Cost of travel in Iran can vary from fair, budget-friendly and dirt cheap considering your travel type. Due to the current fluctuation, there’s very little chance that your trip to Iran can end up expensive! Your Iran travel budget can start with as low as 12€ a day and reach 50€ if you’re seeking luxury.
If you’re traveling with a tour to Iran then that’s another story. Depending on the company you travel with, prices might actually go skyrocket high. But if tours are not your thing, then Iran is the perfect place to travel on your own and according to your budget. Traveling in Iran is a lot easier than most people assume but it does require you to do your research beforehand.
If this is your first time to Iran, I’d highly suggest reading our ultimate guide to Iran, where we cover everything you might need to know.
Here are two crucial issues about travel costs in Iran:
- There are very few international websites that have Iranian hotel listings. If nothing Booking.com decided to take down all their Iranian hotels right after Trump withdrew from the Iran deal (Shame on you Booking!). Therefore having a secure booking before arrival can be a bit of a headache but thankfully there are many Iranian websites that allow you to book both accommodation and transport with your credit card.
- Since Iran is not part of the world banking system, your credit card will prove to be useless is almost everywhere apart from a few fancy carpet shops. This means you will need to carry cash on you at all times. Yes! You heard me right. You basically won’t be able to withdraw money from any ATM in the whole country and if somehow you end up with zero cash somewhere along the way, getting backup might not be that easy.
Iran Travel Budget | Cost of travel in Iran
Please note that the exchange rate used in this post is 1€=15,000 Tomans. Exchange rates are currently extremely unstable in Iran but I decided to go with the most common rate for the beginning of 2019.
Cost of Accommodation in Iran
- Price range: 50€-100€ per night
- Price range: 30€ or less per night
Here are a few budget hotels in Iran to consider:
- Budget hotels in Tehran: Khayyam hotel, Marlik hotel
- Budget hotels in Kashan: Noghli house
- Budget hotels in Isfahan: Viana hotel, Iran tourist hotel
- Budget hotels in Shiraz: Niyayesh hotel, Golshan hotel
- Budget hotels in Yazd: Silkroad hotel
- Price range: They start from as cheap as 4€ for a bed in a shared room and go up to 40€ for a private family room.
- Price range: 10-20 €
Couchsurfing in Iran is huge and easy. It’s the best way to understand the real Iranian hospitality free of charge. And it’s always good to bring a little something from home to offer your host.
Cost of transportation in Iran
Domestic flights: Domestic flights in Iran can cost as cheap 7€ Tomans to 35€. Normally they are around 20€ Tomans.
VIP Buses: VIP buses are the cheapest way to travel in Iran. They are also extremely clean and comfortable. For 4-10 trips, one-way tickets can cost 2-4€. The price can go up to 10-13€ if distances are extremely long. Regardless, they would still end up very cheap in your local currency.
Taxi: The price of taxi in Tehran can vary from 1-3€ Tomans but it costs much less in other cities.
Metro: Metro tickets are as cheap as 30 cents for a one-way ticket.
Cost of food in Iran
Read more: The Ultimate Persian Food Guide in Iran
Exchanging money in Iran
There has been a crisis going on in Iran regarding money exchange recently. About 2 months ago, the Iranian Rial weakened dramatically and it has been extremely unstable ever since. You could either exchange money at the bank which has the worst rate or at exchange offices with varied rates.
Your best option, in my opinion, is getting an Iranian debit card. We recently had some of our clients at Persian food tours use them in the bazaar and they were extremely happy with them. There are a few companies offering them to foreign tourists but I got to know the guys from Mahcard in person and they seem to be offering a great service.
So how does Mahcard work?
You simply reach them through their website and sign up before your arrival. You choose the amount of money you want to exchange and they’ll give it to you back in Rials with the best available rates. It’s up to you to choose to transfer the money via Paypal or simply give them in cash. They’ll be at your hotel just after your arrival to give you your debit card which has been issued in your name. The great option is that if you end up with extra rials by the end of your trip, they’ll come, pick up the card and exchange the rest of your money back into your local currency.
So what’s the benefit of using Mahcard?
- You don’t need to carry loads of cash with you.
- They give you the best daily rates whether it’s to change to Rials or back to your local currency.
- You’d be surprised to see how easy and normal it is to use debit cards in Iran. You’d realise that people pay in cards for the smallest things like a bottle of water. Even many street vendors in big cities have POS devices with them, so you’d never have to worry about bringing cash with you apart for taxis.
- Unlike elsewhere in the world, you can withdraw money from any ATM there is with zero transaction fees.
- If on a very rare occasion, your card gets lost or stolen you can freeze it in a few minutes and a new card will be sent to you as soon as possible. This way you’ll never have to worry about losing your money while travelling in Iran.
Cost of entrance fees in Iran
Tipping in Iran
Tipping in Iran is not that typical apart from a few places. If you’re staying at a 5-star hotel then tipping the doorman, the bellboy and room service is a must but if you’d like a more in-depth guide of tipping requirements in Iran then read my complete post about it: How and when to tip in Iran?
Rial or Toman
The debate between Rials and Tomans is a confusing matter for tourists. I’ve seen people who were still having difficulties handling money in Iran after a few weeks of travel. It’s not really that complicated if you know a few tricks and could easily prevent you from making any mistakes in your cost of travel in Iran. So what’s all the fuss about?
Let’s get into detail:
The actual currency in Iran is Rials. But in day-to-day life everyone uses Tomans. Every 10 rials equals 1 Toman. But since Rials are worthless you’ll be paying at least 300,000 Rials = 30,000 Tomans for a normal meal as an example. What’s worse is that we Iranians just call that 30 Tomans which is actually 30,000 Tomans!! Complicated enough??
Since most people are aware of the complication, they normally either tell you the exact price in Tomans or Rials. If they say in Tomans, you just add one zero and pay the right amount written on your banknotes. If that’s still too complicated ask every shop owner to repeat the price in Rials. They’ll understand. 😉
Cost of Iranian souvenirs
Buying souvenirs is a personal choice and could really make a difference in your cost of travel in Iran. There are some who leave with carpets and others who are just happy with postcards. Despite your interest, Iran has something for every kind of budget and the good news is that you would mostly get authentic local-made handicrafts instead of Chinese replicas of famous monuments. 😉