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Traveler's Guide to Iraq

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11:42 AM 05.23 Thursday Baghdad, Iraq

Top 10 things you need to know


The Iraqi Dinar is the official currency of Iraq. Merchants appreciate smaller bills in low value transactions; however, for larger fees (ex. hotel) most accept US Dollars or Euros.

Public Transportation & In country Travel

Public transportation is almost non-existent in Iraq. The most common way to get around is by taxi or car. There are six major airports and a handful of railway connections to surrounding countries.


Arabic is the official language of Iraq, and there are two versions spoken: Northern and Southern. Residents of Kurdistan speak Kurdish. Many Iraqis speak English as well.

Best time to travel

Winter and Spring are the most comfortable months for travel. Summer months are extremely hot with almost no rainfall.


It may be difficult to find hotels on travel advisor websites, however, there are many available, especially in the larger cities. Tipping is not customary, but is acceptable if you received exceptional service.


At this time, travel to Iraq is discouraged due to the extremely dangerous and unstable political situation. There is currently a travel warning issued by the US State department ( Foreigners are often targets of robberies, kidnappings, and murders.

Food and Drink

Iraq is well know for dates and citrus fruits. The national dish of Iraq is Masgouf, a is marinated, grilled, freshwater carp. Traditional meals include rice with lamb, vegetables, and sauce. Alcohol consumption is allowed for those over 18. The water supply is not reliable, so it is suggested you avoid eating uncooked foods and drink only bottled water.


Approximately 80% of the country is Arab, and 15% Kurdish. The remaining population is made up of many smaller minority groups.


An undersea communication network was completed in 2012, which greatly enhanced internet availability and speed. Cell phones were only introduced in Iraq in 2003, but international prepaid phones are available to travelers. The country can’t generate enough electricity to meet demand, so the average Iraqi receives electricity for approximately 16 hours of the day.

Cultural customs

The most common greeting is a handshake with direct eye contact; however, a man should never extend his hand to a woman unless she does so first. Dining etiquette is fairly formal. You should always eat and drink with your right hand.

Things not to do

  1. Do not spit in public or in the direction of another person.
  2. Do not expose the soles of your feet in public or to another person.
  3. Avoid revealing clothing. Most people dress very conservatively and cover up.