When people think about travelling in the Middle East, they often envision camels traveling on sand dunes amongst rustic surroundings. For others, they imagine wars and violence. Truth be told, there are a number of wonderful places where you can travel to in the Middle East, that have low crime rates (like Qatar and Dubai) and that offer all of the comforts of Western countries that we are used to. So why don’t I way up just some of the pros and cons of visiting the Middle East.
Low Crime Rates
A lot of novice travelers are under the false belief that the Middle East is riddled with crime. Several countries in the Middle East have a low crime rate, like Oman and Qatar. This means that you don’t have to be afraid of walking around with your tablet or an iPhone. You don’t have to go to great lengths to hide that money on your person in fear of pick pockets. Because of this increase in safety, Dubai and Qatar are noticing a massive influx in tourism; Qatar has even enjoyed a few Travelex branches in recent years. Travelex are the international currency exchange giants, and don’t tend to open branches in a country unless it has a lot of tourist potential. And with increased outgoing travel from expats and Qatari nationals, the Travelex currency converter service is busy indeed.
Lots of Tech Hot Spots
Many countries in the Middle East have just as much access to the Internet as in the UK, the USA and other Western countries. It’s easy to find a cyber café in Jordan, and WIFI hotspots are seemingly boundless in Iran. If a wireless signal is what you seek, then you’ll be able to easily find one in most countries in the Middle East.
A Younger Population
This can work to be a pro for some and a con for others. With approximately 65% of the population in the Middle East being under 30, this can mean that a lot of culture may have been lost. Stories about past events and where the best places to go are may be limited due to the young age of its residents. On the other hand, because of their young age, they’ll be able to make some great recommendations for other young people who are looking for a good time.
A Turbulent Political Scene
It’s no secret that the Middle East has had a pretty rocky political scene for quite some time. Depending on where you visit, you may find yourself caught in some pretty tricky situations. When you travel to the Middle East, it’s important that you keep right up to date on the most recent political situation of that region so that you can know exactly what to expect, and how you can best keep yourself safe on your travels. TNT has a great guide to the top 5 safe zones in the Middle East.
Do you have any first hand experience, good or bad, of visiting the Middle East. I would love to hear about it in the comments below.