Armenia is a very safe country from many perspectives. This fact also refers to spending and managing your money while traveling. Armenia is a cheap country and this post gives you insights on how to budget your trip properly. If you like the recommendations and tips and if you find them helpful let me know on Instagram or Twitter, with #ArmeniaTravelTips.
Is Armenia really cheap?
To cut this short, the answer is yes. If you want some kind of an elaboration on the matter, this question shall be viewed from the comparison angle. Being cheap or expensive is very relative and subjective, and depends on certain circumstances.
Overall we all have approximately similar thoughts on when a country is considered cheap or expensive. For example, when there is no fresh water in a country, and we know that there is a flowing range of price for bottled water. A country is cheap to you when you know that in comparison to other products and services delivered in that country that price for a bottle of water is worth it. Simply saying, the price is not unreasonably high.
Of course there are many countries cheaper than Armenia. One bright example is India which is saround 80% cheaper than Armenia.
So what’s cheap in Armenia?
Armenia is considered relatively cheap taking into account transportation costs, the cost of living, utility costs per month, the average salary, costs for eating out or buying clothes or necessary items like medication and hygiene products.
When a country is cheap this usually depends on a number of factors, including the natural resources that that country has. This means that the country doesn’t have the need to export many of those things that can be created based on the natural resources. By natural resources I mean the probability and opportunity for people to get some more from the initial stage of things. For example, properly fertilizing and cultivating soil to grow and get produce. So the climate and the soil are those natural resources that I’m talking about.
From that perspective Armenia is very fruitful. In many parts of Armenia lands are cultivated, and food is grown thanks to good soil conditions and mild climate. Based on this, it’s possible to say that fresh produce in Armenia is cheap due these initial conditions.
Unfortunately in the case of Armenia this is not true for many other spheres. Many other things among basic essentials are imported from other countries and thus are more expensive because of the added costs of transportation, taxes, and customs clearance. These costs are also pretty high because of the fact that Armenia’s borders are closed with two of its neighbors – Turkey and Azerbaijan. That leaves Armenia with a quite limited choice of transport routes – Georgia and Iran. And obviously, Iran has its own limitations when it comes to international trade that we don’t need to discuss here.
Armenia is a country of controversies. Along with cheap and affordable options for anything from clothing to accommodation, you still find equally demanded luxury items, elite shops and expensive lodging options. And of course in between these two there is no gap. There is always something for those who are looking not for the cheapest but for a reasonably priced product or service.
This contrast is very visible especially if you travel to different regions of Armenia. When it comes to produce, ice cream, bread and some other basics the prices are almost the same. But when it comes to rent, Yerevanian rental prices are a minimum of 2 times higher than any other city / region. This is merely conditioned by the high demand, not the difference in quality or anything else.
So if you want to correctly budget your travel in Armenia you need to carefully think how many days of your trip you plan to spend in Yerevan. Spending more time outside of Yerevan, in cities and towns like Gyumri and Dilijan, for example, can save you quite a bit of money.
House rentals and lodging
For private house rentals here’s what the budgeting looks like:
- Yerevan: minimum 10K AMD, per person per night,
- Outside: around 5-6000 AMD in Gyumri or elsewhere per person per night.
For hotels and other lodging options:
- Yerevan: minimum 15K AMD per room per night
- Outside: around 10K AMD per room per night
While in Yerevan be ready to spend around 5000 AMD ($10) for a regular lunch for two people. In comparison, this price can get lower to even 2,500-3,000 AMD ($5-6) in other places.
Dining out in Yerevan in a middle range restaurant can cost you up to 10000 AMD ($20) for two people, while in other places outside Yerevan the total bill will be as low as around 6000 AMD ($12).
Daily budget average
On average, travelers in Armenia spend around 10000 AMD ($20) per person per day. This includes regular meals and produce, snacks, local transportation within the city, and other minor expenses. This price doesn’t include accommodation, car rent, trips to other regions or shopping expenses.
For shopping expenses, here’s a handy guide about shopping like a local in Yerevan. You’ll have the best budget-friendly shopping skills after reading it through.
Entertainment costs usually depend on the type of entertainment. Watching a movie, carting, ice skating and similar privately owned entertainment businesses usually charge a lot more. This is in comparison to other entertainment activities such as visiting museums, going to the theatre, buying admission tickets, etc. So here the pricing can range from 500 AMD ($1) to 3000 AMD ($6) depending on the activity.
To start with, if you’re going to rent a car, you’d better give it a second thought before deciding, because it can be expensive. Yes, car rental is expensive in Armenia. But if you still decide that driving in Armenia can be a fun experience, I have a dedicated post on all things you need to know about driving in Armenia.
If you are traveling within Yerevan, taking a taxi may cost a maximum of 1500 AMD ($3) to the farthest point. So, taxis are a pretty good choice if you are looking for a comfortable experience without spending too much in Armenia.
You can also always take the public transport which is really very cheap and cost just 100 AMD ($0.2). The same is true for the metro.
Intercity and interregional public transportation starts from 300 AMD for the nearest city to Yerevan to 3000-4000 AMD to the farthest southern part of Armenia.
Another very good and budget-friendly option for intercity travels is a train. Unfortunately not many cities of Armenia have railway accessibility. But, for example, if you are going to Gyumri, the second city of Armenia, you can easily take the train and save your nerves, time and money. And here is why you should choose to travel by train instead of taking a car.
Pro tip! Consider keeping bills or calculating your spending of each of your trips. This is the only way you can easily evaluate if your trip was budget-friendly or not. And when you do, please share your experience with me on Instagram or Twitter, with #ArmeniaTravelTips. I’d love to know if your travel experience was a cheap one or not in comparison to your home country.
Featured image credits: @gor918 on Unsplash