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Middle East, North Africa travel: Don't cancel that tour just yet

A Nile cruise boat sails between Aswan and

A Nile cruise boat sails between Aswan and Luxor in southern Egypt. Photo Credit: AP, 1999

After the recent violent events in the Middle East and North Africa, travelers booked on a Nile cruise or a grand tour of Morocco might experience a knee-jerk reaction: Cancel and go to Disney World instead.

Now, slowly lower that quick-trigger knee.

Despite the violence, sparked in part by an anti-Muslim video, experts aren't encouraging Americans to jettison their plans for travel to these areas. The consensus: Be patient while events unfold. (The exceptions: Libya, Tunisia and Algeria. The U.S. State Department has issued travel warnings for all three.)

"We aren't telling people not to go," said Ed Daly, director of intelligence operations for iJET International, which advises clients on international security issues. "Wait and see with an ounce of caution."

U.S. embassies in potentially volatile areas such as Egypt, Indonesia and Malaysia warned visitors to avoid crowds and to be hyperaware of their surroundings. Daly also said to stay clear of bigger mosques and diplomatic compounds, which have become targets in such cities as Cairo and Sanaa, Yemen. "The violent reactions aren't in places we were terribly surprised to see violent reactions," Daly said.

Some travelers, however, might be unsettled by the protests in Casablanca, a popular tourist destination. But Kate Walters, a North Africa and Middle East expert with iJET, said that Moroccan demonstrations are typically more peaceful in nature. "They protest without becoming as violent as Cairo," she said.

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