Should I travel to North Africa or the Middle East?

The recent demonstrations rippling through North Africa and the Middle East have hit a number of high profile holiday destinations, including Egypt, Morocco and Tunisia. And whilst they have remained relatively peaceful, there has been huge disruption to the infrastructure in the countries affected. For many people the attraction of these destinations as holiday resorts is now in doubt - here's some travel tips as to whether travel to the Middle East and North Africa is viable right now.

Check with your travel provider
In the first instance customers should check with their travel provider - those who have booked package holidays may find that the travel company have issued their own advice and decided to withdraw holidays and offer refunds. Tourists who have booked independently should check details with their carrier to see if flights are still functioning as normal.

Check the FCO
The Foreign Office issues official travel advice by country - the guidance will be regularly updated with regard to current situations and is a good place to find out what is going on and understand the 'risk' involved.

Check your travel insurance
Ensure that you have taken out comprehensive travel and medical insurance - and ensure that the cover is still valid in respect of recent activity.

Modify your plans
A trip to a tourist development, such as the Red Sea, may well be considered perfectly safe, with business trading as usual - however a tour around the pyramids and Nile may now be out the question, whilst curfews will affect night flights into Cairo. A few simple changes to an itinerary, including flights and arrival destination, could mean that the country continues to be safe and a viable holiday option.

Be prepared
Situations can change quickly and for many countries the protests have had a knock on affect on infrastructure, with banks closed and fuel prices high. If you do decide to travel, ensure you have enough travel money or a travel credit card before you enter the country, adequate insurance and remain up-to-date with news and developments.

On a positive note, many attractions will be almost devoid of tour groups - a recent report from a French couple visiting Egypt recounted how they were virtually the only tourists at the Great Giza pyramids - an amazing experience at a global destination that usually attracts 1,000's of visitors a day.