One of the most important aspects of organizing a trip is managing expenses. Since Iran is located in the Middle East, it is normal that you have no idea how the money system works there. Below, we will discuss the necessary information about money and the approximate expenses for a tourist in Iran. Note that the prices mentioned are valid only for the day of the publication of this article and may refer to the current prices.
Iran’s Currency; Rial or Toman?
The first important point you should consider is the currency. Although the country’s official currency is the Iranian Rial (IR), and you can see it, for example, on any product’s packaging, people use the Toman to talk about the price of something in everyday life. Then it is clear that Iranian banknotes and coins are in IR Rial. Rial or Toman may be a bit confusing at first, but always remember that one Rial (ریال) is equal to 10 Tomans (تومان). So if a product costs 50,000 rials, you will be asked to pay 5,000 tomans.
Cash or Card?
Since Iran is not connected to the international banking system, your credit cards will not work at any ATMs there. So you will have to take all your money in cash. However, locally you can register for an Iran Tourist Card at most Iranian banks, so you do not have to carry your money around all the time. These are the words we have all heard about traveling to Iran. But you should know that the expiration date for these discussions is over.
You can apply for different types of Iran Tourist Card on the PTS’s Travel Money Services. In addition, you can deposit either rials, dollars, or euros into your account.
Exchanging money is easy and possible in the exchange offices throughout cities. This is the safest and fastest way to exchange your money than going to a bank or the black market. You can also usually find an exchange office at the airports of major cities. Some hotels also accept euros or dollars. Therefore, we recommend that you not exchange all your money into rials at once, as it will lose value when exchanged back into euros or dollars
Accommodation Costs in Iran
Accommodation is going to be your costliest expense during your visit to Iran. Depending on the city you are staying in and the quality of your accommodation, it will cost approximately between 10 to 150 Euros. You can choose to stay in a hotel, hostel, suite, or guesthouse.
In addition, you can cut your expenses even more by using Couchsurfing and finding a host as Persians are hospitable people and would love to host you. Another cheap option would be to set up a tent in one of the many designated areas for camping within cities which can be a bit of a difficult experience depending on the weather conditions and your chosen means of transportation.
Food Costs in Iran
Depending on where you choose to eat, your meal can cost around 2 euros (by eating fast food, for example, falafel) to 10 euros. Keep in mind that eating at traditional restaurants can be even costlier, so you may want to give take-outs and street food a try. If you are lucky, you may get invited by a Persian family to lunch or dinner to have homemade traditional Persian food. So, good luck! But keep in mind that Persian food is worth trying, even if it is expensive. We assure you that it will become one of your favorite foods after trying it. If you would like to book a Persian food tour, please do not hesitate to contact us at PTS’s Tour Services.
Transportation Costs in Iran
Once you arrive in Iran, there are a variety of ways to travel both within cities and between cities:
For intra-city travel, you can use the bus or the metro (in larger cities). You must purchase a ticket and load it with money to use public transportation. You can do this either at a metro station or at certain kiosks near bus stations. The price for a one-way bus or metro ride starts at 7 cents (23,000 IR) and goes up to 10 cents (30,000 IR) per person, depending on the city you are visiting.
Of course, you always have the option of taking a taxi as well. You can either take a taxi all to yourself, which is expensive or take a public taxi with usually 3 other people in the car and pay less for some predefined destinations.
- Online Taxis or Cabs
Since 2014, online taxis have become common among Iranians turning online taxis into one of the main transportation options for locals and tourists. Like Uber, you can download these apps, mark your starting point and destination, view the price, and finally order your online taxi. You can then pay the taxi fee either online or in cash. The most popular online taxi services in Iran are Snap, Maxim, and Tapsi.
The most popular way to travel from one city to another is by bus. There are regular VIP buses between most cities that are comfortable and safe. You can buy a ticket either online or at an intercity bus terminal. Prices vary depending on your destination but giving you an idea, a one-way trip from Tehran to Isfahan costs about 3 euros (940,000 IR), including a box of snacks and packaged water.
In addition to using buses, travel by plane, train, or cab is also possible. However, it is better to know your itinerary and book your plane or train tickets in advance, as plane tickets can get quite expensive just before the day you want to go, and trains may be fully booked. To give another example: The price of a one-way plane ticket from Tehran to Isfahan is about 32 euros (9,800,000 IR). In comparison, a one-way train ticket for the same route costs about 7 euros (2,200,000 IR).
If you are backpacking in Iran, you may also want to consider hitchhiking to your destination. Recently, hitchhiking in Iran has seen an upswing. Once again, given the hospitality of the Persians, you will probably find a driver to take you to your destination.
Rental Cars in Iran
To have more freedom in choosing your destination and travel time, you can rent a car in Iran. Of course, due to the high prices of vehicles in Iran (many times higher than other countries), renting a car is expensive. Prices start at 15 euros per day, and you will have to pay a deposit. However, the cheap fuel prices (about 10 cents per liter or 30,000 IR) and the possibility to look around on your own make this option worth considering. To rent cars, you can contact PTS travel advisors.
While many historical sites are part of the city and can be visited for free, some museums and palaces require an entrance ticket, which depends on the site and the city you are visiting, but usually costs around 4 euros.
What is the Cheapest Month to Travel to Iran?
Iran is a four-season country, and each season has its beauties and is worth seeing. However, if you are looking for a cheap trip to Iran, you should keep some points in mind and avoid certain months. Persian New Year vacations and summer holidays are the peak travel time for most Iranians, as schools and universities are closed during this time. Therefore, prices for flights, trains, and hotels are higher. Persian New Year vacations are from mid-March to mid-April. In contrast, the summer holidays refer to mid-June to around the end of September, when schools reopen.
Although the prices of some products such as foods, drinks, and groceries are fixed, you can always haggle over the things you buy in local stores. It is quite common to haggle for non-edible products, especially souvenirs. So do not be shy to ask for a discount when you buy something at a bazaar.
Tipping, A Worldwide Cultural Custom
Tipping is a cultural custom in various countries, and it is also a nice gesture in Iran. However, it is not a common practice to tip everywhere. Still, you should tip for jobs such as waiters, drivers, tour guides, maids, room service waiters, hotel or restaurant porters, doorkeepers, hotel concierge, parking attendants, and public bathroom attendants if you receive good service.
Persian Tourism Service has the honor of offering cryptocurrencies to tourists and anyone else interested. After creating a wallet, you can get dollars or rials for the value of your money with Stablecoin.