A backpacking holiday is the one of the best ways to travel and see the world. You’ve got everything you need strapped to your back and you can go as far as your wits, and your budget will take you.
While Europe is a top destination for backpackers, the Middle East, offers a truly unique experience for every backpacker. With such a rich religious history and a culture, it’s a trip that can last a lifetime. Here are some tips to get you started on a backpacking tour around the Middle East.
Before you go
Planning your trip beforehand is extremely important, as each country in the Middle East may require a visa, or have restrictions on where you’re coming from. For instance, if you’re looking to go to Israel, make sure it’s the end destination. Some countries do not allow you to enter if they see an Israeli stamp on your passport, so find out what restrictions and precautions you will have to be aware of before you fly.
Where to go
With no solid rail system, travelling around the Middle East can be a little bit more difficult; however, it’s not impossible. Start off in a centralised hub, like Dubai, where you can easily travel to other destinations.
Flights to Dubai are relatively inexpensive, and it’s a great introduction into the cultures of the Middle East. Just make sure you don’t spend all your money there, which is surprisingly very easy to do, thanks to all the great shops, bazaars and markets in the Emirate!
With so many sights to see, where you go depends on what experience you’re looking for. From visiting the pyramids in Egypt to the various and influential historical sites of Jerusalem, one of the oldest cities on the planet, the Middle East truly has it all for every traveller.
This may be the biggest barrier to people traveling to the Middle East. In reality, it’s actually a very safe place to be, as long as you use your common sense. When travelling in the region, remember basic personal safety tips, such as keeping your personal belongings, such as your cash and your passport close and keeping photocopies of your travel documents as back up, in case you lose the originals.
It’s important to remember that Ramadan (June 28th-July 27th), is the holiest month for many in the Middle East and it’s when Muslims abstain from smoking, eating, or drinking until sundown. Unless you are Muslim, you won’t need to follow this, but be aware that many cafes and shops will not be open during the day.
The low cost associated with travelling in the Middle East is another huge benefit for backpackers. One thing to remember are the visa fees you will have to pay, as these can add up depending on how many countries you plan on visiting. Expect to pay around £25 a day for basic accommodations and food, which actually works out cheaper than Western Europe.
So this year, why not try backpacking in the Middle East? It could be the best decision you’ll ever make.