Country Specific Advice
Afghanistan is one of my favorite places for travel. The people are incredibly kind, the food is amazing and the landscape is stunning. Sadly Afghanistan is more known for war than for tourism. Decades of war have ravaged Afghanistan to the point that few tourists will ever go there. The Soviets invaded, followed by the Taliban and now various terrorist groups compete for power across different regions of the country. The government truly has control in Balkh, Mazar, Herat, Kabul, and Bamiyan. Luckily those also happen to be the main tourism areas. I would personally recommend using a guide while in Afghanistan. You could in theory do it without one, but your chances of being kidnapped would be exponentially higher. If you use a reputable guide, stay in one of the 5 cities above, and don’t do anything stupid you’ll end up having an incredible trip. ISIS and the Taliban are not lurking behind every corner looking to kill westerners. The only time my vehicle came under fire was from a half dozen kids with snowballs. The most important piece of advice for Afghanistan is that you should not stay in a hotel in Kabul. As recently as January 21, 2018 the Taliban have attacked major hotels in Kabul. Despite these hotels being heavily guarded they still manged to kill 20 people. Staying in a western hotel is the surest way to get yourself killed in Kabul.
As of 3.7.18 there are bombings roughly every week in Afghanistan. Most of these are in Kabul and continue to concentrate on military and police stations. Keep in mind that Afghanistan has a population of over 25 million people. Your chances of being killed by a bombing in Afghanistan are about 1/10,000,000 for every week that you are there. Those odds go down considerably if you avoid the police stations and military bases.
Tunisia is a beautiful country with a lot to offer. I would hesitate to call it a true conflict zone, but it is not like going to Austria or France either. I stayed at a hotel and Tunis and used the hotel as my base of operations. The hotel had a guide that they recommended and set me up with. I would advise you to do the same thing when you are moving around Tunisia. You would likely be safe even in a local taxi, but why take the taxi when you can get a reputable driver that acts as a guide as well? To safely visit Tunisia simply book a hotel with good ratings and ask for a driver. I used a hotel called “Tunisia Palace” and they did a great job of helping me out.
Egypt is one of those places that you simply must visit if you want to be a well rounded traveler. The majority of Cairo is very safe as long as you take normal precautions. I booked a room at the Kempinski Nile Hotel. One of the reasons that I picked the hotel was because it has excellent security and it is pretty close to the US Embassy. It’s close enough that I could have run to the embassy but not so close that a bombing or fight at the embassy would have put me in danger. I would recommend using a guide and hired driver when in Egypt unless you’re in one of the red sea resorts. There are some bad taxi drivers in Cairo and Luxor that have been known to rob solo passengers, especially at night.