Traveling to Iraq: Basics for Beginners
So, you want to travel to Iraq? Great choice. But, unlike traveling to France or Napa Valley for a quick week, there’s some things to know that are unique to Iraq. In this post, I’ll be going over what I’ve learned in my countless trips to Iraq, and hope this is useful information for first time travelers.
- Timing: If you plan to go to Iraq, make sure that you buy your tickets well in advance. Yes, you’ve heard the traditional time-tested advice of being sure to book your tickets early when traveling anywhere, but this is an order of magnitude more important when traveling to the Middle East. I recommend that you book tickets anywhere from October to December the year before the summer you plan to go. I’ve been told by friends to constantly check with travel agents as the prices change from year to year, and they know the optimal booking times better than we do, bu
- Have a travel agent: I’m sure you’ve seen ads for sites like Expedia and Trivago, but you’re going to want to go the “old fashioned” way if you want the best rate. Iraq is a unique travel destination, and often times travel agents have local connections and can secure you flights that aren’t even available on these booking sites, and at a much lower price. Take for example my trip last summer, where my travel agent was able to book me a first class Lufthansa price for just under 40% less than what these travel discount sites were offering. I also got a lot more variety, and while I didn’t opt for it, there was a one way flight available only through my travel agent that wasn’t available on any online booking sites.
- Luggage: Don’t cheap out when it comes to luggage. I’ve tried all of the new startups offering light luggage and even designer luggage, and can say that CHESTER’s carry on is the best carry on luggage that I’ve had in my 15+ years traveling back and forth to Iran. It’s lightweight, makes for easy access on the long flight to Iraq, and comes at a price that’s reasonable ($190, but $170 with a discount code.)
I hope that was insightful for first time travelers and regulars alike. I tried to keep out the general tips like “make sure to bring shorts because it’s hot” and include the little things that I’ve found go a long way.