Traveling to Iran as a Solo Female Traveler
Traveling to Iran as a Solo Female Traveler
Safety is an important issue for all travelers, particularly independent women who travel alone. Solo female travel to Iran might seem like a big and difficult challenge. Is it safe to visit Iran as a solo female traveler?
This is the first question that comes up when you think about traveling to Iran as a solo woman. So let’s answer it in detail.
Some travelers to Iran confess that before their trip, Iran seemed exotic, and they didn’t know how to prepare for this trip. Even due to what shows media about Iran, their family and friends called them stupid for picking Iran. Even, some people confuse Iran with Iraq where some conflicts are going on. Now, you can imagine how the situation would become more complicated when you want to travel to Iran as a solo female traveler.
Thinking of covering your hair and body, moving around the country on your own, and staying safe during your Iran travel are the issues that can make you anxious. So, if you have the plan to visit Iran as a solo female traveler, join us to answer all your questions in this regard.
Is it safe to Travel to Iran as a solo female traveler?
Here, I am talking as a woman who was born and live in Iran and also know many women who have traveled to Iran alone. Due to my experience and the solo female travelers in Iran reviews, Iran is the best destination in the Middle East for a woman to travel alone. You might experience some inconveniences about the annoying men like other countries in the world, but it is rare. Even, based on travelers’ reviews “Iran is safer than Europe”. Iranian men are so protective and respectful to women, especially when women are travelers.
Besides to be safe, Iran easy to navigate for a solo female traveler, and Iranians are among the friendliest people. You may see that some people stare at you. Actually, they don’t have bad intentions; they are just curious about tourists. Even, some locals may come to you and ask a few questions like, “Where are you from?” or “Do you like Iran?”. They want to show their hospitality and practice their English. Also, you will be surprised when you ask a local question, and he/she tries hard to help you. Even you may ask an address, and somebody escorts you to your destination.
So, come to Iran with an open mind and open heart, and I guarantee you’ll make many great Iranian and friends from Iran and the other countries. And then, the whole “solo female travel in Iran” things turn out to be fun and rewarding. You can enjoy every bit of it! So, you should come and see what I mean.
Tips for Solo Female Travel in Iran
Traveling to Iran as a woman alone is safe, but like traveling to the other countries requires some preparation. The following advice for “solo female travel in Iran” will prepare you for your Iran trip, either you travel alone or with your friends.
Please note that the American, Canadian, and English passport holders cannot travel in Iran independently, and a full-time guide should accompany them.
Here are the tips to consider as a solo female traveling to Iran :
Dress Modestly and Follow Iran Dress Code
One of the first questions that comes to your mind when you want to visit Iran as a woman is, “What should I wear as a woman traveling to Iran?”
Notably, Iran has special dress rules that all the residents, as well as tourists, have to follow. But believe me that Iran dress code is not so difficult to follow. Insofar as some Iran female tourists believe that it is somehow fun! Firstly, you should note that the Iran dress code is not rigid, particularly in the big cities. To make it easier and more fun, you can look at the locals and imitate their dressing style.
Briefly, the most critical item is wearing a headscarf in public places. This scarf can be a light and loose hair cover. And, like many locals, you can leave the front and back parts of your hair out of it. Don’t be nervous about arranging your scarf; if it falls unintentionally, rearrange it conveniently. You will not be arrested if your scarf falls accidentally!
Moreover, as a female tourist in Iran, you should cover your body based on the Iran dress code. Fortunately, it is effortless during cold seasons; you can wear your regular clothes with a scarf. However, during summer, it is a bit challenging. You should wear a long-sleeve mid-thigh blouse with long trousers that cover at least up to the ankles. The good news is you can wear tight jeans and colorful clothes.
On the other hand, in the mausoleums and shrines, you usually need to wear “Chador”. You can conveniently borrow one at their gates for free.
Buy an Iranian SIM Card upon Arrival
Connecting to the internet and making phone calls is a must when traveling to another country, particularly as a solo traveler. Accordingly, you can buy a rechargeable Iranian SIM card upon your arrival at the Iran airports. With an Iranian SIM card, you can access to network anytime, anywhere. Accordingly, you can get an online taxi, keep your relatives and friends updated, call your hotel reception in case of emergency, book bus, train or plane tickets, find your way in the unknown places, etc.
Please note that in Iran, you have access to Google, WhatsApp, Instagram, trip advisor, Pinterest, etc. However, to use YouTube, Twitter, Telegram, and Facebook, you should use a VPN service to pass the filtering.
Be in Touch with the Locals and Your Hotel Staff and Get Information From Them
A wise way to stay safe as a solo female traveler in Iran is to get information from your hotel reception. For instance, you can ask them to take you a taxi or get complete information about your destination location and accessibility. Besides, it is wise to save your hotel phone number on your mobile phone to call them in case of an emergency.
Also, Iranians are friendly people, so you can make friends in Iran, have fun with them and ask them for help.
Don't Walk Alone in Secluded Places, Especially at Night
When you are alone, you’d better back to your hotel before dark. But, when you are with your friends or other people whom you trust, you can be out till night. Also, if you are in a safe and crowded neighborhood, you can enjoy the nightlife of Iran, especially in the big cities. However, as a solo female traveler in Iran, you’d better go back to your residence with an online taxi when it is dark. Even I, as a female local, always do the same. Please note that all cities in the world have dangerous neighborhoods, know them, and try to avoid them after dark.
Besides, try to plan your Iran tour so that you arrive in a city before night. However, if you arrive somewhere after dark, try to stay with other travelers and refer to an official place such as an information desk to help you get a taxi.
Don't Accept Invitations of Unknown Men
As mentioned before, Iran is a safe country to travel as a solo woman. Also, many travelers describe Iran as “much safer than Europe”, “the safest country I’ve ever visited”, etc.
However, although crime against foreign tourists is scarce in Iran and most Iranian men treat women with respect, a solo woman traveler should be cautious.
Hence, to avoid an inconvenient situation, don’t go with an unknown man alone to strange places. Besides, try to keep a distance in your interaction with a man that you don’t know while you stay friendly and polite.
Finally, if you feel a man is following you or make you uncomfortable, stay around other people and ask for help. This method always works and makes the annoying person leave you.
Accept the Invitations to Home if It Feels Trustworthy
Travelling in Iran as a solo woman can be a memorable experience. So, to get the most out of it, accept the invitations of the young Iranian couples and kind families that look trustworthy. Being in the house of a Persian family and eat their delicious food can be one of the best travel experiences in Iran. To appreciate your new friends in Iran, you can give them small gifts from your country.
On the other hand, in the villages of Iran, the people have great hearts and invite you to their simple houses. You can accept their sincere invitation. Maybe their houses and their foods are simple, but their kindness is real. You can even stay in their homes overnight. Finally, to thank them, it is helpful to give them a little cash as a gift.
Choose Safe Transportation
Always use public transportation, official taxis with ID, or internet taxis on you are traveling in Iran.
After all, when you are in the smaller towns, where the transportation system is weaker, ask your hotel reception to get you a taxi.
Safe Taxis in Iran
Notably, in my country, there is a type of taxi named “Shakhsi” (private car) that you should not take. Because the drivers of these taxis do not have taxi-driver ID and their vehicles have not registered as taxis anywhere. As an Iranian woman, I do not use these types of taxis. Of course, most of my friends believe that there is no problem with “Taxi Shakhsi,” and I am a coward. But I prefer to be timid but stay safe!
On the other hand, although the drivers of “Taxi Shakhsi” are mostly honorable people, what do you do if you leave one of your personal belongings in their cars? You have neither the identification number nor the telephone number of the driver!
City Buses in Iran
In city buses, the back section is dedicated to women, but mostly you need to pay in the front. So you can give the money to the driver before or after taking the ride.
Long-Distance Buses in Iran
In long-distance buses between the cities, men, and women that do not know each other can not sit next to each other. The driver always arranges it. So, as a solo woman traveler, be ready to change your seat if a stranger man is beside you.
Metros in Iran
In Iran, there are women-only carriages in the metro, usually in front and back of it. However, you can get on the typical carriages where women and men are mixed.
Book a Local Guide for Visiting the Offbeat Attractions
In a vast country with different ethnic groups like Iran, the offbeat destinations offer fantastic travel experiences. However, as a solo woman traveler in Iran, you’d better arrange things such as the residence, transportation, etc. before heading to remote attractions.
I also recommend being accompanied by a tour guide on visiting the sites that are out of the cities. Because the tour guide will help you to plan your tour and arrange all services. Also, she/he gives you interesting information about the attractions that you cannot find in the guide books. Moreover, she/he acts as an interpreter in remote places where most of the locals cannot speak English and helps you get involved with the inhabitants’ lives.
In short, a tour guide will help you to get the most out of your Iran visit.
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