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Advice for 1 week in Algieria--help me refine my rough trip idea

Advice for 1 week in Algieria--help me refine my rough trip idea

Old Mar 12, 18, 1:51 am
  #1  
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Advice for 1 week in Algieria--help me refine my rough trip idea

We had a mini-discussion about things to see in Algeria towards the end of this thread: Algeria visa invitation

I've refined my trip sketch from what was mentioned in that thread to eliminate the Bechar/Taghit portion due to logistical complexity (we'll aim to spend time in the Sahara on a future trip to Morocco, where the infrastructure is a little better).

As a result, we now have time to add a highly-regarded stop in Constantine.

Here's the rough sketch so far:

Traveling in a group of four people:

3/25: Arrive ALG @ 1p, depart for CZL @ 6p, arrive CZL @ 7p
3/26-27: Constantine and surrounds
3/28: CZL-ORA midday
3/28-3/29: Oran (one in our group has a friend who lives there, hence prioritizing Oran as a stop)
3/30: Depart ORA @ 9a, arrive ALG @10a
3/30-31: Algiers (and surrounds, if anything of interest is close enough?)

So, questions:

1) Am I grossly unbalanced on the above itinerary? Should I cut a day off somewhere and put it elsewhere?
2) Am I missing any OMG-must-see things in the country (that I'd have time for if I cut something in the above itinerary out)?
3) Any particular suggestions for these three places as far as logistics and safety? (Is walking around the tourist attractions safe? Are taxis (or Ubers or whatever) reasonably available and safe? As a very experienced traveler with 75 countries under my belt, do I really need guides as many TripAdvisor threads suggest? Is self-driving with a rental car a safe and good option? Etc.)
4) I've seen reference that there's a "parallel" money exchange market (a la Argentina). Is this safe and reliable? (If so, I may skip out on prepaying on Hotels.com and instead pay cash upon check-in.) Are ATMs that accept US-issued cards reasonably available? (I've seen mixed info on TripAdvisor about this, and also notes that foreign-issued credit cards may not be widely accepted, even at hotels.)
5) Anything about prepaid data SIM cards I should be aware of that isn't covered at Algeria | Prepaid Data SIM Card Wiki | FANDOM powered by Wikia
6) Anything else major I should be aware of?

Thanks in advance!
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Old Mar 12, 18, 5:49 am
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Hi, I will reply more later and happy to have follow up questions.
A few things-- just realized my numbers here don't go with your numbers above.... anyway--

1) Is the CZL-ORN flight a nonstop? Air Algerie was fairly reliable BUT almost always 30-120 minutes late. I would plan on it being around 1-2 hours late, and then if it isn't, it's a bonus.
2) Hopefully your ALG-CZL has First Class for sale? If so, go for it-- it's only about $20-30 more but offers a few nice amenities (separate check in, small lounge, nice for delays). If not, Economy is pretty acceptable. They always serve some kind of drink and snack even in Y.
3) We brought all cash. I don't recall much about ATMs, so someone else will have to tell you about that.
4) If you want a nice guy with a car for a day from from Constantine to Djemila or Timgad, PM me. He was super friendly and his car was nice.
5) Changing money -- we did it through a travel agent, but it does seem to be quite prevalent to pay in cash. We paid the Marriott bill in cash, for instance.
6) For any travel done outside of larger cities, be ready knowing that you might be required to have a police/military escort. It's free and the guys were all friendly and respectful. But it does add time to day trips if they tag along (for your safety, though the guys we had said they'd heard nothing about any attacks on tourists in many years).
7) Algeria felt absolutely, totally safe. In fact, a week before we arrived, there was a poll that found Algerians feel the 7th safest in the world. Before we arrived, I wasn't sure to believe that, but now I do.
8) When leaving, and arriving into Western Europe, an agent told me "You're lucky to be alive". Umm.... yeah not so much. It's pretty amazing how little information there is on Algeria!
Enjoy and let me know other questions, either here or in PM.
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Old Mar 13, 18, 3:35 am
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Super helpful, again. Thanks.

I rebooked our ALG-CZL flight into first class so we can use the lounge while we wait at the airport, since the wait will be several hours. It was $24 more, LOL. Debating on the other ones—have until midnight tonight to decide.

I may take you up on the driver in Constantine. Will PM.

Thanks for all the other info—still digesting and thinking and planning but may have more questions soon!
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Old Mar 13, 18, 6:23 pm
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Originally Posted by jackal View Post
Super helpful, again. Thanks.

I rebooked our ALG-CZL flight into first class so we can use the lounge while we wait at the airport, since the wait will be several hours. It was $24 more, LOL. Debating on the other ones—have until midnight tonight to decide.

I may take you up on the driver in Constantine. Will PM.

Thanks for all the other info—still digesting and thinking and planning but may have more questions soon!
Good to hear!
First Class is for sure not luxurious, seats are similar to US F seating. Meal/snack is same as Y. Just fun, quirky, and unique.
Not sure if CZL has a lounge, but I imagine it might.
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Old Mar 22, 18, 10:48 pm
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Any thoughts on safety in Algeria?

I'm traveling with some family members, including a female cousin who is just out of college. Some of her family members have expressed trepidation about her safety.

Most of what I see online, including official State Department warnings, TripAdvisor threads, Lonely Planet Thorn Tree threads, etc., gives me zero cause for concern about our particular itinerary, but it might be nice to get some additional thoughts. We can bail on the Algeria portion and connect onward to MAD for $193 r/t--not horrible for so close in.
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Old Mar 23, 18, 9:35 pm
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When you're leaving Algeria, you'll look back on this thread and smile-- Algerians consider themselves to the living in the 7th safest country in the world.
https://www.dzbreaking.com/2017/08/0...llup-rankings/
Hope that helps to allay fears. Yes, there was a Civil war-- and also terrorism in the 90s-- but almost nothing has happened to a foreigner in 5 years. And those who were attacked were working at gas and oil fields in the Sahara Desert.
That said, in Spain 2 years ago I watched a Japanese female tourist get scammed and robbed by some locals.....

Originally Posted by jackal View Post
Any thoughts on safety in Algeria?

I'm traveling with some family members, including a female cousin who is just out of college. Some of her family members have expressed trepidation about her safety.

Most of what I see online, including official State Department warnings, TripAdvisor threads, Lonely Planet Thorn Tree threads, etc., gives me zero cause for concern about our particular itinerary, but it might be nice to get some additional thoughts. We can bail on the Algeria portion and connect onward to MAD for $193 r/t--not horrible for so close in.
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Old Mar 23, 18, 10:53 pm
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Originally Posted by kyushuman View Post
When you're leaving Algeria, you'll look back on this thread and smile-- Algerians consider themselves to the living in the 7th safest country in the world.
https://www.dzbreaking.com/2017/08/0...llup-rankings/
Hope that helps to allay fears. Yes, there was a Civil war-- and also terrorism in the 90s-- but almost nothing has happened to a foreigner in 5 years. And those who were attacked were working at gas and oil fields in the Sahara Desert.
That said, in Spain 2 years ago I watched a Japanese female tourist get scammed and robbed by some locals.....
Well, they called an audible and booked (reasonably) cheap flights from ALG to Spain. Two of us will remain in Algeria and do the aforementioned itinerary. Looking forward to it!
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