After having been to Iran a couple times and friends who have been much more often, I have started to notice trends in what people go prepared with. The weather, the activities, and the traditions all lend themselves to all types of different items you need to have in order to…well… survive!
After some chatting with friends and family, here are 10 Survival Items for your trip to Iran, in no particular order. (Disclaimer: not all of them are completely serious.)
1. Manto (women only) – A “Manto” is essentially a tunic or longer tight coat that women are required to wear in Iran.
They are really not as bad as you might think and they can be quite fashionable! Check it out.
2. Hijab (women only) – A Hijab is basically a head scarf. Similar to a Monto, it is legally required for women to wear this in Iran when they are in public. When I first heard I have to wear these, I completed dreaded it especially because I was going to Iran in the Summer. But similar to Montos, they can be extremely beautiful and fashionable! Oh, and don’t forget an ample amount of hair clips to keep these babies in place!
3. An EMPTY suitcase – Yes, you need a completely empty suitcase to bring back all the beautiful things you will find in Iran. There are bazaars everywhere and trust me, you will hate yourself if you can’t fit all your goodies somewhere.
4. Teeth-whitening toothpaste – From the moment you land, to the moment you leave, you will probably have a few gallons of very black persian tea. It is delicious, you won’t be able to resist, so just bring some toothpaste with you.
5. Cash: The ATM’s in Iran only accept Iranian cards… one of the few countries that does this. So, if you plan to fill up that empty suitcase, you also need to plan to bring some cash with you. There are plenty of exchanges in Iran so that you can convert your cash.
6. Presents! If you plan to do any visiting of friends or family, it is pretty much expected that you are bringing them presents. If you go empty handed… I am not sure you will be invited back! This may seem like a greedy expectation, but it is actually a really nice feeling to bring gifts, some of which they may not have there, and see how appreciative they can be. Plus, you know you would want gifts if the tables turned.
7. Any type of clothes (men only) – Ok, without getting all religious here… men can wear anything they want! Unfair.So… for all you men going to Iran, don’t even worry about a thing! That’s all I have to say here.
8. Wipes… yea. – I will try to avoid too much detail here but there are some parts of Iran, more in the villages etc that you may come across a restaurant that doesn’t exactly have updated toilets. To sum up, there is a hole, and you hover over it. Yes – it still exists although much more rare. So, bring those wipes with you. You will thank me later.
9. An appetite – Seriously, the amount of food you will eat in Iran is crazy! Delicious foods (kabobs specifically) are everywhere you go. Your stomach will expand to adjust to this but definitely bring your appetite. When you feel you are getting full, just eat some more.
How could you say no to this?
10. Last, and most important, your smile: If you don’t know it already from all the recent press we have gotten from visitors to Iran, you should know that people in Iran are some of the most friendly and welcoming of any country. They will greet you with a smile, welcome you to their homes, and ensure you are well taken care of. Give them a smile back and express gratitude. Always.
With these ten things, I guarantee you a good time in Iran