Middle East

What can I expect from traveling in the Middle East?

The Middle East is the crossroads where Asia, Africa, and Europe meet. It is made up of 18 countries and is extremely diverse with a lot of history, different cultures, languages, and religions. Major religions like Islam, Christianity, and Judaism started here. Arabic is the main language in many countries, but English is commonly used for business and tourism. Traveling in the Middle East presents a unique experience compared to Europe or North America. It’s crucial to consider some important factors when planning and exploring these countries.

  • Respect local customs and dress modestly – Be mindful of local traditions and dress codes, especially in more conservative areas such as mosques. Modest clothing, particularly for women, is often appreciated.


  • Respect religious customs and practices – Be aware of prayer times, and avoid entering mosques if you’re not sure about the rules for non-Muslim visitors. Also remember that Friday is a holy day for Muslims, and in some countries, businesses and services may be limited. Plan your activities accordingly.


  • Check travel advisories – Stay updated on the political situation and any travel advisories for the specific countries you plan to visit. Conditions can vary, and it’s important to be aware of any safety concerns.


  • Stay informed on alcohol regulations – Alcohol regulations vary across the region. In some places, it may be restricted or not readily available. Be aware of local laws and customs regarding alcohol consumption. For example, alcohol is illegal in Saudi Arabia.


  • Visas – Many countries in the Middle East require a visa for travel. Depending on which country you’re from, you may be able to get a visa on arrival in some countries. Check visa requirements online a month or two before your trip.

Bucket list experiences in the Middle East

Explore ancient temples in Luxor - Egypt
Float in the Dead Sea - Jordan
Visit the Burj Khalifa - UAE
Hot air balloon ride in Cappadocia - Turkey
Explore Al Ula - Saudi Arabia
Visit Nizwa Historic Fort - Oman
Swim with whale sharks - Qatar
See the incredible landscapes of Socotra - Yemen
Do a food tour in Beirut - Lebanon
Bucket list Cappadocia Turkey
bucket list karnak temple

Typical Costs When Traveling

The average costs to travel in the Middle East each day can change based on the country you visit. While the Middle East is usually an expensive place to travel, you can still have a budget-friendly trip. Here’s a more detailed explanation of how much you might spend each day depending on your budget:


Budget Travel: $30 per day 

  • Stay in budget hostels, Airbnb private rooms, or guest houses.

Mid-Range Travel: $75 per day 

  • Stay in mid-range hotels or Airbnbs

Luxury Travel: $150+ per day

  • Stay in luxury hotels or resorts


The Middle East is renowned for its street food. From falafel, hummus, schwarma, kebabs, baklava, and more there are tons of great (and super affordable) street food options. If you’re not into street food, you can eat at restaurants (but make sure to try some of the local dishes).

Average food cost in the Middle East: $30/day


Many Middle Eastern cities have well-developed public transportation systems, including buses and subways. Renting a car is also a good option in countries like Jordan, Oman, and Saudi Arabia where the roads are safe and getting around is easy.

Middle East Travel Destinations - Collage

Mid-range suggested daily budget – $80/day

*Note: This is a suggested budget assuming you’re staying in a mid-range hotel or Airbnb, eating street food + affordable restaurants, and using local transportation. Using the budget tips below, you can lower this number. If you prefer to stay in fancier accommodation, do expensive activities, or eat at nicer restaurants, this number will be higher!

Money Saving Tips

Be mindful of alcohol costs In some Middle Eastern countries (where alcohol is legal), it can be relatively expensive due to taxes and restrictions.
Haggle with sellers in markets If you're shopping in local markets (souks), don't hesitate to negotiate the price. Bargaining is a common practice in many Middle Eastern countries and can lead to better deals on souvenirs and goods.
Don't be afraid of the street food Middle Eastern street food is not only delicious but also budget-friendly. Enjoy local specialties from street vendors and markets to experience authentic flavors at a fraction of the cost of restaurants.
Avoid peak season Consider traveling during shoulder or low season. You can often find that flights, hotels, and tours can cost up to half the price of high season.

My Must Read Guides For Traveling in the Middle East ↓


Hi! I'm Carrie Salter, a travel blogger originally from the USA, but now traveling and living abroad full time. I share travel guides, travel tips, and inspiration from around the world!

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