Iran Trip Report
In April 2019, a group of people joined a trip on JoinMyTrip to travel together to Iran. The trip got a sudden turnaround as the TripLeader had to cancel just 10 days before the departure due to sudden sickness. But no panic, JoinMyTrip was on top of this situation and got everything handled just fine. So, what happens if a TripLeader fails?
Thanks to our broad community and team mentality, JoinMyTrip was able to get a new TripLeader for this trip as soon as a few days after the cancellation. JoinMyTrip was in constant connection with the TripMates to keep them updated about the ongoing situation. Eventually, everything worked out and the TripMates got their trip to Iran as planned and the whole trip turned out just fine! Hang along and read down below how this sudden situation was handled and all of the TripMates got to enjoy a fulfilling trip to Iran.
After the trip to Iran, we had a small interview with the TripMates, Markus and Andi. Let’s check what are their final thoughts about the trip organised together with JoinMyTrip.
Why did you choose JoinMyTrip?
Markus: “In February, I already had a trip to Morocco with JoinMyTrip, which was really really cool!”
Andi: “Personally, I find the idea that everyone can offer an individual trip very attractive. In my case, it was a student who discovered his enthusiasm for Iran during a semester abroad and was able to tell all kinds of things about the country as well as its culture in advance. He proposed a trip along with his expertise (e.g. language skills, booking accommodation locally). Of course, this sounds like a guided tour, but from the beginning, it was clear that you get your freedom (which I also found very important).
The difference to a backpacking trip is the insider knowledge of a provider to discover secret corners far away from the typical tourist destinations. The whole thing and of course an unbeatable price for the guide/tour provider (at least in my case) made me a book/organise my Iran trip via JoinMyTrip. In general, the platform also offers an option for almost every destination, which is really impressive.”
Did you know your TripMates before the trip?
Markus: “No, I didn’t know anybody in advance. But we already had the previous contact through WhatsApp.”
Andi: “Our TripLeader created a WhatsApp group with my two TripMates right after my booking (I was the last one to join the trip). Fortunately, the guide and I lived in the same city, so a personal meeting was already possible. I already got to know another travel partner from Cologne during her professional stays there. Getting to know each other personally is nice, but not absolutely necessary for me. In our case, communication via the chat group (in my opinion) was perfectly sufficient.”
What was the age difference between the TripMates?
Andi: “There were four of us on the trip. While the TripLeader and my two TripMates were about 40 years old, I was the youngest, only 29. However, the age difference of 10-12 years was at no time a big problem.”
What was the “most memorable” moment of your trip to Iran?
Markus: “Actually the whole trip was unforgettable!! The desert was really impressive., which I totally fell in love at the first sight. The landscape changes all the time, which was simply ingenious. I wish I could have spent more time there.”
Andi: “There I would point out two moments: one positive and one negative:
We covered a very long distance (> 3,000 km) and crossed numerous breathtaking landscapes. There was this moment when we drove over a hill which was followed by an incredible expanse with isolated rocks in the background. The mixture of desert, vastness and silence in the light of dusk was simply fascinating. These type of moments have a higher value for me when travelling than a sight that is overcrowded in the worst case.
Our destination, Iran, is currently in an economic crisis, which can be firstly seen in the exchange rate. At the beginning of the trip, I changed 100 Euro at the airport with an exchange rate of 1:144,000 (1 Euro = 144,000 Rial). Already then I thought, in the Lonely Planet, which was published 1.5 years ago, the exchange rate was only about 1:33,000.
10 days later I changed for the last time a 50 Euro note (a single note!!). The gentleman in the exchange office gave me a bundle of money, which was wrapped with a paper banderole (100 notes, as one knows it from the film with money transfers in a suitcase). I just thought ‘Wow, what a lot of money!’ But his look already told me, “That’s not all! He got a bigger pile of money again and pushed the whole amount over to me. Then he said: “You gave me ONE note and I gave you that!” In his desperate look you could see what he was thinking: Where is that supposed to end? Meanwhile, the exchange rate was 1:154,000…”
Was there any trouble that you got into during your trip to Iran?
Markus: “Well, that wasn’t really a “difficult situation”. Our Van got stuck in mud. But a truck pulled us out again. So everything was not all bad”
Andi: “Due to the good organisation (TripLeader/Driver) there was no really bad situation. Only once when we got stuck in the mud with our car. However, the problem was solved by a helpful truck driver and his colleagues with a little handle. But just the fact that this was our biggest problem while traveling shows that it was actually a smooth process 🙂
We only got into an issue when our TripLeader cancelled at short notice which meant we had to get a new one. Amir, our TripLeader in the end, was a perfect solution. Respect and thank you again.
P.S.: I don’t count the situation with the taxi driver (see below) because it was too marginal and forgotten a few moments later.”
What is your experience of traveling with strangers? What positive things do you take with you?
Markus: “I find it very exciting to travel with unacquainted people. In addition, you could make new friends every time you travel. I will certainly meet my Marroco TripMates again. We actually already made some plans to meet at the wine festival.”
Andi: “Since I am a very adaptable person, I didn’t worry much about this. My two TripMates were also very enthusiastic about traveling, so we had a lot to tell each other and were able to learn about our experiences. Through some small talks, we also got a lot of ideas about where we should go and what we need to keep an eye on. Beyond that, we have stayed in contact and we will probably meet again this summer. Possibly we may travel together one more time :).”
Was there any difficulty arisen when you (partly) did not know each other?
Markus: “Before the trip, I was a bit afraid that we may not get on well. But during the trip, there were no problems at all. It was a great fit for both trips.”
Andi: “Honestly, none for me and I also didn’t have the feeling that my travel partners had a different thought. From the beginning, we were all relatively open and had a relaxed atmosphere. Sometimes I shared e.g the hotel room with my travel mates. Despite the fact that we didn’t really know each other, it was never a problem.”
Do you have any advice for someone who is about to travel with JoinMyTrip?
Markus: “Don’t think too much about it, just try it out.”
Andi: “Just do it!!! :)”
From your experience with your Iran trip, what would be the one thing you would like to give to our readers (preferably something you don’t read otherwise)?
Markus: “Don’t just travel to the “usual” tourist countries, try something new. Get your own picture of the “unknown”.”
Andi: “That’s a difficult question because when you tell people about your plan to Iran, there are actually only two reactions:
1) The majority: What? Are you really going to travel to this country? It’s so dangerous there!
2) The minority: Wow, that sounds interesting. How did you come up with that? That wasn’t on my screen yet.
To both questions, I always answer: Because I haven’t been there yet and want to create my own image. The current image of Iran is so distorted by the media that it does not do justice to neutral reporting. That sounds relatively overused by now, but one should have the openness and curiosity to travel to this country. Personally, I can only recommend it to everyone, as prejudices can only be overcome through one’s own experiences. Of course, not everything is peace, joy, pancakes and there are not only external reasons for this.
I’d have to think again, but I only had a bad experience with a taxi driver (too expensive), which was forgotten 20 minutes later by a helpful Iranian (he got us a new taxi).
Unfortunately, it will be difficult to convince people from the first group, mentioned above, to consider Iran as a tourist destination. But to anyone who even thinks about travelling to Iran, I can say, you will NOT regret it! Culturally, scenically and from the people, the country has so much potential that one should not miss. There is no climate of insecurity or danger and in no moment of the journey did we feel endangered (you would probably rather be victims of violent crime in the USA than in Iran).
If you were to face the decision again, would you do the same trip?
Markus: “Absolutely. Iran didn’t see me the last time.”
Andi: “If I still had a vacation, I would go to the airport tomorrow 🙂 So YES.”
What impressed you most about Iran?
Markus: “The hospitality of the people living there. I have never experienced anything like it in any country. There we can still learn something.
But if I had to establish a ranking with aspects that impressed me, it would probably look like this:
1. people/society, 2. landscape, 3. food
The “most memorable” moment was a landscape moment, but in the course of the trip, people were all very open and friendly. People approached you and were very communicative and eager to learn (Where do you come from?). How is it in Germany, how do you like it here etc.) But it was never pushy or similar, but, as I said, open and curious. That sounds trivial for now, but a difference like a day and night to German society (as sad as it sounds).
An example of openness and friendliness was our guide bought a gift for his mother. When we took a break, he forgot by mistake. After we had noticed it, the bag had already disappeared. Our guide went to the seller, described the matter to him and asked if the bag had been handed in here. When he said no, he raised his hand and again gave him one of the boxes he had chosen before…for free! “If you find it again, bring it back. If not, then that’s the way it is. That was an object, which was manufactured in complex/several hours of manual work and cost approx. 40-50 euro. Such small moments of the friendly gestures gave the holiday that certain something.”
Want to hear more about Iran and other destinations JoinMyTrip has to offer?
Check out our available trips online and take the first step towards your unforgettable experience!
No matter if you are into hiking, surfing or exploring, here you are able to find Travel Buddies for your next unique adventure
Eager to travel but don’t know yet where? Get some inspiration of these posts and plan your next trip already today!
Do you need some more sight on being a TripLeader or TripMate? Read below for some information: