Generally, Iran is a very safe place to travel to, many visitors describe it as the safest country I have ever been to, or even much safer than traveling in Europe.
Iranian people are very hospitable especially toward foreigners, and that is why violent crime against tourist is extremely rare, but always try your best to fit in with local customs during your travel around the world, by this way you are unlikely to be treated with anything but courtesy and friendliness that you will experience it in Iran more than anywhere.
For female travelers, like anywhere all around the world, it is better to be cautious and avoid situations where you are alone with a man you don’t know.
In general, Iran is a safe country, but we provide you with some useful tips you should have in mind when traveling to this country. These tips can help you to have an enjoyable experience with your kids while you travel to Iran.
Iranians, love babies, especially blue-eyed blond ones, People of Iran love kids, and the way that showing their feelings is to hug and kiss them which can be annoying sometimes for foreigners. If you don’t like that let them know when they ask you for permission.
You can find the different type of baby food (foreign and local brands) in all cities, but there’s no guarantee that you’ll find the special brand you’re looking for. This can be an annoying problem if your child is used to a particular product. So, bring your desired brand extra.
In most cities the tap water is drinkable and bottled water is cheap and easy to find in every supermarket or even news kiosk.
Try to avoid crowded places. If you are not living in a populated city, your lack of experience makes it difficult for you. You have to spend a lot of energy and attention to be sure your kids are by your side and you are not able to enjoy these wonderful places.
If your children are on a certain medication, it is better to bring enough supply, as it might be difficult to find the exact brand in the country.
Dress Code for Kids
Iran has a unique dress code but it doesn’t apply to children. Men should avoid wearing shorts and women should cover their body and also their hair. Girls under the nine years old do not need to cover their hair and young boys can wear shorts too.
It is recommended to have wipes and a roll of toilet paper with you. Although finding western style toilets outside your hotel and especially on the roads is challenging. It is a good idea to familiarize your kids with squatting toilets.
Travel by plane or a private car
Iran’s roads are really scenic, but traveling by bus with children may take you the ability to enjoy these magnificent landscapes. Service stations and other roadside facilities are not well equipped.
Travel by plane costs more but it’s worth the convenience.
Best season to travel
The best time to visit Iran is spring and fall in most cities. Winters can get very cold not only in mountainous cities but also in desert cities too. And summer is hot especially in the south part of the country so have sunscreen and a hat with you.
This may not be a problem in modern and mid-tier hotels, but budget accommodations may not be very well-equipped for families. For example, traditional hotels while are beautiful but don’t have elevators. So you’ll have trouble taking the stroller up and down.
Reading reviews on Trip Advisor or getting in touch with hotels is a good idea to make sure if they meet your requirements.
Don’t panic if your kid starts yelling or crying
In many countries, parents are ashamed when their kids start screaming in public, but children have a special place in Iranian culture, so keep calm and control them without worrying about people around you. Even they might offer to help you!
Iran has a diverse climate, before planning research about the weather. Keep in mind that some cities are located in hot and dry areas which makes the visit hard especially in summer.
Look both ways on the streets
As you getting close to the street, grab your kid’s hand stronger than you normally do to make sure they don’t suddenly run off.
Jaywalking is common in Iran, but don’t be tempted and try to find footbridges and zebra crossings. They are very common, so walk a few more to use them. When crossing the street, always look at both sides even if you are in a one-way street.
Be careful when walking on the sidewalk because motorcycle riders sometimes use the pavement to circumvent traffic or go up a one-way road.
Public baby changing areas are available in most places, such as restaurants, subway stations, and malls. However, most of them are located in the ladies’ room, so bear that in mind if you’re a father. But if you feel you are in need, just ask, Iranians will be more than happy to help you.
Diapers are found in all supermarkets, so don’t worry about that.
About breastfeeding in public, look around and find a quiet corner and try not to cause much attention. You can simply use your scarf to cover your body.
Choose a leader
Depend on the group number choose a leader or two, you can have different persons in charge of different aspects of your trip, it’s easier to arrange all of this at the beginning and not waste your precious time on vacation trying to find out how to do things!
Learn your group members’ abilities and use them. If someone is good at reading maps put him in charge of directions. If someone can speak a foreign language put her in charge of communication. Use someone artistic mind to take the pictures.
Determine the budget
One of the difficult parts of group trip planning is the budget because people have different ideas about the amount of money they like to spend during travel. A maximum budget for the necessities like accommodation or transportation will guarantee that there are no surprises for anyone. Although, some activities can be optional, make sure that’s totally clear.
Discus about having a shared pot of money during your trip, especially when you are going to buy your own food and cook together. It is easier than regularly working out how to split bills during your travel.
Make a Packing List
To be sure that everyone brings everything you need to put someone in charge of creating a packing list. You will need obvious items, like personalized medicine and toiletries but make sure everyone brings an umbrella for rainy days. You will need shared items too, like hair dryers, portable speakers, and etc.
The price of flights or accommodation can drastically increase when getting close to the high season. Be sure you book your trip early for the best deals and to be sure you have enough space for everyone.
Not all places have enough free tables for a big group especially when you travel to a touristic area in high season. Choose a place and book a table first. It also helps you to avoid tiring discussions when choosing a cafe or restaurant.
Experiencing a new culture may require you to leave your comfort zone. Be prepared to do things you’ve never tried before, try new foods or interact with people who look completely different than you do. Remember to respect the area’s customs and lifestyle.
Don’t Forget the Tip
Big groups need more effort and coordination. It encourages staffs for more prompt and efficient service if all groups left a 10-15% percent tip.
For sure you want to tip your tour leader, local guide, driver, and anyone else to show your appreciation.
It could take 25 minutes to get to a destination you could have reached on your own in 5. You maybe need to wait for someone who’s taking too long in a shop, or end your gallery visit early because someone needs to use the WC. When you travel in a group there is always someone or something that tests your patience. Try not to let anyone behavior ruin your holiday, no matter how hard it is.
Make Planning Fun
One of the best aspects of group travel is the fun activities you do together like spending time at the beach, hiking in the mountains or taking some sandwiches for a scenic picnic.
Remember you are all here to enjoy and have an unforgettable time. Sometimes you need to give up a bit of your comfort for the whole group. Bad weather could cancel your flights, Metro system might not work or the museum is closed due to restoration. Learn to look at your situation as a unique opportunity. Unexpected changes to your plan can ruin your day only if you let them.
Maybe during the travel, you need some alone time, that is completely fine too. Refresh yourself for a bit and come back more happy than before.
Traveling solo may seem a little scary especially for women, but I encourage you to do it. It is one of the best experiences you can ever have.
Learn a little bit of local language
Learn some local phrase like how to say “no, thank you” or introducing yourself. It is effective when people know you are making an effort to interact.
Wake up early and head out for a new adventure. Try to pack your day full so you will be ready for bed soon.
You would be surprised how much a simple smile leads people to you, and they want to show you the best of their countries and cities.
Hostel instead of Hotel
By choosing a hostel you will have more chance to meet locals and learn a few useful tips. There is always someone to help or join you on an adventure, especially if you’re staying in hostels.
Take an organized tour
Sometimes you need a rest, so let someone else take care of all the details and you can just enjoy.
Try to make new friends
For instance, you can sit near a chatty group in a cafe or restaurant.
Try local foods
Getting help from a local about their traditional food is always a good idea.
Use your people
Use social networks to make connections and looking for others opinion to find your desired destination.
Do things you would not do at home
Open yourself up to new experiences, do not doubt you will make new friends. Try to sign up for a new activity, then you will have a chance to meet some eager and friendly faces to join you.
You can also convert solo traveling challenges into a rewarding activity.
Becoming a problem solver
You will learn to tackle problems by gaining experience.
Improving your mental health
Travel is the fastest way to grow as a human being and inspire your life.
Facing your weaknesses
Traveling solo help you to control unexpected situations in your life.
Making you brave
Traveling solo means traveling with your opinions, doubts, and fears and it will make you brave at the end.
Learning to be independence
You figured out how to be happy in your own company and relied on your own. It makes you very independent.
Make you flexible
Flight delays, Bad weather, and cancellations will teach you how to deal with unexpected situations.
Learning how to say no
If you are a “yes” person, solo traveling will soon change it. It helps you to be brave, and speak out.
It shows you the world is not scary
Despite the media propaganda which tells you the world is a dangerous place, you will discover many wonderful places and incredible people.
Expanding your mind
Meeting strangers, dinner invites and new authentic conversation will help you to be a sociable person.
Stop and smell the roses
Waiting for sunset in Persepolis, having a cup of coffee in Vakil bazaar and watching people and similar activities will teach you to take a deep look at people life around you.
Becoming a logistics pro
By booking transport or flight to hostel stays, from arranging your insurance to exchanging currency, you become quickly a travel logistics pro.
Taking more risks
Good things happen to those who dare more. Traveling solo forces you to go further of your comfort zone.
Collecting memories instead of things
Experiences will make you happier than material things.
Learning to be patient
A long bus ride to get from Tehran to Shiraz, waiting too long for a flight because of bad weather makes you more patient.
Iranian cooking has a lot in common with Middle Eastern cooking, where wheat and rice are the main part, lamb and chicken are used a lot. The sour flavor is popular and it is achieved by adding of lemon, pomegranate or sour orange.
Iranian food combines fresh herbs and spices such as saffron, barberry, and cinnamon and designed with nuts, dried fruits, and beans.
All kind of international drinks is accessible. Tea is the most popular drinks but if you are looking for something more local and traditional, there are many good options: dough is a yogurt based drink mixed with mint and rose flower, and various flavors of sharbat (soft drinks).
As a Muslim country, according to the law Alcohol should not be consumed or transported to the country.
Read More: Iranian Cuisine
Iran visa is an endorsement indicating that the holder is allowed to enter, remain within, or to leave Iran for a limited period of time. The visa is issued by the Embassies, Consulate Generals, and Interest Bureau of the IR.Iran. To issue your visa, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) is the sole decision making authority.
Except with transit visas, all visa applicants must be approved by the (MFA).
Iran Visa Authorization Number: The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) issue an 18-digit code. The duration of sending this code varies depending on your nationality.
* Generally, for most nationalities, it will take around 7-10 working days and for special nationalities such as Americans, British, and Canadians, it will take 1-2 months.
Caution: The validity duration of this code for receiving the Iran visa fee is one month since the issuance time. Then you have three months’ time to enter Iran. And the important point is that exiting Iran must be done before the expiration of this three months validity.
Read More: Iran Visa
The Rial (IRR) is the Official currency of Iran. The Toman (ten rials) is often used to express amounts of money and prices of goods in Iran.
Toman is more common in oral quotes, while Rial is the official unit and used in most verbal documents. Thus 1,000 toman is 10,000 rial and 1 million tomans are 10 million rials.
Notes and Coins
Rial banknotes are issued by the Central Bank of Iran and come in denominations of 1.000, 2.000, 5.000, 10.000, 20.000, 50.000 and the 100.000
In recent years a useful method also has been adopted which does away with the need to carry bags of money when going shopping. It is called chek-pul (check money) and works like a traveler’s check but doesn’t have a name written on it, so it functions as a large denomination bill.
The most common denominations of chek-puls are 500.000 and 1.000.000 rials.
Coins come in denominations of 1.000, 2.000, 5.000, and 10.000 rials. However, lower denominations of rials are no longer minted and are worthless.
As a general guide, written prices are given in rials and prices quoted in conversation are in tomans.
Price etiquettes may come either in Rial or Toman and usually are understood by the buyers. In case of doubt, check it with the seller.
Read More: Iran Currency
Tipping is generally expected, porters and bellboys will expect between 20.000 to 50.000 Rials or 1 US Dollar. Tipping in restaurants is not a big deal, very often you can round things off, although in snack restaurants you don’t need to tip, in a classic restaurant you can pay 150.000 to 200.000 Rials.
If you’re getting room service, then tipping is a must. Anything around 100.000 Rial should be fine.
The doorman at your hotel is basically there to be tipped. If you’re staying at the hotel for a few nights, then tipping him upon your departure with something around 50.000 T would be fine.
Regarding tips for your guide and driver 10-15 $ is common for your guide and half of that for the driver if you’re only getting the service for one day. If you’re traveling with a group for a week or more, 12-17 $ or euros per day should be Ok. You can pay way more than that, so it really depends on how happy you are with the service.