The Middle East has long conjured up images of the mysterious and the exotic, of deep-seated histories, rich cultures, and faraway lands. Travel to the Middle East is at a peak, attracting millions for its religious significance, outstanding scenery, and popular tourist attractions. In particular, a dream trip to the Holy Land is shared by Jews, Christians, and Muslims, while people of all ages and backgrounds are excited to visit neighboring Egypt, Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia.
The best time to travel to Israel in the late fall or early spring, when flights are cheaper, when crowds are thinner, and when temperatures are pleasant. If you are worried about traveling to the Middle East on your own, there are a slew of Israel tour groups you can join, each one catering to a different age group or demographic. Of course, no trip to the Holy Land is complete without visiting Jerusalem and attractions such as the Old City, the Western Wall, the Knesset or Israeli Parliament, the Shrine of the Book, the Rose Garden, and many more. It’s a good idea to brush up on a few common Hebrew phrases before you jet off, such as Shalom (hello/goodbye), Mah HaSha’a (what time is it?), Slicha (Excuse me, I’m sorry), and Todah (thank you).
From Israel, you can make your way into Jordan via Eilat in Israel’s southern tip, which is located right near the Yitzhak Rabin Terminal or Arava border crossing between Jordan and Israel. Once you receive your entry visa into Jordan – a country steeped in history from Biblical times – you can head straight to Petra, an ancient city which was once a key trading player along the Silk Road. Officially deemed a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1975, Petra is most famous for its sandstone hills, red and white rocks, and ancient ruins. From there, head over to Amman, the capital of Jordan, where you can visit the quaint satellite city of Salt and where you can enjoy Bedouin hospitality, weaving, embroidering, glassblowing, ceramics, jewelry making, and cuisine. If you want to actually stay with the Bedouins in their tents and go on a camel ride, head west to Wadi Rum, the desert featured in the epic film “Lawrence of Arabia”. Since there are many routes by which to travel to Jordan, consult with an experienced Middle East travel agent before finalizing your plans.
Egypt, of course, is another can’t-miss country on any Middle Eastern adventure. From the ancient Pyramids of Giza to the modern Cairo Museum, there is no lack of what to do, see, taste, and experience in Egypt. Almost all tours to Egypt include a boat ride on the oldest and longest river in the world, the Nile, as well as trips to the Valley of Kings, the Sphinx, Tutankhamen’s Tomb, the Temple of Karnak, Cairo, Giza, and Awan. In Luxor, treat yourself to a spectacular overhead view of the region from a hot air balloon, coined “the largest outdoor museum in the world.” To save money, instead of booking your airline ticket, hotel accommodations, car rental, and tour guide separately, consider Egypt travel packages, which include all of the above at a cheaper rate.
If you want to shop till you drop in the Middle East, the place to visit is Dubai, appropriately nicknamed the shopping capital of the Middle East. The city is home to multiple shopping malls, and be sure to arrange your travel dates so that you can attend the annual Dubai Shopping Festival. Fortunately, with so many luxury hotels to choose from in Dubai, you will have no problem finding where to stay, recharge your batteries, rest your feet, and get ready for the next day’s Middle East excursions.