Frequently Asked Questions
Travel to Iran: What You Need to Know and How to Prepare
In order to make the most of your journey and ensure you enjoy a comfortable, unforgettable and enriching stay, it’s important to understand that travelling to Iran is unlike any other destination you’ve experienced. As such, Iran travel requires advance planning, a respectful mindset and an understanding of what makes travelling here as part of A&K’s cultural program so unique.
What is different about the Iran program versus other Abercrombie & Kent journeys?
This journey takes you through a remote, less-travelled destination. It is an experiential program focused on history, culture, architecture and people. It is not a typical luxury A&K trip, as the accommodations and some other amenities are only at a three-star level — clean and comfortable, but not luxury. Travel to Iran will not meet the expectations of guests seeking a five-star luxury vacation.
Note: A&K will only accept travelers who are 18 years or older and in good physical health.
Why would I travel there?
Travelling to Iran will most appeal to guests who have an interest in Persian history, Iranian architecture and/or archaeology, or who have previously travelled to the Middle East and are looking for a more in-depth experience. Iran is a very welcoming destination filled with hospitable people. There are many opportunities for spontaneous interaction with locals.
Why is A&K offering travel to Iran given the current political situation with the United States?
A&K strongly feels that tourism to Iran offers a cultural and educational benefit, while building a bridge of understanding between the American and Iranian people.
Is Iran safe?
At Abercrombie & Kent, safety is our top priority. At this time, we feel that conditions are appropriate for escorted travel to Iran. If, at any time, it is determined unsafe to travel to Iran, we will cancel departures ahead of time.
Am I allowed to explore my surroundings before or after the day's itinerary?
Your participation in the program was approved by the Iranian government, based on your specific itinerary and guide. As such, you are not allowed to explore on your own before or after the completion of your scheduled itinerary.
Do I need a visa to Iran?
Yes. A&K will provide assistance for guests travelling with us to Iran. Obtaining the visa is a two-step process:
Step 1: In order to apply for a tourist visa for Iran, U.S. passport holders must first obtain pre-approval from the Iranian government in the form of a Visa Authorization Number. A&K will secure this authorization for you through our local office in Iran. The pre-approval process takes approximately six to eight weeks. All guests will be required to submit the necessary information in order for A&K to request the authorization code. (Please note: the government of Iran will deny visas for any applicants with professions they consider to be “sensitive.” This includes past or current journalists, past or current U.S. government officials and past or current U.S. military personnel. Applicants will also be denied a visa if there is passport evidence of past or planned travel to Israel. Because of the possibility of a visa being denied for these or any other reasons, A&K recommends that you do not purchase non-refundable international airline tickets.)
Step 2: A&K has chosen Pinnacle TDS as the U.S. representative to process visas for our guests travelling to Iran. Once you have received your visa authorization, you can visit the Pinnacle website pinnacletds.com/AandK to begin processing the visa that will appear in your passport. This process takes approximately one to three weeks.
I am a U.S. resident but do not hold a United States passport. Can I still travel on this trip?
If you are not a citizen of the United States, your entry requirements may vary. Please consult your nearest Iranian diplomatic or consular office.
What currency does Iran use? Are U.S. dollars accepted in Iran? Where can I exchange money?
The currency in Iran is the Rial. Guests can exchange money at the airport bank, city banks or exchange bureaus. Your guide will assist you with this.
You should change enough money to cover expenses that are not included in the tour cost, as well as enough for personal expenses. You may use Dollars and Euros when it comes to the purchase of handicrafts and carpets, as well as for tipping drivers and guides.
There is really no restriction on the amount of cash you can bring in to the country, but a maximum of $6,000 is the total recommended amount. You will not be questioned about the amount of cash you bring in.
Will I be able to use my credit card or debit card in Iran?
Please be aware that credit cards issued by U.S. banks are generally not accepted in Iran for any purpose. Some of the more prestigious carpet shops might accept Visa and MasterCard for substantial purchases.
You may acquire items in Iran and import them as accompanied baggage into the United States, though merchandise cannot have a value that exceeds $800 per person. You may be asked to show receipts or other documents to government officials to demonstrate the value. If you plan on purchasing a big ticket item, please check with U.S. Customs beforehand regarding tax regulations.
Will my cell phone, smartphone or PDA device work in Iran?
Contact your cellular telephone provider to determine if your phone operates on the Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM) and what, if any, activation may be required.
Is there Internet access in Iran?
The hotels in A&K’s program have Internet access; however, it may not be reliable or up to the standards you are accustomed to at home. Please be aware some websites are not accessible in Iran. Currently blocked sites include, but are not limited to, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and news sites, such as CNN. Please be aware the list of blocked sites is subject to change without notice.
Will I be able to take photographs and videos while in country?
Unless you are shooting a crowded public scene, it is considered courteous to ask permission before taking pictures of local people, especially women and children. Please be respectful of residents who do not care to be photographed.
Photography is not permitted at some locations, which may include government buildings, museums, art galleries, private houses and more. These areas are usually clearly marked. If in doubt, please ask; doing so will avoid having your camera confiscated or having potentially severe criminal charges brought against you. Flash photography is prohibited in some situations.
What is the dress code in Iran?
Women must wear a headscarf (of any color or pattern), as well as clothes that cover their entire bodies, such as a long-sleeve, knee-length tunic/dress over long pants or a skirt. Wearing sandals without socks is considered acceptable. Please note that women should wear a headscarf upon arrival, as soon as they leave aircraft.
Men can wear t-shirts and short sleeves, but they should refrain from wearing shorts.
What does Iranian food consist of?
Persian cuisine is not hot or spicy. Traditional Iranian food is mainly rice (plain or infused with barberries, saffron, raisins or herbs) with various kinds of sauces (or khoresht), made with vegetables and greens (like eggplants, carrots, beans, lentils, onions, and tomatoes). Meat dishes include options such as lamb, beef, chicken and fish. Most popular are various kinds of kebabs (skewered meat), which are readily available in smaller restaurants along the roads. Western dishes — of which there is a modest selection — may be available in hotels and major restaurants.
Food is generally made with fresh ingredients and is healthy. Rice and cooked vegetables can be arranged for vegetarians, but there is no choice of vegetarian dishes specifically.
Can I bring medication? What procedure do I need to follow?
You may bring prescription and over-the-counter medications to Iran, but we recommend you carry these in their original bottles and/or packaging.
Can I drink alcohol?
The import, possession or consumption of alcohol is strictly forbidden in Iran.
What about the weather?
Iran has a hot, dry climate characterized by long, hot, dry summers and short, cool winters. January is the coldest month and August is the hottest. A&K’s programs travel during the spring and fall when temperatures are moderate. Average temperatures range between the low 50s°F at night to the upper 80s°F during the day.
Below are sample temperatures during the course of our travel months.
|Month||Max. Temp.||Min. Temp.|
|April||69 °F||48 °F|
|May||82 °F||57 °F|
|June||93 °F||66 °F|
|September||89 °F||64 °F|
|October||75 °F||53 °F|
|November||62 °F||42 °F|