There are some tips you need to know before travelling to Iran. It’s a beautiful country and it’s useful to have a couple of things in mind before you travel here. Some of which are listed below.
1. People of other countries cannot get cash from the machine and also credit cards do not work here in Iran. You can’t pay for your shopping with your cards so you have to bring cash. You can bring dollars (better to be US dollar) and then you can exchange it in Iran.
2. Here in Iran, the currency is a little bit confusing. You should know that the currency in Iran is Rial that has a lot of zeros. For the sake of convenience, Iran has also Toman which is like one decimal less. It means that each Toman equals 10 Rial. So try to keep that in mind.
3. Here in Iran you do have to pay for the stuff that you shop for even if they tell you not to pay for them. It’s a part of the culture named “Tarof” which shows that you’re being polite. For example you shop for something and the salesperson tells you “ok, be my guest” and they usually persist. At this time, that doesn’t mean that you should not pay for it, they just want to be kind.
4. Clothing is really important in Iran. Women have to cover up their hair, knees and elbows in public but for men it’s much easier although long pants are required. There is no one on the streets wearing shorts out in public. So, try to pick up the right clothes for the right time of the year.
5. Shaking hands in Iran is another thing that you should care about. People especially men shake a lot of hands on the street and every time they see one another. But for women, there is a different story. If you see a woman for the first time as a man, it’s better to let the woman decide whether she wants to shake hands or not.
6. Friday is the holiday in Iran. It’s a day off that people usually don’t go to work, except those who work in the market and big malls and tourist attractions.
7. Iran is a safe country. Despite what media portrays, Iran is one of the safest tourist destinations. Many travelers describe Iran as the “safest country I’ve ever been to”. Violent crime against foreigners is extremely rare and indeed, if you do your best to fit in with local customs, you are unlikely to be treated with anything but courtesy and friendliness.
8. Hotels usually keep your passport at the check-in time and hand it back at the check-out time. They really keep your passport safe and there is no need to be worried about. If you think that you will need your passport, try to have a copy of that though!
9. Take Your Shoes off Everywhere in Iran. It’s not usually common to wear shoes inside a place you want to stay, whether a hotel or someone’s home. It’s better to take off your shoes before entering a place. Instead, you can use some sandals and slippers inside.
10. The efficient public transportation system in Iran has eased the urban life. There is only one difference. In Iran, women and men have different sections in subways and buses. For entering the wagons as well as buses, women and men should stand in different lines.
11. Research the food and don’t eat just kebabs. There is a wide range of various foods in Iran. From different tasty local foods to different types of kebabs which all are amazing. So, before you travel to Iran, try to search and find as much food as you can eat. Do not forget to try the local foods of each city in Iran.
12. Let your guard down and talk to locals. People of Iran have a great sense of hospitality. Iranians have a saying that goes: “guest is gift from God” showing how they look up to their guests and visitors of Iran. So, one of the best experiences you will have in Iran is spending time with all the friendly locals. Definitely, you will get plenty of opportunities if you are open to it. Try not to shy away from this, even if you are a solo traveler. This hospitality is in the heart of people and will be devoted to the guests by warm smiles and kind eye contacts.
13. Pick up a Local Sim Card. You can buy a local sim card in Iran in spite of what you have been told. There are lots of advantages in buying a sim card in Iran. For example, you can call your hotel and other people. Moreover, you can use the internet on the sim card in order to use applications such as Whatsapp and Viber to keep in touch with friends and family back home.
14. People of some countries are exempted from getting the visa and they are going to be handed visa of Iran at the airport. People of Bolivia, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Turkey, Syria, Lebanon, Georgia, Venezuela, Egypt and Malaysia are of the mentioned group.
15. As big as the country is, you will be travelling to a four-seasoned region with its own spectacle in each and every climate. However, bear in mind that an ideal time for planning your trip would be spring.
16. If you have packed up for a trip with drinking experiences, you should know that any form of alcohol, in any form of use, is strictly forbidden in Iran. But Iranians know their way very well through entertaining themselves and their welcomed guests. Stick around with a couple of local people and you get to be indulged in their interesting, entertaining culture of having fun with no drop of alcohol involved.
17. Shop at Iranian Markets. Bazaars play a huge part in Iran’s day-to-day life and you can find them pretty much in every city and small town. The largest bazaar in the world (UNESCO World Heritage Site) is in Tabriz. Pay a visit to Isfahan’s bazaar as well and you will feel nothing but astonishment as how diverse the handicrafts all over this country are.
18. Drinking tea with Iranians is not only soothing and enjoyable, it is also culturally tied with their tradition of visiting friends and relatives regularly. Forget about the way you drink your tea at home. In Iran, you need to try to drink it with locals, which means that you’ll drink some sweet tea. By that, I don’t mean you put a sugar cube in your teacup. You need to put a sugar cube in your mouth and drink the tea ‘through’ that, holding it in.
19. At the end of your trip, don’t get surprised if you are already planning another visit to the country while still packing for departure. Everybody loves Iran because it is a huge country with so many places to visit and also, thanks to its people and safety, traveling through Iran is highly pleasant.
20. Iranians hospitality will be guaranteed aspect of your trip. You will even find random people approaching you on the street, striking up a conversation and show their guest-welcoming attitude towards you.