Saudi Arabia is a beautiful Arabian country with several attractions that tourists would want to visit. The stringent travel policies have been the deterring factor for many. However, about three years ago, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia loosened these policies. Tourists have, since then, begun to visit the country.
Planning is a necessary step when it comes to touring. Although you may not spend as much as you would on feeding and other basic needs in major cities of America or Central Europe, traveling to Saudi Arabia is not the cheapest adventure. In fact, touring Saudi Arabia can be costly. Hence, knowing how to manage your finances is essential. However, you cannot know how to manage your cost if you don’t have any idea of what the cost is.
This guide gives you a clear idea of how much you can expect to spend in Saudi Arabia, from traveling there to feeding. Additionally, a few tips would be shared on how to spend less money as a tourist in Saudi Arabia.
Saudi Arabia Currency
The Saudi Riyal(SAR) is the official currency of Saudi Arabia. 100 Halalas make 1 Riyal. There are 1, 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, and 500 Riyal notes. There are coins of 5, 10, 20, 50, and 100 Halalas. There are also coins of 1 and 2 Riyals.
One Saudi Arabia Riyal(SAR) is approximately 0.27 United States Dollars(USD). Hence, 1 USD is about 3.77 SAR. In the same vein, 1 British Pound(GBP) is about 4.6 SAR; 1 Euro is about 3.9 SAR; 1 Russian Ruble(RUB) is about 0.07 SAR.
In Saudi Arabia, there is no public transport system in place. What this implies is that moving around is relatively expensive since there are limited options. Among these options, you can still save money.
Traveling from one city to another is commonly by flight. While this may appear as a big deal, the major reason is that bus tickets are usually as expensive as flight tickets. Although this is a fast and convenient option, flying always comes with some health effects, for example, a slight headache. Boarding buses are almost as comfortable as boarding airplanes.
However, for the real fun of tourism, you may want to go off the road. That’s where the next option comes in: renting a car. This is probably the most tenable option. The fact that Saudi Arabia has a high petrol supply makes petrol cheap. Petrol costs about 1.5 SAR($0.4) per liter. Similarly, a liter of gasoline costs about 2.5 SAR($0.7).
Apart from the fact that renting a car is cheap when you are touring with others, it offers the freedom to move anywhere at any time.
Generally, the cost of renting a car ranges between 130 SAR(35) and 450 SAR($120). Renting a small car costs about 130 SAR($35); a regular car costs about 200 SAR($54); a van costs about 450 SAR($120). The smaller cars are not suitable for off-road adventures. 4x4 cars and SUVs are suited for adventures that involve going off the road. To rent an SUV, you can expect to spend about 408 SAR($109).
Taxis are another viable option. They are, of course, more private than buses. Traveling 1km in a taxi costs around 10 SAR($2.7). A 30-minute journey with Uber costs about 45 SAR($11). The cost is also similar to riding with Careem, a ride-share service provider that is also as popular as Uber in Saudi Arabia.
The cost of eating at restaurants in Saudi Arabia depends on the type of restaurant. While eating at low-key restaurants can be very cheap, it can cost quite a fortune to eat at more sophisticated restaurants.
Eating at an averagely exotic restaurant costs about 150 SAR($35). If you go to a cheap restaurant, or even a McDonald’s, you may not spend more than 30 SAR($8). The cost could even go lower if you eat street food. 4 SAR($1.5) will buy you a meal on the streets. 33cl of bottled water costs about 1 SAR($0.27), although the price can be slightly higher at fancy restaurants. Apparently, buying food on the street is more affordable. You could also get a cup of tea for about 1 SAR($0.27) on the streets.
You also indulge yourself in coffee or carbonated drinks. A 33cl bottle of Pepsi(or a similar carbonated drink) is about 3 SAR($0.81); regular cappuccino or espresso can cost within 10 SAR($2.7) and 25 SAR($6.7), depending on where you’re buying from. You could also get 33cl of imported beer and a decent wine(one bottle) for about 7 SAR($1.9) and 15 SAR($4.05) respectively.
It is worthy of note that the quality of food sold on the streets is not bad at all. Generally, there is rarely anything- good or service, that is of lower standard in Saudi Arabia.
However, if you’re going to be spending more than two days, you can easily get tired of eating street food. While it costs a lot to eat at an expensive restaurant, cooking your food is a better idea. If you’re not staying at a hotel, you get the advantage of being able to cook for yourself.
Food items are not so expensive in Saudi Arabia. Some are more expensive than in Central Europe or America while most groceries are in the same price range. For instance, a kilogram of potatoes costs about 5 SAR($1.35) while a kilogram of boneless chicken breasts costs about 30 SAR($8.1).