Backpacking in the Middle East
Backpacking in the Middle East has become more popular in recent years. Countries like Jordan and Israel have been backpacking hot spots for a while, but places like Oman and Saudi Arabia are starting to pique the interest of intrepid travelers who are seeking to discover new cultures. Between the awe-inspiring natural beauty, sprawling metropolitan cities, and ancient sites, backpacking in the Middle East checks all the boxes.
Defining the Middle East is a difficult task. Countries in this region are a different from each other as any other country on earth. After all, the region commonly known as the Middle East spans across 3 continents: Europe, Asia, and Africa. There’s not much to be said in terms of general advice for this region, simply because the expanse is so large and the diversity so great. You’ll have to check out our country guides below for details. However, there are a few words of general advice for traveling in this region, as well as a few key Apps and websites that will help your trip run smoothly no matter where you wander.
How to Travel to the Middle East on a Budget
Accommodation in the Middle East
CouchSurfing is a great community that connects travellers with local hosts. HostelWorld has the largest inventory of hostels in the world, with millions of reviews from fellow backpackers. And Booking.com has lots of advanced search and filters for finding hostels, hotels, and unique accommodation.
Backpacking Activities in the Middle East
Get your Guide is a popular site to book tours, skip the line tickets for crowded sites, or just to get ideas of common activities in various locations. Viator is another similar activity and tour search website.
And for solo travellers who want to join a small group tour, or for adventure activities which require a guide, G Adventures is highly recommended.
Safety Concerns & Backpacking Travel Insurance
Concerns about safety can make some people wary about traveling in the Middle East. However, the reality is that as long as you practice common sense, the region is not different in terms of safety than many other places on earth. Be sure to keep an eye on your belongings, and to travel with a group, especially at night. While you may encounter societal rules that you are not used to, these rules don’t strictly apply to visitors. Still, it’s important to be aware of the local customs and respectful of the culture.
As for any trip abroad, it is crucial to take out travel insurance. World Nomads is the company recommended by Lonely Planet & Contiki. This can ensure peace of mind in case anything goes wrong, like canceled plans, theft, or injury during your travels.
Visas and Passports
Many countries in the Middle East require all foreign visitors to obtain a visa, and oftentimes you may have to do this in advance. Therefore, it’s important to check the travel restrictions and entry requirements for each country that you are hoping to visit.
Top Backpacking Countries in the Middle East
Read our in-depth guides for various countries great for backpacking in the Middle East. Visa info, top sights, safety tips, and more…