Money Matters Iran

I kept a record of every cent we spent in Iran, so we know how much money we spent on what. Hopefully the info below can give you a rough guide in terms of costs if you plan on travelling to Iran.

There are no ATMS in Iran that accept foreign cards so you must take USD or Euros in cash and exchange them. We took USD and the rate we had in Feb & March 2016 was 1USD = 34,000 Rial.

Photo credit

Photo credit Atta Kenare,

My husband and I spent two months in Iran, Feb 7 – April 5 2016. We travelled from Bandar Abbas & Qeshm in the south right through the middle and west of the country and up to Tehran, Tabriz, Jolfa then over the border to Armenia.

All expenses here are listed in Iranian Rial. The conversion to New Zealand Dollars (NZD) is given according to the rate we had in February & March 2016:  20,000 Rial = 1NZD.

Accommodation & food: we sought cheap hotels and restaurants and cooked for ourselves wherever possible. 3 overnight bus trips and 1 overnight train saved us 4  nights of accommodation costs. We did not find the hotels/hostels particularly cheap. In Tehran the costs were more than we’d pay at home for similar standard. Our Yazd hotel was cheap but overall if you are planning on staying in hotels budget for what you would in Europe/ NZ and it should be enough. Please note that out of 58 nights in the country, we spent:

  • 18 workawaying (free food and accommodation)
  • 24 couchsurfing (free accommodation, some free food & local transport),
  • 12 in hotels, including our cave night in Meymand
  • 4 in overnight buses or trains

Total Accommodation Cost: 14,980,000 Rial = $749 NZD

  • average per night of paid accommodation for 2 people: $62 NZD

Total Food Cost: 11,236,000 Rial = $562 NZD

  • average per day for 2 people: $9.60 NZD

Transport: We mostly used VIP buses, the odd train, a couple of private drivers (the cost of this is split between the transport and activities sections). We hitchiked once and took one taxi long distance (Qazvin – Fuman). Within cities we took the metro, bus or taxi. We covered 6015 km. (This does not include kms of travel within towns, just between destinations).

Total Transport Cost: 13,790,000 Rial = $690 NZD

  • average per day for 2 people: $12 NZD
  • per km for 2 people: $0.11 NZ

Sightseeing & ActivitiesYou can get an idea from the many posts in the exploring category on this blog what kinds of things we did in Iran. We visited some key places but also saved money by for example visiting a palace but choosing to pay to see only one part of it instead of all the extra fees to see all the features. There are two sets of fees in Iran, one for locals and one for foreigners. The fees set for some places were reasonable but for others way too overpriced. Overall the costs for sights were more expensive than you’d expect given the cheaper costs for other things in the country. Most common entry ticket price was 200, 000 Rials or $10 NZD. The below figure includes about half of the cost of a private driver when we went on day trips, for example for our day trip to Babak Castle. The other half was put under the transport cost section.

Total Sightseeing & Activities Cost: 18,448,000 Rial = $922 NZD

  • average per day for 2 people: $16 NZD

Communication: This reflects how much we spent on an Iranian sim card, texts, calls & internet data for 2 months + cost of a few postcards.

Total Communication Cost: 995,000 Rial = $50 NZD

Clothing & Shoes: After getting shoes & hat stolen on the beach Ants needed to buy new ones.

Total Clothing & Shoes cost: 1,200,000 Rial = $60 NZD

Health & Medical: This cost is high because of an optometrist appointment and new sunglasses after Antony’s got stolen on the beach. It includes a small fee ($20) for the hosptial when I got sick in Shiraz.

Total Health & Medical cost: 6,950,000 Rial = $347 NZD

Souvenirs : A handicraft clock for ourselves, a cd about dams and a book.

Total Souvenirs Cost: 3,256,000 Rial = $163 NZD

Gifts: Includes gifts for locals & one small gift later sent to NZ.

Total Gifts Cost: 1,320,000 Rial = $66 NZD


  • Visa extension for us both (extra month): 750,000 Rial = $38 NZ
  • Laundry: 550,000 Rial = $28 NZ

So there you have it!

Total cost of our Iran trip: 73,475,000 Rial = $3,673 NZD

(This does NOT include initial visa costs ($200 NZD per person!) or our flights to Iran.)

COST PER DAY for 2 people: $63 NZD or $32 NZD per person.

Please be aware that by workawaying and couchsurfing our trip was nowhere near as expensive as it would have been had we not done these things.

More info on this blog can be found about our experiences with food and transport in Iran. Here are 18 tips for couchsurfing in Iran. In the ‘Living with the Locals’ section there are several posts about our couchsurfing experiences and also about workawaying. In the ‘Exploring’ section you can see where we went in the country and what sights we enjoyed.

Iran is a truly fabulous country with the most incredibly warm, friendly and hospitable people. I can highly recommend it as a tourist destination.





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