Iran holds many surprises for visitors; like the climate which can fluctuate greatly, depending on the area and time of year, dispelling the long-held myth that Iran is nothing more than a vast, sweltering desert. While some surprises are nice when travelling, it's important to be as well prepared as possible.
Here are 5 things to consider when planning a trip to Iran:
WorldNomads: Beware Iran's liberal interpretation of "dual nationality" especially if any close relatives are Iranian.
"Don't use the "thumbs up" hand gesture when you have a language barrier and want to indicate 'good' or 'okay', since this gesture means "up yours" in Iran." ~ Vivienne Hollings, Answers
"If you're a woman, make sure to have a plain colored scarf or two to cover your hair at all times. Bring a long sleeve mid length jacket to maintain modesty in public." ~ Christina Tunnah, WorldNomads.com
"In Iran you will be befriended by someone in the street, whose only wish is to show you his/her country (since hospitality to foreigners is ingrained in their culture), will often insist on paying for everything and/or inviting you to their house, and they ask for nothing in return. Be open to these experiences for the Iranian people are NOTHING like you would think from in the news! ~ Vivienne Hollings, Answers
"No PDA (public displays of affection)!" ~ Phil Sylvester, WorldNomads.com
WorldNomads: Boyfriend/girlfriend, de facto couple, same-sex couple - it's important to know what's acceptable and how to behave to avoid trouble.
Despite its tarnished reputation, Iran can offer a unique travel experience, especially for those with a love of ancient history. The people who live there are warm and eager to share their country and heritage with visitors and those who travel there are certain to leave a little richer from the experience.
Have you been to Iran? What do you wish you had known before you went?