Iran is financially locked out from the global financial system (at least the Western) so you are not able to use your VISA or other bank issued cards from Europe, US etc. This mean you should bring enough cash with you to last the duration of your trip.
How much cash to bring
It is recommended you bring cash in the following currencies (ordered by my personal recommendation)
- Euros, USD and then British Pounds.
It is difficult to estimate how much each person may spend per day, but as a guide please consider the following:
- Each meal to cost around $3USD (breakfast and lunch are covered in the cost of the tour so only factor in dinner)
- Drinks and snacks around $5 per day
- Single taxi ride – $2/3 (depends on how you bargain with the driver)
- Shopping – this is up to you, but this can add up depending on what you buy.
I would estimate a daily spend of around $15/20. The recommended cash to bring for just the basics should be at least $250 USD. Iran has plenty of places and thus opportunities for shopping, so please bring additional cash if you plan to shop.
I would recommend the following amounts:
- $250 minimum for food/transport/snacks etc.
- $200 – 500 for shopping
- Additional cash if you plan to travel outside the tour to other cities. A hotel room can cost between $20 to $60, a bus between cities around $8 and a domestic flight about $50.
If you run out of cash or need emergency funds, it is incredibly difficult and complicated to get access to your money from within Iran. Please plan accordingly.
Iran has two currencies (Toman and Riyal) – all prices are given in Riyal when you shop inside Iran and the only difference between the two is the Toman is lower in value by 10 factorial. For example a 10,000 Toman bank note is only worth 1,000 Riyal. This means when you handle Iranian money, remove one ‘0’ from the end when you pay someone for a good or service.
Exchanging money in Iran is done best once inside inner cities, and not at airports or official exchanges, including hotels. When you land at the airport, take a taxi and negotiate (before entering the Taxi) the rate. You can pay the taxi driver in USD or Euros. For this reason ensure you have smaller denominations of those currencies to cover this journey.
Once you join the tour, we will help you exchange money into the best rate available on the market. In Iran this is usually done in a money market (which can look like a ‘black market’ but it is legitimate and done under the eyes of the state). If you exchange at a bank or official exchange you could end up with a rate that is 40% worse.
Once you land in Iran, you will need to take a taxi to the hotel. Please note you should not agree to pay more than $25 (15-20 Euros). Iranians are usually honest, so they will agree to this rate if you stick to this price.
Transportation is provided to you between the hotel and the various sites that are covered in the tour. This can be in the form of walking (where suitable), Metro (in Tehran), or private coach (between cities and sights in the same city).
As the tour day ends (usually between 5/6pm everyday) you may want to explore further. The best way is to get taxis (if you bargain, you can travel to the other side of town for less than $2).
Iranian food is rich and diverse. It is possible to find vegetarian and even vegan food (but a little challenging in some cities).
Staple food categories revolve around bread (there are over 16 varieties), rice and meat (lamb and chicken). We will attempt to diversify the meals as much as possible but it will not always be possible to please all the taste palettes of our travellers.
What to wear
The weather in Iran during April will be pleasant (or what we would call summer in Europe). Bring a light jacket or hoody for evenings. Each day on the tour will see lots of walking so please bring at least two pair of comfortable walking shoes (trainers or sandals are recommended).
It is forbidden for men to wear shorts (though some push this rule), so please bring linen or khaki trousers that will be comfortable.
It is the law that all women (Iranian and foreigners) cover their hair. Foreigners can get away with a loose scarf or garment on their head (with hair still showing), and inside hotels they can remove their scarfs all together. Iranian conservative culture also mandates that women dress modestly – this translates to not wearing clothing that is too tight, revealing (arms, legs), and to wear a garment, blouse or long shirts that cover the back (in Iran its known as ‘Manto’ – a knee length dress to wear over trousers. You can also wear tunics (Indian style)
It is also recommended to bring hats and sunglasses.
Please note: as we will be travelling extensively between cities, it is recommended you pack lightly. My recommendation is you pack one suitcase and bring an empty bag (if possible to insert inside the suitcase) for shopping etc. You will not need as many outfits as you may think.
Laundry services are available in each hotel that you will stay in. You are charged per item and the rates are reasonable.
Iran has a good healthcare system and most medicines can be purchased from a local chemist. However, if you take regular medication, please bring enough quantity with you for the duration of the trip.
It is also recommended you take photos of any prescribed medications (including their generic name) in case you need to find it during the tour.
As a general good practise for travel medication, I recommend the following for each person:
- Cold and flu medicine
- Imodium (for Diarrhea)
- Rehydration solution (such as ‘Ceralyte’)
- Sunscreen factor 50
- General painkillers (Ibuprofen etc)
Language and Navigation
Farsi is the official language of Iran. It is surprisingly difficult to find people who speak English (outside of hotels and some tourist sites). It is recommended you download language translation applications on your phone that allow you to use them without an active internet connection.
For example, on Android ‘Google Translate’ allows you to download Farsi to English offline. This is highly recommended.
Please also download Google Maps, and then download each city of the tour offline to your phone. Google Maps can function without an internet connection and will let you search and find local sights and hotels if you ever get lost or want to find a particular point of interest.
Things to bring with you
- Hand sanitiser
- Hand wipes
- Sun cream
- Medicines (see above)
- Travel Adaptor
- Photocopy of your passport
- Passport Photos