With the USMNT returning to World Cup action, fans will be wondering how to travel to Qatar for the 2022 World Cup.
For many, it is a foreign land, and that includes FIFA. This is the first time the tournament is in the Middle East, and just the second trip to Asia. Of course, the previous time was practically on the other side of the continent in 2002. That year, a collaboration of South Korea and Japan hosted the World Cup.
Due to a number of conflicts in the area, U.S. fans may question the safety of travel to Qatar. Data released by Global Finance Magazine listed Qatar as the third-safest country in the world. Iceland and the United Arab Emirates were the first and second countries on that list.
Where Is Qatar?
Traveling to Qatar is a once-in-a-lifetime experience for many Americans. Part of that comes from the fact that Qatar is halfway around the world.
Qatar is by far the smallest country to host the World Cup. In fact, it is smaller than each U.S. state except for Delaware and Rhode Island. The small nation located on the west side of the Persian Gulf is connected by land to Saudi Arabia. Its population is just under three million, with the majority of that living in or around Doha, the capital.
Despite the small size, 32 countries will be represented during the 65 matches of the 2022 World Cup. The small nature of the country does have one added benefit. There are just eight stadiums in use, the fewest for a World Cup in history. Plus, each stadium is easily commutable for fans and teams during the tournament.
Qatar World Cup Stadiums
The eight stadiums in use are separated by at most 46 miles. Most of that comes from Al Bayt Stadium in Al Khor. The other stadiums are in the greater Doha area.
|Stadium||Games hosted||Duration in use|
|Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium||6||Nov. 21 to Dec. 3|
|Al Bayt Stadium||9||Nov. 21 to Dec. 14|
|Al Janoub Stadium||7||Nov. 22 to Dec. 7|
|Al Thumama Stadium||8||Nov. 21 to Dec. 10|
|Education City Stadium||8||Nov. 22 to Dec. 9|
|Khalifa International Stadium||8||Nov. 21 to Dec. 17|
|Stadium 974||7||Nov. 22 to Dec. 5|
|Lusail Stadium||10||Nov. 22 to Dec. 18|
Lusail Stadium, which hosts the most games of the eight venues, hosts the Final on December 18. Another interesting note is Stadium 974. This stadium is constructed out of recycled shipping containers. It will be fully deconstructed after the World Cup for reuse in another country.
Qatar Travel Restrictions
When traveling on a U.S. tourist passport, the Government of Qatar does not require prior visa arrangements. You may obtain a free visa waiver upon arrival, stringent upon certain circumstances. To obtain a free visa waiver, you must possess:
- A valid passport with a minimum validity of 6 months, AND
- A confirmed onward or return ticket.
The release is valid for thirty days from the date of issuance and entitles the holder to spend up to thirty days in Qatar.
A U.S. citizen will need an approved Hay’ya Card (Fan ID) card application number for entrance to the stadiums and just to even enter the country. Fans must request it once they have paid for their tickets.
If you need to bring controlled/prescription medication into Qatar, the medicine should be in its original packaging and you should carry your original prescription.
Qatar COVID-19 Travel Requirements
Everyone will have to download the Ehteraz app to their phones. Using this app, fans must upload all the information related to their stay and vaccination status. Only vaccinated fans are allowed at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. Masks are mandatory in all public places.
FIFA World Cup Travel Packages
Qatar Airways, the official airline of the country, is offering up a host of packages that include flights, accommodation, and match tickets.
Travel packages for the World Cup range from week one of the tournament right through to the final.
FIFA is also offering several packages for the tournament; however, flights, accommodation, and tickets will all need to be bought separately for the finals in Qatar.
Find Your Flight
Qatar Airways connects over 160 destinations worldwide to Doha (Qatar’s capital). In fact, direct flights out of the United States come from 12 cities. Those are Atlanta, Boston, Chicago (O’Hare), Dallas-Fort Worth, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York (JFK), Philadelphia, San Francisco, Seattle and Washington, D.C. (Dulles).
Qatar Airways flight status generally lists out Hamad International Airport as the point of entry. It is just east of Doha, bordering the Persian Gulf. You can make a Qatar Airways reservation out of those 12 cities on more than 100 weekly flights. The Qatar Airways ticket price list out of the United States is anywhere from $1,900 to $2,800, depending on departing airport.
World Cup 2022 Qatar
Fly from the U.S. to Doha
How to Get Around Qatar
The maximum distance between any of the eight stadiums is 45 miles. As an added bonus to the close nature of the stadiums, public transport is free on game days.
For the venues located in and around Doha, there is a strong metro system. The metro network has stops from the airport into the capital and connections to several of the stadiums. For those looking for a more privatized way to get around, Uber is an option. However, these prices could be higher especially with the quantity of people looking to get around the country.
An alternative for those who enjoy driving is a simple bus to get around the venues and city.
Where to Stay in Qatar
The Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy expects 1.5 million visitors during the World Cup.
In 2019, Qatar had just 35,000 hotel rooms. However, the Qatari government says it is adding more to accommodate the influx of tourists.
The busiest days for traveling should be November 27 and 28. This is when the group stage is wrapping up. Expect somewhere in the range of 275,000 fans in the country.
World Cup Hotels
Browse hotel rooms in and around Qatar
The Qatar 2022 website has an accommodations portal that is the best place to start your search for lodgings. The website features listings at hotels, apartments and villas or aboard two large cruise ships docked at Doha for the duration of the tournament. There is also an option to stay at “fan villages,” which the site describes as “a variety of casual camping and cabin-style accommodation for the avid fan.”
Getting Match Tickets
The Qatar 2022 World Cup features four types of tickets. Individual Match Tickets (IMTs) are tickets for one specific match. Then, Supporter Tickets (STs) are tickets for each group stage match of one specific nation. Another option is the Conditional Supporter Tickets (CSTs), which is basically an ST for the second round. Should the team that the purchaser supports be eliminated, they receive a refund for any games that the team does not qualify for. Finally, there is a Four-Stadium Ticket series. This option has 14 different packages that guarantee four games at four different stadiums during the group stage of the World Cup.
Prices range from $70 to $220 for individual tickets to group matches and escalate through the knockout phase.
Tickets for the championship final will cost from $600 to $1,600.
How to Travel to Qatar for World Cup 2022: More About Qatar
The Qatar official language is Arabic. However, English is also spoken widely throughout the small nation. Plus, English is common throughout FIFA competitions.
The Qatar currency is the Qatari Riyal. As of May 2022, $1 USD is equivalent to 3.64 Qatari Riyal.
There are five ‘locations’ hosting World Cup games. Al Wakrah, Al Khor, Al Rayyan, Lusail and Doha all have venues. Of course, these are all in close proximity to one another.
Al Wakrah, to the south of Doha, has Al Janoub Stadium. That is just a 51 minute drive from Al Bayt Stadium in Al Khor.
Doha will be the main port of call for soccer fans heading to the tournament.
Culture & Dress Code
Qatar does have restrictions on filming and taking pictures, so make sure you have permission.
Neither the natives nor the visitors can pass any vulgar remarks, gestures or use any inappropriate language at public places.
Public displays of affection or intimacy between any couple can lead to arrest.
Religion is a sensitive issue in Qatar; treat any discussions on religion with care and caution.
It is against the law to drink alcohol or be drunk in public in Qatar. During the World Cup, alcohol will be available in designated areas, like licensed hotel restaurants and special “fan zones.” It is important to remember that public intoxication can carry a jail sentence.
Respect the local dress codes and cover your shoulders and knees. Women traveling to the country for the World Cup should wear long skirts and maxi dresses and avoid tank tops. Men should wear shorts that come just below the knee (or wear lightweight pants).
How to Travel to Qatar for World Cup 2022: Things to Do in Qatar
Outside of watching the world’s best compete, there are plenty of opportunities for activity in Qatar. Here are just a few examples:
- The National Museum, which tells the Qatar story from the beginning to its wealth from oil.
- Museum of Islamic Art
- Shopping malls in Doha
- Souq Waquif, one of the most famous marketplaces in Qatar, similar to the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul.
- Book a tour to drive up and down the sand dunes or try sandboarding
Because it is already dark before 7:00 p.m., Qataris start their day early.
Most office jobs end between 2pm and 3pm, and nightlife starts early.
The matches will be played at 13:00, 16:00, 19:00 and 22:00 local time. Therefore, the main tourist spots and fan fest will be filled not only with foreign fans, but also local fans.
Fridays between 11:00 and 13:00 is the time of the main prayer of the week, so almost everything closes then.
The 2022 World Cup will take place in Qatar’s winter season. Reason being the scorching desert heat is not exactly compatible with 90-minute soccer games. The milder temperatures are more favorable to the players and the tourists visiting the country.
Average daytime highs in November and December in Qatar range from mid-70s to mid-80s Fahrenheit. There is also minimal precipitation.
Stadiums will be air-conditioned, using solar-powered ventilation and cooling systems designed to keep spectators comfortable.
How to Travel to Qatar for World Cup 2022: Questions?
Feel free to let us know if you have any questions about how to travel to Qatar for World Cup 2022. Just let us know in the comments section below.
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