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Top 10 Middle East Travel Tips

November 1, 2010 3 Comments

During a trip to Jordan and Egypt this past month, I remembered a few tips that make traveling, especially in developing countries, much easier.

10. Learn some of the local language.

“Hi, how are you,” are a great start.  Knowing numbers and how to say “where is” will prove abundantly useful.

9.  Be ready for your plans to change and the pace to be a bit slower.

You’ll still have a good time and your travel stories will be that much funnier.

8.  Bring your own toilet paper and carry it with you everywhere.

It’s good for spills, runny noses and an ill-equipped bathroom.

7.  Haggle, haggle, haggle — but don’t get flustered.

If you don’t want it, just say “No thanks” and move on.  If you do want it, figure out what it’s worth to you and begin playing the haggling game.

6.  Trust the locals — but ask more than one.

Case in point –passengers of the Queen Nefertiti ferry from Aqaba, Jordan to Nuweiba, Egypt cannot buy their ticket at the port as the Lonely Planet states.  Just a few months ago, the policy changed.  Tickets now must be bought at an office in Aqaba before passengers head to the port.  Everyone knew this, but I doubted them all at first.

5.  Once you begin arguing over the equivalent to $1, it might be time to stop haggling and relax for a bit.

Sit down and get yourself a tea, then start again with a clear head.  Do you really need that wooden elephant anyway?

4.  Sometimes a walk in the park is the best thing to do with your afternoon.

Free sights and smells and probably a handful of locals to join you.  There might even be an ice cream truck.

3. It doesn’t matter if you overpaid for something you really love — as long as you could afford it.

Who cares if you paid quadruple what a local would pay if your purchase is meaningful to you!

2.  Think beforehand about what you will do when people beg for money or food so you are prepared.

My rule of thumb – if I have food in my bag (and I usually do), I will give it away but I don’t give away money.

1.  If there is a bathroom — use it.

Even if you have to hold your nose to get through it, your body will thank you later when you’re on a bumpy bus ride (please refer to #8 to avoid additional toilet trauma!).

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3 Comments to “Top 10 Middle East Travel Tips”
  1. Andrea says:

    Great advice Cat, brings back some good times! 🙂

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