I keep receiving several emails from women traveling alone concerned about visiting Iran with a driver. What makes them worried about such trip is the possibility or correctness of taking such a trip to Iran. As many ask similar questions, I will try to eliminate the worries to help clarify if it’s the right decision for you to be the women traveling alone with a driver in Iran or not!
First Thing: Why with a Driver?
Some may have decided to make a journey to Iran without a driver and prefer to take buses, trains, etc. Well, some do this, but here’s my idea why it could be very helpful to hire some transportation service.
Iran is a vast country and the distance between some of the major highlights isn’t short. It could be around 500 km. Of course, I believe it’s quite worth traveling such distances and learn about the real life of the people in the countryside. When you have your own means of transportation in Iran, you can decided where to stop, skip, stay longer, etc.
Professional tourist drivers know how to safely drive foreign travelers to make them feel comfortable and confident that they would be least likely faced with traffic accidents. Some local bus drivers or even car drivers may follow the general norm of careless I-am-the-master-of-driving cliche in Iran and traffic police is very much against it. Yet it exists! A safe driver can make huge difference in enjoying your trip in Iran.
A Driver for the Entire Trip?
Now the issue is if it’s wise to take such long drives of the whole journey in a car with a driver. You may have heard there are some Iranians speaking a foreign language or highly-educated in big cities like Tehran, Shiraz, Isfahan, etc, but you are going deeper into the countryside to explore the less-touched communities.
Is it safe for you to travel alone with a driver all during the trip? My answer is YES if you take the appropriate measures in choosing the right person. Please don’t get me wrong. I’m not trying to say any unknown driver could be a danger to your safety. This is not my point at all. What I’m trying to explain is that for the women traveling alone with a driver in Iran, there are some reassuring steps to take to make sure they’re doing this with the right person.
Who’s the Right Person?
Today, there are some national certified tour guides who guide travelers in their own cars. Buy one, take two! ? I mean you hire the services of a professional whose job is to guide tourists – regardless of gender – and drive them as well. This is becoming more and more common in Iran now as there are more demands for private tours to Iran than group tours.
These certified tours guides are the professional people who have:
- gone through training courses;
- been approved as capable of speaking a foreign language well;
- been obliged to renew their cards once a year;
- been approved from the ethical point of view;
As a matter of fact, you hire a professional tour guide registered with the tourism authorities to accompany you as a guide and as a driver. These people do all they can to keep their records clean and their clients happy. If there’s any complaints against them, it could jeopardize their career as their cards may not be renewed anymore. If their clients are happy, they would get more clients as a result of word of mouth and appreciation of their services.
Now Harvest the Benefits
The women traveling alone in Iran with a driver-guide will take advantage of hiring such people to drive and show them around in Iran. If you decide to travel as such, You
- will be accompanied by a professional guide, not simply a driver;
- will have no difficulty communicating with the local people on a personal level;
- will spend as much time as you consider necessary in each spot;
- will explore the depth of the Iranian’s culture on a tour customized for you;
- will visit places that local buses or trains may never go;
- will be able to customized your tour package before traveling to Iran;
- will move faster from point A to point B and save lots of time;
- will not find this against any norms inside Iran although it’s a Muslim society;
- and so on.
Now, please let me know if there’s still anything making you worried about traveling alone with a driver in Iran. Share your concerns and let’s see how we can overcome them.