Despite all of the conflict and war, Iraq remains a fascinating place to visit. With ancient architecture, delicious food, and accommodating people, Iraq will truly make for a memorable trip. But how much would that pleasure cost you?
The exact price depends on the length of your stay, your preferences, and what you plan to do. Even so, the bulk of the expenses will come from travel and accommodation.
To ensure you are not denied entry into the country, you need to secure a visa before departing for Iraq. There are different types available, with tourist and business visas being the most popular choices.
The visa fees themselves range from $50 to $150, depending on how long you plan to stay. If you happen to hold a diplomatic passport, your visa will be free of charge. Note that you can apply for the cheaper one-month visa and then extend it later in Iraq.
You would additionally spend a few extra dollars on passport photos, full-color copies of important application documents, and delivery fees to send your application to the Iraqi Embassy or Consulate near you.
If you are entering on land from another country that shares a border with Iraq, you might be able to get a visa on the spot for $80. However, this method is less reliable and thus not recommended.
Flight prices vary greatly based on how early you book your flight and your preferred class. They can start from several hundred dollars and quickly climb into the thousands.
For example, for a trip from any airport in New York City to Baghdad, booked about a month before departure, Turkish Airlines offers roundtrip tickets between $500 and $800 for economy class. For business class, this price becomes $3,000 when browsing under the same conditions. The prices are similar for flights with Qatar Airways or Emirates, which are the other two leading carriers in the region.
Flying from the west coast is more expensive, as the distance is greater, with economy class tickets starting from $900 for the main carriers who travel to Iraq.
The options for your stay are also quite wide. The capital Baghdad boasts several 5- and 4-star hotels, where the prices average about $200 per night, but cheaper accommodation is also available. The rates are similar in the second most populous city, Basra. In smaller towns, both the hotels and the prices are modest compared to Baghdad.
You can expect much lower prices of food in Iraq compared to the United States. Two people can enjoy a three-course dinner at a reputable restaurant for less than $50. Coffee, alcohol, and soda also sell for 50%–80% cheaper than in the US.
If you don’t wish to travel on your own, you can also book an organized tour. The duration of such tours varies from a few days to a couple of weeks. There are travel agencies that specialize in this kind of tourism, and they are mindful of any potential risks and avoid dangerous areas. Hinterland Travel, for instance, offers a 10-day tour of Baghdad and the cities of Mesopotamia and Babylon, with food, accommodation, and transport included, for $3,500. You would still have to pay for your visa and flights, however.
The Final Bill
Ten days in Iraq can set you back anywhere between $2,500 and $10,000, according to a recent study published by Swedish financial research firm Sambla. It is up to you whether you travel economy or business class, and how luxurious you prefer your hotel to be.