If hitchhikers had a prophet to describe them as a utopia or something, that dreamland would definitely be Iran! where people are exceedingly hospitable and always ready to help others. Iranians believe that the guest is loved and respected by the Lord and anyone who’s far from home for any reason is considered as a guest.
That’s why hitchhiking in Iran is no big deal at all. Drivers are already willing to pick you up!
Hitchhiking in Iran: tips to keep in mind
1- Check the “Hitchability” of your chosen path
The fact that Iran is quite easy to hitch around, doesn’t deny the necessity of getting informed about the roads before leaving. The best way to make sure that there would be cars to pick you up is to ask locals through Couchsurfing. Make some local friends there and demand the necessary information.
Since access to this app has been blocked, your connection will require a VPN. Try to find a good one before coming to Iran.
You can also check hitchwiki website and ask for Hitchhiking groups link in unbanned apps. In these group chats, people share the most recent news and information about traveling and roads in Iran.
2- Dress up!
It may sound a little superficial, but wearing light-colored clothes would help you a lot to be easier picked up. People, including also truck drivers, are more into those who are different from their routine.
3- Stand in the right pickup location
That would be wise to wait for pick where cars are going slow and can easily pull aside. Hitchhikers in Iran usually choose the roadside near the pay tolls.
4- Make sure you and the driver are on the same page
Even though people are increasingly ridesharing in Iran, there are still people who have no idea about this travel type. You’d better prepare a one-minute speech_ better in Persian_ to explain who you are, where you go and why are you doing that to the driver. So, you would better learn to speak a little Farsi before your travel to Iran.
5- Check if it’s an unofficial taxi
Not all the taxis in Iran are yellow or have a roof sign. This might put the driver and the hitchhiker in a confusing situation. The solution is to learn the magic word in Persian and ask every driver if he or she is giving you the ride “Majjani”? which means “for free”.
6- Overcoming the language gap
As a hitchhiker, you should be able to communicate with people. Note that most Iranians, especially truck drivers, do not know English very well. you would better install some translate and communication applications such as google translate and tourist app. No worries If you are going somewhere with no internet access, you can easily learn the most comment and frequent expressions in Persian (internal link) before the trip and memorize or write them for yourself.
7- Have a little offer to make a good impression
Sharing some nuts and fruits or buying tea or coffee for your driver is not going to cost you much. But it means a lot to the driver. Iranian show their respect by offering insistently foods and beverages, this custom called “Tarof” is the sign of respect, and doing that will make the driver willing to pick the future travelers up too.
8- Preparing for the probable problems
– Risk of being dropped by a crazy or dangerous driver:
Trust your feelings sometimes, if you don’t feel secure with a driver, do not get in the car. And don’t hesitate to call the police whenever you felt the danger.
– You might linger for hours:
if you were stocked on the road just stay positive and wait until you’ll be sure you won’t arrive at your destination at night. If it turned out that you won’t arrive at a good time just install online taxi applications like snap and tap30 take a reasonably priced taxi.
– Avoid hitchhiking at night
– Do not talk about the amount of money you carry.
– save the emergency numbers:
Don’t torture yourself with the fear of safety given to you by mass media! There is no war in Iran, the country is generally safe and living standards are at a good level. We share some travelers experiences of hitchhiking in Iran:
“During my hitchhiking trip from the Netherlands to Vietnam, I’ve hitchhiked through Iran. I experienced Iran as one of the easiest countries to hitchhike”_Rutger, the hitchhiker from the Netherlands experience hitchhiking in Iran
“Never before have I been to a country whereby the preconceptions of it are so far away from reality.” _Kim Berghout’s experience of hitchhiking in Iran
“Iran is the most inviting country in the world and its people the nicest I have ever met in my entire life.” _Josh the American hitchhiker experience of hitchhiking in Iran