Rick Steves and other thoughts about Touring Iran

Jameh Mosque of Isfahan

Rick Steves managed to get himself and a film crew journalist visas to Iran back in 2008.  He too seemed apprehensive about the trip even with his travel resume and years of teaching others how to travel.  They were allowed to film 10 short days  and brought PBS viewer a very thoughtful piece about travelling to Iran.  It was a very bold move on his part since his target audience is made up of those who think European travel is exotic and a trip to Iran is not included in many of there bucket lists.  This show was all about going  in the front door of Iran with the promise that he would shed some positive light on country who can not escape its past thanks to western media.

The U.S. does it’s best to discourage its citizens from travelling to Iran.   The U.S. State Department Consumer Affairs site at least informing its citizens of the risks involved with travelling to that region and where the hot spots are.  It’s words should of course be taken seriously.

Taking risks is a part of everyday life and where you travel to may increase the likelihood of being harmed or taken advantage of.  Being well-informed and confident helps prevent such things happening.  Of course, personal safety is a concern for most travelers who venture away from home and into the unknown.  U.S. official warnings made me question what motivates me to travel to areas where there are potential dangers for me as a U.S. citizen.  The U.S. does it’s best to discourage its citizens from travelling to Iran.   The U.S. State Department Consumer Affairs site at least informing its citizens of the risks involved with travelling to that region and where the hot spots are.  It’s words should of course be taken seriously.

Is traveling to Iran was the smartest thing to do right now if ever?   The answer is yes there’s never going to be a good time it seems.   Researching the h@#ll out of it.  What else are you going to do while awaiting for the Fed-ex delivery person to come?

Thanks Rick Steves

Breaking the news to my family that a trip to Iran was going to happen was another thing.  Rick Steves  made it look so tempting since it’s been on our minds for years and guess what – my husband and I are going.   Couldn’t think of any reasons not to go – unlike family and friends who have lots of opinions on the subject.

The application process was underway and the journey itinerary with Pars Tour Agency in Shiraz on May 22nd.  I have to thank many including Rick Steves, a few supportive friends and family, and the large amount of positive trip reports made by others who had done the same journey for giving me the push to go.   I soon be relaxing in tea houses, getting lost in the alleyways of the souks and visiting Zoroastrian caravanserais and fire temples.

Surprisingly, many say that it’s common for US citizens to get rejected but this chart displayed on Iranvisa.com says otherwise.   We were well aware that we could get our visa within days of our scheduled departure.  A Persian-American friend of mine confirmed that we could be getting our visa one day and boarding a plane the next.  There’s nothing like watching airfares go up and down and not being able to take advantage of any deals.  No visa – No sense in buying tickets.

13 weeks later, our passports are back in our hands.  It’s late August and we leave in 2 weeks.  The scramble begins. We promptly booked tickets to Shiraz via Istanbul just in case we got rejected at upon arrival.  If we thought it would be wise to put Istanbul in the plan just as a back up.  It’s a pessimistic move but I’m getting practical in my old age.

The problems between the U.S. and Iran will unfortunately not be resolved anytime soon since some old wounds seems to take a very long time to heal.  History shows that there’s not good chance of the two countries will not be buddies anytime soon.  The most recent media circus involving a used Persian car salesman nicknamed “Scarface”, members of a Mexican drug cartel and an attempt to kill a Saudi Prince baffles me and many others.  I’m not sure what to make of it all.  Now, there’s even more travel warnings posted on the U.S. Travel site, the media and U.S. politicians are having a field day as the war of words resumes we have seen since the 70’s resumes.

Make sure and check out the travel warnings listed by the U.S. and even Great Britain but remember to also balance these warnings with some current information from those who have traveled to such areas.   Blogs and travel information boards found on the Lonely Planet and Trip Advisor sites are a great source for new and experienced travelers.   They are full of current information,  allow travelers to hopefully get answers to specific questions  and it’s a great place to contribute and help others in need of information.  Remember,  information is your friend.

Inspiration to travel to new regions, like Iran, sometimes comes from unexpected places like travel shows by Rick Steves and posts made by like-minded strangers on travel boards and blogs.    Do yourself a favor and diversify the information sources as much as possible before taking off.  You may even discover some “back doors” Rick is always going on about or make time to go off the beaten path and view the lesser known sites others usually miss.

2 thoughts on “Rick Steves and other thoughts about Touring Iran

  1. holidaying overseas packing ticksheet December 3, 2011 / 8:01 pm

    Pretty component to content. I just stumbled upon your blog and in accession capital to assert that I acquire in fact enjoyed account your weblog posts. Anyway I’ll be subscribing to your augment and even I fulfillment you access constantly quickly.

  2. farflungistan December 8, 2011 / 11:41 am

    Thanks for your comment…and sorry for the late response. I didn’t think much of Rick Steves until I saw his piece on Iran. I hope others will find my information on Iran helpful or at least find the pics enjoyable. Happy and safe travels in the new year..cheers!

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