Is it safe to travel to Iran?
Iran safe to travel
When you think of traveling to Iran as a tourist, questions regarding the safety might be the first to pop up. Despite the stigma surrounding Iran and Iranians, many of the tourists having already visited Iran, go as far as calling it one of the safest countries in the middle east, and even, the world!
Iranian people are often described as warm, friendly, hospitable with a natural curiosity towards other cultures that makes them out to be great company. The locals will always be open to a conversation and willing to chat you up and offer you help, if needed. It is likely they’d offer you tea and insist you join them for a meal too.
Are there terrorist attacks happening in Iran? Are Iranians terrorists?
Nowadays, because of the way the media portrays the middle east and Iran and due to some political tensions, unfortunately Iran is sometimes negatively associated with terrorism which is almost entirely a myth. A terrorist attack is not any more likely to happen in Iran than any European country, therefore if you are planning a trip to Iran, this is not at all something you need to worry about. Also, the rate of street crimes is low in Iran and men and women can enjoy a trip to Iran solo or in groups since it totally is a safe country.
Are Iranians extremist Muslims and hateful towards other beliefs?
That seems to be a common misconception about Iranians, especially among people of the west which is absolutely not true. While in some parts of Iran people tend to be more religious than the others, Iranians are generally flexible and accepting of different cultures and religions and respect those who respect them. They find cultural exchange quite exciting and are on board with it. Christians, Zoroastrians, and Jewish people are totally welcome in the country, as well as the others. There are even people living in Iran with different religions and have absolutely no problem.
Will you be able to use the internet and electronics?
Some might assume that the use of technology and electronics might be restricted in Iran and they would be cut off from the rest of the world the whole time they are traveling in Iran which is utterly untrue. Please do not feel unsafe in that sense as you can easily access electronics and connect to the world in Iran as a part of the modern world. You can use your phone in public as well as private areas and cheap and affordable internet is accessible for everyone. You can also simply reach out to banned websites like Twitter and YouTube with the use of a VPN or proxies and it is not going to be a serious issue. You are also free to take photographs and record videos as long as you have the permission of all the people included in the frame and with the exception of government and military sites.
Islamic laws and modest clothing – will you get in trouble for violating the dress code?
It would do well to be a responsible traveler and do research ahead before entering a country. You need to be aware of some of the laws and regulations in order to travel safely and not offend the locals or the authorities.
Keep in mind that women are expected by law to follow a modest dress code which concludes a headwear, a long top down to the mid-thigh and pants that cover up the leg down to ankles. Men are also obliged to cover their legs and wear tops with at least short sleeves. Public display of affection and physical intimacy between people of the opposite gender is not socially or legally acceptable.
Make note of the gender separation on public transportations to avoid running into trouble with people on your ride.
Alcohol and drugs are prohibited and not legally sold or served within the borders of Iran and it is best to turn down any offering of those to stay on the safe side and out of trouble.
Naturally, since Iran is an Islamic country, even if you find yourself listening to Iranians criticizing politics or religion, remember not to be vocal about your political or religious point of view as it could cause security issues and you are seriously advised to avoid engaging in any political activities. Stay as possibly away from any sensitive topic that might be brought up by others during your stay.
If you follow these steps, you shouldn’t encounter any problems and can easily blend in with the locals without causing any offense or attracting unwanted attention from the authorities.
- Climate and Healthcare
If you are not naturally accustomed to hot weather (50 C / 122 F or higher in some places) there is a risk of heat-strokes or other lethal injuries caused by the heat so make sure to either travel to Iran in colder months or check the weather forecast of the regions you are planning to visit. Bear in mind that the temperature can be drastically differ in each region of the country. Iran is not called the four season country for no reason! In order to know more about different climates of Iran, visit best time to visit Iran.
Public and private healthcare is widespread across the whole country. The healthcare centers are up-to-date and fully-equipped and financially accessible. You can always call 115 in case of medical emergency and receive immediate professional help.
- The money problem – will you be able to carry your money safely around the country?
You unfortunately cannot use your credit card in Iran due to a lack of connection between the Iranian banking system and the international banking system. You can either use Iran tourist cards or travel around with cash at all times.
Admittedly the latter option sounds a bit alarming even considering how safe Iran is. If possible, avoid carrying too much cash in overcrowded spots like public transports where pickpockets might potentially operate and let your most valuable assets remain in your place of staying.
As mentioned earlier if you feel unsafe to carry cash with you, you can also consider the alternative option of tourist cards. At the end of the day, you do not need to feel intimidated by the money situation while you travel to Iran.
As a rule of thumb, you need to take the necessary steps towards basic precaution as you would in any other country. In particular if you are traveling solo, but reassuringly, Iran is not known to have high crime rates in general and tourists are rarely ever faced with any xenophobic behavior or violent crimes.
Sadly, due to political problems citizens of the US, UK and Canada are not allowed to enter or travel within Iran without the presence of a tour guide or an already stablished host and they need to apply for a visa through a travel agency, but don’t let that put you off of the amazing journey awaiting you in Iran.
All in all, the tourism industry is growing rapidly in Iran thanks to word of the mouth from other travelers you can find easily on social medias. Despite things getting delayed for about two years because of covid-19, Iran is once again accepting two-times vaccinated tourists and the borders are open to travelers. Although there are somewhat heavy restrictions at hand, they don’t apply to tourists as heavily as citizens. Travelers who only stay for a few days or weeks can simply obey the law and enjoy the astonishing touristic sites and natural landscapes without stressing out about anything else.
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