Egypt Travel Warning

July 3, 2013 on 2:17 pm | In Egypt travel, Travel Safety, US Department of State, United Kingdom, travel alert, travel news, travel warnings | Comments Off

The current trouble in Egypt has caught the attention of the world. While this is clearly an interesting moment in Egyptian History, it is not the time to travel to Egypt. The governments of both the UK and US have issued travel warnings for Egypt, for good reason.

While we love Egypt and would travel there again if the situation was calm, we urge travelers to avoid the country now and until the current unrest is settled. We have some fear that the situation may remain unsettled for quite some time and suspect that travel in 2013 will show an incredible drop-off. What a shame for us and for the people of Egypt who depend on travel.

Here is an excerpt of the main text from the message issued by the U.S. Department of State. The full message can be found here.

July 3, 2013

The U.S. Department of State warns U.S. citizens to defer travel to Egypt and U.S. citizens living in Egypt to depart at this time because of the continuing political and social unrest. This Travel Warning supersedes the Travel Warning issued on June 28, 2013.
On July 3, 2013, the Department of State ordered the departure of non-emergency U.S. government personnel and family members from Egypt due to the ongoing political and social unrest.

Political unrest, which intensified prior to the constitutional referendum in December 2012 and the anniversary in 2013 of Egypt’s 25th January Revolution, is likely to worsen in the near future due to unrest focused on the first anniversary of the President’s assumption of office. Demonstrations have, on occasion, degenerated into violent clashes between police and protesters, and between protesters supporting different factions, resulting in deaths, injuries, and extensive property damage. Participants have thrown rocks and Molotov cocktails and security forces have used tear gas and other crowd control measures against demonstrators. There are numerous reports of the use of firearms as well. While violent protests have occurred in major metropolitan areas, including downtown Cairo, Alexandria, and Port Said, the security situation in most tourist centers, including Luxor, Aswan, and Red Sea resorts such as Sharm el Sheikh, continues to be calm. Of specific concern is a rise in gender-based violence in and around protest areas where women have been the specific targets of sexual assault.

On June 28, a U.S. citizen was killed during a demonstration in Alexandria. On May 9, a private U.S. citizen was attacked with a knife outside of the U.S. Embassy after being asked whether he was an American. Additionally, Westerners and U.S. citizens have occasionally been caught in the middle of clashes and demonstrations. U.S. citizens are urged to remain alert to local security developments and to be vigilant regarding their personal security by knowing the locations of police and fire stations, hospitals, and the U.S. Embassy.

If you wish to depart Egypt, you should make plans and depart as soon as possible. The airport is open and commercial flights are still operating, although cancellations may occur. Travelers should check with their airlines prior to their planned travel to verify the flight schedule. There are no plans for charter flights or other U.S. government-sponsored evacuations. U.S. citizens seeking to depart Egypt are responsible for making their own travel arrangements.

The U.S. Department of State strongly urges U.S. citizens to avoid all demonstrations in Egypt, as even peaceful ones can quickly become violent, and a foreigner could become a target of harassment or worse. Because of the proximity of the U.S. Embassy to Tahrir Square in Cairo, the U.S. Embassy has sometimes been closed to the public on short notice due to violent protests. The Embassy will notify U.S. citizens as quickly as possible of any closing and the types of emergency consular services that will be available. Should security forces block off the area around the U.S. Embassy during demonstrations, U.S. citizens should contact the American Citizens Services section before attempting to come to the U.S. Embassy during that time. U.S. citizens are urged to remain alert to local security developments and to carry identification and, if moving about alone, a cell phone or other means of communication that works in Egypt.

Up-to-date information on security can also be obtained by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll free in the United States and Canada, or, for callers outside the United States and Canada, a regular toll line at 1-202-501-4444. These numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).

The U.S. Embassy in Egypt is located at 5 Tawfik Diab Street (formerly known as Latin America Street), Garden City, Cairo. For emergencies after business hours and on weekends and holidays, U.S. citizens can contact the Embassy Duty Officer via the Embassy switchboard on 2797-3300.

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UK Pension Strike Will Cause Airport Chaos

November 27, 2011 on 12:50 pm | In Europe travel, ThereArePlaces.com, United Kingdom, air travel, air travel security, england travel, things travelers need to know, travel news, travel warnings | 2 Comments

A nationwide strike on Wednesday November 30, 2011 over pension rights will be joined by Immigration officers causing massive snarls for those entering the UK, especially inbound air travelers. The BBC and others are indicating that delays in processing inbound travelers could require as much as 12 hours before a person could enter the country. Airlines are recommending that passengers reschedule their flights to the next week.

Our advice – don’t fly to the UK until the week after the strike. Heathrow and other airports will be in chaos, although smaller airports might fare a little better.

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Rioting Continues in London, Spreads Across Country

August 9, 2011 on 3:53 pm | In London, London travel, ThereArePlaces.com, Travel Safety, UK Travel, United Kingdom, air travel, england travel, things travelers need to know, travel alert, travel warnings | 2 Comments

The rioting that beset London over the weekend has expanded far beyond the capital. New problem areas have been reported in London, as well as in Nottingham, Birmingham, Liverpool, Manchester and other cities. For a map showing the location of the riots across England see this article in The Telegraph online. For the Guardian Live News Blog on the riots, see this link.

16,000 police will be on the streets of London tonight. It has been reported that the city’s jails are already full and that those arrested are being taken to jails in outlying locations.

It is our recommendation that tourists avoid London or consider postponing their trip if they have not yet departed for England. If you are already in the country and you cannot avoid the areas of rioting, pay attention to local media for up-to-date information on local circumstances and avoid the streets at night. While some think the riots in London and the rest of the country may be on the wane, we do not see any credible indications that this is so. If you are determined to be in England this week, it will likely be risky and we recommend that you change your itinerary for safety’s sake.

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Riots in London

August 7, 2011 on 10:11 pm | In ThereArePlaces.com, Travel Safety, UK Travel, United Kingdom, air travel, england travel, things travelers need to know, travel alert, travel warnings | 2 Comments

In London, Saturday night’s riots in Tottenham were followed on Sunday by more riots across the city. While most of the new rioting was limited in size and labelled “copycat”, it has spread across London, even to the area of Oxford Circus in central London. See this article from Sky News and this one from CNN for more details. It is possible these “pockets” of rioting will continue, so check the local news if you are traveling in London or other areas of England.

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UK Air Travel Disruption This Thursday

June 28, 2011 on 7:33 am | In ThereArePlaces.com, UK Travel, United Kingdom, air travel, air travel security, strikes and travel, things travelers need to know, travel alert, travel news, travel warnings | 2 Comments

The Guardian has reported that the United Kingdom Border Agency has informed airlines to expect delays this Thursday due to a strike by UK-based airport immigration officials. It is expected that the work action may cause havoc at airports across the UK. Travelers are advised to avoid flying into or out of the UK this Thursday, if possible.

The strike is one of the continuing actions in the UK and elsewhere in Europe that are responses to national governments reducing the benefits associated with retirement, health and other systems and public services. It appears that the 2011 vacation season in the UK and Europe will be one of the most strike-prone ever.

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New Round of London Tube Strikes?

June 9, 2011 on 8:06 am | In London, London travel, ThereArePlaces.com, UK Travel, United Kingdom, air travel, strikes, strikes and travel, things travelers need to know, travel news, vacation travel | 2 Comments

Tube drivers plan to strike the London Underground System on June 19, 27, 29 and July 1. The work stoppages will occur at various times on each of these days, although not for a complete day on any of the dates. The disruptions in Tube service are certain to bring chaos to transportation in London. See this article in the Guardian for details on the times of the strikes and the reason behind the action.

On the strike dates, travelers who rely on the Underground for travel connecting to Heathrow terminals or to trains that connect to Heathrow terminals may need to make other arrangements and should plan accordingly.

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Volcanic Ash and Air Travel – Again!

May 24, 2011 on 9:38 am | In Scotland travel, UK Travel, United Kingdom, Wales Travel, air travel, air travel security, travel news, travel warnings | 8 Comments

Ash from the erupting Grimsvotn Volcano in Iceland may cause problems in the air space over the United Kingdom by the end of the week. See this article from the BBC for details.

If you are planning on flying to Scotland or England later this week, check with your airlines to see if the flights might be delayed or cancelled. Depending on upper atmosphere wind patterns, the Icelandic volcano may cause problems for air traffic in Europe during the eruption cycle.

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Protest in Central London This Weekend

March 22, 2011 on 9:33 am | In London, London travel, ThereArePlaces.com, Travel Safety, United Kingdom, things travelers need to know, travel news | 1 Comment

Central London will not be the place to be for tourists hoping to explore London this weekend and we advise you to avoid the area. On Saturday, October 26th, hundreds of thousands of protestors will descend on Central London to protest the cuts related to their governments austerity measures.

Trafalgar Square will be one of the main gathering points, as described by this article in the Guardian.

If you had planned on touring London this weekend, we suggest that you consider changing your plans, unless you are determined to join the protests. Alternatives include taking a day trip, such as one of those described at ThereArePlaces, or simply heading out for a weekend in the country, or maybe touring some of the UK’s fine castles, such those described here.

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Rail Strike in Belgium on Monday

October 15, 2010 on 6:12 pm | In Belgium travel, ThereArePlaces.com, UK Travel, United Kingdom, strikes and travel, things travelers need to know | Comments Off

Well, it appears that Europe is ablaze with strikes. On Monday there will be a train strike in Belgium that will impact the country and rail services to Belgium from other countries. See this article for more information. In addition, the BBC has a good description of the problem for the Eurostar from London to Brussels.

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Castles In England, Scotland and Wales

March 29, 2010 on 1:27 pm | In Scotland travel, ThereArePlaces.com, United Kingdom, Wales Travel, england travel, history and travel, things travelers need to know | Comments Off

When we were kids at play or just daydreaming castles seemed to occupy our thoughts, as did knights, princes, princesses and all things medieval. For years we thought that the castles at Disneyland and Disney World were authentic. (By the way, why is Disneyland one word and Disney World two words?)

Later in life we had the opportunity to visit our first real castles when we toured England, Scotland and Wales. It was a surprise to find out that the term castles encompasses palaces and fortified manor homes, as well as the defensive bastions that, to us, were the “real stuff” of castles.

Caerphilly Castle in Caerphilly, Wales is a brute of a fortress

The castles of Great Britain are enchanting and always well worth a visit. We generally took a tour to find out the “historic” details of the castle, although most of our time was spent exploring every nook and cranny we could enter. Our legs were aching by the end of the day, as climbing stairways is the only way to see the top section of these historic castles. We would reach the top of the towers and peer out across the countryside, checking the visibility profiles and estimating how hard it would be to attack and conquer the castle.

Castles were a good defensive bet, at least until the development of gunpowder and cannons. Until then, most defensive fortresses appropriately engineered with thick walls could withstand sieges, unless they were done in by treachery – which was often the case.

Bodiam Castle is a beauty, but was built for show and not for defense.

You get the picture. We like castles. So, if you do too, you might be interested to the ThereArePlaces Guide to the Best Castles in England, Scotland and Wales. If you happen to be planning a trip to Great Britain, take a look. Even if this area is not on your travel agenda, why not take a look at our castle guide and begin remembering the pleasures of pretending to be “In the days of old…”.

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