Final diary entry from Iraq(?).. and how much pocket money you’ll need.
(Lonely Planet readers, you’ll need to come to my actual blog website to view the video)
The cost of backpacking in Iraq..or, for political correctness.. Iraqi Kurdistan.
Whilst in Kurdistan, I kept track of every single cent we spent, because I knew someone out there would be interested, but in the interest of armchair travelers (and my current lack of interest to calculate 2 pages of scribbled down figures) , I’ll break it down like this..
Backpacking Iraqi Kurdistan cost as an average of: $35-40 AU p/day
Thats based on 2 people traveling together, and includes border taxis, accommodation, breakfast/lunch/dinner and a few other random bits and pieces.
If your traveling solo, be prepared to pay ALOT more, if your out of luck you could almost double that figure to $70-80 per day!
As I mention in the video, definitely the hardest thing for us was actually getting around between towns. We just couldn’t get ourselves onto any type of shared vehicle, bus/taxi whatever. And trust me, we tried.
So that left us with no other option but taking private taxi’s, OR, hitchhiking, which we did do alot of and was relatively easy.
I say relatively because, the idea hitchhiking as we know it, is basically non-existent in Iraqi Kurdistan, and more than one time, we had people trying to ‘help’ and translate our direction request, to the kind driver, which turned into ‘how much will you charge them to go to X destination’..
Accommodation was the next biggest hitter, generally we were paying around $30-40 a night, and as you saw on this video, it can be an absolute dump.
Meals were easy – there’s plenty of plastic-chairs-out-the-front streetfood cafe options, and on average will set you back around $5-8 per meal.
Bottled water was the strange one, its not expensive, but they seriously do not have bottles bigger than 0.5 Litre!! And when its 45-50 degrees Celsius, which it was, you could be drinking 10 of those little bottles per day! no shit, so the whole time your just searching for water, and keeping small change, because no one, ever, anywhere, will have change.
And thats it.
To be honest, I was ready to leave by the end of the week.
Not that the rest of the Middle East is any more (or less) satisfying, I just didn’t really feel there was much holding me there to stay longer.
I did the videos for a bit of a change, not many people will ever see ‘inside Iraq’ or any region of it, and let alone what its like to try and travel around in it. Maybe I conveyed it well in the vids, maybe I didnt, who knows. But i hope they changed someones idea’s of what they thought they knew just a little, and for the rest of you, I’m sure you were laughing..
Thanks again to Fernando, my excellent travel partner and camera man whilst in Iraq, and to all the kind Kurdish people that helped us out along the way.
Hopefully next time it’ll be Southern Iraq, and no doubt, things will get a bit more interesting then..