Easy To Travel On A Budget!
Type Of Travel
My two trips to Iran showed a major difference: on the first trip in April 2014, we were 2 and hence shared quite a few expenditures (double rooms, sharing cabs…). In September 2017, I was traveling solo, and had to cover everything on my own. This makes a significant difference, especially in a country like Iran, where you will have to rely on chartered taxis further afield and where you will more often than not pay the same for a single and for a double room…
Both trips were a “flashpacking” to mid-range standard of travel. As far as hotels are concerned, I mostly chose rather budget guesthouses or in more remote areas standard hotels. Otherwise, I was not pinching pennies. Several times I chartered taxis, even for longer trips, or flew on long distances. This added up, but it is an undeniable comfort, also enhancing my flexibility.
Itinerary & Time Of The Visit
In April 2014, I spent 2 weeks in Iran and covered the cultural heartland of Iran (most of which has now turned into the “Tourist Trail”, except Na’In & Qom): Shiraz, Esfahan, Na’In, Yazd, Kashan, Qom and last but not least Teheran.
In September 2017, I spent 3.5 weeks and wanted to discover less visited parts of the country and covered Tabriz & Northwest Iran (Zanjan, Soltaniyeh, Takht-e Soleiman); Teheran; Mashhad & Torbat-e Jam; the Southwest of Iran (Sushtar, Choqa Zanbil & Shush); before returning on the “Tourist Trail” (Kashan, Esfahan, Yazd & Shiraz).
Iran is a cheap country to travel, though it is much, much cheaper for couples than for solo travelers, as many expenditures will be the same for one or two (hotels, taxis…)
Beware that the times when you could just show up without reservations are long gone, and that you should plan at least a few days in advance on popular routes for transportation and book hotels ahead on the “Tourist Trail”, as there is a lock of good and fairly priced accommodation. On the “Tourist Trail”, prices have increased significantly over the last 3 years, especially hotels and entrance fees, where a dual system applies (foreigners paying up to 10 times more than Iranians).
|Costs per Person per Day in €||2014||2017|
|Long Distances’ Transport||€ 3,65||€ 10,80|
|Short Distances’ Transport||€ 2,75||€ 1,90|
|Total Transport||€ 6,40||€ 12,70|
|Hotels||€ 15,00||€ 28,80|
|Restaurants & Food||€ 6,80||€ 6,20|
|Drinks & Going Out||€ 0,00||€ 0,00|
|Every Day Life (& Souvenirs)||€ 6,10||€ 0,60|
|Total Living||€ 27,90||€ 35,60|
|Visits & Tours||€ 11,90||€ 5,80|
|Activities||€ 0,00||€ 0,00|
|Total Tours & Activities||€ 11,90||€ 5,80|
|Total Country:||€ 46,20||€ 54,10|
Hostels & Hotels
There is definitely a lack of reasonably priced hotels, especially in popular cities like Kashan, Esfahan, Yazd & Shiraz. Therefore, you should book in advance if you want to enjoy the better, fairly priced options.
|City||Hostel / Hotel
|Type of Room||Price
per Night (€)
(1 to 5 Stars)
|Shiraz (2014)||Park Saadi Hotel||Hotel||Double Room||51,40||***|
|Esfahan (2014)||Jolfa Hotel||Hostel||Double Room||27,90||***|
|Na’In (2014)||Na’In Tourist Inn||Hotel||Suite||28,60||****|
|Yazd (2014)||Orient Hotel (Marco Polo)||Guesthouse||Double Room||19,10||***|
|Kashan (2014)||Negin House||Guesthouse||Double Room||35,70||***|
|Qom (2014)||Khorshid Hotel||Hotel||Superior Room||45,60||**|
|Teheran (2014)||Khayyam Hotel||Hostel||Double Room||27,90||**|
|Tabriz (2017)||Darya Guesthouse||Guesthouse||Single Room||10,50||**|
|Zanjan (2017)||Park Hotel||Business Hotel||Single Room||41,90||***|
|Takab (2017)||Hotel Ranji||Guesthouse||Double Room||28,80||***|
|Teheran (2017)||Iran Markazi Hotel||Hotel||Single Room||41,90||***|
|Mashhad (2017)||Vali’s Non Smoking Homestay||Guesthouse||Double Room with Shared Bathroom||17,50||**|
|Shushtar (2017)||Hotel Jahangardi||Hotel||Single Room||19,30||***|
|Sush (2017)||Apadana Hotel||Hotel||Single Room||27,90||***|
|Kashan (2017)||Kamalalmolk Traditional Guesthouse||Hotel||Single Room||30,10||****|
|Esfahan (2017)||Hasht Behesht Appartment Hotel||Hotel||Single Room||43,00||****|
|Yazd (2017)||Orient Hotel (Marco Polo)||Hotel||Double Room||39,70||****|
|Shiraz (2017)||Sasan Hotel||Hotel||Single Room||28,20||***|
Restaurants & Food
It was hard to spend 7 € per person per day on food, although mostly I ate at touristy places. The local restaurants I dropped in were usually inexpensive eateries. Only a few times did I stop at a fancy restaurant… Which immediately reflects in the price level! Note that the prices bellow are only 2017.
|Type of Meal||Type of
(1 to 5 Stars)
|Tabriz||Hamed No||Dinner||Local Restaurant||1,72||***|
|Teheran||Khayyam Traditional Restaurant||Lunch||Restaurant||9,02||*****|
|Mashhad||Vali’s Non Smoking Homestay||Breakfast||Guesthouse||1,68||***|
|Mashhad||Vali’s Non Smoking Homestay||Diner||Guesthouse||4,19||****|
|Kashan||Mirors Restaurant – Saraya Ameriha Boutique Hotel||Diner||Restaurant||9,02||*****|
|Esfahan||Khan Gostar Restaurant||Diner||Café||4,51||****|
|Yazd||Marco Polo / Orient Hotel||Diner||Restaurant||7,62||****|
|Shiraz||Haji Baba Restaurant||Diner||Restaurant||2,79||****|
Transport is incredibly cheap, and really efficient in Iran. All in all we spent 6,5 € per person per day on transports, even though we took a plane from Teheran to Shiraz, which was 35 €…
Buses and Trains are extremely cheap – for example Yazd to Kashan by train, a 390km ride, was less 5 €.
From Qom to Teheran, 130km, we traveled by taxi for 25€. So even such extravaganzas won’t have a large impact on your budget.
|From||To||Type of Transport||Distance
|Yazd (2014)||Kashan||Train (Express)||390||03:15||4,50|
|Kashan (2014)||Qom||Taxi (Chartered)||113||01:30||11,90|
|Qom (2014)||Teheran||Taxi (Chartered)||130||02:15||23,80|
|Tabriz (2017)||Zanjan||VIP Bus||249||3,3||€ 5,37|
|Zanjan (2017)||Soltaniyeh & Back||Savari||86||1,2||€ 2,36|
|Zanjan (2017)||Takab||Savari||184||2,8||€ 4,73|
|Takab (2017)||Takht-e Soleiman & Back||Taxi||84||1,3||€ 17,18|
|Takab (2017)||Zanjan||Savari||184||2,8||€ 5,15|
|Zanjan (2017)||Teheran||VIP Bus||342||4,2||€ 5,15|
|Teheran (2017)||Mashhad||Plane||900||1,6||€ 47,25|
|Mashhad (2017)||Torbat-e Jam & Back||Bus & Savari||332||5,1||€ 4,73|
|Mashhad (2017)||Ahvaz||Plane||1.623||1,9||€ 60,96|
|Ahvaz (2017)||Shushtar||Taxi||98||1,2||€ 16,11|
|Shushtar (2017)||Shush||Taxi||82||1,3||€ 15,04|
|Shush (2017)||Andimeshk||Taxi||41||0,7||€ 8,16|
|Andimeshk (2017)||Kashan||VIP Bus||543||10,0||€ 10,74|
|Kashan (2017)||Esfahan||Taxi (Shared)||218||2,5||€ 15,04|
|Esfahan (2017)||Yazd||Taxi||323||4,2||€ 34,37|
|Yazd (2017)||Shiraz||Bus||441||6,3||€ 7,73|
Tours & Activities
THAT will be a big chunk of your budget! Admission fees to museums, mosques, tombs or even gardens are high, and there are very few sights where you do not have to pay. Quite often I had to rent a taxi for the whole day to reach places that were outside of the city I stayed in (Persepolis, Abyaneh, Meybod & Khoronaq, Zein – O – Din) and those journeys were not that cheap. Of course, you can take one of the tours now on offer almost everywhere on the “Tourist Trail”, but it is not significantly cheaper and far less flexible, especially if you want to avoid the crowds, starting very early.
Splurge At Reasonable Costs?
Chartering Taxis is a great way to increase your comfort and remains very reasonable. I did it on many occasions, and that significantly enhanced my flexibility and offered me very relaxing trips.
More comfortable hotels, like in Shiraz, will have a real impact on your overall budget, as comfortable hotels are high in demand with tour groups.
Enjoying exquisite Iranian cuisine is also quite a cheap affair, and will not significantly impact your budget. So once in a while you should really consider paying the little extra and sample some local specialties from the more upscale restaurants.
Solo travelers will have a significantly more expensive trip than couples, as there are quite a few expenditures that you can share (taxis, hotel rooms…).
Probably the most efficient way to cut costs is to try to find fellow travelers for tours outside of large cities. There, expenses add up quickly…