What do you need to travel to Iran?
Shaking hands in Iran:
According to religious customs men and women do not shake hands with each other in Iran. However, this is not so among younger generations who are less religious. They shake hands as in many other cultures. Anyway, (if you are a male) never be the initiator in a handshake with a woman. Let them do that. Also be aware that a man’s kissing a woman is a very personal action and let women start it. In addition, it’s customary that men kiss each other when they visit. Don’t be shocked
Privacy in Iran:
Don’t worry about your distance with those you are talking to in Iran. This will not be a danger. In Iran personal space is several inches smaller than in other cultures. Iranians communicate with others face to face and this is a sign of their hospitality and the fact that they have accepted you among them. So don’t be shocked by seeing people standing shoulder to shoulder in an ATM line.
Beverages in IranBeverages in Iran:
The running water in Iran is purified and drinkable but if you are not satisfied with its quality, you can drink bottled mineral water. However, it is recommended not to drink the running water in some parts of Iran especially in the south. Also sale of alcoholic beverages are forbidden in Iran. We suggest you drinking Iranian herbal distillates which are extracts of wild plants or herbs. These aromatic drinks are also curative.
Communications in Iran:
There are 3 mobile operators in Iran: Hamrahe Aval/ MCI (Mobile Telecommunication Company of Iran) giving mobile coverage all over Iran, and MTN Irancell and Rightel giving mobile coverage in Big Cities. However, Irancell and Rightel have better Internet speeds than the other one. Before buying a SIM card, consult your tour guide. Recharging a Sim card is easy. You can buy a recharge card at any supermarket. Also note that some websites like Facebook or Youtube are filtered in Iran based on Islamic Republic of Iran’s laws. So before travelling to Iran, make sure you have a VPN on your laptop or cell phone to access filtered websites.
Traffic in Iran:
Cars dominate in the streets of Iran and pedestrians are not considered very important. Pedestrians themselves usually disregard pedestrian crossings, too. If you plan to travel to Iran by car, you should be careful about pedestrians and motorcyclists in cities. Although driving rules in Iran are becoming stricter and accidents are decreasing daily. In addition, taxis are public places. When you take a taxi, expect other passengers to get in the taxi and sit next to you on the way.
Foreigners in Iran:
Iranians adore foreigners and treat them with great generosity. Many Iranians treat foreigners like celebrities. They may invite you to their houses for dinner even though they don’t know you at all. Based on their culture, they are hospitable and try to leave a good impression on their guests and that explains their behavior towards strangers. In case someone invites you to their house, first let your tour guide know and then make a decision.
Hijab in Iran:
In Iran women have hijab. Some wear chadors and some manteaus and head scarves. We suggest you using a scarf. A scarf can be a piece of plain cotton covering your hair. You can also buy different types and styles of scarves in Iran. In fact, a scarf is not a complete covering of hair. Women have chosen it to balance the mandatory hijab. And a manteau can be a plain coat. Also wearing shorts in public places is forbidden for both men and women. However, the above rules are not followed inside Iranian houses.
Tarof in Iran:
There is a custom in Iran called tarof which is not simple to explain. Tarof, being used daily, is a part of spoken language in Iran. In everyday tarof lies pseudo affection. The person offering tarof wants to show excessive affection and give extra privilege to the other one. For instance if you tell an Iranian,”What a nice watch you have.” He/she would reply, “Thanks. You’re most welcome.” An Iranian would reply like this, “Thanks a lot. It suits you the best.” And he/she would say, “That’s kind of you. You’re most welcome. You can take it if you like it.” This conversation can continue with several more sentences like that. But don’t forget that the watch remains on the wrist of the owner and all these were tarof! However, in some situations this generosity may be real. So you need to think carefully before you accept any request or offer.
Electrical outlet and voltage information in Iran:
Electronics in Iran work with a voltage of 220 V and electrical frequency of 50 Hz and outlets are of type C and F. So in order to use your electrical appliances in Iran, you need a voltage converter and a plug adapter which are available in Iran. However, you can get them in your home country to save time.