The countdown is on to the Qatar World Cup, and football fans around the world are excitedly preparing for what will possibly be their first trip to Qatar.
While the FIFA World Cup is typically held in May, June, or July, it’s been bumped later in the year since Qatar is so hot during the summer months. So ticket-holders are eagerly awaiting late November, when things will kick off (literally) on November 20, 2022 and run through December 18, 2022.
If you’ve never traveled to Qatar before, you probably have a lot of questions about your trip. Luckily, your well-travelled aloSIM team is here to help!
From what to wear (and what not to wear), how to move between World Cup stadiums, and how to stay safe by following some very important laws, we’ve rounded up what you need to know about your big trip to Qatar …
Phone prep: How to stay connected in Qatar
First up, when you travel to Qatar for the World Cup, you’re not going to want to leave your phone on Airplane Mode and you’re certainly not going to want to let your phone roam and pay roaming charges.
So the best way to stay connected will be installing a Qatar eSIM so you can pop onto local networks.
What’s an eSIM? An eSIM is the digital version of a traditional SIM card. Your device is likely already eSIM-compatible (but check the list first to make sure), and then it’s just a matter of choosing a Qatar eSIM data package — which start at $10 for a week’s worth of data.
You can have your Qatar eSIM installed on your device ahead of time, and then you just have to switch it on once you land in Qatar. Then you’ll have full access to your regular phone number for calling and texting, but you won’t pay roaming charges because your eSIM will connect you to a local network.
Understanding the Qatar World Cup dress code
Yes, you read that correctly: there’s a dress code in Qatar, even for enthusiastic sporting matches like the World Cup. This isn’t the place to yank off your T-shirt to reveal body paint in your team colors.
Qatar is an Islamic country with a conservative dress code, and no one is exempt — whether you live there permanently, or you’re just visiting Qatar.
Now, “conservative” doesn’t mean you need to dress like you’re going to a job interview. You can still wear your football jersey and a pair of jeans — but those jeans shouldn’t have huge holes in them, showing off too much skin.
What’s the dress code in Qatar?
- Keep your knees covered
- Don’t expose your shoulders
- No clothing with offensive words/imagery
No matter what outfit you choose in Qatar, make sure your knees and shoulders are covered, and don’t wear anything too revealing or potentially offensive.
There’s a common misconception that only women need to be mindful of dress codes in Qatar, but that’s not the case. No matter how you identify, it’s important to follow some simple rules to be respectful.
Do women need to cover their hair in Qatar?
No one is required to wear a scarf or veil, unless they choose to do so. It’s not expected.
What about wearing a bathing suit at my hotel?
Check with your hotel ahead of time, but many hotels allow any type of swimwear. (After all, it’s not easy to find swimsuits that will cover your shoulders and knees.)
Do I need to follow the dress code at the airport?
It’s best to keep your knees and shoulders covered during your flight into Qatar and while moving throughout the airport terminal, as you don’t want to risk upsetting someone with a risqué outfit. You can dress very comfortably — even in yoga pants and a T-shirt — while still remaining covered.
Do children need to follow the dress code?
No, the World Cup dress code (and Qatar dress code in general) only applies to adults.
What to pack for your Qatar trip
If you’re heading to the FIFA World Cup, remember that it’s being held during a relatively “chilly” time in Qatar (late November through mid December). The average temperature will probably be 24-29 degrees Celsius or 75-84 degrees Fahrenheit, which may be colder or hotter than your climate at home.
But as anyone visiting Qatar will tell you, the air-conditioning can be extreme there! So if you plan on wearing lightweight clothes because the temperature sounds pleasantly warm, remember that it might actually be much colder than you’re expecting.
- Shirts that don’t reveal shoulders or cleavage
- Lightweight sweaters
- Light jackets
- Pants (nothing too tight)
- Jeans (no rips)
- Long skirts or dresses (past your knees)
- Pashmina scarves (for warmth and coverage)
- Comfortable, breathable footwear
What is a Hayya Card, and do you need one?
A Hayya card is a type of identification document, and it’s absolutely necessary if you plan on attending the Qatar World Cup this year.
Hayya cards are organized by the State of Qatar’s government, and you can create a Hayya account online to get started. There’s also a free app that can help with planning your trip to the World Cup. Not only will your Hayya Card serve as a Visa to get you into Qatar, it will also give you access to trams, buses, and Doha Metro.
Travel arrangements & Qatar accommodations
If you’re flying into Qatar, you’ll arrive at Hamad International Airport in Doha. You’ll need to declare if you’re entering Qatar with more than QR50,000 ($13,000 USD) in cash, or jewelry or valuables worth that much.
Once you’ve collected your luggage, Hamad International Airport has all of the usual options to take you to your accommodations — car rentals, limos, buses, taxis, and the metro.
If you’re booking your hotel room, keep in mind that it’s illegal in Qatar for unmarried men and women to share a hotel room. Some hotels may require proof of your marriage, and breaking the rules could result in jail time, so avoid splitting the cost of a hotel room with a boyfriend/girlfriend or pal.
Staying safe in Qatar
If you’ve never been to the Middle East and you’re nervous about whether or not it will be safe, you can relax. Qatar is a safe place with a very low crime rate, thanks to a solid police presence and high incomes amongst citizens.
But you’ll need to be cautious about a few unexpected risks in Qatar:
ALCOHOL: It’s illegal to drink in public (or be drunk in public) in Qatar, and breaking the rules could land you in jail for up to six months (and paying a hefty fine). If you’re going to drink alcohol in Qatar, be sure it’s only within permitted hotels, restaurants, or bars.
DRUGS: Qatar is very strict about drugs. You can’t use them, possess them, or transport them, and the tricky thing is that some standard prescription drugs are considered “controlled substances” in Qatar, so bring along prescriptions that specify your quantity and dosage.
“OFFENSIVE” BEHAVIOR: Skip any public displays of affection (especially in family-friendly places), and be careful not to use rude language/gestures or insult anyone. Even taking pictures and videos can be considered rude, so ask permission first if you want to be a shutterbug. Any of the above “offensive” behavior could get you arrested, fined, or even deported.
DRESS CODE: As we described above in our packing section, it’s important to wear loose, modest clothing that doesn’t expose your knees, shoulders, or cleavage. (This applies to all genders.)
LGBTQ+ LAWS: Forbes ranked Qatar as the second most dangerous place for the LGBTQ+ community to visit, with strict penalties that can include years in prison, flogging, and even the death penalty. While it’s been discussed that Qatar should temporarily suspend these enforcements during the 2022 World Cup, at the time of publishing this post, that hasn’t happened.
Navigating the Qatar World Cup stadiums
There are eight stadiums throughout Qatar where you can expect to see World Cup games. The largest and most expensive stadium is the Lusail Stadium, with a capacity of 80,000 people. It will host 10 matches from Nov. 22 through Dec. 18, including the exciting World Cup final scheduled for the last day.
Use your Hayya Card and match tickets to access transportation between World Cup stadiums. Remember to use the Hayya app to find bus locations and book your seats ahead of time.
Keeping in touch while you’re at the Qatar World Cup
Attending World Cup matches will be a thrill you’ll remember for the rest of your life, so make sure you enjoy your Qatar trip to the fullest by staying connected on a budget.
Grab a Qatar eSIM for as little as $10 U.S. for a week’s worth of Qatar data. If you need more, you can top up your eSIM anytime. You’ll have peace of mind knowing your phone the data it needs to stay online — even when there isn’t any Wi-Fi available — and you’ll always be able to call, text, pull up maps, use your Hayya app, or find a great local restaurant.
Have a wonderful time at the World Cup!