Budget for Travel in Liberia
From my experience, Liberia could be the most expensive country to travel in West Africa. There are no real ways around it unless you’re willing to crash in brothels that aren’t exactly safe while in Monrovia. The good thing, however, is that you won’t likely spend too much time in the country. Aside from Monrovia, and perhaps Sapo National Park if you can make it there, there’s not a lot for tourists in the country and a week is likely the longest you’ll spend here. My budget was blown completely out of the water because of visas and hotel costs, but it was made worse by the expensive expat meals I decided to eat.
- Food: $30/Day; I went crazy at the supermarket in Monrovia twice. I also ate almost all my meals in one of the most expensive restaurants in town.
- Accommodation: $80/Day; I really needed wifi and this place had it. If I needed, there was only one reputable place in town cheaper and that’s the mission which would have been $20/Day. If you want a hotel, you can’t really find cheaper than this. In fact, the hotel I stayed at, the Palm Hotel, is usually $125 a night but I got a deal thanks to my profession.
- Transport: $3/Day; Only a couple moto-taxis in Monrovia (usually about $0.50). 1 taxi from the border of Sierra Leone to Monrovia and one long distance shared taxi ride from Monrovia to N’Zerekore in Guinea.
- Activities: $0/Day; I was only in Monrovia, and I didn’t do anything that required money.
- Misc: $40/Day; I needed to get two visas in town – another Guinea visa ($100 for a multiple entry 3-month visa even though I only needed 2 days) and one for Cote d’Ivoire which was $80.
- Total: $153/Day; Obviously, the fact I stayed in a classy hotel and needed 2 visas killed my budget here. But I was only in the country for 6 days, so it wasn’t the end of the world. I think that by staying at the mission you could probably drop your budget to $40 day (not counting visas for oncoming countries). If you need a hotel, your budget will be at least $125 a day.
- Local currency: In Liberia they have a local currency called the Liberian dollar. The currency is tied to the US Dollar at 70 to 1USD. Moreover, they basically interchange USD and Liberian dollars. You can pay for anything in USD and they might give you change back in either currency, and sometimes a mix. It can be a bit confusing at first, but it makes sense as you go.
- Banks and ATMs: There are a bunch of ATMs on visa only in Monrovia. If you have an ATM card they are easy to use in the capital. Your best bet, if your bank charges you per withdraw, is to bring a couple USD bills with you when you come. As mentioned before, USD are accepted basically as local currency.
- Changing money: If you have USD, you can pay with smaller bills everywhere. If you want to get rid of bigger bills, you can do so at the supermarkets. There aren’t a lot of money changers, to get rid of Euros but you can do that at the supermarket as well. The best bet is to just use USD everywhere.
- Traveller’s Cheques: Don’t waste your time with traveller’s cheques, you won’t find places to change them for any less than a 10-15% commission.
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