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Travelling questions....

Discussion in 'Hangout' started by Maisiebelle, Jan 9, 2008.

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  1. Maisiebelle
    Super_Ideal_Rock

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    by Maisiebelle » Jan 9, 2008
    How many of you check up on a country before you book a vacation there? Does the underlying threat of terrorism put you off?

    There are lots of places my family and I would love to visit... Egypt, Turkey, Morocco and Tunisia were at the top of our list. Unfortunately I looked them up on the British Foreign Office website and it really puts me off. I don''t know if they just put the worst case scenario on there or whether it will be really dangerous to go there.

    How do you decide where to visit? We really want to see the sights in these places, experience another way of life.
     
  2. Independent Gal
    Ideal_Rock

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    by Independent Gal » Jan 9, 2008
    Hi Maisie,

    I ALWAYS look up countries on Foreign Office websites before I go there, as its the best way to get a realistic sense of the risk. If there is a SERIOUS risk, they will say 'It is recommended that you stay away if your visit is not essential.' If they don't say 'stay away', it's probably fine to go. Sometimes they say 'Don't go to region X' which is good to know too. But that shouldn't prevent you from going to region Y of that country, as problems are often VERY local.

    So, e.g., there are parts of Turkey (like along the border with Iraq) where you probably shouldn't go. But is it OK to go Istanbul, down the west coast or on the south coast where the tourist areas are? ABSOLUTELY! There is next to no violent street crime in Turkey. You are safer there than in England for sure. And the chances of you just happening to be a victim of terrorist violence are probably more remote than being killed by lightning.

    You can take what they say literally. If they say 'Be careful', you should be careful, but that doesn't mean you should stay away. Just that you should be careful. As you would in an unfamiliar neighbourhood of London. But if they say 'careful' they mean 'careful', not 'stay away'.

    The idea is to have a REALISTIC sense of risk, and then to behave accordingly.

    So, yes I read the warnings. Yes, I listen to them. And if the warning doesn't say 'don't go here', that means its fine to go there. They tell you true. That is their job!

    Hope that helps.
     
  3. firebirdgold
    Ideal_Rock

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    by firebirdgold » Jan 9, 2008
    I''d love to go to Egypt but like you I''m rather put off by my perception of a threat. (Wether or not there is an actual threat, I feel threatened). We might consider going in a clump. There''s talk of taking a ancient egyptian ruin cruise on the nile. Ok, so safety in numbers doesn''t really work when it comes to terrorist attacks against tourists, but still feels better. Besides, if we''re on a boat, it''s a moving target. [​IMG]


    So far we just pick regions we feel safer in and hope that conditions will improve eventually. (perhaps if we pretend to be Canadian, eh?) Greece was a great choice for us. It''s sufficently different to be exotic, the food''s great, the people are very friendly, and the ruins and sense of history are amazing. We like to explore and it was amazing fun to rent a car and go see what''s on the other side of the hill while still feeling safe and welcomed. (we were on an island, I figured how lost could we get?)

    I''m a coward, what of it?
    [​IMG]
     
  4. bee*
    Super_Ideal_Rock

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    by bee* » Jan 9, 2008
    I always research like mad before I go away anywhere. The threat of terrorism puts me off a bit but it doesn''t usually stop me travelling to them. As indy said, there are usually certain parts of a country which I wouldn''t visit but I would visit some parts of it.
     
  5. Maisiebelle
    Super_Ideal_Rock

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    by Maisiebelle » Jan 9, 2008
    I definitely think that terrorists like to disrupt as much of normal life as possible. They don''t actually have to do much to create a sense of fear and anxiety.

    My main concern is that we will be travelling with the children. I really want them to experience a different way of life.... I am just worried that I may put them at risk.
     
  6. sap483
    Brilliant_Rock

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    by sap483 » Jan 10, 2008
    I too research destinations before I go, but like Indy unless they say not to go, I''m willing to take the risk. I went to Egypt at the end of 2006, and there was not a moment where I didn''t feel 100% safe. Like any other city, if you''re respectful you have nothing to worry about. I also make sure to research local customs to avoid inadvertantly offending anyone.
     
  7. Independent Gal
    Ideal_Rock

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    by Independent Gal » Jan 10, 2008
    Yeah, SAP makes a good point. Some little things you may not think of can offend people. For instance, in some cultures, touching someone''s head is extremely rude. So, in those places, the urge to tossle a cute kid''s hair must be resisted! Or feet. Pointing your feet at someone (like, say lying on the beach) is very rude in some places. So, it''s always good to read up a little. A good guide book (like Rough Guide or Lonely Planet) will clue you in. In fact, those guides usually have a whole section on traveling with children in particular countries.

    I don''t think I would take very small children to a country where vigilant health precautions need to be taken. Basically, until they are old enough to understand what cannot be put in their mouths.

    So, I''d say, of those countries, that Turkey would be your easiest, safest bet with your littlest one. Plus, it''s a culture that DOTES on kids, so that will make it pretty easy. And I have rarely experienced such warm, go miles out of your way for a stranger-type hospitality as in Turkey. What a wonderful country! Love it there.

    Egypt is so well-touristed that I''m sure going there with little ones would be fine too, as long as they understand about food and water safety and can be immunized against relevant bugs.
     
  8. Pandora II
    Ideal_Rock

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    by Pandora II » Jan 10, 2008
    I check the Foreign Office website, but other than not booking my holiday in Somalia or Iraq, I''m not really very worried.

    I lived in Belfast for 2 years at the height of the Troubles - and at the top of the Falls Road, and really I saw very little - looks much worse on TV because you see it all condensed, whereas on the ground it is much more spread out geographically so most of it doesn''t affect you.

    FI and I are going to Sri Lanka and the FO warnings look quite dire - but I''m not planning on going to Jaffna so haven''t thought twice.

    Turkey is amazing. My boss has a holiday home there and never even thinks about not going.

    Tunisia I felt very safe in, loads of my friends have been to Morocco recently (and my boss is over there on business next week). FBIL goes to the Red Sea in Eygpt diving at least once a year.


    My way of thinking is that life is for living and you are just as likely to get shot/blown-up/hit by a bus in the UK as abroad. I live in the area of London with the highest rate of guncrime in the UK - I''m a local politician there so easily recognised, and have never felt unsafe at all.

    I say BOOK THOSE TICKETS!
     
  9. Maisiebelle
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    by Maisiebelle » Jan 10, 2008
    We are booking tomorrow!

    Just going for one week to the Thalasso Monastir Hotel in Tunisia.

    It has glowing reviews on trip advisor so we are happy to go ahead and book up. Do I need to leave my engagement ring at home?

    October will be best as the temperatures look like they drop then! Also my eldest son will have gone off to University and I will need something to cheer me up!

    I will take lots of photos to show you when I get home. [​IMG]

    Thanks for all your advice everyone!
     
  10. Pandora II
    Ideal_Rock

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    by Pandora II » Jan 10, 2008
    I would feel perfectly happy taking my e-ring to Tunisia. I felt very safe there.

    You do need to be aware of dressing modestly, but that is about it.

    I had a great time in Sousse - well worth a visit.

    The only problem we had there was getting food poisoning from the hotel buffet. I have a cast-iron stomach and never get anything (I''ve travelled round India and spent a month in China eating at street stalls and not a single stomach bug at all) - so it was definitely not anything like being sensitive to a new type of food.

    The hotels are beautiful though.
     
  11. Maisiebelle
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    by Maisiebelle » Jan 11, 2008
    Which hotel did you stay in? I have read loads of reviews on the one I have booked and everyone says the food is amazing. I hope we don''t get sick! I hate being ill!
     
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