Qatar, located on a small peninsula in the Persian Gulf, might not be the first travel destination that jumps to mind as you're planning a getaway. However, there's more to the country than meets the eye. Qatar sits on one of the largest petroleum and natural-gas reserves on the planet, and as such, it has the highest GDP per capita in the world. From its oil wealth grew a high standard of living and a highly developed system of government and social services. Qatar is also a popular destination for expatriates; in fact, out of a population of about 2.4 million people, an estimated 85% of them are foreign workers.
If you're planning to visit Qatar, there's plenty to see and do between its beaches, historical sites, art and architecture, and mouthwatering cuisine. But before you leave, make sure to purchase travel medical insurance or travel insurance.
Travel Medical Insurance for Travelers in Qatar – FAQs
Travel medical insurance provides emergency medical coverage for unexpected illnesses or injuries with a variety of policy maximums and deductible choices. It is essential to have when visiting Qatar, as your domestic insurance is unlikely to provide meaningful coverage outside of your home country.
Do I need travel medical insurance for Qatar?
Travel medical insurance is not legally required for tourists visiting to Qatar, but expatriates are required to carry sufficient medical insurance. Legal requirements notwithstanding, travel medical insurance is something no traveler should go without. It can go a long way in helping to protect your finances from unaffordable medical bills if you get sick or injured during your trip.
Why buy travel medical insurance before traveling to Qatar?
If you suffer a medical issue while in Qatar, you will have access to excellent care in larger cities. However, do not expect these hospitals and doctors to accept your domestic insurance. If you do not have travel medical insurance, you will be required to pay for treatment out of your own pocket, which can be extremely expensive. Travel medical insurance is necessary financial protection whenever you travel abroad.
Trip Cancellation Insurance for Travelers in Qatar – FAQs
A sudden emergency just before an international trip can be more than just inconvenient; it can be financially devastating. All of the money you’ve spent on airfare, hotels, rental cars, etc. could go out the window, leaving you with no recourse to get any of it back. Since none of us can predict the future, the next best option is to be prepared for the unexpected with trip cancellation insurance.
Why should I get trip cancellation insurance for my Qatar travel?
Your prepaid travel expenses are typically nonrefundable, or charge expensive cancellation fees. If you have to cancel your Qatar trip for a covered reason, your trip cancellation policy can help you receive reimbursement for these expenses.
Want even more flexibility in cancelling your trip? Consider cancel for any reason travel insurance.
What can be covered by trip cancellation insurance for Qatar?
Travel insurance can cover trip cancellation for common reasons such as personal illness, family emergencies, and natural disasters, but the coverage isn’t limited to only trip cancellation. A travel insurance plan can also provide coverage for things like trip interruption, travel delay, lost baggage, and emergency medical treatment; not to mention an array of other benefits, depending upon the plan you choose.
Qatar’s Most Popular Places for Travel
Doha, the nation's capital and largest city, is home to about 80% of the country's population, between the city itself and the surrounding areas. Though small, with an area of about 50 square miles (130 square kilometers), it boasts an impressive array of five-star luxury hotels, museums, skyscrapers, and other amenities fitting for a modern metropolis.
The Doha Corniche
If you're not sure where to start in Doha, try a walk or drive along the city's scenic Doha Corniche. The road runs about 4.3 miles (7 km) along a manmade bay and passes developed urban areas, palm trees, and parks, and overlooks traditional Qatari dhow boats afloat in the harbor. Paths off the main road are popular gathering spots for couples and families when the weather permits.
The Souq Waqif
The Souq Waqif in Doha is a marketplace that was renovated in 2006 using stone and wood to retain the feel of traditional Qatari architecture. Built on the grounds of an old Bedouin marketplace, its wares include everything from souvenirs (pashminas, perfumes, and spices) to handicrafts to shisha lounges and restaurants to the animal market--which offers creatures like terrapins, rabbits, kittens, lizards, and even hunting birds. Among locals, the market is more for wandering than shopping. Also, within the Souq Waqif lies the Doha Fort, a historical monument originally built as a police station.
Al Zubarah Fort
Al Zubarah Fort, located on Qatar’s northwest coast, is a former military fortress built in 1938. The ancient town of Zubarah and its surrounding area have been declared a UNESCO World Heritage site for archaeological purposes; various discovered artifacts like pearl divers’ weights, imported ceramics, fish traps, and wells form one of the most extensive and best-preserved depictions of an 18th- and 19th-century settlement in the area. Al Zubarah was once a walled city that served as one of the Gulf region’s largest pearl diving and trading centers. The fort is also home to a visitor’s center.
Khor Al Adaid
Khor Al Adaid, also known as the “Inland Sea,” is located in the southeastern corner of the country about an hour’s drive outside Doha. The sea is a UNESCO-recognized nature reserve and one of the most popular tourist attractions in the country. One of the few examples in the world of a sea in the middle of the desert, it has its own ecosystem supporting a wide variety of plants and animal life like ospreys, turtles, and dugongs. Visitors come for the beach and the scenic views of sand dunes meeting the shoreline. Be aware that Khor Al Adaid is inaccessible by road, so the final leg of the journey there involves crossing the rolling sand dunes on foot.
Key Guidelines for Travelers in Qatar
Reflecting the country’s large expatriate community, Qatari cuisine consists of a mix of flavors and dishes from the Arab world. The national dish is machbus, a mix of meat, rice, tomatoes, vegetables, and spices. Other staples include seafood and dates. Popular main dishes include ghuzi, roasted lamb served over rice; jareesh, crushed wheat with chicken or another kind of meat; khobes rgag, flatbread made from flour, water, and salt; and thareed, a soup or stew made up of khobes rgag, broth, vegetables, and meat.
When visiting a foreign country, it’s important to be mindful of certain cultural norms and practices. As Qatar is a rather conservative Muslim country, alcohol is only served within five-star international hotels. In public, women are expected to dress modestly (covering their shoulders and knees), while men should wear long pants—or, at the very least, long shorts. Public beaches are not exempt from the modesty requirement.
Be aware that in Qatar, street names aren’t as commonly used as in other countries. Many locals navigate using directions and landmarks. Before taking a taxi, it would be wise to look up a generally well-known landmark near your destination in case the driver isn’t familiar with the street address.
Before You Travel to Qatar – Do This
- Make sure you have a valid COVID-19 PCR test certificate with a negative result valid for 48 hours before departure, or a rapid antigen test valid for 24 hours prior to departure. Self-tests will not be accepted for flights to Qatar, and the same rules apply regardless of vaccination status.
- Ensure that your passport is valid for at least six months from the date of your arrival in Qatar.
- Protect your finances from the uncertainties of traveling abroad with travel medical insurance or travel insurance.