Iraq is a land of many beauties but its landscape has been bloodies by years of incessant warring and violence. While the hope of peace and revival of Iraq does warm the hearts of its people, it is still not very safe to travel to Iraq, unless essential.
In fact, very few visas do get approved and only a group of professional and others are granted travel documents to enter Iraq. These include the wives or husbands and families of personnel working in Iraq, aid workers and businessmen. The reason of their visit notwithstanding, all tourists entering the country are advised to maintain caution and follow the safety rules for their own good.
The following are a few tips while traveling to Iraq:
- A valid passport and visa is necessary, in addition to a return ticket. Theses documents need to be furnished while entering the county. Also while traveling within the country, you may be asked to furnish them.
- Booking for accommodation should be done well in advance. Options for accommodation are not many and it is safe to make your plans in advance. You may be required to show your travel documents when booking your accommodation as well.
- Be prepared to carry some cash around. There are no ATMs and traveler’s cheques are also not encouraged. Some establishments may accept and prefer international currency too.
- Do not carry too much cash, though, for it is unsafe to be traveling with money in the country. Looting is common and rogues infest the cities
- Do not travel on the highways or even within the city past sundown.
- If possible, get a local guide to take you around
- Westerners and even non western foreigners have been the target of recent violence and kidnappings. Be safe and find security in groups
- Get in touch with the embassy as soon as you reach Iraq and submit a copy of your travel plans with them as well.
- A lot of cities and regions are still under curfew for security reasons. Follow the rules and be responsible for your own safety
- Follow the social dictates of the country. Cover the head while entering any place of worship. Women should be modestly dresses at all times covering their legs, shoulders and midriff.
- Alcohol is prohibited at a lot of places and the few places it is available, it should be consumed discreetly.
- Pork is completely taboo and should be avoided
- Certain provinces and regions of the country have reported the spread fatal diseases like cholera and avian flu or the bird flu. To be safe from these diseases make sure you do not have untreated water. It is best to carry the supply of water for consumption, procured from a reliable source. It is also advisable to avoid contact with caged animals or birds and make sure that eggs or poultry meat is well cooked before eaten.
While establishing that travel to Iraq is essential for you, it is very important that proper guidelines are followed in course of your travel. This is the only way to ensure that your travel will be safe in Iraq.