Qatar is a fascinating destination with a past shrouded in mystery. “Little is known of Qatar’s history before the 18th century, when the region’s population consisted largely of Bedouin nomads and there were only a few small fishing villages,” says Encyclopedia Brittanica.
“Qatar’s modern history begins conventionally in 1766 with the migration to the peninsula of families from Kuwait, notably the Khalifah family.”
After various occupations, Qatar became an independent nation in 1971, joining the Arab League and United Nations in 1981. It is today a jewel of the Persian Gulf, surrounded on three sides by water and glimmering white sand beaches.
It is also, as you might guess from the above description, a lovely locale for travelers who are looking to shed the weight of workaday concerns and just enjoy themselves for a minute. Or, better yet, a week.
But what’s the total of such a trip? And how can you keep your budget as small as possible, the better to enjoy other international vacations in future?
Well, that’s what we’re here to talk about today. Below are some helpful averages, but please note you can keep costs significantly lower by booking cheap hotels, skipping tours in favor of walking and driving yourself, and eating on the street!
Average Trip to Qatar Cost in 2023
An average one-week trip to Qatar for two people will cost around $5,100:
- Average Accommodation Cost: $75 per night
- Average Flight Cost: $1,450 per person
- Food, Drink & Activities: $100 per person, per day
- Transportation: $200 total
- Total Cost: $5,100
Qatar is a beautiful country that has landed squarely on the world’s travel radar for a reason. If it weren’t already well-manicured, it hosted the FIFA World Cup in 2022, ensuring even better accommodations, infrastructure, and amenities.
It is, for this reason, not terribly cheap. If you travel to Qatar, just know that you’re paying for an amazing experience, but don’t expect costs to stack up equitably with other places in the Middle East, such as Egypt, Saudi Arabia, or Turkey.
Most estimates of the cost of living or traveling in Qatar – specifically, its capital city of Doha – put it at about the same price as any other big city in the world, from North America to Europe and beyond.
Just because it isn’t a budget destination doesn’t mean you can’t establish a good budget, though.
Qatar Trip Cost: Average by Item
Averaging out trip costs is difficult. Who are you going with? Where will you stay? Which airport are you flying out of? What will you do on your trip? What time of year are you traveling? And so on.
Each of these questions will change your total somewhat. However, knowing the average starting point will help you adjust up and down, so you can make a budget that works best for you. Take a look.
Qatar is an affordable place to stay. Your average hotel in Doha is about $75 to $100, and you can find deals pretty easily. It’s not uncommon to land 5-star hotel stays in the city for only $60… I know, right??
Prices are similar in other big cities in Qatar, including Al Wakrah (which has an amazing souk and a seaside promenade) or Al Khor (hello to culture, beaches, and seafood for daaaays).
The best ways to save money when searching for hotels include:
- Price shop for hotels in incognito mode. This is a must-use tip for any traveler looking for hotel bookings, tours, or flights. It prevents your browser from saving cookies and telling travel sites that you’re interested, which can cause them to return higher-priced items next time. Plus, it saves you all those pesky ads.
- Book your hotels as soon as you have your ticket. There’s no benefit to waiting until closer to your departure date to book hotels. Although this is a good strategy for domestic flights, because airlines drop prices as they try to fill seats, it’s not a good one for international flights or lodging.
- Beware of packages. Hotel and flight bundles aren’t what they used to be, as far as I can tell. I haven’t used one in ages, because it always seems to be more expensive than doing your own research and booking separately.
Overall, if you budget $75 per night, you can experience 3- to 5-star hotels easily for your entire week in Qatar. (That is, assuming you avoid high holidays and big sports and cultural attractions.)
Flight costs to Qatar – more specifically, to capital city Doha – vary wildly around the United States. From Los Angeles, you’re looking at about $1,600 on average. From New York or Miami, though (which are much closer to the Middle East), the cost is more like $1,100 on average.
One thing to note is that prices change daily, so you’ll want to watch for deals when it comes to Qatar. You can find tickets for hundreds of dollars cheaper depending on when you buy and when you’re going.
Where possible, try to preserve flexible travel dates, because this can also reduce costs by the hundreds. Note that bundling your domestic + international flights will usually cost you.
Flying out of smaller airports – say, Fargo, North Dakota – can bump your ticket to Qatar over $2,000 on some airlines.
Yet if you fly from Fargo to New York, you’re only paying about $3,75 on average. That’s a savings of almost $500 per ticket when you do the math.
On average, plan to spend about $1,300 getting from a hub and another $100 to $200 getting to your domestic hub. Total, budget $1,450 per round-trip and hope for less!
Food, Drink & Activity Costs
Food in Qatar is neither expensive nor cheap. An inexpensive meal is about $8, while dinner out for two is about $60.
You can drink in Qatar and prices are reasonable, though please note that you cannot do so in public, and public drunkenness is a crime that could get you arrested.
Tours are pretty standard in terms of cost. A half-day boat tour will run about $100, while a day trip that involves camel riding and dune cruising is about $80. Overall, budget about $100 per person, per day, between tours and food.
The Qatar metro is the most affordable way to travel by far. For between $.50 and $1.50, you’ll travel in relative luxury anywhere you need to go. The metro is clean, comfortable, fast, and reliable.
The only caveat is that public transportation is often a target of terrorism, to which Qatar is not immune. Renting a car is a fun option if you’re feeling brave.
Gas is dirt-cheap, given where you are in the world, and the roads are nice. It’s a good way to see the natural sights of the country, and you can get one for only about $20 a day for economy size.
If you choose to drive, though, beware that traffic incidents can come with a heftier consequence than you’d expect in a Western country.
“Avoid arguments over traffic incidents,” cautions the US Department of State. “Qatari citizens who feel insulted can file a police complaint that can result in your arrest and overnight detention. Drivers are liable for persons injured in a traffic accident. Local police have held U.S. citizens overnight while ascertaining the extent of injuries.”
Taxis are safe, metered, and tightly controlled, so prices are reasonable there as well. Assuming you rent a car for a few days, take a taxi or two, and use the metro, $200 is a good budget for transportation.
Things to Consider
Here are a few other things to consider when planning your trip to Qatar:
- Taxis do not accept cards. If you hop into a cab, be prepared with cash on hand. US dollars are not accepted in Qatar, so make sure to change your money into the Qatari riyal when you get there.
- Keep an eye on stopover deals. Sometimes when traveling to the opposite side of the world, you can get great deals on no-fee stopovers. My favorite is Icelandair, which will let you stop up to 3 nights in Reykjavik for no extra cost on your way to your final destination. This is a great way to extend your trip without extending costs on flights, usually the spendiest category of any budget.
- Qatar gets much more expensive during certain times of year. Avoid religious holidays (especially Eid, which kicks off Ramadan in springtime) as well as cultural events, such as the Tribeca Film Festival in Doha, which lands in October this year.
- Tap water is totally fine in Qatar, unlike some places in the Middle East. Save plastic and money by turning on the faucet!
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some frequently asked questions about budgeting your trip to Qatar:
Is Qatar expensive?
Yes, Qatar is pretty expensive. You can do the trip on a budget, but your “budget” costs aren’t going to touch those you’ll find elsewhere in the Middle East, or in places such as SE Asia, the Caribbean, or Africa. Still, it’s well worth the cost!
Is Qatar safe?
Yes, Qatar is quite safe for American and other tourists. The US Department of State advises that you exercise normal precautions. It does recommend that you “Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive Alerts and make it easier to locate you in an emergency.”
There is, unfortunately, one notable exception to traveler safety: gay, lesbian, and otherwise non-cis-gendered and non-heterosexual couples.
Are LGBTQ couples at risk in Qatar?
It is illegal to be gay in Qatar. Sexual activity between people of the same sex is criminalized and can lead to serious consequences. It is not safe to be openly gay or lesbian, or to be trans.
This is why FIFA’s decision to hold the World Cup in Qatar was so heavily criticized across the world.
If you are gay, lesbian, trans, or otherwise don’t conform to stereotypical sexual and gender norms, you might do better traveling somewhere else.
If you really want to come to Qatar, then maintain distance from your partner, do not express affection in public, and keep any romantic activity behind closed doors where only the two of you can see it.
While I dislike even expressing such advice, when it comes to the Middle East, this is for your own safety.
What should I wear in Qatar?
If you are a woman, make sure to cover your knees and shoulders when you are out and about. Avoid cleavage. If you’re going to enter a religious compound or mosque, you must cover your hair.
Inside resorts and hotels that cater to foreigners, you can typically dress exactly as you would in any Western country.
Men should bring long pants and conservative shirts to wear out and about. If you must wear shorts, have them cover the knees.
When swimming on public beaches that are not associated with a resort or hotel, check the bathing regulations closely. You can often swim so long as you are well-covered, which includes Western rarities such as men wearing tops.
When is the best time to visit Qatar?
The best time to visit Qatar is in the winter, between November and March, when it feels like spring in the country. In addition to cooler weather, it brings pretty flowers and nice breezes. The rest of the year is hot, dry, and a bit oppressive to those of us used to moist or cool climates.
However, if you search for deals in October and May, you’ll often find them. Then you’ll pay cheaper prices for plane tickets, hotels, and activities without sacrificing too much in the way of weather.
Over to You — Book Your Trip Today!
|🛎️ Average Accommodation Cost||$75 per night|
|✈️ Average Flight Cost||$1,450 per person|
|🍽️ Food, Drink & Activities||$100 per person, per day|
|🚕 Transportation||$200 total|
|💲 Total Cost||$5,100|
The average cost of a one-week trip to Qatar is around $5,100 for two people. For a desert getaway that includes amazing food, beautiful beaches, a stunning culture, and plenty of (physically distanced) romance, what’s not to love? Happy travels!