Later this year, Qatar will make history as they host the first-ever World Cup held in winter, with the tournament getting underway on Nov. 21.
Running until Dec. 18, the timing and location of the competition has sparked controversy and intrigue in equal measure as fans prepare for a feast of international football from all around the globe. Format-wise, 32 teams from eight groups will compete for a place in the knockout rounds in the lead-up to the final in Doha.
Some of the biggest heavyweights from around the world have already booked their tickets to Qatar, including Germany, Brazil, France, and Argentina. The Canada, USA and Mexico national teams will join them in the Middle East after surviving the CONCACAF qualifying stages.
Below, Sporting News runs through some of the key things you will need to know if you’re planning to head to Qatar this year.
MORE: Which teams have qualified to the 2022 World Cup?
Travel requirements to gain entry to Qatar
Any visitors to Qatar who are non-citizens “must submit a negative pre-travel PCR lab result obtained no more than 48 hours before the time of departure from the country of origin” as cited by the US Embassy to Qatar.
Fully vaccinated or recovered travelers will not need to quarantine or provide proof of a negative rapid antigen test on arrival. Non-vaccinated and non-immune visitors will need to quarantine for five days in a hotel or five days “home quarantine” for those with relatives in the country (proof of residence and relationship is required).
They will also be required to take a rapid antigen test on day five of hotel/home quarantine before being allowed to freely roam in the country.
Travel restrictions currently present in Qatar
The US Embassy to Qatar currently advises a Level 4 Travel Advisory level, which indicates that citizens should not travel to the country based on high levels of COVID-19 being prevalent. Of course, with the World Cup just around the corner, many fans from all over the world will be looking to book up to see the world’s greatest players take center stage.
Those keen on taking the trip should follow updates from the U.S Department of State – Bureau of Consular Affairs website for more details as they arise before the World Cup kicks off.
MORE: World Cup intercontinental playoffs set to be held in Qatar
Qatar World Cup 2022 travel packages
Travel packages for the World Cup range from week one of the tournament right through to the final.
Qatar Airways, the official airline of the country, is offering up a host of packages that can be found below that include flights, accommodation, and match tickets:
- Support Your Team – Week One and Two (four-game package) – from $6,590
- Early Groups – Week One (three-game package) – from $4,950
- Later Groups – Week Two (three-game package) – from $4,700
- Knockouts – Round of 16 (two-game package) – from $3,800
- Knockouts – Quarterfinals (two-game package) – from $4,050
- Knockouts – Semifinal and Final (three-game package) – from $7,300
- Knockouts – Final and third-place game (two-game package) – from $5,600
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.
USA Match Hospitality is also a verified distributor worth checking out for soccer fans embarking on an adventure to the Gulf Region this winter.
Flights to and from Qatar: How much will they cost?
Four cities will host 2022 World Cup matches: Doha, Al Wakrah, Al Khor, and Al Rayyan. Doha will be the main port of call for soccer fans heading to the tournament, and Doha Hamad International Airport will be ready to receive visitors from November when the competition kicks off.
Since 2021, Four U.S. cities – Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, and Washington D.C. – are offering two daily flights from the US to Qatar, while Dallas-Fort Worth increases to 12 flights per week with Boston, Miami, Philadelphia, San Francisco and Seattle all providing daily service.
For example, one passenger flying out from Washington Dulles International Airport to Doha on Nov. 16 and back on Dec. 19 to the same airport (duration of the tournament) would set themselves back roughly $2,100.
Admittedly not cheap, but a worthwhile price to pay to see their heroes in action on the big stage. Below is a list of some airline providers for those looking for more information on the exact costs from their location:
Hotels in Qatar
There will be several different options for visitors during their stay, including fan villages, cruise ship hotels, standard hotels, and local apartments and villas to call home for their time in Qatar. But given the demand, the availability might disappear quickly.
The FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 has an official accommodation agency, which has important information and portals regarding the exploration of options to stay in the country according to one’s budgetary reach.
It might be worth looking beyond standard hotels, however, as a lot of them are believed to already be fully booked due to the mass influx of block-buyers looking to secure their place at the World Cup well ahead of schedule.
The official FIFA World Cup website, Qatar Airways, and Trivago website may be some of the strongest resources available for consumers to inquire about potential stays in Qatar that cater to their needs.
MORE: Who are the oldest players in World Cup history?
Car rental in Qatar
Car rental in Qatar will vary from company to company, though SIXT offers some deals to help visitors get on the road.
Usually, these tend to start at around $175 per day, but will rates per day often decrease based on the length of the rental. For example, with SIXT, picking up a vehicle for the first week of the tournament would cost around $132 per day.
In terms of the whole tournament, you are looking at around $127 per day to get yourself a rental car. Nevertheless, this will vary from dealership to dealership.
Here are some other notable car lenders in Qatar that would be worth checking out for local rates:
- Europcar Qatar
- Al Taif Rent a Car Co
- United Car Rentals Qatar
- Oasis Rent a Car
- Auto Z Car Rental
- Total Rent a Car
- Al Saad Rent a Car Co Wll
Popular questions about travel to Qatar
Clothing – what should I wear?
Qatar is an Islamic country, with a very traditional outlook on life. Despite there being no mandatory dress code in the country, modest and conservative clothing items are advised. For men, this means the wearing of shorts may be frowned upon, whereas for women, they should try to avoid the use of tank tops or mini skirts in particular.
Sleeveless shirts are also not permitted, along with strapless or see-through clothing. There could be legal punishment if you do not adhere to these rules, so it is probably best to be careful if you are planning on going to the finals.
What will the weather be like?
The weather will be warm, with average temperatures in November and December reaching 82 and 75 Fahrenheit respectively.
Prepare accordingly for potential fluctuation in weather which could mean a steep increase in temperature across these months. It is unlikely to rain during this timeframe, and having barely any breeze in the country will leave you feeling sweaty, so don’t forget your deodorant and sunscreen!
What side of the road do they drive on in Qatar?
In Qatar, they drive on the right side of the road, similar to the United States and Canada which will come as a relief. Most cars are automatic, though you should be warned that driving through Qatar might take a little while to get used to due to its unique landscape.
Will I be able to drink alcohol in Qatar?
Technically yes, but it may be more complicated than that depending on your situation arriving in Qatar. Alcohol is not illegal in the country, though it is prohibited to be consumed in public, and being drunk is illegal.
You need to be of 21 years of age and have a permit to buy alcohol currently, though it is not yet confirmed whether these rules will be in place during the duration of the World Cup. Alcohol is in very short supply, only being able to be obtained from authorized distributors (mostly found in Doha), licensed restaurants and luxury hotels.
Alcohol will be available to buy in stadiums during the World Cup only for those who hold hospitality packages. It will cost around $13 for a pint of beer in Qatar, due to the country imposing sin taxes on alcohol as it is not a cultural norm.
What is the emergency number in Qatar?
The emergency number in Qatar is 999 for those needing to get a hold of emergency services.
What currency do they use in Qatar?
Qatar uses the Qatari Rial as its form of currency. $1 USD would be the equivalent to 3.64 Qatari Rials in current currency exchange rates.