I had a discussion with a group of friends: how long you have lived HAPPY out of your lifetime?
I replied, being happy has never been my main concern. if it was, I'd definitely lived as a nomad!
I'm serious. If I wanted to be just happy, nothing more than living a full-time nomad would help me more. traveling all the time, low budget and backpack... well, this was not my choice, but time to time, I have traveled like a nomad, to lay down my thoughts. Nature is a cure to soul.
If you believe so and if you are a Budget traveler, then I'll let you know some tips about how to plan a budget trip to Iran (yes! it's an option; and a great one, I promise)
Hotels are so expensive in Iran, specially if you try to relate the price with the quality of service anyhow (who shouldn't care this relation?!) a 5 star hotel providing a 3 star service(!) costs you 250 USD per night in Tehran. and a 3 star hotel costs 100 USD per night
try to find a host using websites like https://www.homestay.com/iran
or try to find a furnished apartment for short term. AirBnB is not operational in Iran. but many Iranian welcome foreigners as guests. if there are 3-4 of you, then you will find the best apartments for 20 Euros per night per person in big cities like Tehran, Shiraz, Isfahan etc
High Season: In Iran we have high season in June, July, August and two weeks in March and April (Iranian new year) in these periods, accommodation can be higher.
taxis and other transportation in Iran are very cheap. the cheapest way of traveling inside Iran is almost always Buses, also for some routes you can check up with trains.
if you want to travel inside Tehran, which is the most expensive city in Iran, as a budget traveler don't get in a Taxi and say your destination. it will work like a Yellow Cab in London (expensive)! instead you can ask other people how you can get there. Mobile Apps like Uber are very common. you can download them from Cafe Bazar on android or you can use their websites to order.
Transportation mobile apps: Snapp, Tap30, TaxiMaxim (Yandex), Carpino and some other local apps in different cities. like Touchsi in Mashhad or Qonqa in Tabriz.
for Bikers and Motorcycle riders things can be different. petrol is cheap in Iran (roughly 10 USD cents per Liter)
Meals are also cheap, the best restaurants won't be higher than 8 USD per person! Restaurants like Nayeb, Shandiz, Shamdan, Alborz and many others in Tehran and if you like I can give you names in other cities, just drop me a line in comments. even restaurants like Taj Mahal, ّFrench and Japanese restaurants won't be more than 20 USD per person.
But I suggest you instead of trying these restaurants for a simple meal you can cook very cheap and healthy food using rice, meet, beef, chicken and vegetables.
Iran is not a vegetarian friendly place; but there are some Veg restaurants and shops + some adoptable food may be found in every restaurant for vegetarians.
rice: 1-2 USD per Kg - chicken: 2 USD per Kg - beef: 8 USD per Kg - vegetables: 0.5 USD per Kg
fruits (average): 1 USD per Kg
Touristic areas and sights (Tickets):
Many of them are free and the rest are cheap enough. beside you don't have any other option to pay less!
This can hurt! in many cities you will experience problems with exchanging money. not too many in small cities and very limited open hours. also most of banks only deal with foreign currencies only 2 hours a day (11:00-13:00 local time)
SO CARRY enough Iranian money when you are out of Tehran or large cities.
there's no ATM accepting VISA, MasterCard etc. so you may not use them.
paying in USD or Euro etc to ordinary people and store keepers can cost you more than what you should usually pay.
Read about Iran and from western people visited Iran before. here is some recommendations: