I was in Iraqi Kurdistan between the 31st of August and the 11th of September 2022. Iraq’s currency is the Iraqi Dinar which is pegged to the US dollar at 1 USD: 1460 IQD. The currency rate is maintained by Iraq Central Bank and pledged until 2026, which means that prices in Iraqi are pretty stable. This is the breakdown of my budget for Iraqi Kurdistan.
Kurdistan is cheap. Accommodation in cheap hotels varies between 10 euro and 20 euro – the minimum and maximum I paid. I paid for 8 nights in hotels and hostels, spent 3 nights in a host on Couchsurfing, and one night in an overnight bus. Total accommodation cost came to around 126 euro making the average 10.5 euro per night.
Food is pretty cheap in Kurdistan. You can have a doner on the street for 1 euro and kebabs fluctuate between 2 and 5 euro for a portion. In the bazaars, you can find even cheaper options – the first night I had chicken soup with chickpeas and bread for just 1 euro. There are of course much more expensive options in restaurants, especially in fancier parts of Erbil. For example, I had mediocre chicken wings at Ghazali Street for 5 euro. I didn’t pay for food for the three days I spent with a Kurdish family. In total, I spent just 45 euro making the average 3.75 euro per day.
For transport, I used mainly shared taxis. They are relatively cheap, but still, the costs mount up. In total, I paid 119 euro for transport, including the bus from Turkey. In this sum are also the taxi rides I took within the big cities. I also hitchhiked a lot – sometimes it was paid, sometimes it was free. The average daily cost comes out to 9.91 euro.
For travel insurance, I use a company called Safety Wings, which provides a subscription model insurance, best suited for young people (as the price is understandably lower). It costs 42 dollars for 4 weeks, so 12 days are about 18 euro or 1.5 euro per day.
Culture and Activities
All the money I spent on museums and entrance fees to attractions is only 2 euro. The only museums with entrance fees were the two museums in the Erbil Citadel (less than 1 euro each). I also paid less than 1 euro for the Gali Ali Bag waterfall near Soran. The average cost per day comes to 0.17 euro.
A big expense was the visa. A visa for most nationalities costs 75 USD, valid for 30 days, obtainable on arrival. I stayed only 12 days though, so the average cost per day was 6.32 euro.
Everything else not covered above I consider incidental expenses. I needed new sunglasses, bought a present for my Couchsurfing host, two sim cards for internet, and other small things along the way which I collectively (but not very originally) call “other”. Average per day: 2.05 euro.
A backpacker’s budget for Iraqi Kurdistan
|Travel Insurance||18 euro|
In total, I spent 411 euro for 12 days, which makes the average 34.25 euro per day.