Iran is slowly growing to be an important travel destination for global explorers. The country continues to gain a lot of attention for its stunning structures and colourful natural wonders.
Unlike other Middle Eastern countries, Iran is not all dry barren desert. In fact, if you make the trip up north, you will be surprised by the much colder climate and the visually pleasing splash of colours created by vast fields of flowers.
Indeed, Iran is out to enchant travellers with its unique beauty.
Therefore, it is not surprising that more and more people are choosing to come here. But because it is still new on the radar of casual travellers, it is crucial to understand how different Iran is.
Therefore, provided below is a smart packing guide for first-time travellers to this fascinating country:
What Never to Bring
1. Anything that is not halal
Islam is the dominant religion in Iran. So, it only makes sense that you do not bring any product that is not halal.
If you are not sure what halal is, check the Islamic Council’s guide. It lists all the ingredients that are considered haram (the opposite of halal), and all the food and hygiene products that contain them.
Knowing this, avoid inconveniences by ensuring you only bring halal items with you.
2. A passport with an Israel stamp on it
Iran is among the Arab/Muslim countries that do not accept visitors whose passports have an Israeli stamp.
Therefore, have your passport renewed early if you had visited Israel before and you wish to go to Iran. You want no trace of that experience on your passport as you go through Iran immigration.
3. Revealing or sexy clothing
Any item of clothing that reveals too much skin is a no-no in Iran. Even if you find yourself in the arid provinces, sleeveless tops and short skirts and shorts are not considered acceptable clothing.
While you may be free to roam around and Iranian locals are quite warm and friendly, it always pays to be considerate and respectful of the cultural sensibilities of the people whose country you are visiting.
What to Bring
1. A head cover if you’re a woman and a hat if you’re a man
A head cover like a scarf is important for all women in Iran as, the law requires this. Even if you are staying at a luxurious hotel in Tehran where most guests are foreigners, keep a scarf on your head.
You may actually enjoy this modesty requirement, especially when you hit the malls and local marketplaces because Iran produces some of the most beautiful head covers. Plus, local women can teach you the different ways to wear your head cover so you can look stylishly modest and classy.
If you are a man, the law does not require you to cover your head but you will want a hat for protection from the sun.
2. Modest clothing
Loose and breathable modest clothing (covers the legs, arms and décolletage area for women) does not only adhere to the conservative dress code of Iran; it’s also the sensible choice given how hot most parts of the country can be during the day.
It doesn’t matter if it’s a battery-operated one or a mere piece of cardboard, a fan can help you stay cool while touring around on a hot day.
4. Halal sweets
A lot of vegetarian sweets available in other countries are actually halal and you may want to bring these if becoming friends with locals is essential to you.
Iranians are known for their sweet tooth. If you offer any of them a candy or sweet pastry, they may just warm up to you much faster.
From this simple gesture of sweets giving, you automatically open the big door into the Iranian culture and it will involve an exchange of traditional Iranian sweets, great academic conversations, and countless invitations to gatherings at different households.
5. Bug spray
This is a must especially when you explore the dry parts of the country. The heat will make you perspire and your perspiration will attract all kinds of biters and fliers. Avoid being a feast for bugs by bringing bug spray.
Even if you have a headscarf covering your entire face, you still need to apply sunscreen to avoid getting sunburned.
Iran enjoys abundant sunshine and, if you are not yet aware, the hottest place in the world is the Lut Desert, which is near Yazd, Iran’s driest city.
Protect your eyes from the glare and harmful UV rays, especially when you are headed for the desert.
8. A lightweight day bag
This is for your camera, wallet (because you will not be able to resist the merchandise at local markets), bottled water, sunscreen, and wet tissues (you will need these during the day to refresh yourself).
9. Sensible shoes
With all the walking you’ll be doing, you will want to wear sensible shoes the whole time.
Pack right, and enjoy Iran!
Ensure you pack the right things for your trip to Iran so you can be sure to have a thoroughly pleasant experience.
This way, you will be quicker to strike a friendship with the locals and also be able to focus more on all that this beautiful country has to offer.
Raheleh Rasouli is a content creator at Snapptrip, a full-service travel booking company based in Tehran, Iran with a mission to empower customers’ choices in booking their whole travel online. Raheleh is a veteran journalist with an aptitude for precision and a passion for new media.