“Arent you scared to travel to XYZ?” , I get asked this about many places I travel to, but this article is about Egypt, and to answer, NO, I am NOT scared.
I am writing this from my Diplomatic Suite, at the Sheraton Sharm Resort and Spa, in Sharm el sheikh Egypt, on the Red Sea. This is my Second time to be here, I was here last in December 2016. I will admit, I was a tad intimidated the first time I came, just because of all the people asking me that question, but this time I am not scared at all.
Yes there has been many things to happen over the past few years to give people pause, but , lets be honest, there have been many things happen over the last few years, all over the world, including the USA. When I travel to Paris for example, people just say things like, “be careful” or “watch out for crowds”, but when I travel to Egypt or a Middle Eastern country, people say things like “Aren’t you scared?” or ” you are crazy” or “I would NEVER go there, its dangerous”. See the point I’m trying to make and the double standard here? Paris, amongst many other European countries has endured some horrid terrorist attacks, on tourists over the last few years, as has the United States for that matter. Egypt has had terrorist attacks, and yes some against tourist, but mainly against churches and the government. Point is violence can happen anywhere!
I get it… Before I started travelling I was scared of the unknown as well. I will tell you, point blank, I feel just as safe, or safer in Egypt and many other Middle Eastern countries as I do in Europe or certain places in the USA. We as westerners are programmed to fear the middle east, and its not warranted! The vast majority of the people here are the most friendly people in the world! I actually feel like people in Egypt, Turkey, and the U.A.E , are much friendlier and welcoming than people in many places in Europe! I never feel like I am not wanted here, and I always am made to feel like I am a guest , no matter if I am in a hotel or walking the street. Strangers invite me into their homes or businesses all the time to offer tea or coffee, dates, etc, and at first as an American I was taken aback and suspicious, but I have since learned its true, genuine hospitality of the Culture and curiosity !
Politics and Religion
Just to clarify this is NOT a political or religious post, I am NOT speaking about either! I am speaking about the PEOPLE of Egypt and the middle eastern countries I’ve visited. This is not saying the governments are good or bad in these places, or making a judgment about traveling because of that or religion, as I am glad people don’t judge the USA based on the current government or majority religion. I have traveled enough to know that in general , people are different from their governments and when it comes to politics I stay out of it unless I am in my own country, the USA, and its about the USA. We are ALL HUMANS, remember that!
Just like in the Western World, and in the USA, there are good and bad people, that’s just human nature! Again, we are all HUMANS!
With hat said, in Egypt, and the other countries in the region I have traveled to, the VAST MAJORITY of people are some of the friendliest people in the world! Like I mentioned before, people here are so appreciative I choose to visit their country, and want to befriend you and welcome you! I have been here in Sharm el sheikh for 2 days, and I have heard the worlds ” Your Welcome” probably 200 times already! I have made some very good friends over the years from this region, and I will tell you its on a human to human level, not anything to do with religion or political beliefs!
With all this said, there are people here and everywhere that would not welcome me, but I feel that same way in my own country at times when people have different political or religious beliefs as me, as we are very polarized right now in our own country, and friendships seem to be based on what your political or religious beliefs are, and here it doesn’t seem that way at all, from what I have experienced!
Another reason to visit Egypt and the Middle East, is simply its some of the most amazing places in the world! Egypt , for example has some of the worlds oldest and mot famous sites to see! I’m writing this from my balcony overlooking the Red Sea. Turkey also has many wonderful sites and things to do, and U.A.E is a MUST, where else can you see the biggest building in the world, attached to the biggest mall in the world, and see man made Islands that look like palm trees, and many many many more things.
As I have mentioned a few times, (because I’m happy to be here), I am at the Sheraton Sharm Resort and Spa, on the Red Sea in Egypt, in which I paid a whopping $31 USD a night for! As an SPG Platinum I was upgraded , like last time to the Diplomatic Suite, which is almost like a 1 bedroom apartment! Just a note for SPG elites, the recognition here is above and beyond!
In Istanbul , Turkey you can stay at the St. Regis for around $100 to $150 a night or the W (which is FABULOUS) for less than $100 a night.
Even in U.A.E (Abu Dhabi, and Dubai) you can score great deals!
And because of the low tourist numbers in many of these places you can use points at the lowest level in many cases! If I had chose to use points here at Sheraton it would have cost me 2,000 to 3,000 a night (depending on weekend or weekday) but because I hoard my points and because of the current Great Weeks Grand Weekends SPG promotion, I am paying cash. After this 5 night stay which costs me $220 USD I will have enough points for a Cat. 2 night with SPG, which is not bad considering say with Hotels.com you get 1 free night after 10 stays, and with Hotels.com its based on average price, SPG is NOT!
Last year when I was here, I actually had 3 rooms at the Sheraton, and rooms at Hilton and Marriott, to rack up points, and nights towards elite status, this year I am focusing just on SPG. Last year I paid around $30 a night for all my stays at Hilton’s and Marriott, and they all had great promotions to where I actually made money doing that!
Even as a VEGAN, I can’t not mention the food! Talk about AMAZING food! You should really try to flavors and complexity of the food here.
I’m Adventurous, but not Stupid!
Don’t get me wrong, I would not currently travel to many countries in the Middle East, or other regions for that matter! I would not go to places that are active war zones, or where the government is failing, etc, but the Middle East is very large and the majority of the countries are not in turmoil, contrary to popular belief! Always do your research and check the USA State Department Advisory list and possibly the British equivalent to get some ideas then research Travel Adviser to get first hand experiences your self to make an educated decision.
Some will may disagree with me, but I bet the ones who do, has never been to Egypt or the Middle East. If they have, I would bet they haven’t really been out and about with the people here.
I love Europe, and I of course love my country , the USA the best, but I also really love Egypt, and a few other countries I’ve visited in the Middle east.
Just remember, when people overseas here about all our MANY school shootings, or gun deaths in general, or the fact that we imprison more people per capita or the terrorist attacks we have endured , both foreign and domestic terrorist (remember the largest terrorist attack in history happened on our soil unfortunately), and again I am not being political, just saying if you don’t want foreigners judging us, as Americans based on these unfortunate events and being scared to come visit the USA, the same should go in reverse, we should not judge an entire county or their people based on unfortunate events.
Again, there are MANY countries in the world I would not currently visit, although my dream is to eventually visit every country. Just do due diligence and research the place, don’t go on just what you hear on the news, and remember, like us as Americans know very well , violence can happen anywhere!
And most importantly, I truly feel traveling and experiencing new and foreign cultures, opens and advances your mind and awareness, and makes us grow as humans!
Look out for my review of the Sheraton Sharm Resort, you will want to read it!
Thanks for reading, and PLEASE, TRAVEL MORE!