Travel

Have Wings, Will Travel: When Plans Are Thwarted

December 21, 2016

Travel With Lulu With Wings

 

We are going to Jordan in a week. Our well-traveled friends have claimed Jordan to be one of their favorite destinations ever – amazing food, delightful people, and so much to see (Petra, Dead Sea, desert excursions).

With two years of house renovations, this trip needs to be affordable. Traveling to Jordan off-season and using airline rewards help keep us within budget. Jordan came off our bucket list and onto the calendar.

We’ve traveled to the Middle East before (Oman and Dubai).  Yet Jordan is riskier with neighbors Syria and Iraq sharing the border. But we’ve done our homework. We consulted the US, Canadian, Australian, and New Zealand government travel advisories – which is interesting as to how far they swing from nonchalant to alarming.

We scoured forums and researched online. The resounding answer from recent visitors was yes, it feels safe. There are checkpoints along routes and metal detectors in hotels, and it seems to make tourists feel safer. I haven’t been to a country with so much security, so I am curious to experience it. We are over-the-moon excited about our adventurous itinerary ahead.

For New Year’s Eve, a Jordanian family will prepare dinner for us in their home. We were lucky to secure a last-minute booking. They will teach us how to cook; their warm hospitality likely will be unforgettable. We will take a jeep tour through the desert and perhaps view the ancient city of Petra by candlelight. It will be the trip of a lifetime.

On Sunday, a fatal terrorist attack occurred in one of the castle villages we are to visit in two weeks. With kids in tow, we decided to cancel our trip just yesterday.

My heart breaks for those affected and traumatized by the attack.  I regret we won’t meet the sweet family who would have welcomed us into their home – with whom we would have celebrated the new year. I’m sad for the good people of Jordan who live in uncertain, tumultuous times.

To us, it is more than just a headline. We were a bit shaken up that we could have witnessed the attack, or worse. It brings life into focus a bit. We count our countless blessings.

 

Map and camera

 

So, here are a few general tips for those traveling to countries with travel alerts:

  1. Share your itinerary with someone at home.
  2. Americans can register their itinerary in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP). This enables the U.S. Embassy to contact you in case of an emergency – natural disaster, civil unrest, or family emergency.
  3. Don’t wear clothing with words or big logos. Solid colored shirts make it less obvious where you are from.
  4. In Muslim countries, wear sleeves and cover bare legs. Bring a scarf to cover your hair in case you want to enter a mosque.
  5. Drunk driving, wildlife, obstructions, and crime can make driving at night more dangerous. Travel by road only in the daytime, if possible.
  6. Carry identification on you at all times – it may be the law.
  7. Pack basic medicine: antihistamine, fever reducer, band-aids, antibiotics. Local medicine packaging may not be in English; a pharmacy might not be available.

So, what is our Plan B for the holidays? Ahh, stay tuned…  In the meantime, wishing you a safe holiday and a peaceful new year!

Photo 1 (mine), 2 (unsplash)

More travel tips: Planning A European Vacation

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9 Comments

  • Reply Rosemary December 21, 2016 at 8:55 am

    The world and adventurous travels are much less secure these days, and my heart goes out to all those who have actually been caught up in any of the recent dangers – both indigenous and visitors alike.
    We were due to travel to Ethiopia during October, our bags were packed. At the twelfth hour as we awaited the taxi it was cancelled due to tribal unrest in several of the places we were due to visit – so I know your disappointment.
    Love your Have Wings Will Travel photo .

    • Reply Lulu January 8, 2017 at 6:32 pm

      Thank you, Rosemary! Yes, the accessibility to the world for travel keeps shrinking. It makes me sad for everyone. Ethiopia is definitely on our list of places we would like to visit as well!

  • Reply Claire December 21, 2016 at 1:51 pm

    I’m sorry your family won’t be enjoying Jordan. Prayers for the Jordanians. Merry Christmas! Claire

    • Reply Lulu January 8, 2017 at 6:33 pm

      Thank you for your sweet note, Claire. Apologies for my delayed reply as we’ve been traveling through Morocco (our Plan B). Happy New Year to you!

  • Reply Amy at love made my home December 21, 2016 at 9:01 pm

    It is such a shame, you have missed out and those you were to visit have missed out all because of someone else. I know it is better to be safe than sorry, but you must be so sad too. Hope you still have a good Christmas and new year!

    • Reply Lulu January 8, 2017 at 6:34 pm

      Yes, we were afraid we wouldn’t be able to relax with the kids in tow. Happy new year to you, Miss Amy!

  • Reply grammy goodwill December 23, 2016 at 12:58 am

    I’m disappointed for you, having to cancel your planned trip. I feel so bad for all the people who live in fear. A friend traveled to Germany and the next day I read about the truck that killed so many. I can only pray that she is safe.
    We hope to visit Israel in March. Thanks for the info about registering for alerts. (We are very fortunate to have visited Turkey and Russia in the past three years before all this upheaval.

    • Reply Lulu January 8, 2017 at 6:36 pm

      Yes, we are so blessed to not live in fear. I hope you go to Israel – we looked at it as an option as it is on our bucket list. We were in Turkey a few years ago as well – so glad we went when we did!

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