Would you take a family vacation in a politically unstable region?

The reason I’m asking this is because my husband’s doctor and his family (wife and two kids) were among the folks recently helicoptered out of Beirut. They had gone because his wife’s father had grown up there and she wanted to see her grandfather’s grave. Her father had immigrated to the US in the 40’s, and she had no living relatives she was going to visit there.

I just don’t get it. I would never do that. I realize that nowhere is completely safe from random violence and Acts of Nature, but I just can’t see travelling for pleasure to a place that has a potential for violence higher than, say, Grand Canyon National Park. I admit to taking two vacations to southern Florida in August, but hurricanes give you quite a bit of warning! What say you?

I wouldn’t, no. I think it’s perfectly idiotic, to be frank.

To see a grave? Hell no.

Probably not even to see family unless they were really close.

Definitely not. There’s an outward-radiating circle around Jerusalem that I consider my Do Not Go Zone. If I needed to go for humanitarian reasons, I’d consider, but no way in hell for a vacation.

To be fair to them, nobody on either side of the Lebanese-Israeli border saw the latest violence coming until it started – out of the blue – two weeks ago.
This had been the most quiet frontier in the Middle East for the past 6 years, and was expected to stay that way.
Hizballah had different plans for all of us here…

My former boss spends 2-3 weeks every summer back home in Lebanon. He wouldn’t have thought twice about it before the current violence. It’s been stable there for some time, there was no reason to except war to break out now. I have lots of friends and family that regularly visit Israel as well.

My pharmacist is from Lebanon. He goes back yearly to visit family.
He is the best pharmacist I’ve ever had and simply an awesome guy. If he gets killed on one of these jaunts back to see the family, I will murder him. I’ve told him so.

Going over there just to see a grave, especially during this kinda crap, is just ignorance.

I’ve spent a fair amount of time in what most Americans would consider dangerous places, in the Middle East and some wild bits of Southeast Asia. A few years back I was in Vientiane a week after a tourist cafe had a hand grenade tossed in by persons unknown.

A lot of countries have nice, safe places to go, even if other parts of the country can be dangerous. Beirut was well on its way to rehabilitating itself into a good tourist destination, even if you’d be crazy to traipse around in South Lebanon. I’m willing to bet that I’m more at risk of violence living in DC than I was when I was in probably any other country I have been to.

Other people want to be completely safe on their vacation. Some refuse to go anywhere that English isn’t spoken. I think that is really odd. But I don’t think people are crazy just because they would rather see wonderful and interesting things in slightly sketchy places as opposed to doing the same old crap in Disneyland, riding a tourist bus through Western Europe, or whathaveyou.

My impression is that they went over there before the shooting started. Three weeks ago I wouldn’t have considered it unreasonable to travel to Lebanon for any reason. Yes there was some increased risk, but not much in the grand scheme of things.

Obviously now things are different.

No, but . . . I think to suggest that any place with a risk of violence higher than Grand Canyon National Park is too violent is a little too paranoid for me.

Still, I’m happy I went to Israel when I did, because it seems to have only gotten less stable since then.

I would have loved to go to Turkey. Always wanted to, I dunno why. But nowadays, since the bomb? Nope. Is there a list of “don’t go” places aside from the “obvious” ones like Iran?

My family and I went with a friend on a holiday to Jordan last year. This was one month after the hotel bombings in Amman. After a bit of wavering, I thought “well, after a bombing is probably the most secure time to go”. It was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity so we went anyway.

There was not the slightest threat to us, or problem with physical security of any sort. Indeed the people there were - easily - the friendliest to strangers I’ve seen anyware in the world (I’ve been to maybe 25-30 countries). The holiday was simply wonderful, the best anywhere ever I and they have had.

I note all the “no way” posts above (with identifiable locations) are Americans. In my experience Americans have an exaggerated sense of threat and danger when overseas, which I’ve never really understood.

The danger to you there was crime, not hurricanes. You were enormously more liable to violence there than in Grand Canyon National Park, so you fail your own test! :slight_smile:

See, this I just don’t get. If anything there is less danger after the first recent bomb than before it. So what if a bomb went off somewhere in Turkey while you’re there? 73 million locals and undoubtedly millions of tourists; you’d be in far more danger of a car accident (whether you were there or at home) than of that bomb happening to get you.

I might go alone, but no way in hell would I take family members there.

Personally, I’d feel a lot more comfortable with the idea of visiting the Middle East (including Israel) if I wasn’t Jewish.

Sorry, I also vote no. Especially with other family members along.

IMHO, it’s just not worth taking the risk.

On a side note, I have personally turned down two very high-paying jobs in such places because my wife and child did not want to be insurance-rich widows/orphans.

It wasn’t specially warlike when they prepared the trip, I assume. The whole mess has caught the world with its pants down, why should these people have a bigger glass ball than anybody else?

I wouldn’t take the family to a place that’s in a war, but New York city wasn’t considered a war zone or a “politically unstable region” on 9-11, you know.

I went to Turkey last year for my 30th with my dad - he’d been wanting to go for 20 years and had been waiting for it to be ‘safe’ - he finally decided to go when I made plans to go, as it was never ever going to be really ‘safe’. This was particularly in light of the fact that I was living in London and was on the Tube when the bombs went off in July. The fact is that I was pretty much at a greater risk in London than in Turkey. And I will acknowlege there is a big difference between blindly heading into a warzone and making a considered judgement about the safety of a visit somewhere amazing (such as considering government advisories, which we did before going to Turkey. If I had limited myself simply to places that put me at no risk whatsoever over the last year, I would have missed out on Paris (public unrest and riot), London, Turkey, Spain (all bombings), Morocco (disease) and a whole lot of great memories.

Be safe, but recognise that you can’t plan for every disaster and see the world anyway.

Depends what you mean by “region”. Dubai would be a fine place to go on a family vacation, even though it’s on the Gulf. I’ve got a colleague who’s just come back from Turkey, and headed off to Egypt. He’s fine. I spent several month in southern Thailand which is undergoing a bombing campaign. Never saw a thing.

These regions are huge. As long as you don’t go directly into the hot zone, the likelihood of you being the person who gets whacked is tiny.

I don’t have an issue with people taking vacations in politically unstable regions. I do have an issue with said people when they start whining about being asked to pay for their evacuation when something goes awry.

When I was a kid, growing up in New York City in the Seventies, a family up the block from me went back to their Dad’s ancestral hometown: Belfast. As you know, “The Troubles” were at their worst at this time, and I remember telling them it wasn’t safe to go to Northern Ireland.

Their Dad laughed, and said, essentially, “Yeah, we should stay right here in New York, where it’s nice and safe.”