Traveling to Iran as a Solo Female Traveler
Traveling to Iran as a Solo Female Traveler
Safety is an essential issue for all travelers, particularly independent women who travel alone. Solo female travel to Iran might seem daunting. So the question is: “Is it safe to visit Iran as a solo female traveler?” That is the first question that comes to mind when thinking about traveling to Iran as a solo woman. Let’s take a closer look at it.
The idea of visiting Iran seems exotic to some travelers prior to their trip, and they aren’t sure how to prepare for it. Even their family and friends called them stupid for choosing Iran because of what the media show about it. Some people even confuse Iran with Iraq, where conflicts are currently raging. The situation would become even more challenging if 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.
Please join us if you plan to visit Iran as a solo female traveler and feel free to contact us if you have any questions in this regard.
Is it safe to Travel to Iran as a solo female traveler?
I speak as a woman who was born and raised in Iran and knows many women who have traveled alone to Iran.
Based on my own experience and reviews from solo female travelers in Iran, Iran is the best destination in the Middle East for women traveling alone. Even based on travelers’ reviews, “Iran is safer than Europe.”
In general, Iranian men are supportive and respectful of women, especially when women are traveling solo.
However, you may experience some inconvenience from annoying men, but it is rare unless you hang out in an unsafe neighborhood during the night.
Besides being safe, Iran easy to navigate for a solo female traveler. You can find safe public transportation everywhere.
Besides, Iranians are among the friendliest and most helpful people in the world. It will be a pleasant surprise when you ask a question and the locals try to help. Someone may even escort you to your destination if you ask for an address.
However, there may be some people who stare at you, they usually have no bad intentions, 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 just want to show their hospitality and practice their English.
Moreover, while you are in Iran, you can find other people traveling independently; Especially in the main cities like Tehran, Shiraz, Isfahan, and Yazd. So, you can join them and have more fun.
So, come to Iran with an open mind and open heart, and I guarantee you’ll make many nice friends from Iran and 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! You should come and see what I mean.
Tips for Solo Female Travel in Iran
Women can safely travel alone to Iran, but as with any other country, some preparation is needed. The following advice for “solo female travel in Iran” will prepare you for your Iran trip, whether you travel alone or with your friends.
Important Note: Americans, Canadians, and English passport holders cannot travel independently in Iran and must be accompanied by a full-time guide.
Here are some tips for solo female travelers 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. However, Iran dress code is not so difficult to follow. Even, it’s fun for some women tourists in Iran!
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, 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 the cold seasons; you can wear your regular clothes with a winter hat or scarf. However, during summer, it is a bit challenging. You should wear a long-sleeve mid-thigh blouse with long trousers and a light scarf.
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 a “Chador”, which you can borrow 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. Online taxi booking, keeping relatives and friends up to date, calling your hotel reception in case of an emergency, booking bus, train, or plane tickets as well as finding your way into unknown locations are some of the advantages of having an Iranian Simcard.
Please note that in Iran, you have access to Google, trip advisor, Pinterest, etc. However, to use WhatsApp, Instagram, Tik Tok, YouTube, Twitter, Telegram, and Facebook, you should use a VPN service to pass the filtering.
Get Information from Your Hotel Staff
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 a taxi for you or get information about your destination’s 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.
Additionally, Iranians are friendly, so you can make friends, have fun with them, and ask for help from them.
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 by Metro, bus, or 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
Traveling 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 eating 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 nice 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, because they are not completely 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!
Moreover, there are official taxis with taxi signs in the cities. Some of them have fixed prices and some of them have meters, but it is wise to ask about the fee before getting on.
You can also use online taxi services in Iran by downloading their apps on your smartphone (Snap and Tapsi).
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.
Visit the Remote Attractions with a Local Guide
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, they give you interesting information about the attractions that you cannot find in the guidebooks. Moreover, they act 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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