Tunisia From the Mediterranean to the Sahara by rkw11276

VIEWS: 29 PAGES: 39

									 Tunisia: From the
Mediterranean to the
      Sahara
    Plus, optional extensions in
      Marrakesh, Morocco &
   Ancient Rome: The Eternal City


              2010
                        A Word about Adventure Travel
Welcome! Thank you for choosing Overseas Adventure Travel for your trip to Tunisia. Whether
you’ve traveled with OAT before or are joining us for the first time, we know this will be one of
your most rewarding adventures.

Overseas Adventure Travel, founded in 1978, is America’s leading adventure travel company. OAT
trips have been recommended by The New York Times, Condé Nast Traveler, The Los Angeles
Times, Travel + Leisure, The Wall Street Journal, US News & World Report, and others. But our
most impressive reviews come from our customers: Thousands of travelers have joined our trips,
and 96% say they’d gladly travel with us again.

Preparing for your trip and learning about your destination are part of the joy of travel. The
Handbook you are holding is designed to be your central information resource, as you get ready. It
contains information on your trip, your air travel arrangements, packing tips, travel protection plan,
and much more.

Most travelers are particularly concerned about what to bring on their trip. Here’s where you really
benefit from OAT’s years of adventure travel experience. We asked our customers and Trip
Leaders from past trips about the gear and clothing they carried with them. They told us what
worked, what didn’t, and what they wished they had. When you read our gear lists, you are
consulting not just one experienced adventure traveler, but hundreds!

The more you know before you go, the more you’ll appreciate your time there. To ensure that this
trip is right for you, please pay close attention to the “Are You Fit for Adventure?” and “Physical
Activities” sections of this handbook.

 Your Handbook includes some suggestions for books. Pick one or two, according to your own
interests. Your efforts will be handsomely rewarded with a deeper understanding of this
exceptional destination. We’ve also provided a section about what to expect on the trip itself. This
includes suggestions for staying healthy, for preserving the natural and cultural environments, even
tips on bargaining and shopping.

All our suggestions and requirements have the same purpose: to help you get the most out of your
trip. After you’ve read the Handbook, please contact OAT Traveler Support if you need
clarification of any point.

Have a great trip!




                            Overseas Adventure Travel
                                 1-800-221-0814
                               www.oattravel.com




TNS 10                                         10/27/09                                      Page 1
                    Overseas Adventure Travel
      Tunisia: From the Mediterranean to the Sahara Handbook
                         Table of Contents
1. IMPORTANT INFORMATION................................................................................................4
   TRAVEL DOCUMENTS.............................................................................................................................. 4
     Passport...................................................................................................................................4
     Visas.........................................................................................................................................4
     Emergency Photocopies...........................................................................................................5
   AIRLINE INFORMATION............................................................................................................................ 5
     When to Expect Your Flight Itineraries and Airline Tickets.....................................................5
     A Word about Air Routing........................................................................................................5
     OAT International Flight Reservations....................................................................................5
     Advance International/Domestic Flight Seat Reservations......................................................6
     Arranging Your Own Domestic Flights....................................................................................6
     Arranging Your Own International Flights..............................................................................6
     Airport Departure Taxes..........................................................................................................6
     Breakaway Travel....................................................................................................................7
     When You Receive Your Airline Tickets....................................................................................7
2. GET READY TO GO.................................................................................................................8
   VISIT YOUR DOCTOR............................................................................................................................. 8
      Medical Checkup......................................................................................................................8
      Vaccinations.............................................................................................................................8
      Prescription Medications.........................................................................................................8
      Dental Exam.............................................................................................................................9
   ARE YOU FIT FOR ADVENTURE?............................................................................................................. 9
   LEARN ABOUT YOUR DESTINATION......................................................................................................... 10
      Tunisia at a Glance................................................................................................................10
      Morocco at a Glance – Optional extension............................................................................12
      Italy at a Glance – Optional extension...................................................................................14
      Suggested Readings................................................................................................................17
      Arabic Phrase Guide..............................................................................................................18
   USEFUL WEBSITES................................................................................................................................ 20
   JET LAG PRECAUTIONS.......................................................................................................................... 21
3. PACKING JUST WHAT YOU NEED...................................................................................22
   A WORD ABOUT THE WEATHER............................................................................................................. 22
   YOUR LOCKS & LUGGAGE.................................................................................................................... 24
     TSA locks................................................................................................................................24
     SPECIAL LUGGAGE LIMITATIONS....................................................................................25
   CLOTHING SUGGESTIONS........................................................................................................................ 25
   TRAVELER’S CHECKLISTS...................................................................................................................... 26
     Packing Your Carry-On Bag..................................................................................................26
     Luggage Checklist..................................................................................................................26
     Recommended Clothing Checklist..........................................................................................27
     Other Essential Items.............................................................................................................27



TNS 10                                                              10/27/09                                                          Page 2
      Medicines...............................................................................................................................28
      Optional Gear........................................................................................................................28
   TIPS ON PHOTO GEAR........................................................................................................................... 29
5. WHILE YOU ARE ON YOUR TRIP......................................................................................30
   MONEY MATTERS................................................................................................................................ 30
      How to Carry Your Money.....................................................................................................30
      ATMs & Debit Cards..............................................................................................................30
      Credit Cards ..........................................................................................................................31
      Currency.................................................................................................................................31
   TIPPING............................................................................................................................................... 31
   STAYING HEALTHY ON YOUR TRIP......................................................................................................... 32
   CELL PHONES...................................................................................................................................... 33
   PHONE CALLING CARDS........................................................................................................................ 33
   A WORD ABOUT ELECTRICITY................................................................................................................ 34
   RESPONSIBLE TRAVEL IN TUNISIA........................................................................................................... 34
      Conserving the Natural Environment.....................................................................................34
      Cultural Interaction...............................................................................................................35
   SAFETY & SECURITY............................................................................................................................ 35
   SHOPPING IN TUNISIA............................................................................................................................ 35
      Souvenirs................................................................................................................................35
      Bargaining.............................................................................................................................36
      U.S. Customs Regulations......................................................................................................36
6. SOME FINAL THOUGHTS...................................................................................................37
   CONTRIBUTIONS TO LOCALS................................................................................................................... 37
   A REAL ADVENTURE............................................................................................................................ 37




TNS 10                                                                 10/27/09                                                             Page 3
                                      Important Information



1. Important Information

Travel Documents
Passport
You need a passport for this itinerary.
                                              Note
Your passport must be valid for at least six months following your scheduled return to the
United States. You will also require blank pages available in your passport. The number of
pages you will need varies according to the options you have selected, as we have listed below.
These pages must be labeled “Visas” at the top (blank “Amendments and Endorsements”
pages are not acceptable). If both of these requirements are not met, you may be refused
admittance to a country and, consequently, required by that country’s government to return
to the U.S. immediately.

Main trip only: If you are taking only the main trip, you will require 1 blank passport page.

Pre-trip extension to Marrakesh, Morocco: In addition to the 1 page required for the main
trip, you will need 1 more page for a total of 2 blank passport pages.

Post-trip extension to Ancient Rome: The Eternal City: In addition to the 1 page required for
the main trip, you will need 1 more page for a total of 2 blank passport pages.

Both pre-and post-trip extensions: In addition to the 1 page required for the main trip, you
will need 2 more pages for a total of 3 blank passport pages.



Contact the National Passport Information Center (NPIC) at 1-877-487-2778 or visit their website
at www.travel.state.gov for information on obtaining a new passport, renewing your existing
passport, and for general tips on traveling abroad. You can renew your passport by mail if it is not
damaged, you obtained it within the last fifteen years, and it’s in the name you want on your new
passport. Many local post offices carry forms for renewing by mail or obtaining extra pages. Allow
several weeks for processing your passport.

Visas

Tunisia—No visa required: For a U.S. citizen, a visa is not required for entry into Tunisia. If you
plan to stay longer than 30 days, you should check with the local consulate or the embassy in
Washington, D.C. for the applicable regulations.

Morocco—(Pre-trip extension to Marrakesh)—no visa required: For a U.S. citizen, a visa is not
required for entry into Morocco. If you plan to stay longer than 30 days, you should check with the
local consulate or the embassy in Washington, D.C. for the applicable regulations.
                                      Important Information

Italy—(Post-trip extension to Rome)—no visa required: For a U.S. citizen, a visa is not required
for entry into Italy. If you plan to stay longer than 30 days, you should check with the local
consulate or the embassy in Washington, D.C. for the applicable regulations.

Important note for non-U.S. citizens or non-U.S. passport holders: If you are not a U.S. citizen or
if you possess a passport from a country other than the U.S., it is your responsibility to check with
your local consulate or embassy about possible visa requirements.

Emergency Photocopies
The smartest and easiest security precaution you can take is to carry photocopies of the personal
information pages of your passport, your air ticket, any traveler’s check serial numbers (using
traveler’s checks is discouraged—see the Money Matters section for details), and your credit cards.
Add phone and fax numbers for reporting lost credit cards, for your travel protection plan if you
have purchased one, and for your medical emergency network. Store the copies separate from the
originals. This can save you immeasurable time, money, and bother if your documents are lost or
stolen during your trip.

Airline Information
When to Expect Your Flight Itineraries and Airline Tickets
You will receive a preliminary flight itinerary approximately 100 days prior to departure. Please
examine it carefully to ensure that your name appears exactly as it does on your passport. If the
airlines make a change in your flight times, we’ll adjust your reservation accordingly and, if time
permits, send you an updated flight itinerary before you receive your tickets, or e-tickets. If the
change is made close to your departure, you’ll be advised by way of the finalized flight itinerary in
your final document package. You will receive your tickets, or e-tickets, with your finalized flight
itinerary and final trip documents by 14 days before you depart. Depending on your airlines, you
may receive electronic tickets (e-tickets) for some or all of your flights.

Please note that all flight arrangements are subject to change at any time for many reasons
beyond OAT’s control.

A Word about Air Routing
Every effort will be made to arrange the most direct flight schedule for you. OAT reserves the right
to choose the air carrier, routing, and city airport from each gateway city. In some cases, your
routing may involve connections and layovers, and may not be the most direct, requiring an
overnight en route at your expense.

OAT International Flight Reservations
OAT will make the necessary reservations for the air arrangements that are included in your
Adventure. You will fly economy class on regularly scheduled airlines. We base our program prices
on low promotional airfares, contracted with domestic and international carriers. All reservations
are subject to the terms of these contracts and are subject to airline restrictions.
• Tickets are issued as a group for your departure. If you book your reservation after the group
    has been ticketed, we will try to ticket you at the best available fare.
• If you change your return reservation following departure, you may be charged a higher airfare
    or a penalty by the airline. Payments can be made by cash (U.S. dollars) or credit card directly
    to the airline.
                                       Important Information


Advance International/Domestic Flight Seat Reservations
Although OAT will forward your request for preferred seating to the airline, many airlines do not
assign seats in advance, and your request is not guaranteed. If the airline is able to pre-assign seats,
your assignment will be indicated on your final air itinerary. If the airline does not assign your seat
in advance, you can check in early at the airport to request the seating you prefer.

Note on Internal Foreign Flights: We cannot make seating requests for internal flights in foreign
countries, as those tickets are received from our representatives onsite. The Trip Leaders will do
their best to secure requested seating if you alert them to your preference upon arrival, but often
the local airline assigns seats in advance for the entire group.

Arranging Your Own Domestic Flights
If you have chosen to make your own domestic flight reservations, we recommend that you refrain
from purchasing tickets at fares that carry high penalty charges for changes. International schedules
are subject to change, and OAT cannot be responsible for domestic airfare penalties or any loss
resulting from unexpected changes in your international flights, cancellations, or changes in travel
dates. Some airlines will charge fees anywhere from approximately $50 per person to $200 per
person to change your reservation. In many cases, tickets are nonrefundable. Make certain you are
aware of all change and cancellation fees.

In addition, if you have booked your own domestic travel to your gateway city, please check with
your airline to confirm where you’ll need to re-check your luggage. Because your domestic flight
reservations were made separately from your international ones, it is likely that you’ll need to
collect your luggage upon arrival at your gateway city and re-check it for your international flights.
Please ask your air carrier when checking in for your first domestic flight.

Arranging Your Own International Flights
If you arrange your own international flights, plan to buy your tickets approximately 60 days before
your trip. Check with us prior to reserving your flights in case there have been any changes in the
trip operation. Send us a written copy of your flight itinerary as soon as you have it (this can be
faxed to 1-617-346-6700, please include your reservation number). We relay this to our overseas
operations office before your departure. Please note that you must arrange your own transfers
between the airport and the hotel at the beginning and end of your trip.


Airport Departure Taxes
Please note that this tour may have airport departure taxes that cannot be included in your airline
ticket price because you are required to pay them onsite. All taxes are subject to change without
notice and can be paid in cash (either U.S. or local currency). If applicable, you will receive these
tax amounts with your final documents.
                                      Important Information


Breakaway Travel
On certain Overseas Adventure Travel vacations, you have the option to enjoy Breakaway Travel at
the end of your stay, subject to flight availability. This option enables you to travel on your own
wherever you choose. Your total travel time cannot exceed 30 days from the original date of
departure from the U.S. On the date of your ticketed return to the U.S., return to the airport of your
originally scheduled departure for your flight home. You will be responsible for confirming your
international flight back to the U.S. and for your own transfers to the airport. There is a $50-$150
per-person, nonrefundable fee to request Breakaway Travel. Additional air charges may also apply.
All arrangements for Breakaway Travel must be requested no later than 71 days prior to departure.
Confirmation information will usually be available approximately 45 days before your departure.
Consult our Adventure Specialists for details.

Please note: Overseas Adventure Travel does not assist in making travel arrangements during
Breakaway Travel and does not assume any liability for any activity or trip you take independently
while not under the direct supervision of OAT.

If Overseas Adventure Travel provides your air arrangements to and from an OAT tour or cruise,
and you have purchased the Passenger Travel Protection Plan, you are covered for Accidental
Death, Medical Expense/Emergency Assistance, Trip Delay, Baggage Loss, and Baggage Delay
while traveling on your own. The plan will not cover any travel arrangements that are not
provided by Overseas Adventure Travel.

When You Receive Your Airline Tickets
As soon as you receive your airline tickets, we ask that you verify their accuracy.
                Check your tickets carefully to ensure they reflect the city and departure/return
         dates that OAT has confirmed to you.
               Make certain your name is spelled correctly and that your first and last names
         appear as shown on your passport or other identification.
               If you have made a request for special seating, see if your ticket reflects that
         assignment. If it does not, you can plan to arrive early at the airport and request your
         preferred seating at check-in.
                We regret that we cannot change air reservations inside of 45 days from departure.
         Only airlines can make changes within 45 days. Changes requested from 70 to 45 days
         prior to departure will incur a service fee of $50 per person plus any applicable charges
         imposed by the airlines.
                If for any reason you do not use an airline ticket provided by OAT, please return it
         to us as soon as possible. However, remember that domestic tickets are generally based on
         nonrefundable fares; the airline (not OAT) determines whether you can change the ticket
         or receive reimbursement due to illness or other emergency.

Please remember that your airline ticket is a valuable, negotiable document for which you are
responsible. Lost tickets should be reported to OAT immediately. While OAT will assist in
replacing lost tickets, we may not be able to replace them at the original cost. You may be subject to
additional expenses. In general, if you lose your ticket, you must pay for a new ticket pending a
refund from the airline, not OAT.

If you must cancel your trip after you have received your airline tickets, you are required to return
the tickets to OAT before we can process any refunds that may be due to you.
                                           Get Ready to Go



2. Get Ready to Go

Visit Your Doctor
Medical Checkup
We strongly recommend that you have a medical checkup at least six weeks before your trip. This
is a must if you have any medical conditions or physical limitations. Let your doctor know about
any medical condition you have, particularly cardiac or respiratory disease or diabetes, and discuss
the details of the trip itinerary as it pertains to your health. Your trip will take you into remote areas,
with no nearby medical facilities. Please notify us in writing about any medical condition that may
require special attention. If your report is normal, you don’t need to send it to us. If you send us a
medical report, we don’t use it to determine if you should take this trip, or if you are likely to enjoy
it. Those decisions are up to you and your doctor.

Vaccinations
Check with the CDC: To ensure you receive any needed vaccinations we suggest that you check
the current recommendations of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for
your destination. You can contact them at:

        On-line—if you have access to the Internet, we suggest you visit the CDC’s Website
                 at www.cdc.gov/travel, where you will find comprehensive information
                 about preventing illness while traveling.
       By phone—at the CDC’s International Traveler’s Hotline toll-free at 1-877-FYI-
                 TRIP (1-877-394-8747) 24 hours a day. Please note that automated
                 information is arranged topically by disease, rather than by country or
                 region.

Consult your doctor: After checking the CDC’s recommendations we strongly suggest that
you consult your family physician (at least 6 weeks prior to departure) concerning any
vaccinations or medications that you may need on this trip. At the time of printing there were
no specific vaccinations required for entry into any of the countries on your itinerary.


Prescription Medications
If you take prescription medications regularly, be sure to pack an ample supply that will last your
entire trip. Pack these medications in your carry-on bag, and keep them in their original, labeled
containers. To be prepared for any unforeseen loss of your medications, you should also bring
copies of the prescriptions, written using the generic drug name rather than a brand name.

Also, when you visit your doctor, get a prescription for an antibiotic medication for
gastrointestinal illness. In addition, you should ask your doctor for a prescription for a pain
medication, such as Tylenol with codeine. You might need this in the unlikely event of an injury in
a location where medical attention would be delayed. Our Trip Leader does not carry prescription
medications.
                                          Get Ready to Go


Dental Exam
A loose filling or developing cavity would be difficult to remedy while you are traveling in a remote
area. You may want to have a dental exam before your trip.



Are You Fit For Adventure?
Is this adventure right for you?
We’ve worked closely with our local Trip Leaders and regional associates to identify the aspects of
this adventure that you should be aware of when you join this trip, from physical requirements to
cultural factors. Please carefully review the information below.

Physical requirements This adventure is not appropriate for travelers using wheelchairs or other
mobility aids. You must be able to walk 3 miles unassisted over the course of each day, exploring
on foot and standing for up to a half hour at a time. You must also be comfortable participating in
5-6 hours of daily physical activities.

Pacing 8 locations in 15 days with 3 one-night stays, 2 two-night stays, 2 three-night stays and
one internal flight. This itinerary is fairly brisk. Some of the driving days are long, and the desert
roads can be bumpy and dusty; but we stop frequently for interesting sites along the way.

Climate & terrain You’ll find that May through September are the Sahara’s hottest months (100+
degrees Fahrenheit in Tozeur). November to March can be quite cold at night and in the early
mornings. Please consider your tolerance for heat when selecting a departure date.

We’ll travel over city streets, stairways at ancient ruins, desert sands, uneven and rough ground as
well as unpaved, dusty roads.

Transportation We travel via air-conditioned mini-bus (no toilet onboard) and four-wheel-drive
vehicles.

Accommodations Our Sahara Desert Camp offers basic tents with private toilet facilities. All other
accommodations are hotel-standard, with a variety of amenities and personal service, as well as
private baths with hot showers and Western-style toilet facilities.

Group size & leadership 16 maximum with 1 Trip Leader.

Cuisine Tunisian cuisine is within the Northern African tradition: couscous and marqa stews (a
staple as is the Moroccan tajine; however the similarity ends with the name) forming the backbone
of most meals. Local cuisine is distinguished by the fiery harissa chili sauce, and the heavy use of
the locally abundant tiny olives. Lamb forms the basis of most meat dishes, and particularly along
the coast local seafood is plentiful.

Cultural insight Tunisia is a Muslim country, and dress, particularly for females, is important.
Dressing modestly, with respect for local tradition, will ensure smooth travel. Alcohol is available
but restricted.
                                          Get Ready to Go


Learn about Your Destination
Before your trip, we encourage you to start learning about the regions of the world you will soon be
exploring. The ancient and contemporary cultures of these areas are rich and complex. Even a small
amount of background reading can help you make sense of the kaleidoscope of facts and
impressions that will come your way. Having some knowledge in advance can complement and
enrich what you can learn from your expert Trip Leader.

Tunisia at a Glance

A Kaleidoscope of Cultural Influences

Tunisia’s history is long and complex, which makes it one of the most fascinating countries in the
world to visit. Over three millennia, it has been coveted, conquered, and re-conquered by tribes and
countries seeking its fertile northern lands, a rare commodity in the Sahara region. Others sought its
valuable position as a strategic power center. With Sicily so close to its north, the maritime passage
and trade between the two countries and into the eastern Mediterranean could be controlled.

Phoenicians from today’s Lebanon were the first on record to settle on the coast—3,000 years ago
in the tenth century, B.C. Four hundred years later, their city of Carthage grew into a major
metropolis, second in size only to Alexandria, Egypt, and dominated the western Mediterranean. As
Rome looked to expand their empire, Carthage became an obstacle. And over a period of 120 years
(264 to 146 B.C.), the three Punic Wars, during which Hannibal’s army made its now-famous Alps
crossing on elephants, revealed Rome as the victor. Carthage was relegated as a granary for the
empire.

In the fifth century, the East Germanic Vandal tribe took over Tunisia from the west. Byzantine rule
followed in the sixth century, and Arab in the seventh. During Arab rule, many Berbers were
converted to Islam. Those who resisted conversion grew into a frequent source of rebellion against
subsequent dynasties. Other takeovers followed: the Aghlabids and Zurids in the ninth and tenth
centuries; Fatmid caliphs in the tenth and eleventh centuries, who went on to found the city of
Cairo; and Sicilian Normans and Moroccan Almohad caliphs in the twelfth century. This was
followed by a long rule (1230–1574) by the Berber Hafsids, during which Tunisia prospered.

As the Hafsids’ power weakened, Spain exerted control over some of Tunisia’s coastal cities, until
the Ottoman Turks claimed the region for Islam in 1574. The Turkish beys, or governors, declared
independence for Tunisia. This was around the time that pirates roamed the north African coast,
pillaging unfortunate ships and earning these waters the name of “Barbary Coast,” a reference that
some attribute to the barbarism of their actions and others to Berber tribes. Turkish rule lasted until
1957.
                                         Get Ready to Go



Into the 20th Century, into Independence

But Turkish Tunisia was not financially stable, and the bey turned to France for support. By the mid
1800s, the French had cause for concern as debts increased with no sign of repayment. They
wrested control of the African nation’s finances, with support from the British and Italians, in 1869.
It seemed inevitable by then, with the French also possessing neighboring Algeria, that they would
call Tunisia their own. They did so with the treaties of Bardo and Mrsa in the 1880s, which put
France in charge under a protectorate arrangement with a French general. Italy didn’t take well to
the move; its economic interests and resident nationals in Tunisia were threatened.

This set the stage for continuing conflict in the 20th century. Tunisian nationalists emerged and in
1920 the Destour, or Consititutional, party was formed with an eye toward liberation from France.
Still, their approach was sometimes criticized as conservative or cautious. Meanwhile, Habib
Bourguiba formed the Neo-Destour party, a more extreme group that claimed to be more in touch
with the desires of the majority, versus those of the more elite provincial constituencies of the
Destour party.

France fell to the Germans in June 1940, and Tunisia fell under Vichy rule. Tunisians couldn’t
know that their country would become a stage for the most dramatic conflict of the North Africa
campaign against the Nazis. This was the site of the Allies’ first major operation in the war.
American troops came in from the west after they invaded Morocco and Algeria, while the British
came up from the south. General Rommel, commander of the Axis forces, was relentless against the
inexperienced Allies at Kasserine Pass. But the Allies regained footing, broke through the Mareth
Line—fortifications originally built by the French to guard Tunisia from Italy—and defeated the
German-Italian forces.

Post-war nationalist fervor grew, with Bourguiba driving for independence at the helm. France
conceded with limits, giving Tunisia some autonomy. But the still-ruling French resisted major
reforms, and talks of independence fizzled. In 1952, Bourguiba was imprisoned, leading to a wave
of unrest.

But three years later, Tunisia was granted complete self-government, followed by full independence
in 1956. Habib Bourguiba, by then free, was made Prime Minister. The newly placed assembly
deposed the bey, Sidi Lamine, and a republic was declared in 1957. Bourguiba’s foreign policy
was, perhaps surprisingly to many, pro-Western. But his relationship with France remained tense
over the issue of Algeria, which France still occupied. After violence at the French naval
installations of Bizerte, France evacuated in 1963.

Bourguiba focus was on modernization and economic growth for his largely agricultural country. A
co-op system was put in place in 1962, but corruption and mistreatment of farmers shut it down in
the late 1960s. Within Bourguiba’s party, liberals and conservatives split, and soon there were
public demonstrations outside his offices. Perhaps as a result, the president legally authorized the
formation of opposition parties, marking a shift from socialism toward democracy. The year 1981
saw the first multiparty elections, and by 1986 six political parties had emerged. Despite or because
of this development, unrest and labor issues boiled over.
                                         Get Ready to Go

In 1987, General Zine El Abidine Ben Ali became president. There is some debate whether
Bourguiba stepped down quietly; some believe he was forced to resign because of medical issues.
Others call it a quiet coup. Regardless, Ben Ali’s regime repaired Libyan relations and opened trade
with Algeria, Mauritania, and Morocco. Socially, Ben Ali at first took a liberal stance, but reneged
after Islamic activists dominated the 1989 elections—and in fact he took strong measures against
their rise. In the 1994 elections, Ben Ali forbade the Islamic party Al Nahda from taking part, even
arresting some of its dissidents. The result was 100% support by all legal opposition parties—and
100% of the vote.

Only token election challenges faced him in coming years, though critics point to similar dramatic
landslides in 1999 and 2004 as evidence of tampering at least and strong-arming at most. It may not
help his credibility that a constitutional amendment was passed on his watch, in 2002, that allowed
the president to run for more than two terms.

Tunisia Today

Population (July 2008 estimate): 10, 383, 577
Ethnic groups: Arab Berber 98%, European 1%, Jewish and other 1%
Languages: Arabic (official language of commerce), French (commerce)
Religions: Muslim 98%, Christian 1%, Jewish and other 1%
Time Zone: Tunisia is six hours ahead of Eastern Time. When it is noon in New York, it is 6 pm in
Tunisia.

Tunisia’s population is mostly Berber and Arab, and most people live near the coast, in the
country’s urban areas. Sunni Muslims comprise most of religious life. Though a small Jewish
community remains, which can be traced to ancient times, most Jews relocated to Israel or France.
In fact, Tunisians of all ethnicities and religions have made their way to France in significant
numbers throughout the 20th century, and still today. You will hear Arabic spoken by the vast
majority of people you meet. French is also widely spoken.

The Land

The Tunisian coast is rather jagged and irregular, which makes for many fine bays, coves, and
harbors. It’s most notable ports are Bizerte, Qabis, Safaqis, and Susah. The Atlas Mountains run
through the north, though the Tunisian peaks are mostly below 4,000 feet tall. To the south, the
Chott Djerid, a massive salt lake, acts as an eerie prelude to the Sahara Desert, which stretches to
the Algerian and Libyan borders.


Morocco at a Glance – Optional extension
Morocco holds a claim unique among its North African neighbors: one group of people has called
its sands home for as long as we have recorded history. They are apparently hardy people—the
Berbers, or Imazighen (men of the land)—having arrived here millennia ago and even at one point
controlling the desert all the way to Egypt. Only a fiercely independent and self-sufficient people
could survive in one place for countless generations. And through the years, they’ve preserved
some of Africa’s richest traditions.
                                          Get Ready to Go

This is not to say that their history is without change and struggle. Many became reluctant city
dwellers when the Phoenicians built Carthage, or when Romans moved in and built their own
sprawling metropolises like Volubilis. And when Christianity appeared in the third century, Berbers
turned their heads.

Arab armies, fresh from Egyptian conquests, materialized out of the desert sands in the seventh
century, and Islam had control of North Africa within 100 years. But their victories failed to unify
the region. And as Morocco witnessed their Sahara neighbors fracturing, it inched toward unity for
itself. A fundamentalist Berber movement led the charge, taking their country back from Arab
forces, and moving in to Muslim Spanish Andalucia too. The Berber Almoravids established
Marrakesh as the capital, but were soon overtaken by the Muslim Almohads, sometimes referred to
as the Moors.

The founding of Fez and Rabat followed, soon to be cultural centers of the country. But the Spanish
were pushing back on Moorish dominance in Iberia, and Almohad finances were worsening. The
Muslim rule lost its footing to the Merenids, from the countryside, and the area thrived under the
new reign—until Spain fell to the Christians in 1492, inciting unrest that would send the dynasty
crumbling within a century.

Rulers rose and fell over the next 140 years. In the 1630s, the Alaouite family overthrew the Sa di
sultan and they rule to this day. In the late 1800s, France, Spain and Germany took interest in
Morocco because it was strategically located at the mouth of the Mediterranean and was rich in
resources. France angled its way in and took complete occupation by 1912. Spain, meanwhile, hung
on to a small protectorate on the coast and Tangier was declared an international zone.

It’s fair to say that Moroccans expected the worst when the first French resident-general, Marshal
Lyautey, stepped in. But he was far more respectful than locals anticipated. Instead of destroying
the existing Moroccan towns, he built villes nouvelles (new towns) alongside. Coastal Rabat
became the new capital, and Casablanca was developed as an active port. His successors were less
sensitive, and soon the people of the Rif Mountains rebelled. It took 25,000 Spanish-French troops
to subdue them to surrender in 1926. The quelling paved the way for more of the provincial set of
France to move to these warmer climes and by the 1930s, more than 200,000 lived here. Not ten
years later, Allied forces became yet another foreign presence, albeit this time to drive the Axis
powers out of North Africa.

Morocco gained independence in 1956 under Sultan Mohammed V, the 28th Alaouite ruler of the
dynasty. Even Tangier was reclaimed. But Spain, to this day, retains the northern towns of Ceuta
and Melilla.

Mohammed V crowned himself king in 1957 and handed the reigns to his son, Hassan II, four years
later. Hassan II enamored his people in 1975 when he led the Green March into the Western Sahara
to force Spain to hand over the province. More than 350,000 volunteers marched that day, but it
remains under dispute after a long war between Morocco and the Polisario Front.

Mohammed VI took the throne in 1999. The young king, now in his 40s, hastened some the more
liberal policies that his father started. He promised the release of 50,000 prisoners and asked his
people for forgiveness for past political repressions. He fired the “Butcher Basri,” the much-feared
head of security forces. But in a monarchy, it’s often hard to identify whether such acts are political
or social trends; a king’s personal view will always prevail.
                                         Get Ready to Go

For now, economic development is a priority. And the country’s geography and climate pose
challenges. The economic machine here is driven by agriculture, but there have been droughts. And
unemployment runs high—20 percent in the cities—and creates fear of social unrest.

But there are things the king can control, and he has shown particular favor toward women's rights.
In 2002, he married Salma Bennani, a computer engineer. This was not your traditional pairing in a
traditional Muslim country and many believed it symbolized the acceptance of more modern roles.
And in 2004, the government imposed changes to the Moudawana, or Family Law. These changes
are geared toward “lifting the inequity imposed on women, protecting children's rights, and
safeguarding men's dignity.” It all means unprecedented rights and protections for women.

Morocco Today
Population (July 2008 estimate): 34,343,219
Ethnic groups: Arab-Berber 99.1%, other 0.7%, Jewish 0.2%
Languages: Arabic (official), Berber dialects, French often the language of business, government,
and diplomacy
Religions: Muslim 98.7%, Christian 1.1%, Jewish 0.2%
Time Zone: Morocco is five hours ahead of Eastern Time. When it is noon in New York, it is 5 pm
in Morocco.

Morocco is the fourth most populous Arab country, after Egypt, Sudan and Algeria. Most
Moroccans are Sunni Muslims of Arab, Berber, or mixed Arab-Berber descent. Most of the 100,000
foreign residents are French or Spanish; many are teachers or technicians and more and more
retirees, especially in Marrakesh.

The country’s most inhabitable regions and most thriving cities lie west of the Atlas range. In
Casablanca, the bustle of commerce and industry reigns. Morocco is ruled from the seat of
government in Rabat. The northernmost city of Tangier is the gateway Europe, which sits just on
the other side of the Strait of Gibraltar. Fez is the hub of culture and religion. And Marrakesh draws
tourists and explorers with its Berber flavor and vibrant Djemaa el Fna Square. Morocco provides
free and compulsory education through age 15, but many kids, especially rural kids, to not attend
school.


Italy at a Glance – Optional extension

Italy has a long and complicated history. Its earliest recorded civilization dates back to around 2000
B.C., when the peninsula was settled by fair-complexioned Ligurians, ancestors of the Latins.
Sometime near the 9th century B.C., boatloads of Greeks landed on Italian shores, and Italy became
the site for the myth of Ulysses and other famous legends. The Greeks inhabited southern Italy and
Sicily during the 8th century B.C., forming colonies of city-states called Magna Graecia. The Greek
civilization prospered in the 6th and 5th centuries B.C., but waned in the 4th century B.C. While
the Greeks were busy settling the south, the Etruscans, a highly artistic populace from Asia Minor,
built strong communities in central Italy.
                                          Get Ready to Go

The Estruscans ruled until the Roman revolt around 510 B.C. By 250 B.C., the Romans had
conquered Italy and established Rome as the seat of their empire. Julius Caesar reigned throughout
the 1st century B.C., and his defeat of France made Rome the ruler of the entire Mediterranean
world. Under Caesar, Roman culture flourished. Its unprecedented splendor was further enriched
by Greek architectural and artistic influences. Caesar was assassinated in 44 B.C. and succeeded by
his nephew Octavian, later known as Augustus, who instituted the Pax Romana, two centuries of
peace during which the Roman Empire was as mighty as it would ever be. At the end of the 2nd
century A.D., the Roman bishop was made head of the new Christian religion—a position that
granted him enormous power in the political arena.

Rome’s glory during the 200-year-long Pax Romana began to decline in the 3rd century A.D., when
a succession of inept and corrupt emperors weakened the city. By the 4th century A.D., Rome had
become very divided politically, and new administrative capitals were founded in such cities as
Milan and Trier, Germany. In A.D. 395, Constantine moved the Roman capital to Constantinople
(Istanbul), which left the city of Rome very vulnerable. During the 400s, it was repeatedly attacked
by barbarians and in 475 completely fell to a barbarian chief, who soon after opened regions of Italy
to Teutonic settlement.

Italy was briefly reunited in 800, when Charlemagne was crowned Holy Roman Emperor by Pope
Leo III. But over the next century, the country disintegrated into contentious kingdoms at constant
battle for control of provincial lands. Italy’s turmoil continued for an astounding length of time, as
different city-states waged war after war up to the early 19th century, when Napoleon took over
Italy.

Despite this internal dissension and strife, Italian society and culture reached its peak during the
Renaissance in the 15th and 16th centuries. The independent city-states formed a delicate balance
of power, and affluent patrons such as the Medici family of Florence greatly supported the arts.
This golden age of human endeavor and artistic creation spawned some of the greatest painters,
sculptors, and inventors of Western civilization—Leonardo da Vinci, a genius in many vocations,
the epitome of the Renaissance man (1452-1519); Michelangelo (1475-1564); Raphael (1483-
1564); and the architect Brunelleschi (1377-1466).

After Napoleon’s series of invasions, the Italian people sought to squelch foreign domination,
which gave birth to the movement for political unity in Italy, known as the Risorgimento
(Resurrection). Italian nationalism gathered broad support under the popular leader Giuseppe
Garibaldi, and Italy was finally united under King Victor Emmanuel II in 1870.

The country was ruled as a monarchy and joined the Allies in World War I. Benito Mussolini rose
to power during the early 1920s and ushered in one of the darkest periods in Italy’s history.
Mussolini (“Il Duce”) organized discontented Italians into the Fascist Party to “rescue Italy from
Bolshevism,”—but what he actually delivered was a totalitarian state controlled by the militia.
Mussolini formed an alliance with Hitler and fought against the Allies during World War II. The
Italian Resistance Movement fought Mussolini and the Nazis, but their reprisals took a heavy toll:
400,000 people were killed, hundreds of thousands were left homeless, and the economy was
sharply disrupted. In 1945, Mussolini was captured in Milan by Partisans and executed.

Italy was declared a republic in 1946, but during the postwar era it was seriously divided by
extreme political differences. Dozens of governments rose and fell. The leading parties were the
diametrically opposed Centrist Christian Democrats and the Italian Communist Party. In the 1970s,
a prolonged outbreak of terrorist acts by the left-wing Red Brigades threatened domestic stability,
but by the early 1980s, the terrorist groups had been suppressed.
                                         Get Ready to Go


In the early 1990s, public discontent with the government intensified due to a soaring inflation rate
and disillusioning scandals that involved the Mafia and many government leaders. In 1996, Italians
elected a new government dominated by a center-left coalition for the first time since the
proclamation of the Italian Republic. Italy adopted the euro as its currency in January 1999. The
new bills and coins started circulating in 2002. Treasury secretary Carlo Ciampi, who is credited
with the economic reforms that permitted Italy to enter the European Monetary Union, was elected
president in May 1999.

Italy Today
Population (July 2009 est.): 58,126,212
Ethnic groups: Italian (includes small clusters of German-, French-, and Slovene-Italians in the
north and Albanian-Italians and Greek-Italians in the south.)
Languages: Italian (official), German (parts of Trentino-Alto Adige region are predominantly
German speaking), French (small French-speaking minority in Valle d'Aosta region), Slovene
(Slovene-speaking minority in the Trieste-Gorizia area)
Religions: Roman Catholic 90% (approximately; about one-third practicing), other 10%
(includes mature Protestant and Jewish communities and a growing Muslim immigrant
community)
Time Zone: All of Italy is on Central European Time, six hours ahead of Eastern Time.
When it is noon in Washington D.C., it is 6p.m. in Italy. Summer hours operate from the
last weekend in March until the last weekend in September.
                                          Get Ready to Go



Suggested Readings
We’ve listed a few of our favorite books about the region you'll be traveling. Most of these are
available in large bookshops (especially those that specialize in travel or international books), by
mail order, and from the Internet.

Rome in Africa by Susan Raven (History)
A well-illustrated survey of Roman and Carthaginian North Africa.

A Traveler’s History of North Africa by Barnaby Rogerson (History)
A concise history of North Africa, covering Morocco, Tunisia, Libya and Algeria from prehistory
up to the politics and life of the present day.

Tunisia: The Story of a Country That Works by Georgie Anne Geyer (Culture)
Geyer uses a series of conversations with various politicians and prominent academics to express
the reasons why Tunisia is "a country that works."

A History of Modern Tunisia by Kenneth Perkins (History)
Kenneth Perkins' book traces the history of Tunisia from the mid-nineteenth century to the present.

The Berbers by Michael Brett and Elizabeth Fentress (History)
From the first appearance of humans in the Maghreb, through the rise of the Berber kingdoms of
Numidia and Mauritania, this book traces the origins of the distinct characteristics of these peoples
regarded as the indigenous tribes of North Africa.

The Adventures of Ibn Battuta: Muslim Traveler of the Fourteenth Century by Ross Dunn
(Travel Writing) Born in Tangier, Ibn Battuta was known as the “Traveler of Islam.” In thirty years
of travel, Battuta visited the lands of every Muhamadan ruler, covering 750,000 miles and traveling
to the Maghreb, Arabia, India, China, Indonesia and Russia.

Lyautey and the French Conquest of Morocco by William A. Hoisington (History)
Describes and analyzes the method of colonial conquest and rule linked to Marshal Louis-Hubert
Lyautey, France’s first resident general in colonial Morocco.

The Spider’s House by Paul Bowles (Fiction)
Considered to be the best of Bowles’ Moroccan novels, this story is set in Fez and deals with the
conflicts and transformations of the last stages of French occupation in Morocco.

The Italians by Luigi Barzini (Culture)
Barzini’s classic book offers readers a refreshingly frank discussion of the history and culture of his
homeland, past and present.

History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire by Edward Gibbon (History)
A landmark scholarly work ever since it was written in the 18th century. Coverage extends from the
2nd century A.D. to the fall of Constantinople in 1453.
                                 Get Ready to Go



Arabic Phrase Guide

Basic words and phrases
Yes                                            Na'am
No                                             Laa
Thank you                                      Shokran
Thank you very much                            Shokran Gazillan
You're welcome                                 Marhaban Bekom
Please                                         Min Fadilak
Excuse me                                      Ann Eazinak
Hello                                          Ahalan
Goodbye                                        Ma'a ElSalama
Good morning                                   Saba'a AlKair
Good afternoon                                 Masa'a AlKair
Good evening                                   Masa'a AlKair
Good night                                     Laila Tiaba
What is your name?                             Ma Ismok?
Nice to meet you                               Sorirart Biro'aitak
How are you?                                   Kaifa Halok?
Good                                           Taib/ Bikair
I do not understand                            Ana laa Afham
Do you speak English?                          Hal Tatakalm Alingli'zia?
How do you say this in Arabic?                 Kaif Takool Thalik Bilarabia?
Where is the bathroom?                 Faen El Merhad?
Room                                           Ghorfa
Ticket                                         Tathkara
Passport                                       Gawaz a safar

Getting around
Where is the ...?                             Ain ...?
… Airport?                                    … Matar?
… Train station ?                             … Mahatit al kitar?
… Bus station?                                … Mahatit al autobees?
… Subway station?                             … Mahatit al metro?
… Post office?                                …Markaz Barid?
… Bank?                                       … bank?
… Police station?                             … Kissam Shorta ?
… Hospital?                                   … Mostashefa?
… Pharmacy?                                   … Sidali'ia?
… Restroom?                                   … hamam, toilet ?
… Hotel?                                      … Fondok?
…How much is the fare?                        …Bikam al ogra'a?
…One ticket to ..., please.                   …Tathkara wahida min fadlik …

Shopping
Store, Shop                                   Maha'al
How much does this cost?                      Bikam?
I'll buy it                                   Sa'ashtariha
I would like to buy ...                       O'reed ann ashtary …
                              Get Ready to Go

… Stamps                                   … Ta'wabia
… Postcards                                … Kart barid
Do you have ...                            Hal eindak...
Do you accept credit cards?                Hal takebal bitakat el aitaman?


Dining out
Reservation                                Hagiz
Restaurant                                 Mat aam
Breakfast                                  Al fotour
Lunch                                      Al Ghadaa
Dinner                                     Al Ashaa
Vegetarian                                 Nabati
Please bring the bill                      El Fatora Min Fadilak
Bread                                      Kobiz
Coffee                                     Kahioa
Tea                                        Shai
Juice                                      Asir
Water                                      Ma'a
Beer                                       Bira
Wine                                       Khamr
Salt                                       Melha
Pepper                                    Filfil


Numbers
One                                        Wahid
Two                                        Ithinin
Three                                      Thalatha
Four                                       Arba'a
Five                                       Kamisa
Six                                        Sita
Seven                                      Saba'a
Eight                                      Thamania
Nine                                       Tisa'a
Ten                                        Ashara
Twenty                                     Oushreen
One hundred                                Mia'a
One thousand                               Alf
                                         Get Ready to Go



Useful Websites
The following Internet sites offer good travel information and resources:

Overseas Adventure Travel Store
http://www.oatshop.com

Tourist information
http://www.tourismtunisia.com Tunisia
http://www.visitmorocco.org Morocco
http://www.italiantourism.com Italy

International health information: CDC (Centers for Disease Control)
http://www.cdc.gov/travel

Electric current and plug types
http://www.kropla.com/electric2.htm

Foreign exchange rates
http://www.oanda.com/converter/classic

ATM locators
http://www.mastercard.com/atm for Cirrus ATMs
http://www.visa.com/pd/atm for PLUS ATMs

Travel books
http://www.amazon.com
http://www.barnesandnoble.com

World weather
http://www.intellicast.com
http://www.wunderground.com

Foreign languages for travelers: basic terms in more than 80 languages
http://www.travlang.com/languages

Travel tips: packing light, choosing luggage, etc.
http://www.travelite.org

Net café guide: 100s of locations around the globe
http://www.cybercafes.com

U.S. Customs & Border Protection: traveler information
http://www.cbp.gov/xp/cgov/travel

Transportation Security Administration (TSA): agency that screens luggage in U.S.
http://www.tsa.gov/public

National Passport Information Center (NPIC): for passport information
http://www.travel.state.gov
                                         Get Ready to Go



Jet Lag Precautions
You will feel better on the first days of your trip if, shortly before you leave home, you start to
adjust to the different time zone of your destination. Since you will cross several time zones to
reach your destination, you may lose many hours of regular sleep. On arrival, your body then will
have to suddenly adjust to new sleeping and eating patterns. The result is jet lag. Its symptoms are
fatigue—often compounded by insomnia and general restlessness—irritability, and vague
disorientation.

You cannot totally avoid jet lag, but you can minimize it. Here's how:

                Start your trip well rested. Try to begin a gradual transition to your new time zone
       before you leave.
                Switch to your destination time zone when you get on the plane. Attempt to sleep
       and eat according to the new schedule.
                Try to sleep on overnight flights.
                Avoid heavy eating and drinking caffeine or alcoholic beverages right before—and
       during—your flight.
                Drink plenty of water and/or fruit juice while flying.
                Stretch your legs, neck, and back periodically while seated on the plane, and make
       an effort to get up and walk about the cabin a few times to keep your blood circulation
       normal.
                After arrival, avoid the temptation to nap.
                Don’t push yourself to see a lot on your first day.
                Try to stay awake your first day until after dinner.
                                  Packing Just What You Need



3. Packing Just What You Need

A Word about the Weather
Tunisia
Tunisia consists of two climatic belts, with Mediterranean influences in the north and Saharan in
the south. Temperatures are moderate along the coast, with an average annual reading of 64 °. In
the Mediterranean north the summer season (from May through September) is hot and dry; the
winter, (from October to April) is mild and characterized by frequent rains. In the Sahara and the
south, the summer can get very hot and the winter surprisingly cold.

Temperatures at Tunis range from an average minimum of 43° and maximum of 57° in January, to
an average minimum of 70° and maximum of 91° in August. Precipitation in the northern region
reaches a high of 59 inches annually, while rainfall in the extreme south averages less than 8 inches
a year.

Sandstorms: A sandstorm is when a strong wind picks up loose sand particles and carries them
over a distance; typically this phenomenon occurs in desert regions like the Sahara. Sandstorms can
occur at any time of year, and if severe can affect our itinerary. Should a sandstorm occur please
listen to and follow all instructions for your own safety.

Marrakesh, Morocco – optional extension
In Marrakesh, the weather is pleasant most of the year, thanks to cool breezes blowing off of the
Atlas Mountains. During summer months, however, temperatures can hover around the 100° mark.
Rainy season lasts from November-April, but even then the city only receives just over an inch on
average per month.

Rome– optional extension
The city of Rome has a climate similar to that of the Mid-Atlantic States, with temperatures
averaging in the 40s and 50s during peak winter months, and the 60s and 70s in spring and autumn.
Winter rains can be heavy, but periods of sunshine are also common. Summer can be very hot.

Http://www.weatherbase.com is a good Internet site for checking current weather conditions.
                               Packing Just What You Need



      Average Daily High/Low Temperatures (°F), Humidity & Monthly Rainfall

MONTH                Tunis, Tunisia                          Djerba, Tunisia
             Temp.    % Relative     Avg.             Temp     % Relative            Avg.
            High-Low   Humidity     Monthly         High-Low   Humidity             Monthly
                       (am-pm)      Rainfall                    (am-pm)             Rainfall
                                     (in.)                                           (in.)
JAN           60-46      86-68        2.4            60-48           78-59            1.1
FEB           60-46      87-65        2.1            62-50           79-55            0.8
MAR           64-48      87-63        1.8            66-53           79-53            0.8
APR           68-51      84-59        1.5            71-57           77-52            0.5
MAY           75-57      82-55        0.9            77-62           75-53            0.2
JUN           84-64      76-48        0.4            82-69           76-54            0.1
JUL           89-69      75-45        0.1            89-71           77-49            0.0
AUG           89-71      79-49        0.3            89-73           80-52            0.1
SEP           84-66      85-56        1.3            86-71           81-57            0.8
OCT           78-60      87-62        2.2            80-66           80-57            2.0
NOV           68-53      86-67        2.1            69-57           76-57            1.3
DEC           62-48      86-68        2.5            62-51           78-59            1.4


MONTH               Marrakesh, Morocco                         Tataouine, Tunisia
                    (optional extension)
             Temp.       % Relative       Avg.        Temp         Relative          Avg.
            High-Low      Humidity      Monthly     High-Low       Humidity         Monthly
                          (am-pm)        Rainfall                   (avg)           Rainfall
                                          (in.)                                      (in.)
JAN           64-43         80-44          1.1        57-42           65              0.5
FEB           66-46         82-45          1.2        62-44           58              0.2
MAR           71-50         80-40          1.4        71-50           56              0.3
APR           73-53         80-40          1.3        78-57           59              0.0
MAY           80-57         79-38          0.7        86-62           52              0.2
JUN           87-62         78-35          0.3        93-69           50              0.0
JUL           96-69         69-28          0.1       100-71           52              0.0
AUG           96-69         69-28          0.1        98-71           52              0.2
SEP           89-66         71-32          0.3        93-69           53              0.0
OCT           80-59         76-39          0.8        82-62           54              0.4
NOV           71-51         77-42          1.5        71-51           60              0.1
DEC           66-44         79-45          1.1        64-46           61              0.2
                                  Packing Just What You Need




MONTH                    Rome, Italy
                     (optional extension)
              Temp.       % Relative       Avg.
             High-Low      Humidity      Monthly
                           (am-pm)        Rainfall
                                           (in.)
JAN            55-39         86-67          3.2
FEB            56-40         86-66          2.8
MAR            59-43         87-68          2.7
APR            63-47         87-69          2.6
MAY            71-54         85-68          2.0
JUN            77-61         83-68          1.3
JUL            83-66         82-69          0.6
AUG            83-67         84-68          1.0
SEP            79-62         87-68          2.7
OCT            71-56         88-70          4.5
NOV            62-46         87-70          4.4
DEC            57-42         86-69          3.8


Please note: The data cited here reflect climate as opposed to weather conditions, and serve only as
general indicators of what can reasonably be expected. As your departure approaches you may wish
to monitor current overseas weather conditions through major newspapers, various Internet sites, or
the Weather Channel.



Your Locks & Luggage
TSA locks
For flights that originate in the U.S:
To reduce the risk of damage to your luggage, please do not lock your bags when checking in for
flights that originate in the U.S. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has the
responsibility for screening every piece of checked luggage at commercial airports throughout the
U.S. According to the TSA, baggage-handling agents may require access to the contents of your
luggage and will break locks as required. There are some locks available from retailers that are
“accepted and recognized” by TSA. TSA screeners have tools for opening and re-locking bags
using those locks, thus avoiding damage to the lock or bag if a physical inspection is required. For a
list of TSA-accepted locks, visit their website at www.tsa.gov/public.

For flights outside the U.S we strongly recommend you lock your luggage.

Important note: Airport porters are NOT allowed in the customs hall area. On arrival, you must
take your luggage off the baggage carousel and load it onto a complimentary cart, which you then
will move through customs. When you exit the airport building, your mini-bus driver will load
your luggage onto your mini-bus.
                                   Packing Just What You Need


                                                Note

                       SPECIAL LUGGAGE LIMITATIONS
        The weight of your luggage is restricted to 44 pounds total on flights within
        Tunisia and you are allowed only 1 piece of checked luggage and 1 carry-on. The
        airlines will charge fees for any luggage that exceeds these restrictions. You will be
        required to pay these fees at the airport, prior to boarding. OAT cannot be
        responsible for additional costs for excess luggage. Keep your bags light—they will
        be easier to handle and you’ll have room to bring souvenirs home.

        Space is also limited aboard mini-buses, so we strongly suggest that you do not
        bring more than the allowed 1 carry-on and 1 checked piece of luggage.

        The restrictions on baggage weight and size for your international flights vary
        between airlines. In addition, restrictions on what can be included in your carry-on
        bag vary by airline. To verify these restrictions, please contact your airline directly
        when you receive your final air itinerary.




Clothing Suggestions
Functional Tips
As you will experience a wide range of temperatures and weather conditions, our list suggests
several layers of clothing. Outdoor temperatures in the late fall, winter, and early spring are mostly
moderate 50s and 60s, warmer from April to October. A few of our hotels are not heated, so indoor
temperatures are about the same. For several nights in the Sahara, it will be much colder, averaging
in the low 40s at night. Plan to dress in layers to keep warm at night, and adjust to changing
conditions during the day. You should note that daytime temperatures from April to October are
around 80-90° F and night temperatures are around 60°. In the Sahara, the temperature at night can
be as low as 50°F.

Most of your clothing can be made of cotton or cotton-synthetic blends. Avoid tight-fitting jeans.
If you like to hand-wash your clothes, bring socks and underwear made of silk or a cotton-synthetic
blend, which will dry out overnight. You can buy clothing designed especially for travel.

Footwear: You’ll be on your feet a lot during the trip, and walking over some rough and slippery
surfaces. We recommend you wear sturdy walking shoes or similar supportive sports shoes that
offer good traction.

Style Hints
Dress on our trip is functional and casual. The upper limit of formality for city evenings, but still
very much optional, would be a sport jacket for men with no tie. Women might want to bring one
dress and a pair of dressier sandals. Most people dress up for the farewell dinner.
                                  Packing Just What You Need

Your dress should be modest and conservative, in respect of Tunisia’s traditional Islamic culture.
Although many tourists are not sensitive to this, travelers who are will get a warmer welcome. You
should usually not wear shorts, and never when visiting a mosque. Don’t bring sleeveless shirts,
tank tops, or short shorts. Women will get a better reception if they wear a mid-length travel skirt.
A skirt is also unbeatable for roadside pit stops in open country, so you can maintain modesty
without hiking all the way to the horizon.

Traveler’s Checklists
Traveling in foreign countries brings you into new and strange situations, and though it’s often fun
to do things as the locals do, it can be frustrating when simple daily habits, taken for granted at
home, are upset. An ample supply of your favorite toiletries and health remedies are crucial for your
personal comfort. To help make your vacation as convenient and pleasant as possible, please review
our lists of suggested travel gear on the following pages, and pack accordingly. You might want to
visit the website www.travelite.org for more packing and luggage tips.

What not to pack: Do not pack aerosol cans, as they tend to leak during air travel. Also avoid
packing glass bottles; use plastic containers instead. Leave at home checkbooks and any credit
cards not essential for your trip, valuable jewelry, and anything that you would hate to lose.

Packing Your Carry-On Bag
Use your daypack or small backpack as your carry-on bag for your flights. We strongly urge you to
pack in your carry-on case at least one full change of clothes, your camera gear, all medications,
changes of socks and underwear, your important travel documents, and other irreplaceable items, in
case your checked bags are delayed. Store camera gear and important papers in plastic bags to
protect them from dirt and moisture.

NOTE: Restrictions on what can be included in your carry-on luggage change frequently. To avoid
inadvertently packing any restricted items in your carry-on luggage, we strongly suggest that you
consult the Transportation Security Administration website, at www.tsa.gov which keeps a current
list of restricted items. From the main website click on For Travelers, then Air Travel, and then you
will see a link for Prohibited Items.

Luggage Checklist
   Daypack or small backpack: To carry your daily necessities, including a water bottle, camera
    gear, sunscreen, etc. Use this as your carry-on bag on your flights, and keep it with you during
    driving excursions and walking trips. A backpack-style bag or waistpack keeps both hands free
    and distributes the pack’s weight onto your back or hips. Store camera gear and important
    papers in plastic bags to protect them from dirt and moisture.
   One duffel bag or soft-sided suitcase: We suggest one with heavy nylon fabric, built-in wheels,
    and a heavy-duty lockable zipper. Porterage at airports and hotels is provided for one bag per
    person. Space is limited on our mini-buses, so please do not bring a rigid suitcase.
   Inner bags: Use plastic bags, nylon stuff sacks or special mesh bags to separate items inside
    your suitcase or for dirty laundry. Isolate liquid toiletries in heavy-duty Ziploc bags.
   Locks and luggage tags for all bags: Lock luggage on all flights outside of the U.S.
   Optional: A second, empty lockable bag folded into your main suitcase, with a luggage tag and
    small lock. Use this to carry souvenirs home.
                                  Packing Just What You Need


Recommended Clothing Checklist
Our Trip Leaders compiled the following lists, with many suggestions from past adventure
travelers. You won’t need much else, and you won’t have room for much else in your duffel.

   Short-sleeved cotton shirts–4 or 5. Polo-style          Underwear–7 or 8 changes
shirts are more versatile than T-shirts.                    Socks–7 pairs
   Long-sleeved cotton or cotton-blend shirts–2.           Optional: swimsuit, in case a hotel has a
   Trousers: 2 or 3 pairs, comfortable and loose            whirlpool or pool
    fitting. (One lighter, one a bit heavier for         The following are recommended for travel
    warmth at night in the desert. In April or           from October through March only. They
    October, bring two light pairs).                     are optional otherwise.
   Walking shorts, long-cut for modesty–2                Medium- or expedition-weight long
   For women–1 or 2 travel skirts.                          thermal underwear top.
   Wide-brim sun hat or visor for sun protection           Long thermal underwear bottoms

   Light cotton or wool sweater as air                     Light wool or fleece sweater
    conditioning can be cold                                Polartec fleece jacket, or a medium-
   Shoes should be comfortable walking or                   weight insulated parka.
    running shoes                                           Warm hat and light gloves



Other Essential Items
   Daily essentials: toothbrush, toothpaste,            Photocopies of passport, air ticket, credit
    floss, hairbrush or comb, shaving items,              cards
    deodorant, shampoo/conditioner, shower               Extra passport-sized photos
    cap, body soap, etc.
                                                         Moisturizer and sun-blocking lip balm
   Spare eyeglasses/contact lenses
                                                         Pocket-size tissues
   Sunglasses
                                                         Moist towelettes (not individual packets)
   Sunscreen, SPF 15 or stronger
                                                          and/or anti-bacterial "water-free" hand
   Insect repellent with DEET (30%-35%                   cleanser
    strength) – flies can be a serious nuisance in       Flashlight, extra batteries/bulb
    the Sahara
                                                         Pillowcase for (camping)
   Travel money bag or money belt
   Light folding umbrella
   A bandanna. Essential for drying wet
    water bottles and utensils.
                                  Packing Just What You Need




Medicines
Once you remove all packing material, you can fit all these items into a large Ziploc bag.
   Your own prescription medicines                          Moleskin foot pads
   Cold remedies: Sudafed, Dristan, etc.                    Neosporin or bacitracin
   Ibuprofen or aspirin                                     Prescription antibiotic for diarrhea
   Laxatives, such as Senokot or Ex-Lax                     Optional: Prescription medicine to
   Pepto-Bismol or Mylanta                                   prevent malaria
   Benadryl or other antihistamine                          Optional: Prescription medicine for
                                                              altitude sickness
   Anti-diarrhea tablets: like Imodium
                                                             Optional: Tylenol with codeine, or
   Band-Aids, several sizes                                  another strong pain medication

Optional Gear
   Camera gear                                              Favorite snacks
   Travel alarm or travel watch with alarm                  Electrical transformer & plug adapters:
   Lightweight binoculars (essential if birding)             see "A Word about Electricity"
   Hanging toiletry bag (with hook to hang on               Photos or post cards from home, small
    doorknob and pockets to organize items)                   gift for home-hosted visit (no alcohol
                                                              please, it is forbidden in the Muslim
   Basic sewing kit                                          religion)
   Hand-wash laundry soap such as Woolite                   Phrase book
    and plastic hang-up clothespins
                                                             Folding walking staff, sold in most
   Hair dryer                                                camping stores
   Wash cloth                                               Pocket-size calculator for exchange rates
   Reading materials                                        Inflatable seat cushion for bumpy roads
   Travel journal/note pad and pens                         Packets of decaffeinated
                                                              coffee/sweetener
                                   Packing Just What You Need




Tips on Photo Gear
One of the most enjoyable aspects of traveling to new places is the chance to photograph and
thereby capture and bring home some of the wonders of that experience. You will be able to share
them with others, relive some of the moments, and savor them for years to come. So please
remember to bring enough film. Bring film of both high speed and moderate speed—ASA 400 for
the interiors of dimly lit buildings and ASA 200 for the bright light of midday. In the case of digital
cameras, bring enough memory cards. In many countries film can easily be purchased as needed,
but in others the film will be expensive or difficult to find on short notice. Black and white film can
be very difficult to find, if not impossible. The same is true of the proper memory cards for your
digital camera.

Always be sure to bring enough batteries as well. Recharging your video camera while on safari is
not always possible, due to a lack of outlets and electrical shortages or brief outages. If your camera
uses rechargeable batteries, it is handy to carry a spare set, and be sure your camera’s battery
charger will work with the local electrical current. Protect your lens with a UV filter. When
traveling it is easy to get dirt or moisture on the front of your lens, which could permanently
damage it. A simple screw-in filter can protect the lens, and if the filter were to be damaged, it is
much less expensive to replace. Bring lens paper in case your lens does get dusty. And bring a
waterproof bag to protect your camera—a simple Ziploc is sufficient. If your camera's flash is
detachable, don’t forget to pack it. Be sure to bring a camera whose flash can be turned off, and
learn how to turn off the flash when it's not needed, so as not to frighten wildlife.

For wildlife photography, a 35mm single reflex camera with a telephoto lens of 200mm to 300mm
is recommended. Larger lenses that require a tripod, or double reflex cameras, are generally
impractical. A wide-angle lens is good for panoramic shots. Or simply bring a disposable
panoramic camera. They are inexpensive and can take perfectly acceptable photos in the right light
—not too dim or overly bright. Most compact cameras, though useful for people shots, are
impractical for taking wildlife photos, as the zoom lens typically is not of sufficient magnification.
A few compact models have a zoom lens of up to 120mm, which is usable.

A video camera is excellent for capturing the day’s scenes, especially if it has a feature for taking
still photography. One with a replay screen makes for great fun when you’re back at the hotel
discussing the day’s events with other travelers.

Security at airports has become much more stringent and some of the x-ray machines are potentially
powerful enough to fog or damage film. You can ask that the film be hand-inspected, but the film
must be removed from the canister—so Ziploc plastic bags are vital. You can use one for exposed
film and one for unexposed film. X-rays do not damage the data of digital cameras.
                                   While You Are on Your Trip



5. While You Are on Your Trip
Money Matters
How to Carry Your Money
Traveler’s checks—not recommended: We urge you not to rely on traveler's checks for your
personal expenses. They can be difficult to exchange and the commission fee for cashing them is
quite high. It’s most practical to view any traveler’s checks you might bring as a last “cash” resort
in the event of a special situation.

U.S. dollars have an advantage. Cash is more readily exchanged and accepted than traveler's
checks, and sometimes commands a better exchange rate. You might also consider using a debit
card, another reliable payment method.

There is no need to obtain local currency before your trip. You can change money at banks, most
hotels, and money exchange offices. Please note that torn, dirty, or taped bills may not be accepted.

For current exchange rates, please refer to our website, or the financial section of your newspaper.
From our web address below, select the Travel Tips & Tools link on the left, and then click on
Currency Converter. From here you may select the currency you want to convert.
                www.oattravel.com/tns

ATMs & Debit Cards
Debit cards give you a reliable payment method and ready access to local currency. Using a debit
card for withdrawals at ATM machines when you need cash will allow you the flexibility of
accessing money at your convenience without relying on bank hours for money exchanges. When
traveling, typically PLUS, Cirrus, and other bank networks are available throughout large cities and
small towns.

Always notify your bank before you leave home that you are going abroad so that they may remove
any blocks on your account and also ask them about the number of withdrawals you may make
abroad. For cash withdrawals, don’t forget to memorize the actual numerical digits of your card’s 4-
digit PIN (many keypads at foreign ATMs do not include letters on their numeric keys, they only
display digits.)

Note: ATMs are rare in much of Tunisia and often do not accept international cards. Many banks
that do have ATMs have begun imposing a fee ranging from $1 to $5 every time you use it. You
may want to limit the number of withdrawals that you make. Your Trip Leader can advise you on
ATM locations but the frequency of your withdrawals is left to your discretion.
                                  While You Are on Your Trip


Credit Cards
Though major American credit cards are accepted abroad, always inquire if your type of credit card
is accepted before deciding on your purchase. It is also wise to notify the credit card company that
you will be using your cards abroad so that they may remove any security block. When using a
major credit card you may receive a lower exchange rate than if you pay with cash, though this
savings may be offset by your card’s APR. Inquire about the rate first. Please be aware that credit
cards might not be accepted for small amounts. Keep your receipts in case you have questions about
the conversion rate, and for Customs inspection upon return to the U.S. Also, keep your receipts as
proof of purchase for items to be shipped home.

DISCOVER credit card does not operate outside the US.

Please note that optional tour payments made by credit card may take up to 3 months to process. For
this reason we ask that you use a credit card that will not expire until three months following your
trip.

Currency
Tunisian Currency
The official currency of Tunisia is the Tunisian dinar (TND), which is composed of 1,000 millimes.
              bills come in denominations of 5, 10, 20, and 30 Tunisian dinar
              coins come in denominations of 5, 10, 20, 50, 100 and 500 millimes and 1
                 Tunisian dinar
Moroccan Currency (optional extension)
The official currency of Morocco is the dirham (DH), which is composed of 100 centimes.
              bills come in denominations of 10, 20, 50, 100 and 200 dirham
              coins come in denominations of 5, 10, 20 and 50 centimes and 1, 5, and 10 dirham
Italian Currency (optional extension)
The euro is the official currency of Italy. Euro banknote and coin denominations are as follows:
                      banknotes: 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200, and 500
                      coins: 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, and 50 cents; 1 and 2 euro

Tipping
For thoseof you who have asked fortippingsuggestions we offertheseguidel . All tips
                                                                ,                       ines
below are quoted in U.S. dollars; tips can be converted and paid in local currency (this is usually
preferred) or in U.S. dollars (do not use personal or traveler's check for tips). Of course,whether
you tip,and how much, isalwaysat your own discret .         ion

OAT Trip Leader: It is customary to express a personal "thank you" to your OAT Trip Leader at
the end of your trip, especially if he or she has provided you with individual assistance. As a
guideline, many travelers give $7-$10 per person, per day.

Included Meals: Your Trip Leader will tip waiters for included meals.
                                    While You Are on Your Trip



Staying Healthy on Your Trip
Safe Water
Tap water is not safe to drink. Bottled water is readily available. Inspect each bottle before you
buy it to make sure the cap is sealed properly. Carry a bottle in your day bag at all times. Bottled
drinks and juices, and hot drinks that have been boiled, are safe to drink. Carry a bandanna to dry
the tops of bottled drinks before and after opening, and for cleaning wet utensils or plates.

Safe Food
We’ve carefully chosen the restaurants for your group meals. Your Trip Leader can suggest
restaurants for the meal you take on your own. Carry a handkerchief to dry any wet utensils or
plates. Be very careful with food sold from vendors on the street, and with uncooked fruit and other
foods. Fruit that you peel yourself is usually safe—avoid lettuce and other unpeeled produce.

Hygiene
Wash your hands frequently: before meals, before snacks, when brushing your teeth, after visiting
the bathroom. Carry your own handkerchief to dry your hands thoroughly each time. You won’t
always find running water, so bring moist towelettes (in a box, not individually wrapped) or anti-
bacterial "water-free" hand cleanser. Don't share your water bottle.

Don’t Push Too Hard
One of the most important parts of staying healthy on an active trip is to not push yourself too hard
if you feel tired. Respect your own limits. Your trip schedule offers some degree of flexibility. If
your energy level is low on a certain day, you can sit out a walking tour or a road excursion. Be
particularly conservative when you first arrive because of jet lag. Your Trip Leader can tell you
about the distance, time, and terrain of our walking excursions in advance, and can usually suggest
rewarding alternative activities.

Drink Plenty of Liquids
When you travel, you can easily become dehydrated without knowing it. If your fluid balance is
low, you are more susceptible to fatigue and illness. Air travel will dry you out, so drink liquids and
avoid alcohol on your flight. During the trip, don’t wait until you feel thirsty to drink. Instead, drink
by the clock: drink one to two quarts of water or juice each day, in addition to drinks at meals. If
you find yourself tired or unwell, and don’t know why, it may be that you simply need to drink
more. Note that tea, coffee, and alcoholic beverages are diuretics, and do not help maintain
hydration.

Sun and Heat Exposure
Be sure to wear your hat, and use plenty of sunscreen. Be aware of the signs of heat exposure. Be
especially concerned if you feel hot, but are not perspiring. Let your Trip Leader know if you are
not feeling well. Most importantly (and this is at the risk of tedious repetition), you must drink
plenty of liquids when temperatures are high.
                                    While You Are on Your Trip


If You Have Stomach Trouble
Despite your best efforts, you may get diarrhea at some point. It is usually limited in duration, and
will often go away without medication. Immediately and consistently, drink more liquids to make
up for the fluids you are losing. The best initial treatment is to chew two Pepto Bismol tablets;
repeat three to four times a day. This may be all you need to do. You can, and probably should, eat
when you get hungry, but avoid dairy products and fried foods for a while.

If your symptoms persist for more than 12 to 24 hours, you may decide to take a course of a
prescription antibiotic. Most antibiotics are taken twice a day, for about three days. Once you start
the course, it’s important to continue for the full duration of treatment. Don’t stop if your
symptoms subside sooner.

Anti-motility agents, like Imodium and Lomotil, treat the symptom rather than the cause. You may
want to take Imodium before a long bus ride or a city tour. You can take it along with an antibiotic.
But because these medications interfere with your body’s natural attempts to rid itself of the
infection, many specialists recommend that you not take them when you are in a place with
convenient access to a bathroom. Specifically, don’t take Imodium, Lomotil, or a similar
medication if you have a fever, or if you have bloody diarrhea.

Cell Phones
If you want to use a cell phone while traveling overseas, be sure to check whether your own phone
will work outside the U.S. or if you’re better off renting an international phone. The websites
www.travelcell.com and www.globalcellularrental.com have good information on rentals. You may
also want to consider buying an inexpensive local phone for your stay.

To use your own phone, it’s best to investigate the options and fees your plan offers for
international use. Consult your service provider (www.verizon.com, www.t-mobile.com, etc.) for
details. U.S. service is dominated by the CDMA technology standard, while most of the world uses
the incompatible GSM standard. Some U.S. providers do offer GSM, but in either case you may
incur high international roaming fees. With GSM, however, you can often choose to have your
phone “unlocked” and then add a local SIM card for lower fees. If you can access the Internet as
you travel, you can take advantage of email or a Skype Internet telephone (VOIP) account for the
best value.

Phone Calling Cards
When calling the U.S. from a foreign country, consider using a prepaid calling card, because the
only additional charge you’ll normally incur (besides the prepaid long distance charges) is a local
fee of a few cents and possibly a connection fee if you are using your card at your hotel. It is best to
check with the hotel's reception desk prior to making phone calls to avoid unexpected charges.

Calling cards purchased locally are typically less expensive than those purchased in the U.S. and
are more likely to work with the local phone system. Do not call U.S. 1-800 numbers outside the
continental United States. This can result in costly long distance fees, since 1-800 numbers do not
work outside the country.
                                   While You Are on Your Trip


A Word about Electricity

Electricity in Tunisia is 230 volts AC, 50 Hz. The Type C plug (two round pins) is the most
common, but you may also find the Type E plug (two round pins with a receptacle for a male
grounding pin). In some places, lighting may not be as bright as you are used to. Morocco is
currently converting from 127 volts, 50 Hz to 220 volts, 50 Hz , so you may find both even in the
same building. Like Tunisia, Morocco uses Type C and Type E plugs. The electric current in Italy is
220 volts, 50 Hz and uses Type C, Type F (like an E but with two grounding clips on the sides
instead of a pin), or occasionally Type L (three round pins in a row).




                   Type C plug                        Type E plug

A constant electricity supply cannot be guaranteed during overnight stays. Passengers
dependent on electricity supply (as in the case of those with sleep apnea) should consider a
different OAT vacation or ensure their apparatus has back-up battery power. In some places, a
generator may supply electricity, and lighting may not be as bright as you are used to.

Responsible Travel in Tunisia
We do our best to have a minimum negative impact on local cultures and the natural environment
in every country where we operate trips. In more than 31 years of travel, our travelers and staff have
learned techniques that encourage rewarding cultural exchange. Our goal is to leave no trace on the
natural environment, or to leave places better than we find them. Here’s what we ask of you as part
of this effort:

Conserving the Natural Environment
    • Minimize the disposable items you bring on the trip. Leave film boxes, wrappings from
    new clothes, and other unneeded items at home.
    • Dispose of your trash properly. Instead of disposing of trash at roadside rest areas or
    restaurants, keep a small trash bag in your day bag and empty it in your hotel each night.
    • Ask whether plastic drinking water bottles can be recycled. Most days, it’s better to keep
    your empty bottles with you until you reach your hotel.
    • Stay on established trails to avoid damaging plants.
    • Don’t pick any vegetation, or remove any item of biological interest.
    • Don’t take flash pictures inside tombs and temples
    • Try not to brush your shoulder or bag against ancient walls or columns.
    • Where other foreign visitors have littered film boxes or candy wrappers, consider picking
    them up. Local people will appreciate your thoughtfulness.
                                    While You Are on Your Trip


Cultural Interaction
You can have some great “conversations” with local people who do not speak English, even if you
don’t speak a word of the local language. Indeed, this non-verbal communication can be a highly
rewarding part of travel. To break the ice, bring along some family photographs, or a few postcards
of your hometown. If you want to meet kids, bring a puppet or other interactive toy. Your Trip
Leader can help get the ball rolling.

Keep in mind, however, that it is always good form to know at least a few words in the local
language.

Your attire is a key part of your non-verbal presentation. Your clothing should show a respect for
local tradition. This means you should dress in a relatively modest style. Avoid revealing or tight-
fitting outfits.

The etiquette of photographing most people in Tunisia is about the same as it would be on the
streets of your hometown. You need permission to take a close-up, but not for a crowd scene. Be
especially polite if you want to photograph children or older women. If you want to shoot a great
portrait, show interest in your subject, try to have a bit of social interaction first. Then use sign
language to inquire if a picture is OK. Your Trip Leader can help.



Safety & Security
Common Sense and Awareness
As you travel, exercise the same caution and awareness that you would in a large American city.
Don’t be overly nervous or suspicious, but keep your eyes open. If you are venturing out after dark,
go with one or two other people.

Carry a one-day supply of cash in your pocket. Carry most of your money, and your passport, in a
travel pouch or money belt under your shirt. Replenish your pocket supply when you are in a safe
and quiet place, or in our vehicle. Don't leave valuables unattended in your hotel room. Most hotels
will offer use of a hotel safe at the front desk or an electronic in-room safe (for which you can set
your own PIN). Please utilize them.

Pickpockets may create a sudden distraction. In any sort of puzzling street situation, try to keep one
hand on your money belt. If an encounter with a local turns out to be long and complicated and
involves money or your valuables, be very careful. Con artists sometimes target travelers.

Shopping in Tunisia
Souvenirs
Many travelers are surprised by the variety of goods for which Tunisia is known. Copperware is
formed into trays and engraved and olive wood is sculpted into carvings. You’ll find leather
wallets and handbags); clothing (kaftans, jelabas, burnuses) that varies from the colorful to the
simple; intricate ceramics; cherubic dolls in local dress; decorative embroidery; and finely polished
silverware and jewelry.
                                    While You Are on Your Trip

But the most valuable commodity you’ll find here are Tunisian carpets, either woven (non-pile) or
knotted (pile). The National Handicrafts Office oversees the quality of Tunisia’s carpets, so
imitations are rare.

Your purchase decisions are very personal. If you plan a major purchase, we strongly recommend
that you research the prices and quality available at home before your trip. Just one visit to an
import shop or gold dealer will put you way ahead when you go shopping. This is the only way to
know if you are getting a good price. It is Overseas Adventure Travel's goal to identify and provide
you with shopping opportunities that highlight unique, locally-produced products with good value
from reliable vendors. You must use your best judgment when deciding whether an item is worth
the price being asked. Overseas Adventure Travel cannot be responsible for purchases you make on
your trip or for problems you may have with shipment of your purchases.

Bargaining
Tunisians enjoy negotiating over prices, and they expect it of their customers. When looking at
large items, you’ll often be invited to sit down and drink a cup of tea with the merchants.

If this is your first experience at bargaining, don’t worry—you’ll quickly find your own style. Your
opening offer should be well under the asking price. The only rule is that, if you make an offer, you
should be prepared to buy at that price. And remember, whatever price you pay is okay, as long as
the item is worth that price to you.

U.S. Customs Regulations
Articles totaling $800, at fair retail value where they were acquired, may be imported free of charge
if you bring them with you. A flat 3% rate of duty will be applied to the next $1,000 worth (fair
retail value) of merchandise. The U.S. Customs Inspector determines the value of your items when
you enter, and is not bound by your bill of sale. In almost every case, however, a genuine bill of sale
will be honored.

Items shipped home are always subject to duty when received in the U.S. There will also be charges
for clearing the shipment through customs. The U.S. Customs & Border Protection service states:
“The most cost-effective thing to do is to take your purchases with you if at all possible.”

It is illegal to import products made from endangered animal species. U.S. Customs & Border
Protection will seize these items, as well as most furs, coral, tortoise shell, reptile skins, feathers,
plants, and items made from animal skins. For more information on what you may or may not bring
back into the United States, you can obtain the publication “Know Before You Go” from the
following agency or from their website:

                            U.S. Bureau of Customs & Border Protection
                                  1300 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
                                      Washington, DC 20229
                                       Tel. 1-202-354-1000
                                   www.cbp.gov/xp/cgov/travel/
                                       Some Final Thoughts




6. Some Final Thoughts
Contributions to Locals
We strongly discourage the distribution of money, pens, candy, and leftover food to children or
adults you meet along the way. There are beggars at many traditional tourist sites. We suggest you
make eye contact, smile politely, and keep moving. If you give to one beggar, your entire group may
be harassed.

When you walk near homes or schools, children may solicit you most charmingly, as they do all
over the world. But consider how you would feel if you were a parent or a teacher, and every time
foreigners came by, your children ran off and got things you couldn’t supply. Candy promotes tooth
decay, and small villages have few dentists. If you give out pens randomly, some kids get them and
some don’t, and this is disruptive in class.

We encourage you to make contributions in ways that support community institutions. Here’s one
example: Bring a large box of pens or pencils, a package of notebooks, a couple of educational
books for children ages 7-14, puzzles, construction paper, blackboard erasers, or other school
supply that is easy to carry. With your Trip Leader as a translator, make a semi-formal presentation
to a teacher in a local school and ask the teacher to distribute the items in class. Tell the teacher
how much you appreciate his or her efforts, and how education is valued highly in the U.S.



A Real Adventure
Traveling in Tunisia is quite different from a vacation in North America or Europe—indeed, that’s
why we go! This is an adventurous trip in a developing country. Most days are great fun. But some
aspects of the countries or the experience can be disagreeable, and it may be useful to know about
them in advance. Bear in mind that part of the adventure of this travel is to experience life as the
region's residents do, and to immerse yourself in their culture.

Our hotels are comfortable, but not luxurious. There can be occasional problems with electricity,
hot water, and air conditioning. In restaurants, hotels, and at cultural sites, everything works
according to a slower sense of time than what you are used to. It’s best to wind down and adjust to
the Tunisian pace and philosophy.

You’ll be traveling each day with people you don’t know. By the end of the trip, you’ll know them
fairly well! Many OAT travelers form lasting friendships, and return to travel together again. But
you probably won’t enjoy every person every day. The evergreen qualities of patience, flexibility,
humor, and mutual consideration will help everyone have a good time.

We work hard to ensure that your trip runs smoothly, but things don’t always go according to plan.
And we’ve deliberately sought out non-traditional travel settings and unusually adventurous
experiences.
                                       Some Final Thoughts

Your Trip Leaders are experienced in dealing with unexpected hitches, and will often work
discreetly, behind the scenes, for the good of the group. But we’ve also developed a calm
acceptance that some things are simply beyond our control. Weather and local road conditions
might affect your trip. Your activities could be different from those described in your itinerary, and
there could be a last-minute change or delay for reasons that are not immediately obvious. At such
times, you’ll have a better trip if you can draw on your sense of humor and your most adventurous
travel spirit.

								
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