Replies: 8 - Last Post: Oct 27, 2012 1:02 AM Last Post By: SPDL
Oct 23, 2012 11:57 AM
Cancelled tripJust got word that my proposed trip to Lebanon at Christmas has been cancelled due to ongoing political unrest in the region and on the advice of Brittish FCO. Would I be mad to keep my flights , travel out and potter around on my own for a week? Love history/ cities but with only a week don't want to spend all my time trying to get to places or getting stuck in one place because of unrest. Thanks,
Oct 23, 2012 12:12 PM
Oct 23, 2012 12:56 PM
2If you do a search for Lebanon + Safety on the forums you'll get a lot of prior posts about this topic. Things are more tense than usual due to the Syrian conflict and last week's bombing, but all that prior advice still stands. Lebanon is always on the brink of crisis, but in my opinion, since the end of the civil war in 1990/1, it's only been truly unsafe to travel in twice: During the July 2006 war with Israel and the May 2008 HA takeover. Laketraveller is exactly right in that whether you visit fully depends on your risk tolerance.
Personally, I'd be happy to travel there at the moment - the only places I wouldn't visit would be Tripoli, Akkar and anywhere near the Syrian border.
Oct 23, 2012 11:16 PM
3I just arrived home in Denmark after a 12 day trip to Lebanon. The country feels as safe as ever, except the ongoing conflict in Tripoli. All other places, except those right on the border to Syria, are safe.
I was in Beirut when the car bomb went of friday, and I participated in the demo/funeral sunday. I talked to a lot of people. Both march 8 and march 14 supporters, and in my view the general optic is, that the Lebanese are tired of war. The following burning of tires and fights with police: "It's the just the shabab" people told me. Boys make trouble with no deeper political reason. Like the small scale unrest you might see in any European city too.
Oct 25, 2012 2:15 AM
4Mesha touched on a very good point - one of the only two escape routes out of the country (via Syria) is now effectively closed. If anything does go wrong, and the airport closes, your only real hope of getting out is via a seaborne evacuation to Cyprus.
The thing with Lebanon is that the risk profile of travelling there is completely different to most countries. Take, say, South Africa or Colombia. Travelling in those countries involves a certain constant background risk to your personal safety and property. In Lebanon, the risk profile is binary - either it's quite safe, or extremely unsafe. The situation can, and has, switched between the two extremely rapidly with no warning whatsoever, albeit only twice in the past decade. But you need to evaluate whether you're comfortable with that or not, as a worst-case scenario would not be a very pleasant situation to be caught up in. As Mesha highlights, the risk of something bad happening there is heightened at the moment due to the Syrian conflict.
It's worth pointing out that the FCO now advises against all but essential travel to Lebanon, which means that you won't be covered by travel insurance should you visit.
Having said all the above, I'd still be comfortable visiting, but then I've been plenty of times before and also have (distant) relatives up in the mountains that I can stay with should anything go seriously wrong.
Oct 25, 2012 10:28 AM
5Thanks all, I read up on the FCO advice after I had posted here and as SPDL says no non essential travel. I am going for a holiday so definitely out. I hadn't realised that ignoring FCO advice would mean no insurance. Would agree that at times these warnings seem a bit over the top but better safe than sorry It might be a cliché but still...
Have just cancelled flight with loss of €200. Maybe next year.
Was in Tunisia when their unrest was beginning and though I felt completely safe the officials were reluctant to let us travel to certain areas. As were some of my fellow travellers, the younger ones. Those my age 50s were quite interested in joining in one of the protests. Maybe because we were of a certain protesting generation whereas the younger ones 30s were sooo comfortable and non struggle.
Oct 25, 2012 11:06 AM
6Yep, travelling against FCO advice will always invalidate standard UK insurance policies.
Lebanon is a fantastic place; hope you get there one day.
FYI, I'd steer well clear of any protests in Lebanon. Practically every political grouping there has stained hands, and it's not uncommon for protests to turn violent, either.
Oct 26, 2012 12:18 PM
Oct 27, 2012 1:02 AM
8Don't know. I would have thought not, as you generally need to be resident in the issuing country, but you never know. If you can, I imagine you'll have some pretty impresive paperwork to tackle.
You can obtain travel insurance for countries which have been 'blacklisted', but they have to be specialised policies which cost an awful lot more.
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