Cruise missiles, charging tanks, and smoky battlefields may come to mind first when you think of Iraq. However, despite the country’s recent history, Iraq is called the Cradle of Civilization for a reason—its collection of ancient Mesopotamian cities. These cities are famous for their innovations in science, literature, medicine, and much more.
The country is blessed with natural beauty and the mighty waterways of the mighty Euphrates and Tigris Rivers.
Iraq is the former home of Alexander the Great and the former site of Babylonia. Famous mosques, Ottoman relics, and mysterious towns make Iraq a traveller’s delight. In the fertile plains of Iraqi Kurdistan lie the stunning canyons with marvellous sunsets.
The country is well worth a visit for any seasoned traveller. But as you’re preparing for your trip, be sure to purchase
travel insurance and
travel medical insurance
to protect yourself against any unexpected accidents, illnesses, injuries, or mishaps.
Things to Do for Travelers in Iraq
Erbil: The city of Erbil is an eclectic mix of ancient history and beautiful scenery. The citadel of Erbil is more than 7,000 years old and has an illustrious history. The massive castle in the center of the city is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is an amazing way to learn about the local culture.
Hike to Ur: This city is known for its Biblical tales of fearsome Babylonian kings and epic floods. It is also the home of one of the most beautiful ancient ruins in the Middle East. When in Ur, don’t forget to visit the Ziggurat that was used in the old days to worship Akkadian moon gods. The tall structure with steep staircases and high walls makes for a once-in-a-lifetime photo opportunity.
Marvel at Baghdad: The city has suffered in recent years due to attacks by insurgent groups and incessant bombings. When in the Green Zone in Baghdad, you will witness copper bazaars with unique artifacts. The city also has monuments and Assyrian treasures to attract tourists into the National Museum of Iraq.
Take a walk in Basra: Basra is situated along the Shatt al-Arab river and was the site of some of the most pivotal battles of the Iraq War. The entire area is covered in palm forests and lined by the sunny Corniche al-Basra, a place to walk and enjoy the cool evening breeze.
Dur-Kurigalzu: These ancient, abandoned ruins are almost 3,500 years old. They are the heart of the Cradle of Civilization of southern Mesopotamia. The striking stonework and mud-brick walls rise into the high towers in the middle of the desert. This is one of the most picturesque locations in Iraq.
Travel Risks for International Travelers in Iraq
Terrorism: Terrorist attacks and violent attacks by insurgent groups are very frequent due to tensions between the government and extremists. Large public gatherings, government buildings, and residential areas are targeted for maximum casualties. Suicide bombs, car bombs, and roadside bombs can be fatal or cause permanent injuries.
Crime: Foreign travellers run the risk of being kidnapped and taken hostage by extremists or militant groups. Many such individuals remain missing or have been killed for ransom. Do not wander around sensitive areas where there are no security forces.
Civil unrest: Political protests and rallies are very common in Basra, Baghdad, and other major cities. These gatherings can turn violent quickly and may lead to injuries or death. They can also be viable targets for terrorist activity. In terms of civil unrest, remain indoors and keep abreast of the local news, as security forces use deadly weapons to neutralize violent protests at times. Curfews soon follow after such violent confrontations.
Waterborne diseases: Water from all sources should be considered extremely unfit for drinking or brushing your teeth. The water can carry pathogens responsible for cholera, diarrhea, and typhoid. Boil the water or use purification tablets before consumption.
Measles, hepatitis A, and other diseases: Measles, mumps, and rubella (or MMR) are prevalent in most parts of Iraq and require immediate medical care. Hepatitis A can be contracted through contaminated food or water in Iraq, despite where you eat or drink.
Iraq Travel Medical Insurance for International Travelers – FAQs
Medical facilities and clinics in Iraq are available in and around Baghdad, Basra, and Erbil. In case of a serious injury, you would need to be evacuated urgently for medical assistance. At times, the public hospitals in Iraq may not have enough beds due to an overwhelming number of cases, requiring you to admit yourself to a private hospital. Buy travel medical insurance as a safeguard against these costs.
Do I need travel medical insurance for Iraq?
The government of Iraq has mandated that every individual who wishes to enter Iraq have proper insurance coverage. Experts say that your insurance policy should provide coverage for war zones, kidnapping, and ransom, as these are especially common in Iraq. If you haven’t bought travel medical insurance, you can buy a plan from the flight centers or airports.
Why buy travel medical insurance for Iraq?
Iraq is considered a war zone, and it is extremely risky to visit here when tensions are at full throttle. Terrorist attacks, crimes, bombings, and kidnapping pose heavy risks that can cause deadly injuries or permanent disabilities. It is highly recommended to buy travel medical insurance to get reimbursed any money you might have to shell out.
Iraq Trip Cancellation Insurance for International Travelers – FAQs
Unexpected hindrances and security checkpoints may cause you to be stranded in your room for days. You may have to miss your flight, or the entire trip. Trip cancellation insurance for Iraq can prove to be quite handy, as last-minute hotel and flight cancellations are very common in this part of the world.
Why buy trip cancellation insurance for Iraq?
Security forces tend to impose curfews and vehicle bans on short notice. You might require the help of a reputable security company to arrange for safe travel along roads. Be prepared to spend a fortune on safe evacuation in these situations. Be prudent and buy travel insurance for Iraq to mitigate these costs. Your travel insurance policy will include a list of reasons valid for trip cancellation listed in the certificate wording. Be sure to read the fine print so you know what is and isn’t covered.
What all is covered under trip cancellation insurance for Iraq?
War and acts of terrorism continue to be the greatest threats in Iraq that might cause trip cancellation. If you buy travel insurance for war risk/high-risk travel to Iraq, it may offer the following benefits.
- Trip cancellation due to listed reasons
- Flight cancellation due to terrorist attacks or acts of war
- Lost or missing baggage due to extreme rush at the airport
- Loss of personal belongings and cash
- Medical or emergency evacuation from the war zone
Before You Travel to Iraq – Do This
- When buying travel medical insurance, make sure that your policy includes provisions for medical evacuation by air.
- Get an MMR (Measles-Mumps-Rubella) vaccine from an authorized doctor.
- Most natives are not well-versed in English. Carry an English-to-Arabic dictionary or phrasebook to communicate with the locals in case of an emergency.