Dec 27th, 1997, 01:13 PM
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Our church group consisting of about 100 people recently cancelled our trip to Egypt. We lost our deposits, but it's money I felt comfortable parting with. I was amazed though at how the travel agency continued to tell everyone it was safe to go, while we heard different from the State Department, and others who were unfortunate enough to have just been in Egypt and came back with war stories to tell and pictures to prove it.

Does anyone have any good ideas for group travel that might not be so risky? Our group is now planning on a trip before Easter.
Dec 28th, 1997, 06:02 AM
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Easy answer - Go to Israel. However, I have been to Egypt a couple of times and would still go back.
Israel is safe and is the most wonderful place to visit for people of all religions. What could be better than Jerusalem, Bethlehem, the Galillee and the Dead Sea, the Wailing Wall and the Dome of the Rock, etc,etc. Israelis are the most welcoming of all people. The only problem that you would have in Israel is not having enough time to see everything.
Dec 28th, 1997, 06:04 AM
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Just a thought to follow on from my previous reply, can you get the travel agent to transfer your deposits to an Israel trip? good luck.
Dec 28th, 1997, 09:35 AM
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Thanks Harry.

Given the information we received from the state department, and several local businesses in the Middle East not connected to the travel business, we've decided to stay well clear of the Middle East completely. It appears that many other youth groups and religious groups are also cancelling their trips to the Middle East as well.

I think we're going to take a vote this evening and see what people might want to do as opposed to dodging terrorists, having cars explode, or restaurants blown up. We called a few travel agencies near our home and they told us that hundreds of people are cancelling their travel as well. I think it's a really good idea to cancel, and keep cancelling, until things change over in the Middle East.

What we need now are some interesting places to visit as a group. I'm dissapointed about not going to the Middle East, but would rather be safe.
Dec 28th, 1997, 01:43 PM
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Dennis, Sorry to hear about your decision and comments from the US State Department. My personal thoughts are that the US are being hyper sensitive about Israel as they often are. My son and his friends are currently travelling in Israel for the third time this year. My business partner is going in three weeks and many friends are spending New Year in Eilat. To the best of my knowledge, Israel is very peaceful at present - in previous years there have been disturbances at Christmas but I have not heard of any this year. I do believe that all parties are beginning to realise that peace would be mutually beneficial. If the US State Dept. had their way, you would not even come to London due to the IRA but I am sure that the perception of danger is highly misplaced. I was in California in September and was warned of far more 'no go' areas than I have ever found in Israel. Anyway, I hope you are able to make a good decision and I wish you all a very happy new year.
Dec 31st, 1997, 02:31 PM
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Why not try your local library? You can experience all the enjoyment of the trip through another person's eyes and miss the hassle of contending with other cultures altogether.

Or better still you could always sit back and watch Public TV expound on all the thrills of the world.

It is so much more relaxing to hear that the Pyramids are so many stories high and contain so many blocks weighing so many tons. There is nothing like statistics to make you feel the realism of the trip.

Fodor's video collection contains many choice travelogues for your viewing pleasure. Fodor's gives you the depth of vision of the subject that compares to none other.

Not to be missed either are the excellent Fodor
travel books which contain the experiences of recognized leaders in the travel business.

Some day you should come out into the world of travel but as long as you feel it is unsafe you will never be able to appreciate what the world has to offer nor will the world appreciate what you have to offer it.
Dec 31st, 1997, 05:59 PM
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Dear Carole,

Fodor's video tapes are wonderful. I agree with you 100%25 Because I have a family to feed, and I can't very well do that if I am killed while in Egypt. It's very true that everywhere can be dangerous. But clearly, the Middle East is one of the most dangerus places anyone could ever dream of going to at this point. I have already traveled all over the world many times. It's a different situation though when you are responsible for other people's children and elderly people. For what it might be worth my occupation is funeral director and embalmer. I see death every day. It gets very old. I have no intension of ending up on one of my own tables anytime soon. The last thing I want to see in our small town are the family members of our church come back from Egypt dead. There is a point when the risk is just to great to consider venturing out. Perhaps Egypt will one day be truly safe, at least compared to U.S. standards.
Dec 31st, 1997, 08:03 PM
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Dennis, how about central europe. Prague, Budapest, Vienna. fabulous cities filled with history and music. check out some of the discussions of groups travelling in Prague on the Europe pages. Happy New Year, Peg
Jan 5th, 1998, 06:07 PM
B Wolfe
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I visited Egypt three years ago. Even at that time only 250 of the 500 river boats were running due to lack of tourists. Our boat down the Nile had only 22 rooms booked out of 140. We had a great time but now is not the time to go. I can imagine that the boats are pretty much empty. Just returned from a Cosmos tour of Israel. My wife and I had a great time. We did not feel threatened at all. Our guide was terrific, the people were very nice, and the sights are equally important from a religious standpoint as Egypt. Check out Cosmos. B
Jan 7th, 1998, 02:08 PM
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I just read your message with great interest because I am planning my first trip (with a group) to visit Jerusalem and other spots that make up the "holy lands." However, I am very nervous about visiting the Middle East because of the instability. I have been trying to look up information on the internet and get opinions from those who have travelled that way before. I did read the US State Department's notice for Jerusalem/Israel and found it discouraging, but I also found their report discouraging before I travelled to Paris & Italy by train, so I don't know if I give the report much weight.
The State Department warns against being in groups or open market places. How can you isolate yourself in a big city.
Any comments/suggestions would be appreciated.

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