It’s Travel Tuesday, and we have a new “Ask Peter” column for you. With growing questions about Middle East travel safety and issues of airline consolidation raising airfares, the recent headlines are starting to impact your travel planes. Keep reading to see Peter’s Travel Detective solutions.
Peter answers questions online and on air on his weekly Peter Greenberg Worldwide broadcast. You can call (1-888-88-PETER (1-888-887-3837)), email him (email@example.com), tweet questions to @petersgreenberg (use #askPeter), or post questions on his Facebook page.
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Jenna in New Jersey called Peter with this question: The situation is, my 20-year-old son is a college junior and is applying to study at the American University in Cairo next semester, which would be January through May of 2013. I am quite nervous about the prospect of him living over there. I wanted to know what your feelings were with regard to what is going on over there and how it is, or might be, for a young American to be living over there in Cairo, or outside of Cairo, I should say—the university is about 40-minutes outside of Cairo.
Peter replied: I understand the history of your concern, but I will also tell you that I go to Egypt two to three times a year. You find the Egyptians to be the most hospitable people in the world. I like to say that if you ask an Egyptian the time of day, you’ll never find out what time of day it is because he’s too busy inviting you to his home for dinner.
Having said that, visual images are very powerful. You’ve seen what the scene is like outside the U.S. Embassy. It’s a powerful image. But you’re always going to have a faction of people in front of Tahrir Square–it might be 300 or it might be 600, but you must remember how many millions of people who live in Egypt? And how many Americans have been killed in Egypt in the last 10 years? How many Americans were killed during the riots that ensued in the overthrow of Mubarak?
It’s zero. Part of being a good world travelers knowing where not to go or where not to go when. And if you take a look at the real statistics of danger, I’d be more concerned about going to Camden, New Jersey than Cairo, Egypt right now.
Lastly, there is an economic reason to believe your son will be safe–travel and tourism is their main industry. It’s what puts food on the table and feeds their people. And the one area that the President Morsi. And you will see an inordinate amount of attention and energy focused on making sure that Egypt is a safe environment for travelers of all countries.
Now, you want to pack common sense and you want to immerse yourself in the culture. You don’t want to show up there wearing a New York Yankees uniform and a baseball hat. And you don’t want to call unnecessary attention to yourself.
Now, if your son is an international relations major, the right thing for him to do is go to Egypt now and practice some international relations.
For more information on Middle East travel safety, check out Peter’s most recent blog, Middle East Travel Safety Post Benghazi Attacks.