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“to Go Or Not To Go” Destinations
Sometimes it is easier to find cheap travel options such as cheap airplane tickets, discount hotel rooms, cheap auto rentals, cheap vacation packages, and discount travel packages than it is deciding whether to visit a destination that has previously experienced difficulties.
The following are controversial destinations identified by Budget Travel and recommendations whether this is a good year to visit:
• Jersey Shore is where Superstorm Sandy hit last fall tearing up boardwalks, hotels, vacation homes, and beaches. The shore will be open for business this summer, with a goal of being operational by Memorial Day weekend. Atlantic City’s boardwalk was not destroyed by the hurricane. The recommendation here is to “GO.”
• Cuba used to be off limits except to adventurous American travelers who usually entered Mexico or Canada before flying to Cuba. Now U.S. citizens can visit this astonishing country by booking with licensed tour operators that offer “people-to-people” trips. Packages include interaction with Cubans and classes in Cuban history and culture, as well as a visa, airfare, hotel, meals, and an experienced tour guide. While today this is an expensive destination to visit “Go” if you can afford a U.S. approved tour.
• Spain is on the list of questionable destinations because of the economic turmoil it is suffering. Austerity programs have been put in place to reduce its budget deficit leading to demonstrations taking to the streets and which in turn have often lead to aggressive police responses. Tourists are encouraged to stay away from demonstrations and check with their hotel’s concierge for updates on potential unrest. The recommendation is to “GO.”
• Israel is home to many of the world’s holiest sites, sacred to Jews, Muslims and Christians. Israel is a one of a kind destination from the ancient streets of Jerusalem to the nightlife of Tel Aviv. It has experienced serious religious tension, terrorist attacks, and several wars over its 60 plus years of existence. Major cities including Haifa and Tel Aviv are as safe as any in the world. The recommendation is “GO” but avoid the West Bank and Gaza as well as stay away from street protests.
• Mexico draws millions of American visitors annually who experience no safety issues. The U.S. State Department recommends that Americans stick to major cities such as Mexico City and popular resort areas including Los Cabos, Cancun, Cozumel, Playa del Carmen, Riviera Maya, and Tulum, where the crime rate is lower than in some U.S. cities. The recommendation is “GO” but only to major cities and resort towns.
• Japan became a questionable destination to some because in March of 2011 it was rocked by the largest earthquake in its history that destroyed buildings, and triggered a tsunami on the island’s northeast coast, resulting in thousands of deaths and a major nuclear power plant meltdown which lead to the release of dangerous radiation. The recommendation is “GO” but avoid the area around the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.
• Egypt was rocked by political unrest two years ago that included public uprisings against the then President. Its pyramids and Great Sphinx at Luxor, museums and historical sites in Cairo as well as the impressive Nile River continue to draw a large number of tourists. The recommendation is “GO” but stay away from public demonstrations and stick to popular tourist sites.
• Greece’s economic recession and resulting austerity measures have lead to strikes and demonstrations some of which have turned violent, including fire bombings and vandalism. Americans of African, Asian, Hispanic and Middle Eastern descent are warned by the U.S. State Department to be particularly cautious because they may be mistaken for migrants.
Americans should carry a copy of a passport with them at all times. Greece’s tourism remains very healthy and major hotels in Athens and on the islands tend to have good on site security. The recommendation is “GO” but only to the islands or Athens.
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