Lebanon is one of the most beautiful countries in the Middle East. Unfortunately, like some other countries in the area, it sees conflict from time to time and you may need to exercise extra caution when you travel to Lebanon.
As of April, the US State Department has a warning in place against traveling to Lebanon due to the potential for violence to erupt with little to no warning, mostly as a result of extremist groups present in the country. According to the official warning, “The potential in Lebanon for a spontaneous upsurge in violence remains. …. Access to borders, airports, roads, and seaports can be interrupted with little or no warning. …The ability of U.S. government personnel to reach travelers or provide emergency services may be severely limited.”
While you could (any many tourists do!) visit Lebanon and have no trouble at all as you explore its gorgeous landscapes, impressive ruins, and historic sites, there is always a chance that the situation could change suddenly and for the worse.
The US isn’t alone in its caution. UK citizens are also discouraged from non-essential travel to the country and the Australian government advises visitors to avoid areas south of the Litani River, Palestinian refugee camps, the northeastern suburbs of Tripoli, including Jabal Mohsen, Bab al Tabbaneh, as well as the border regions in northern Lebanon.
If you do decide to go, be careful about which cities you visit, check the State Department website to get the scoop on the latest updates, including information on any places where you should be particularly concerned about traveling, and sign up for alerts from the embassy. In case of an emergency, they’ll send out emails alerting traveling citizens as to areas to avoid; they’ll also keep you updated about any planned protests (which can often become dangerous) or other events you should be aware of. The embassy is also the place to turn should you need assistance on your trip (though assistance is not guaranteed under the travel warning).
Tour guides can be of additional service, as they are based locally and know which areas are generally safe and which should be avoided. Finally, it’s a wise idea to invest in comprehensive travel insurance should you need to cancel your trip or change your plans.