline ran normally, Turkey is considered a quite safe destination.


When there is a warning issued by the government about an specific country most airlines and hotels are willing to refund plane tickets and hotel nights already paid. It is important to be updated by trustworthy sources about the particular situation of a country in the specific moment of traveling.






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