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Those of you who follow my writing closely and keep an eye on my social media have probably noticed a theme lately. I’ve been restless.

Restless?! I hear some of you saying. But you travel all the time! Yes, that’s true. But I go to visit family, or hang out with friends, which is fantastic. I go on campaigns that make this blog and this life possible, and they are a blast. I go places that are kinda sorta near where I needed to be anyway, and that is always a bonus.

But it’s been a while since I’ve had a true adventure. As I started working on a real honest-to-goodness, pen-to-paper bucket list around this time last year, I started to panic. I have all these dreams… when the heck am I supposed to make them happen? At least for this year, I wasn’t willing to give up my US summer or my Thai winter. Which leaves a relatively small window for travel in the spring, a window which is a terrible time to travel to almost everywhere on my bucket list.

Until, I realized, it’s the perfect time to visit the Middle East.

I can’t explain the peace that came over my fidgety heart as I realized I’d stumbled upon the perfect dream to make come true next. It’s official — I’m going to Egypt, Jordan and Israel! (…and possibly to Dubai and Lebanon? LET’S NOT GO CRAZY HERE.)

While this is the first time I’ve so much as hinted oat this trip publicly, I’ve been chatting to family and friends about it for a while. I’ve been kind of surprised that as I share my plans, there are a lot of raised eyebrows and snide remarks about choosing to travel anywhere in the Middle East right now. I mean, it’s not like I’m planning a vacation to Allepo, guys. But for anyone who needs any further convincing as to why one would want to travel to the Middle east, I provide four fail-safe arguments:

1. Hummus

2. Increased opportunity to bump into Queen Rania of Jordan, become best friends

3. Camel selfies

4. Mind blowing dive sites in the Red Sea, Dead Sea, and along the Mediterranean (yes, even the Dead Sea!)

I rest my case.

I’m going to be honest — I have nothing planned for this trip. No flights, no hotels, no tours, no nothin’. Hell, it isn’t even happening for six months! But as I wrestle with starting to research destinations I know nothing about and have no reference point for and are, as far as I understand, somewhat logistically challenging to travel around, I figured I’d turn to my greatest resource for advice: you! If you’ve been to these countries, I want to hear everything! I’m sharing what I have so far below (which is basically just what I’ve gathered from a guidebook and chats with fellow travelers and a few blogs), with a few specific questions sprinkled in, but feel free to tell me anything.

Egypt

I’ve always dreamed of going to Egypt… “someday.” Well, why not now? Tourists have been slow to trickle back since the Arab Spring, and I hear reports that you can still pretty much have the pyramids to yourself.

I admit that I am somewhat intimidated to travel mainland Egypt solo — not so much due to safety but more due to harassment hassle and logistics. If I have a friend join, we may attempt to tackle it independently, but otherwise I’m looking into a couple tours I might join. One thing I like about the idea of a tour? It would force me to move way faster than I normally do, and knock out the big inland sights in a week or so, so I could then focus my time and attention where I most like to put it: beach bumming and diving on the coast.

• Cairo // The Pyramids of Giza, the Egyptian Antiquities Museum and the markets of Cairo all call to me — as do the cheapest flights from Bangkok into the Middle East. This is likely to be where my trip begins.

• Aswan // Blame Angie Away for this one. Ever since I read about her felucca ride down the Nile many moons ago, I put Egypt firmly on my bucket list, and I’m not leaving until I spent at least one night — ideally two or three — sleeping on the deck of one of these ancient wooden sailing vessels out of Aswan.

• Abu Simbel // Abu Simbel is close to NOTHING so as much as I wanted to keep it off any possible itineraries, the gorgeous photos and dreamy stories I keep reading tell my I’ll probably make it here — either as a day trip from Aswan, or possibly as an overnight.

• Luxor // The Valley of Kings is a must in Egypt! There are actually a few places in these three countries that are popular to take a hot air balloon ride over, but it’s hard to pass up the idea of a sunrise one here.

• South Red Sea // First of all, this is a totally made up term for a stretch of coastline that probably has a proper name I’m unaware of. Ha ha? All I know is I’m extremely keen to check out the dive sites in Hurghada and Marsa Alam. Whether that would be via a liveaboard or daily boat dives from one of the area’s popular dive camps, I’m not yet sure. Let me know what you all think!

• Sinai Red Sea // My final Egypt destination will be the diving hotspots on the Sinai Peninsula. I plan to fly to Sharm El Sheikh, if only to check out Ras Mohammed National Park — possibly camping overnight! — and then spend the majority of my time diving in Dahab, known as Egypt’s one true destination with a backpacker vibe. Depending on the security situation at the time, I’d love to climb Mount Sinai as well. From here, I’ll either cross into Jordan via sea or overland via Israel.

Jordan

Jordan! I know embarrassingly little about this country for a place that approximately every other travel blogger on earth has visited. What I do know is it is an oasis of peace in an oft unstable region, and I look forward to some leisurely sightseeing while I’m here.

What I’ve gathered from friends who have traveled the region is that there isn’t much of a backpacker or independent traveler scene here. I plan to do the trip independently, without a tour and using public transportation, so it will be interesting to see how that shakes out. Ideally I’d love to have two full weeks here. Again, I’d absolutely looove to hear from any of you have been there and done that! Here’s what I’m thinking my route will be.

• Aqaba // I’ll enter the country from Aqaba, the main city along Jordan’s small slice of the Red Sea. Here I plan to do even more diving, wander through some of the city’s small mosques, ruins, forts, and museums, and start a routine of regular hammam-ing.

A post shared by Visit Jordan (@visitjordan) on

• Wadi Rum // Where Laurence of Arabia was born! I can’t wait to sleep under the stars at a Bedouin camp — any recommendations? — and do desert stuff like ride a camel, take a jeep tour, and perhaps even hop in another hot air balloon.

• Petra // I’m pretty sure it’s like, fully illegal to go to Jordan and not stop at the ancient city of Petra. I can’t wait to get my hiking and photography on at Jordan’s number one attraction.

A post shared by Visit Jordan (@visitjordan) on

• Dead Sea // The Dead Sea can be visited from both Israel and Jordan, and ideally I’d like to try both. From my understanding, the Jordanian experience is far more exclusive and high end, and this spa lover is hoping to splurge on one of the fancy hotels in the area for a properly lush first Dead Sea experience. I may also hop over to the Ma’in Hotsprings.

• Amman // Jordan’s capital is likely to be my last stop as I head into Israel. I don’t know much about the city — yet! — but I’m sure it will be nice to be back in an urban environment for a few days. Yoga classes, here I come!

A post shared by Visit Jordan (@visitjordan) on

I’d also like to add in one of Jordan’s nature reserves to this itinerary, though I’m not sure which. Aljoun Forest Reserve and the Dana Biosphere reserve seem like they’d be difficult to tackle solo, while Mujib Biosphere Reserve seems more accessible.

I may have a friend join me for the Jordan portion of my trip, but regardless, I’d love to hear your recommendation for hostels or other hotspots to meet up with other travelers!

Israel and the Palestine Territories

I love Israelis. I find that, like Americans and some other nationalities, they have a reputation that precedes them in the traveler community and it’s not always positive. But what can I say, I like the intensity with which they approach life.

A post shared by Israel (@stateofisrael) on

I was chatting to some Israeli travelers the other day here in Thailand at my gym and they seemed surprised when I told them I was planning to visit Israel soon. “You have family there?” they asked. “Nope,” I replied “….but I did grow up in New York.” Ah, they said, a look of understanding coming over their faces. “An honorary Jew.”

That little exchange cracked me up, but it actually did speak to part of what draws me to Israel. I went to college on the edge of a Hasidic community in Brooklyn. I grew up surrounded by friends keeping kosher, occasionally going to shabbat dinners, and attending a whirlwind of bar and bat mitzvahs. It’s a religion that I’ve always admired for seeming to bring a lot of joy to a lot of people I care about.

So yes, the Jewish culture feels familiar to me in a way that I think will make a visit to Israel oddly comforting in the midst of a region that feels almost dizzyingly exotic. I’m also pretty ashamed of how little I understand about the Israel Palentine conflict, and hope to do some serious learning and listening while I’m here.

• Jerusalem // I’m going to be brutally honest here — I don’t really have any burning desire to go to Jerusalem. But I kind of figure when I get there it was just stun me with its overwhelming charm? I don’t know, I think I’m more of a Tel-Aviv girl. But don’t worry, I’m going anyway (if only to see Temple Mount, which looks like a stunner.)

A post shared by Tourist Israel (@touristisrael) on

• Tel-Aviv // Tel-Aviv is the reason I wanted to come to Israel. Everything I’ve ever heard, read or seen about this beach-obsessed city along the Mediterranean says, “Alex, you will love it here!” I can’t wait to soak up the sun, art, and nightlife that make this city hum — and I might even sneak in some diving in the Mediterranean Sea.

A post shared by @alleyec on

• Nazareth // Originally, I didn’t really have any plans to head to Nazareth. Then I cracked open a guidebook. Turns out this Bible superstar city is also a great place to take daytrips to kayak in the Sea of Galilee, tour the gardens of Haifa, and explore the wineries of Golan Heights.

• Dead Sea // Here I plan to take a full-day course in full-face-mask diving, climb Mount Masada, and check out the Israeli side of the furthest-below-sea-level destination on earth.

A post shared by Israel Tourism (@visit_israel) on

• Eilat // Time to unwind in Israel’s answer to Aqaba! You know the drill: more beaching and more diving, this time with some legendary nightlife thrown in for good measure.

A post shared by ori zabari koren (@ori_pilates) on

…Lebanon?

I would absolutely love to check out Beirut. However, considering the stringency with which Lebanon rejects travelers who show any hint of having traveled to Israel and the fact that there are no land border crossings and that I may run out of time mean I may delay it for another trip and/or passport.

….Dubai?

Why visit the glitteriest city in the Middle East? A long layover! I might fly to Cairo via Dubai and stop there for a few days to visit a friend, if time and our schedules allow.

Clearly, I have a few big decisions that need to be sussed out ahead of time, primarily if I am taking a tour in Egypt and if so which one, if I am doing a liveaboard in Egypt and if so which one, and what flights I plan to take into Egypt and out of Israel. Otherwise, I would like to try to avoid my usual tendency to overplan and try to leave some time and flexibility to linger in places I might fall in love with (cough cough Dahab) and move on more quickly from place I’m just not quite feeling. I think my trip will start off fairly organized and efficient and become more and more spontaneous as I move gradually into areas that are easier and easier to travel independently.

Well, I hope you guys are as excited about this trip as I am! Please, leave your advice, your ideas, your blog posts, your whatever in the comments and I’ll be eternally grateful. And if you’ve also never been, tell me what you want to read about. Okay, let’s do this!

Can’t wait to share this adventure with you!

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134 Comments...
  • Jade
    October 30 2017

    Super, super excited to hear about this trip! Jordan has been top of my bucket list forever and Hippie in Heels had already made me really keen to see Israel too!

    Isn’t the first part of trip planning the best?!
    Jade recently posted..Taiwan Itinerary: 7 Days in 4 Destinations

    • Alex
      November 2 2017

      Yes I love it! It’s so nice to have some time now that I’m chilling in Thailand for a bit to actually sit down and really enjoy the research stage of this trip, too. Rachel’s coverage TOTALLY got me excited for Israel — she has great posts on Jordan, too!

  • Scott
    October 31 2017

    I can’t wait to see your photos from this trip!

    • Alex
      November 2 2017

      Thanks Scott! I have a feeling I should purchase several new memory cards 🙂 I think I’ll be quite inspired!

  • Amelie
    October 31 2017

    Jealous. **crying emoji**

    • Alex
      November 2 2017

      I’ll take you along virtually 🙂

  • Angie Orth
    October 31 2017

    I’m so excited for you to go on this adventure! I feel a Skype date in our future to plan…
    Angie Orth recently posted..Two Years Later… Our Wedding Photos!

    • Alex
      November 2 2017

      Heck yes! You’re the one who got me excited for Egypt 🙂

  • Erika
    October 31 2017

    I have no insight or advice for traveling to this part of the world, but I’m very interested in seeing it through your eyes! I’m especially intrigued by your Israel plans!

    • Alex
      November 2 2017

      Me toooo! I think Israel will be the perfect, carefree note to end this trip on. Plus, there are super affordable flights from Tel Aviv to New York 😉

  • Lucinda
    October 31 2017

    Wow! how exciting! I highly recommend reading a book called “Lost Wife, Saw Barracuda”, which is written by a diving instructor in Sharm. It’s hilarious, and will hopefully give you an idea of what to expect! 🙂

    • Alex
      November 2 2017

      Oh, awesome! That sounds perfect. I’m going to download it on my Kindle the second I’m done with the book I’m reading 🙂 Have you been?

  • Nadia
    October 31 2017

    It’s been about 10 years since my Egypt trip and it was much different then. I saw everything on my list in Cairo and Luxor and would not trade those experiences for the world. But it is also the only place I hired security when I wanted to do something solo. It was necessary. Granted, because of my interests in architecture, I was spending my time at tourist sites and was a target with my blond hair, though I did keep it covered most of the time.
    I’ve read that lots of people think going inside the pyramids is overrated because there is nothing in there – I have to say it was one of the coolest experiences of my life.

    • Alex
      November 2 2017

      I bet you went crazy over the architecture in those cities! I plan to most likely cover my hair quite frequently as well… I have found it just makes life easier in some places.

  • Taylor
    October 31 2017

    Oh my goodness I’m so jealous of this itinerary! I had started planning a trip to Egypt as a stopover before going to Thailand in December, but had to cut it do to time constraints. While I was researching I really didn’t find a lot in form of travel blogs but I’m sure you can’t go wrong with travel guides. I’m so excited to read about all of your travels!!

    • Taylor
      October 31 2017

      due*

    • Alex
      November 2 2017

      Thanks Taylor! I’ve found quite a few travel blogs that cover Egypt but mostly in a similar fashion — did a group tour, didn’t do much diving. I’d love to find more first hand accounts of traveling to the Red Sea destinations specifically but will have to keep digging!

  • Caroline
    October 31 2017

    This sounds like it is going to be a fantastic trip and I can’t wait to hear about it! Petra is incredible, and I wish I could visit further into these countries!

    • Alex
      November 2 2017

      I really look forward to spending some quality time at Petra! I think Jordan will be incredible.

  • MARIA
    October 31 2017

    I just went to Egypt last November and I absolutely loved it. We did Cairo, Giza, Aswan, Luxor and a Nile cruise with a tour group and it was amazing. It will blow your mind and now (I think) is a good time to go because tourism is way down. The people are friendly and grateful for tourists. I would suggest hiring a tour guide for the sites for a few reasons: 1-you will make sure you don’t get ripped off, the people taking money/tickets can be a little wiley. 2- they are not close to each other and transpo will help (the driving there is ridic) 3-they will know the history and legends that are essential to understanding and appreciating the sites. the stories they can tell are far better than any guidebook!

    • Alex
      November 2 2017

      Those are definitely all good reasons, especially #3! Sometimes at those sites it can be easy to get bored after a few days of them if you don’t have someone bringing them to life for you with their stories. And yeah, not having to hassle with taxis or buses is also appealing!

  • Stephanie White
    October 31 2017

    Your camel selfie is outstanding! I love it 😀

    • Alex
      November 2 2017

      None of these photos in the post are mine — as I haven’t been yet, I embedded some of my favorite inspiration from Instagram 🙂 You can find all the photographers by clicking the photos!

  • Heather
    October 31 2017

    I have no advice to give you since I haven’t been to any of these places, but Egypt has been my number 1 travel goal since I was in elementary school! So while I may not have travel advice, I can supply lots of encouragement!! I can’t wait to hear more about this trip 🙂

    • Alex
      November 2 2017

      Yay! Thank you for the kind words Heather. Egypt will absolutely be a dream. Can’t wait to share it with all of you.

  • Cate
    October 31 2017

    Omg this itinerary is to die for! It is one of my dream trips to do one similar, a backpacking extravaganza around the Middle East. Can’t wait to read more
    Cate recently posted..On Growing Up

    • Alex
      November 2 2017

      I’m excited! I’ve found from my research that Egypt and Jordan don’t have much of a “backpacker culture” the way we may be accustomed to it from Europe, Southeast Asia and Latin America, but Israel chock full of hostels and whatnot and thus I thought it would be quite a fun place to end the trip on.

  • Emily
    October 31 2017

    Super excited to see how all this pans out for you! You’ve officially put Egypt on my bucket list.

    • Alex
      November 2 2017

      Yay… and I haven’t even gotten there yet 😉 Just wait till I arrive!

  • Tessa
    October 31 2017

    ITS going to be incredible. Can’t wait to read all about i this. Pls pay careful attention to research on land crossings from Israel. You need to be careful of Israeli stamp for a lot of countries (Indo, Malaysia, Egypt) but if you use an airport to enter they sometimes Let you stamp a piece of paper. I don’t think they let you do thay for land borders.

    • Alex
      November 2 2017

      Yes I am definitely going to be cautious there! However I will be getting a new passport in 2019 so that will clean my slate quickly if anything goes awry 😉 Israel will be my last stop on this trip.

  • Tany
    October 31 2017

    I’m so beyond excited! It seems like I’m going with you. I CAN NOT WAIT!

    First time commenting tough
    Love from Brazil <3

    • Alex
      November 2 2017

      Aw, yes! I feel like I’m taking all of you with me and I love it! Thank you for commenting! <3

  • Ashley
    October 31 2017

    Ahh this is such an exciting itinerary! The Middle East has been calling to me for so long now, so I’m really looking forward to following along on your adventures! I received quite a few ignorant remarks when I decided to visit Istanbul in the spring, so I can only imagine the feedback you must be dealing with. I think the countries that garner those types of responses are the most worthwhile to visit 😉
    Ashley recently posted..Living in Edinburgh: The Expat Survival Guide

    • Alex
      November 2 2017

      I definitely think you are right, this will be an incredibly rewarding adventure… and a tough one at times. I can’t wait to start confirming a few big details and feeling like this one is more real!

  • Dominique
    October 31 2017

    Fun! I haven’t been to the Middle East very often, but it’s on my list 😉 I have lived and loved the Gulf countries though. Oman is up-and-coming and it’s gorgeous. Nature is beautiful, diving is good (granted, not as good as the Red Sea) and people are incredibly nice.

    One thing to watch out for is not to get an Israeli stamp in your passport, it will restrict you from future travel. I’m looking forward to seeing your plans for the region! 🙂
    Dominique recently posted..Mulu National Park – Animals of the Night

    • Alex
      November 2 2017

      I have heard great things about Oman! Actually, one of my friends used to be a dive instructor there 🙂

  • Kalie
    October 31 2017

    Alex! I’m so excited to hear that you are getting back to adventuring to new and exciting places. Looking forward to seeing some blog posts reminiscent of the earlier days. 🙂

    • Alex
      November 2 2017

      Indeed, it will be quite the adventure… and I am excited to have some chilled time and space to really plan for a prepare for this trip so I can really enjoy it in the moment. I can’t wait!

  • Alanna
    October 31 2017

    Another honorary NY Jew here (and from Long Island, no less). I went to Israel a few years ago. They gave me a piece of paper with my visa on it rather than actually stamping my passport, so I don’t have to worry about any future countries having a problem. I thought I was going to have to ask for this but they did it automatically. I have a friend who went to school there and she had visited Jordan before moving there and was ALWAYS given extra security by the Israelis because of the Jordanian stamp, so honestly I think you might have a harder time with getting into Israel than going to other countries after Israel. Also, the Israeli airport security were BY FAR the most stringent I have ever met. I assume I was singled out as a single traveler who doesn’t speak any Hebrew, but it took me probably about 3 hours to get through security before my flight home to the US (I went through about 5 different checkpoints/luggage checks). At no point were they rude or anything, but just something to be aware of! Basically the point of this comment is that you should give yourself lots of extra time at the airport in Israel, both coming and going!
    However, I LOVED it there. Definitely go north to Haifa and the Golan Heights. So beautiful with wineries and farms and everything! Also, I took a tour into the West Bank. I could have done it solo but I just wasn’t really sure that I knew enough about the situation to go it alone. I am really glad I went. Visiting Bethlehem was really cool (just a few minutes from Jerusalem) and we went to Jericho too. Anyway, it was awesome to see the other side of things there. I felt very safe the whole time but of course you have to judge the situation for yourself when you’re there because things change so rapidly.

    • Alex
      November 2 2017

      That is a great warning, thank you! I will likely arrive to Israel by land but depart by air, so I am definitely glad for the heads up to arrive at the airport WAY early (since I’m usually cutting it close, ha.) So did you take a day tour to the West Bank from Jerusalem? I think that’s a great idea… you must have gotten way more context from a guide than you ever would have solo, anyway!

  • Jello
    October 31 2017

    Aaaaah I’ve been a long time reader/follower of yours and I am so excited to see how your trip in this side of the world turns out. I haven’t been to Egypt, Jordan and Israel but I currently residenin Dubai and I would be so thrilled (and hopeful) to see you here! You may want to hop on over to Oman as well or to Turkey if you feel like adding a few more stops to this leg. Anyway, goodluck! And well uhm, see ya around? 😛
    Jello recently posted..SIARGAO ISLAND

    • Alex
      November 2 2017

      Fun! I will definitely let you know if Dubai ends up being a stopover for me! I have visited Turkey briefly a few years ago… I do want to go back someday but since time will be limited I’ll probably skip it this trip. Lots of votes for Oman though!

  • Alexander
    October 31 2017

    Alex – have you considered checking out Oman? Amazing Arab culture and the BEST diving in the gulf.

    • Alex
      November 2 2017

      Lots of love for Oman in these comments! I actually hadn’t really considered it… well I did very briefly when I first brainstormed a layover in Dubai, however I’m already stressed I won’t have time to do everything I want to do as I’m a quite slow and deliberate traveler so I think I need to start subtracting destinations rather than adding them. But Dubai is such a frequent layover destination, I can definitely see adding it to my next trip!

  • Lili
    October 31 2017

    Very exciting! I went to Egypt 2 years ago and loved it, but didn’t get to the Red Sea and didn’t nearly have enough time in Luxor. I’m hoping to save up to go to Jordan next year and hopefully add on a side trip to Egypt to finish up what I missed out on!

    I cannot wait to read all your posts!

    • Alex
      November 2 2017

      Ah, fun! How many days did you spend in Luxor, that wasn’t enough? It’s always hard to gauge how much time to spend in each place.

  • Celia
    October 31 2017

    I went to Jordan on a press trip a few years ago and it was fascinating. If you’re thinking about Dana, check out this place: http://ecohotels.me/Feynan

    I only spent one night there but it was really cool and very welcoming towards independent travellers – I think, from memory, that they offer pick-up from nearby towns. You’re going to have a great time!

    • Alex
      November 2 2017

      Thanks for the recommendation, Celia! I’ll absolutely check that out 🙂 Glad you had such a good time!

  • Shannon
    October 31 2017

    That sounds amazing! Have a fabulous time and I’m looking forward to seeing some fabulous pics. Keep up the great work, I think we all need a little inspiration here and there! Thank you for providing that!

    • Alex
      November 2 2017

      Thanks Shannon! I love this dreamy stage of trip planning 🙂

  • Julie
    October 31 2017

    I’m heading to Jordan in February- can’t wait for the trip! Sounds like you have a great trip planned!

    • Alex
      November 2 2017

      Oh, awesome! Please tell me everything when you go 😉

  • Bethen
    October 31 2017

    I’ve been to Israel and Jordan and had a wonderful trip. I can’t say I was the biggest fan of Israel but i loved Jordan and would like to go back. It’s definitely possible to do Jordan independently we did and it was fine – hit me up if you want any advice. Wadi Rum was my favourite part of the trip. Going to be writing a blog post soon about travelling in Jordan so can send a link if you want but you are going to love it!!!

    • Alex
      November 2 2017

      Please do, Bethen! Can I ask what you didn’t love about Israel? Would love to sidestep any avoidable pitfalls!

      • Bethen
        November 2 2017

        Hey Alex of course… I personally felt very aware of the ongoing situation between Israel and Palestine and it didn’t really sit well with me – it never has and never will. I went for a conference but otherwise may have missed Israel off my itinerary entirely and dedicated my entire two weeks to Jordan. I’m sure you will but definitely educate yourself about it beforehand and stay aware of it. That being said Tel Aviv surprised me as a cosmopolitan and bustling city (I think you’ll like it there) and I did enjoy soaking up the history in Jerusalem’s old city. My lack of love for Israel definitely largely stems from my politics and opinion on the country’s situation. Other friends who have been thoroughly enjoyed Israel. When you go between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem I would recommend the train journey – once you’re in the mountains it’s very scenic and a comfortable journey!!
        Bethen recently posted..Postcards from Chefchaouen

        • Alex
          November 3 2017

          That’s totally understandable, thanks for sharing your thoughts with me! Also, I literally didn’t even know there was a train between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem but now I’m obsessed with taking it so, thank you for that 🙂

          • Bethen
            November 11 2017

            Hiya! I’ve literally just put up that post I said I was working on about travelling independently in Jordan – you can check it out on my blog at http://www.howthemindwanders.com/independent-travel-jordan. I hope it’s of some use!

            I’m so glad you’re thinking of taking the train from TV to Jerusalem! I love train travel (bit of a train geek!) and this trip was one of my highlights in Israel. Definitely way more comfortable than taking a bus too! Have a wonderful trip and I hope you’re enjoying the Philippines at the moment too (I’ve been following your Stories on Instagram!)
            Bethen recently posted..A Guide to Travelling Independently in Jordan

          • Alex
            November 12 2017

            Great post Bethen, thanks! Always great to have an idea of what’s fair to pay for a bus or taxi 🙂

  • Jane
    October 31 2017

    Hi, I’ve heard that the underwater world in the red sea is amazing! If you go to Dubai, you should check out indoor skiing, lol. It’s definitely a quirky activity!!! Are there any cool dive sites for recently certified divers in big island hawaii?

    • Alex
      November 2 2017

      I’ve had some friends do the indoor skiing and it looks hilarious 🙂 On Big Island I have only done the famous night dive with manta rays, which I think would be quite good for beginners as theyre’s really nothing to it other than… dropping to the bottom of the sand and watching manta rays 🙂 So cool! I went with Kona Divers and had a truly amazing experience, you can find it in my archives via the search button!

  • Kailey
    November 1 2017

    While I’ve never been to the middle east(though I’d love to) i am taking an arabic class. Just so you know, arabic digits are different. If you are traveling independent you may run into this?

    • Alex
      November 2 2017

      Yes indeed, I don’t think I’ll be able to read much for myself 🙂 An Arabic class sounds like fun!

  • Tikva
    November 1 2017

    A lot of advice about the Israeli stamp, but limited advice. Yes you will get the stamp on a paper but having an exit stamp from the Egypt or Jordan border crossing with Israel you still get problems with future travel. Those countries also know that Israel gives a separate paper. There are just two ways to avoid this. You fly in and out of Israel or you use the border crossing from Jordan with Palestine. Jordan will not stamp you out at this border because they also consider Palestine territories to be part of Jordan. You will have to be back before your Jordan before your visa runs out using the same border. This way no one will know you have been in Israel
    Other advice spend some time in Jericho or other cities. Don’t just do a daytour. Also 2 weeks for Jordan is not a lot of time but can be done. The diving is very disappointing with lots of trash under water. Because people just throw it overboard. So maybe just do two days to the shipwreck and get you dive school to take you to a far away and cleaner divesite like Saudi Wall (right next to the border with Saudi Arabia)
    Tikva recently posted..Mirabilandia pretpark, één van de grootste pretparken van Italië

    • Alex
      November 2 2017

      I’ve heard that about the diving out of Jordan from someone else just this week — what a shame! And definitely I will be planning my trip carefully, however I am also getting a new passport in 2019 so won’t have to carry around any incriminating evidence for too long 😉 Good tip on the Palestine border crossing!

  • Emma
    November 1 2017

    I haven’t been to Jordan but funnily enough am currently planning a trip there with my boyfriend next Easter! We looked into organised trips but they were a little pricey for us so we’re just going to hire a car and drive ourselves. You may have already found them but if not, these blogs / articles were pretty helpful for us in planning where to go! https://www.thewholeworldisaplayground.com/jordan-itinerary-roadtrip/ ; http://www.samwanderlust.com/jordan/a-self-drive-itinerary-6-days-in-jordan ; https://www.theguardian.com/travel/2016/nov/26/jordan-petra-amman-holiday-jerash-dead-sea

    • Alex
      November 2 2017

      Ah, thanks so much for the links Emma! I think I will end up traveling independently in Jordan for sure. Renting a car seems like a great idea. I think I’ll definitely do so if I have someone traveling with me to split the driving/rental cost with!

  • Lisa
    November 1 2017

    Hi Alex,
    What time period will yu be traveling?
    I just researched a lot of this for myself as I am arriving in Amman the beginning of March, spending time in Jordan and then continuing on to Israel/Morocco.
    I decided to use ‘Intrepid’ in Morocco as I didn’t want to travel alone there. I bet they’d be great in Egypt as well.
    One friend used ‘Agressor Fleet’ liveaboard in Egypt and another ‘Empress’ both with excellent reviews. I decided to pass on the diving sadly since I get cold really easily and the water in March is chilly.
    Your trip sounds amazing and I can’t wait to see what you come up with!

    • Alex
      November 2 2017

      Sounds like a fabulous trip you have planned! My trip will start in April and continue into May. I am familiar with Agressor but haven’t heard of Empress — I’ll check them out, thank you for the tip!

  • Amanda Andersen
    November 1 2017

    Yay! Such a good idea, go and enjoy. Jordan is on my bucketlist 😀

    • Alex
      November 2 2017

      Thanks Amanda! Hope I can give you some great ideas for Jordan <3

  • Justine
    November 1 2017

    Oh I’m so excited for you Alex! I know what you mean about being restless. I’ve been traveling in the same countries in Asia for the past four years and haven’t had the opportunity to really branch out and visit other areas of the world. The Middle East has always beckoned me. And your list of countries sounds amazing!
    Justine recently posted..36 Things I’ve Learned in 3 Years Living Abroad

    • Alex
      November 2 2017

      I feel ya! I’ve been in a similar holding pattern for a few years of traveling Thailand and the USA and branching out rarely — looking forward to shaking things up a bit. My trip to Bahrain a while ago just whet my appetite like crazy!

  • Debbie
    November 1 2017

    This is so exciting! Jordan is my second-favourite country in the world (after Iceland). I have long thought you would love the diving in the Red Sea – my first ever diving experience was in Aqaba and it was incredible! There are sunken military vehicles dotted around the Aqaba shore which make for amazing dives, and it’s a really fun city – I’d recommend going to the restaurant/bar at the top of the DoubleTree Hilton for the best views, and there are lots of little markets to explore.
    Petra I’d recommend at least two full days there – it’s so much bigger than you expect! And the Petra By Night tour is so peaceful and lovely.
    Amman is a great city for walking around, although as a fellow blonde you WILL get stopped and asked for photos a lot! Everyone is super-friendly but it definitely makes you move a lot slower than you would otherwise… Rainbow Street is where all the hipster bars are and some great bookshops (and Books@cafe round the corner has some of the best views of the city for a spot of reading or chilling out). Everyone will recommend it, but Hashem is absolutely worth a visit for the best falafel in the world. And the Citadel is a must, although don’t do what I did and climb up the side of the hill thinking it would be a shortcut – I accidentally broke in when you should have paid for entry the other side of the hill – the shame.
    If you have time, I’d recommend making a detour to Ajloun Castle (the forests are so lush – you’d never imagine you were in the Middle East) – and Jerash is stunning, one of the best-preserved Roman cities in the world!
    Have a wonderful time and I can’t wait to hear all about it!

    • Alex
      November 2 2017

      Yay! This comment makes me so happy Debbie 🙂 Rainbow Street sounds awesome! How many days would you recommend in Amman?

      • Debbie
        November 6 2017

        Ah I’m glad I could help! You’ll have such a great time, I’m sure 🙂 I’d say you could easily see the main sights and get a feel for the city with three days – even two at a push. Just make sure you include some time for just soaking up the atmosphere and wandering the maze-like streets – it’s such a fun city! But Definitely very different from the rest of the country – I’d prioritise Petra and Wadi Rum over Amman personally!

        • Alex
          November 10 2017

          Yeah, those are definitely the priorities, but wouldn’t mind giving Amman a good glance too. Thanks again!

  • Megan
    November 1 2017

    I spent two weeks in Israel a few years ago, and it was amazing! Some things:

    1) Jerusalem- you MUST go to Jerusalem. Modern and ancient all mixed together, great food, friendly people… you don’t want to miss it. The Old City markets will make you feel like you are in Aladdin or something. Get food (schawarma!!) on Ben Yehuda street. Mamilla Mall is pretty. Walk through Hezekiah’s tunnel. Get a beautiful view of the temple and city from the Mount of Olives. I stayed at Beit Shmuel guesthouse and while the rooms were pretty bare, it was a great location for walking through the city.

    2) the Negev- one of my favorite days involved Masada, the Dead Sea, Qumran (where the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered), a brief hike to the En Gedi oasis (in the Bible this is where King David went to hide from Saul and wrote many of the Psalms. I got a great under-the-waterfall picture here!) and a wonderful Bedouin experience complete with camels, an amazing meal while lounging on cushions, and sleeping in a large, colorful, 3-sided tent under the most gorgeous stars I’ve ever seen. I think it was through Bedouin Hospitality, but I was on a group trip so I’m not sure.

    3) Galilee is really pretty. I liked the city of Tiberias, and if you take a boat ride across the Sea of Galilee they teach you Israeli folk dancing while you sail 🙂 cheesy but fun!

    4) Beth She’an is a pretty intact ancient Roman city. I really enjoyed my tour there.

    5) If, like me, your inner child has always wanted to be an archaeologist, then I highly recommend Archaeological Seminar’s “Dig for a Day”. It’s just a few hours but you get to dig/sift for artifacts and then tour a non-public unexcavated cave system. This was a highlight of my trip, honestly, but then again I used to ‘dig for dinosaur bones’ in my backyard as a child so maybe it was just me 🙂

    6) Yad Vashem, the Holocaust museum, is a must-visit. Very sobering and difficult, but beautifully done.

    7) Spring is a great time to go! I went in late spring and the weather/foliage was lovely.

    I could go on and on. I’m so excited for you!!

    • Alex
      November 2 2017

      Ahhhhh I love this comment thank you so much! The Negev portion sounds like a dream 🙂 That is definitely very high on my list. I think there are some great kibbutzes and hostels there!

  • Amanda
    November 1 2017

    YESSS!!!!

    • Alex
      November 2 2017

      Details hitting your inbox soon 😉

  • Maddie
    November 1 2017

    I JUST got back from Egypt (literally on Sunday) and it was absolutely amazing. Seriously, a trip of a lifetime. The whole thing was just so SURREAL, I couldn’t believe I was actually there.

    I went on a tour with Contiki and it was great being there with a tour group to help lead the way. I also met some people who had been to Morocco and Jordan prior to Egypt and were headed to Dubai afterwards!

    I’d love to chat with you about Egypt if you have any questions!!

    • Alex
      November 2 2017

      Ah Maddie, I’d love to hear more about it as I’m considering the Contiki! Will you be writing a blog post? If so, please send it to me!

      • Maddie
        November 3 2017

        I was planning on writing a blog about it, but I just now went through all the photos so it might take a while for a post to be up!

        I will let you know when it is up, but if you have any questions in the meantime I’d love to chat about it. I had such a good time in Egypt I can’t stop talking about it, ha!
        Maddie recently posted..Life updates

        • Alex
          November 5 2017

          Well luckily I am in NO rush as this trip is still months and months away, so take your time 🙂

  • Erin
    November 1 2017

    Im excited for you and cant wait to read about your trips!
    I have a coworker who is Saudi and I am always begging him to take me home with him LOL. I’m so jealous!

    • Alex
      November 2 2017

      Ha, that might be a little tougher considering the visa situation 😉 I can’t wait to post about this trip!

  • I’m so excited for you Alex, you’ll have the best time!

    I’ve been to Egypt three times! Granted this was 10 years ago & counting. Ahem! However, each time I went there, I spent about 2 weeks. One week flying from Cairo, and then doing a Nile cruise that covered all the sights on a small ship of about 100 people to Giza, Aswan, Luxor, etc with a German tour group, and then one week in a luxury hotel in Hurghada! The tour guide was fantastic and really brought the pyramids to life. Another plus for the tour guide is that they know the right time to do things i.e. at 05:00 in the morning ‘cos by 11:00, it’s burning! Secondly, whether we like it or not, tourists in Egypt are sadly, still a target, and security is usually provided for safety.

    I’ve never been to Jordan, but I’ve heard it’s lovely. Ditto Israel. I met loads of Israelis in India and they are party people lol! However, as both Tivka and Alanna said above, it’s extremely essential to plan how you’re going to travel between the various nations, as the other Middle Eastern countries will make it extremely difficult for you to visit, so make sure that your passport isn’t stamped with an Israeli visa. And sadly, visiting Lebanon might also prove an issue with your own country (USA) in the future, as it isn’t a tourist destination and explaining why you went there to over-zealous officials might be something you ought to postpone, until further down the line!

    As a last note, although I have only snorkelled, the Red Sea in Egypt is amazing, as are the people. In fact, all over the Middle East, the locals are friendly and open-minded. We went when our son was quite young, and the locals loved him, gave him lots of gifts, and carried him everywhere! Be respectful, polite, open-minded and interested in them, and you’ll have the most wonderful time ever.
    Victoria @TheBritishBerliner recently posted..Have you ever been to Blackpool – Britain’s version of Las Vegas – OMG!

    • Alex
      November 2 2017

      Oh, your comment makes me so excited! Do you think Hurghada is a worthwhile destination for a solo traveler? I know it’s pretty resort heavy there, so I’m wondering if I should plan to spend much time there outside of catching a liveaboard or heading to a dive camp… Also good heads up about Lebanon. I’ll definitely put a lot of thought and research into that before making any final decisions.

      • You’re awfully kind Alex. Thank you!

        Yes, Hurghada would be perfectly fine for a solo traveller. Note, you might have to take taxis around, as hotels are isolated from attractions. As for diving, you shouldn’t have any issues as they’re very well trained, and ought to be cheaper than in Jordan or Israel! 😉
        Victoria @TheBritishBerliner recently posted..Have you ever been to Blackpool – Britain’s version of Las Vegas – OMG!

        • Alex
          November 3 2017

          I definitely plan to do the bulk of my diving in Egypt, though I’ll go for a little splash everywhere just to compare 😉 Thanks for the tips!

  • Katie
    November 2 2017

    It sounds awesome Alex! I have been to Egypt and I really enjoyed it. I would personally recommend you do take a tour – the hassles there were like nothing I have ever experienced before, and as I understand it, there are a lot of places that you aren’t allowed to go unless you join a tour (that was the case with Aswan and Abu Simbel when I was in Egypt in 2012). Like you, I don’t usually like to take tours, preferring to travel independently, but I honestly think you should in Egypt – especially as a female. You will love Dahab – amazing food, chill vibes and an awesome variety of juices
    Katie recently posted..Experiencing Cannabis Culture in Denver With My 420 Tours

    • Alex
      November 2 2017

      Yeah, I think that’s a lot of why I’m leaning towards tour 🙂 Really the only thing holding me back is that my one friend who may join me is adamantly anti-tour. If she doesn’t come, I’m pretty cool with joining a tour for the mainland sites, and then cobbling together my own itinerary for the Red Sea portion. I think it will be logistically better, less annoying, and like I said, they will force me to move more quickly, ha ha #solazy

  • Caroline Eubanks
    November 2 2017

    Eilat was maybe my favorite place in Israel. I loved the Red Sea, the seafood, the people.
    Caroline Eubanks recently posted..A Day in the West Bank

    • Alex
      November 3 2017

      Yay! I am so excited to go to Eilat. How many days do you think are necessary to absorb it? (Just bookmarked your blog posts to read this weekend!)

      • Caroline Eubanks
        November 3 2017

        Awesome! I think 2-3 days is good. There aren’t a ton of traditional “things to do,” just hangout spots. Beaches, an aquarium, and diving are the main ones.
        Caroline Eubanks recently posted..A Day in the West Bank

        • Alex
          November 5 2017

          Thanks 🙂 I’m so excited!

  • Lily
    November 2 2017

    If you’re interested in doing some hardcore learning on the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, I recommend a tour with Breaking the Silence. It’s obviously a controversial issue but I think their take is pretty great. Tours stop at both Israeli settlements in the West Bank as well as a Palestinian villages. It’s run by former IDF members but also includes visits with Palestinian non-violence activists.

    http://www.breakingthesilence.org.il/tours/1

    • Alex
      November 3 2017

      Thank you for the recommendation Lily! I’m very much looking forward to learning everything I can and will absolutely be looking into this tour!

  • Alex
    November 4 2017

    I’ve been reading your blog for a long time and i think it’s super exciting you will be visiting Israel and the middle east. I live in Tel-Aviv and would love to give you some recommendations and even show you a round a bit if you’d like 🙂

    • Alex
      November 5 2017

      Hey Alex! Fun! I think a reader meetup is definitely in order for Tel-Aviv 🙂

  • Ijana Loss
    November 4 2017

    Omg yesss I can’t wait to read about this trip! I have no suggestions because I have never been there myself unfortunately, but I agree the idea of a tour through Egypt sounds like a good one. I feel the same way about the passport thing lol, I kinda wanna do a big trip throughout all the Arab countries and then stick Israel on the end, or visit Israel on the end of one passport so I can visit the Arab countries later. I’ve been interested in this region ever since my best friend converted to Islam, and I really want to plan a trip to the countries in the area someday! I can’t wait to hear what you think of them!

    • Alex
      November 5 2017

      One of my friends got a second passport in order to go to Iran after visiting Israel and she said it wasn’t too big a deal! So I’m not too stressed. What is meant to be will be with this dang passport!

  • Julia Nix
    November 4 2017

    What a list, Alex. You are super stoked by the sound of this blog. I can hear it 🙂

    Going anywhere in December? I was looking forward to a reunion/mini getaway with someone I met from several years ago, but only to find out now – it’s not happening because he wants to go to other places. So bummed about it. It breaks my heart that a reunion is not surfacing. Christmas blues come early. I need a vacation for myself, I guess.

    • Alex
      November 5 2017

      Aw, sorry to hear that Julia! I am just doing one quick little getaway in December to Phuket with my girlfriends 🙂 Can’t wait!

  • becky hutner
    November 4 2017

    Aww amazing! And I have to say, very unexpected! As a Jew myself, I have naturally warm feelings towards Israel but can’t really give recommendations as I was there when I was 19! But I would go back in a heartbeat…climbing Masada at 4am, my first glimpse of Old Jaffa and Temple Mount, the downright biblical scene at the Wailing Wall where I was sandwiched between Hasidic Jews and African men swathed in colourful robes, dancing in Tel Aviv nightclubs (where all the people seemed so much cooler than me!), off-roading in the Golan Heights, riding a donkey called Francesca(!) and on. On a sadder note, after being exposed to both sides of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, I remember coming away feeling very disheartened & pessimistic about the chances of any kind of reconciliation. Nevertheless, a fascinating, rewarding and FUN destination. Go Alex go!

    • Alex
      November 5 2017

      Wow, this comment got me all kinds of excited! And yes, I know this isn’t my usual tropical island brand of destination, ha, but I actually think it fits in somewhat… quite a bit of sun and sand along the way, eh? 😉

  • Danee
    November 7 2017

    Hey Alex,

    I’ve been following your blog for a couple of years and am so excited you are venturing over the Middle East! I first travelled to Egypt in 2013 and have since moved back to live. I’m a little bit obsessed with the place and have got to see a lot of the country. Another place to add to your list of must-sees in Egypt (in my opinion) is Siwa Oasis. It’s very unique.

    I am based in Cairo. If you want any tips for navigating this crazy city or help with anything while you’re in Egypt let me know :).

    • Alex
      November 10 2017

      Oh wow, that’s amazing Danee! I did read about Siwa Oasis and was quite intrigued, and really only mentally cut it due to time constraints. I’d love to meet up in Cairo!

  • Jessica
    November 8 2017

    Yayyyy such nice plans! Spring is indeed the best time to visit the Middle East. 🙂 I’m living for a couple of months in Tel Aviv right now and I didn’t expect to love this place so much. Also Jordan is one of the most photogenic countries I’ve been in a long time. Make sure you are heading to Dana Nature Reserve in Jordan as well, it’s beautiful there. And Petra and Wadi Rum of course. 🙂 Btw I didn’t knew that you could dive in Dead Sea (the water is soooo salty), that’s incredible. Looking forward to your adventures and probably I will still be around when you’re here!
    Jessica recently posted..Duurzaam Reizen #3 – reizen als vegetariër + tips!

    • Alex
      November 10 2017

      Hey Jessica! We should meet up in Tel Aviv! Yes, there’s one company that does full face diving in the Dead Sea. I can’t wait to try it… sounds like a true adventure!

      • Jessica
        November 11 2017

        That would be awesome, we’ll keep in touch! 🙂 I’m getting my diving license hopefully next year, but I think diving in Dead Sea is a level too high for me haha ;p
        Jessica recently posted..4x mijn favoriete wandelingen in Jordanië

        • Alex
          November 12 2017

          Yeah, I think that one is quite advanced! Eilat might be a good place to start!

  • Sarah
    November 8 2017

    the middle east has been on my list for ages, so jealous!
    Sarah recently posted..Road tripping through Croatia

    • Alex
      November 10 2017

      Can’t wait to share my trip with you! <3

  • Sarah
    November 9 2017

    This trip looks absolutely amazing! How long do you think it will take to make it through all of the stops? Do you plan ahead or just stay until you feel like it’s time to leave? Have a great time!

    • Alex
      November 10 2017

      I’m not sure Sarah! Trying to get a feel for that now. I’m thinking I’d like to spend about six weeks, not sure if that means I’ll have to cut some of this…

  • Kate
    November 10 2017

    Omg! I moved to Dubai about a year ago! Its a cool place to visit! But will be very hot in spring, maybe make that your first stop (like in February) also be aware that if the Ramadan starts during your holidays, you may find it pretty hard to travel around as everything in Arab countries will be closed till 7pm haha

    • Alex
      November 12 2017

      Oh believe me, after spending a Ramadan in Indonesia that was one of the first things I looked up, ha. Luckily it looks like it will be starting up just as I’m leaving!

  • Marisa
    November 12 2017

    Oh wow – this post brought back memories – I did almost this exact trip 12 years ago!

    I have sooooo many things I could say – way to many for a comment – I’ll try to keep it brief!

    Egypt was a big challenge as a blond female independant traveller (even though I was travelling with my now husband) – and I was already quite well travelled by the time I went there.

    We could go several days without seeing other independant travellers – most people were on large group tours.

    My top advice would be to cover your hair and dress very conservatively. You can get away without doing this in the very big tourist drawcards where there are lots of other tourists (like the pyramids) but if you are in other areas, travelling on public transport etc. – hair, wrists, ankles etc will attract attention – that can get very wearing very quickly.

    Dahab is great – loved it there as that was our last stop in Egypt and it was nice to relax and dress less conservatively. I don’t dive but I snorkel and I remember the sealife being great.

    Would suggest adding Siwa Oasis to your trip – next to Dahab I’d say that was my favourite destination in Egypt. Abu Simbel is worth the effort in my opinion. A felucca ride is great but you may not get everything you are led to believe you will get!

    I am no longer a “tour” person, but Egypt is probably the only country that I have been to (and I’ve been to over 30) that I would recommend a solo female traveller do a small group tour (like an Intrepid). It’s not that it can’t be done independently – it’s just that in my opinion it’s a lot less stressful to travel in (small) numbers and have some of the logistics taken care of.

    I also had a few slightly off putting experiences with males in Egypt – and that was even with my then-boyfriend/now husband hanging around!

    I travelled to Jordan after Egypt and wow, what a difference. No street harrassment, felt really safe and the men were respectful. Petra is amazing.

    Israel was after that and just incredible. Loved every minute and every place. The sense of history is amazing, the culture so interesting.

    Please don’t skip Jerusalem, it’s worth visiting. We stayed in the Muslim quarter of the old city and had a wonderful experience. The Western Wall, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, Temple Mount – it’s hard to believe all this history is located within walking distance of one another.

    Allocate a whole day for Yad Vashem if you go – we only had half a day and would have liked to have much longer.

    Other highlights were a trip to the Dead Sea, and the Bahai Gardens at Haifa. Lazing on the beach in Tel Aviv was fun too! Israel still makes it into my top 10 favourite countries list!

    I hope you have a wonderful time planning – please feel free to PM me for more info if you want to!

    • Alex
      November 12 2017

      Hey Marisa! This is soooo helpful! I think all the comments on this post have convinced me once and for all to do a tour in mainland Egypt, which I am really grateful for. That’s why I love planning with you guys! Love your enthusiasm for Jordan and Israel… you have me so excited!

  • Janice Anne Stringer
    November 13 2017

    Hi Alex,
    I recently had a Client who was from the Lebannon. Did you know it snows there and has very good ski fields? No nor did I. When he shared me his view of the Lebanon. It made me want to visit. The food sounds delicious. I hope you make it there. 🙂
    Janice Anne Stringer recently posted..What Golf is Teaching Me About Life & How to Achieve My Goals

    • Alex
      November 13 2017

      I learned about the skiing recently from my guidebook — how fascinating! My mom’s fiancee is a huge skiier and I suddenly had a vision of us taking a family holiday there someday 🙂

  • Susie
    November 15 2017

    This is so exciting! Can’t wait to read about your adventures. You should also visit the Pacific islands 🙂

    • Alex
      November 16 2017

      One of these days, I’d love to! They are definitely on my radar… it will happen eventually.

  • Lizzie
    November 19 2017

    Sounds like an awesome trip. I visited Jordan last year and recommend a day in Jerash if you have time. We stayed at Mariam Hotel in Madaba who do advertise shared transport but in the end we (3) hired a car as tourist numbers are low and there was no demand for the trips they offered at the time we were there. Egypt is amazing, been 3 times, definitely look at Luxor to Aswan down the Nile, again low numbers mean fewer cruise boats but we got a real bargain (on the go tours). Jerusalem is just incredible and tour can take a bus to Bethlehem for a visit.
    Happy planning
    Lizzie

    • Alex
      November 21 2017

      Thank you so much for these ideas and this advice, Lizzie! Egypt must be amazing for you to go three times 🙂 I can’t wait to get there! I guess the low tourist numbers makes it nice to see the big sights, but kind of annoying sometimes to get around.

  • Nic
    November 20 2017

    Long time reader, but first time commenter! My husband and I went to Jordan last year and had a fabulous time. It’s a great country and the people there were incredibly welcoming. At least as of last year, tourist numbers were way down there also. We were there in the peak season and Petra almost felt deserted at points. It’s a super easy country to do by yourself, especially if you end up renting a car to drive yourself around.

    Definitely recommend spending at least two day in Petra and doing the Petra by Night (They only do it a few times a week) and I saw lots of advice before going that it’s best to do it as your first visit to Petra because it’s more impressive that way, which is what we did and were really happy with that advice. As a tip, you can linger a bit even after they tell you you have to leave in order to get pictures of the treasury without all the people.

    One other thing to I have to recommend while in the Petra area, look into doing an eco experience with a company called A Piece of Jordan. We did the dining with a local family experience and it was honestly one of our favorite things we did while there. It was such an incredible way to really learn about life in Jordan and we had a great time chatting and eating with the family.

    • Alex
      November 21 2017

      These are such great tips, Nic! I love it all — thank you so much! Say hi more often 🙂 😛

  • liz
    November 22 2017

    Yay! I’ve been yearning for a real adventure too! You’ll love Jordan and Dubai is pretty awesome but Egypt sucks. I went a few months after the revolution and wanted to love it so badly, the experiences were cool but they couldn’t make up for how awful they treat women there. I was sexually harassed/generally harassed 24/7 for 2 weeks to the point I screamed and almost started a fight in the middle of the streets of Luxor. It is incessant and beyond frustrating. Left the worst taste in my mouth, and I would never go back unless things seriously changed, be prepared.
    liz recently posted..How to travel the Maldives on a budget

    • liz
      November 22 2017

      Also the pyramids are a shithole. Garbage everywhere and there was a dead horse rotting in the sun when I visited right inside the entrance and they wouldn’t let me off the camels until I paid them more and more. I liked Saqqara and some of the smaller sites way better. I’d almost consider doing a tour around Egypt to avoid the hassle of getting scammed constantly.
      liz recently posted..How to travel the Maldives on a budget

      • Alex
        November 22 2017

        Girl, I read every single one of your Egypt posts when I got the idea for this trip (yours is one of the blogs I always check to see if you’ve been where I’m going.) Your experience there along with the comments here and talking to some other travelers who have been — even those who have had positive experiences — has convinced me that a tour is the way to go for mainland Egypt, then I think I’ll travel solo a bit to dive around the Red Sea.

        I am definitely someone for whom street harassment and all that really gets under my skin. So while I’m not typically a tour person, I’m hoping that taking one will kind of shield me a bit…

  • liz
    November 22 2017

    I can’t wait to hear and see your experiences – it might be better now, I was there just after the big revolutions and tourism was dead so people were desperate but it really really got to me, it’s the only place I wanted to leaves early. I would go with a good tour, my friend just did one there that he really liked I can ask if you want tips!
    liz recently posted..Glamping in an ancient forest on the Kauri Coast

    • Alex
      November 24 2017

      I’d love that! I’m looking into a couple options and will take any tips I can get! 🙂

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