You might think that with all the travel we do, we would have no travel trepidation. I can see where you might be justified to assume that, but you'd be wrong. We just got back from a wonderful trip that makes for a good example.
We had some vacation time in November... but at that time of year, weather has to play a role in where you're going to go. We talked about going wine tasting in South America or maybe going to Tunisia in North Africa... but we settled on Israel.
Or should I say, my hubby really wanted to go to Israel. I slowly let myself be talked into the trip, but I have to tell you, I had more than a little travel trepidation about the goings on in the Middle East.
Counties that routinely end up in the news with stories about violence tend to set many travelers on edge, and you have to admit, Israel has had it's share of unrest. I was so ambivalent about this trip, that I didn't do much of the planning at all...actually I didn't do any!
When you start telling friends about a destination like this, you're apt to get a lot of negative feedback. We got that when we went to Jordan and later when we went to Dubai and Oman, but we didn't let that stop us. We definitely got some negative feedback when we started telling people we were going to Israel... things like, "Aren't you scared going there?" ...or... "Keep your head down."
We both kept saying that things had been pretty quiet recently, and that if anything flared up, we'd just go to Pismo Beach, California! But nothing flared up, and there we were on the plane.
We practiced what we preach. We stayed in a local hotel... not a big name glitzy one that could be a target. We left all of our jewelry at home. We dressed conservatively so as not to offend anyone, and we tried not to stand out.
Just like we've found on most trips that make you stretch a little, my travel trepidations were pretty much unfounded on this trip. We arrived in Jerusalem without any reservations. The Israeli Tourist Information desk in the airport was able to get us reservations at a nice little local hotel about a five minute walk from the Jaffa Gate to the Old City.
People had warned us about walking in the Old City at night. But it gets dark early in November, so once we got to our hotel, what did we do but walk into the old city to find a great little Armenian Tavern for dinner.
The whole time we were there, we walked in the Old City at night and had no problems. There was all the usual hub-bub in the bazaars, but the "step-into-my-shop", "you're-my-lucky-customer" merchants were polite and friendly when we said no.
We took the local blue bus 21 to Bethlehem and had lots of help from locals once we got there. When we looked lost catching city buses in Jerusalem, we also had help.
Each day that went by with more fantastic experiences, I felt sillier and sillier about the travel trepidation I had had. The point is, if you have travel trepidations, but you really want to go someplace, do your research.
If it's really unsafe, stay away... but most places are safe to travel to, even places that are often in the news. Face down your fears. Once you're there, you'll be glad you did!