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  • Will Abrams

Questions to Ask Yourself Before Trying to Visit the Middle East

Feeling like you should go big with your next vacation? Consider traveling to the Middle East where you can engage with culture and history thousands of miles from home. Before you book your trip, however, there are a few questions you should ask yourself first. By thinking through what you want this vacation to look like, you will set yourself up for the best return on your investment. Some of the questions listed below are logistical while others are simply meant to get your brain thinking through what you’d like to do when you visit the Middle East. Answer these questions for yourself and see what kind of vacation you can imagine.

Why Do I Want to Visit the Middle East?

Depending on whom you ask, there are plenty of good reasons to visit the Middle East. After all, it’s a vast land mass including several interesting countries. Egypt and Israel are among the most popular places to see, but you can also check out Jordan, Lebanon, or the United Arab Emirates. The possibilities are endless with this much land and culture to take in.

For many people the draw to the Middle East is to see the many holy sites belonging to the Christian, Jewish, and Muslim traditions. Jerusalem alone has so much to offer tourists with a religious interest. If your main reason to visit the Middle East is for holy sites, you’ll probably want to spend most of your time in Israel, though you can find a few important locations elsewhere nearby.

Tourists just looking for a little culture and a good time have a wider selection to choose from, as several wonderful countries offer unforgettable vacation experiences. Whatever you plan to do in the Middle East, we want you to consider your reasons before making your travel arrangements. Knowing the “why” is an important part of the planning process.

How Safe is it to Visit the Middle East?

This question is often brought up by first-time travelers to the region, so don’t feel bad if you were already thinking about safety. While there are absolutely some countries and cities you should avoid as a Western traveler, popular tourist destinations are just as safe as parts of America and Europe. The local tourism industry is committed to safe travel, so your guides and routes will be well informed when it comes to keeping you safe. As we would tell anyone visiting any foreign city, always be mindful of your surroundings and stay with your group to reduce the possibility of any extremely unlikely incidences.

How Do I Want to See the Holy Land?

You can book a trip to the Holy Land a few different ways. The first, and our most recommended, way to see the Holy Land is by booking all of your travel through one company. There is no shortage of tour group companies escorting tourists through Israel and the surrounding area. No matter what language you speak or which religious sites you’d like your tour to focus on, there are professional groups who will handle guides, routes, hotel arrangements and more.

The other way to tour the Holy Land is by taking care of all these details on your own. You can hire your own guide(s) and everything. While this may not give you the comfort of having no responsibility, it does let you take your vacation at your own pace. Perhaps if you’ve been to the Middle East several times you’ll feel comfortable to go this way. If you do choose to travel with an organization that routinely takes groups over to the Holy Land, do your research to find the best one for your needs.

Who Do I Want to Go With?

Sometimes the perfect vacation is more about who you’re with than where you go. When you visit the Middle East, there may be certain people you want to be with you and others you definitely don’t. Even if you’re just looking at it from a cost perspective, you need to think about the size of your group and who makes the best travel companion. If you have small kids, you may decide to leave them with the in-laws while you travel. This way you’ll save thousands of dollars and be free to physically push yourself on the hills and trails found in the region. It’s not just about the cost, though. Thinking through who you’re bringing with you will also influence what kind of hotel you stay in and which places you want to see. A trip to the Middle East is obviously not the same as a beach getaway, so the size of your group and who it’s made up of are very important.

How Can I Control the Cost of Traveling Abroad?

One of the most important questions for tourists is “How can I save money?” Thanks to the internet, we can find all kinds of ways to compare prices, read reviews, and keep our eyes peeled for the best deals. You may not be able to control costs when booking an entire travel package through one company, but it often helps to make your reservation far in advance so that you can make smaller monthly payments. Part of the allure of planning your own trip is the customizations you can make, including how much you want to spend on each part of the vacation. Just know it can be a real hassle to take care of all those details on your own.

How Much Research Do I Want to Do?

If you want to visit the Middle East, there are all kinds of amazing things to learn about the modern culture, the area’s historical significance, and the many religious sites of importance. Depending on what kind of traveler you are, you may want to bury yourself in research before you ever get on the plane. At the very least a person with certain religious beliefs may want to brush up on which iconic places and people are mentioned in certain texts. Whether you want to read dozens of books on the subject or go in totally blind is up to you, but it’s something to consider before trying to visit the Middle East.

Should I Go Back if I’ve Already Seen the Holy Land?

For many people a visit to the Middle East is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. After seeing the Western Wall or walking along the Mount of Olives, they feel like they have seen it all. The truth is that there is way too much to see all in just one trip to the Holy Land. Unless you’re willing to stay for several weeks, you’re going to find it difficult to pack in all of the religious sites. For this reason, some travelers choose to come back every few years and tour a few of the places that were closed or too busy when they came the first time. If you have the ability to do so, a second or third trip to the Holy Land is more than worth the time. Even for those who may wish to travel to the Middle East for non-religious reasons, multiple trips bring new experiences. You may stay in Egypt during one trip, Dubai for another, and so on. In the same way, you wouldn’t expect a foreign tourist to feel they’ve seen all America has to offer just by visiting New York or Washington, D.C.

These are just some of the important questions to ask yourself before trying to visit the Middle East. Others may include asking your doctor if you’re healthy enough to travel such a distance or any number of questions about the best practices for flying overseas. However you plan to visit the Middle East, we hope you conduct proper research and have a wonderful time on your journey.

Premier Israel offers a variety of tours and vacation packages for those seeking to visit the Holy Land. Our trips feature expert guides and popular Christian personalities like Hillsong and Louie Giglio. Find out how you can join us for the journey of a lifetime by clicking on the link below.

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