Many rhumors on the web has it that a Saudi Arabian visa is one of the worlds hardest visas to get a hold of.
First of all tourist visas are extremely rare and only possible to get if you purchase an organized tour by a government approved agency in Saudi Arabia. The country seems rich enough on their petroleum reserves, and is therefore not dependent on foreign tourists.
Business visas requires sponsorship from a Saudi Arabian company, which is not something most people who is intending on staying for tourism purposes will be able to get, therefore the last possible option if you wish to do a casual trip to Saudi Arabia is to get a transit visa which will allow you to stay up to 72 hours.
Working in a travel agency it was easy enough to book a couple of fully refundable tickets for a trip going from Bahrain through Saudi Arabia to Doha, which could be cancelled without airline fees applying. Booking a trip without issuing the tickets should also work, and is something every travel agency should be able to do free of charge (what we do when we send out offers). I booked a full refundable stay at a hotel near the airport which I added together with the receipt for my online application (through the web portal Enjazit) and added this with the application which was sent to the Royal Saudi Arabian Embassy in Oslo.
Already the next day I was called by the Consular Section at the Embassy who asked me why I had decided to fly through Saudi Arabia, and wanted me to confirm how long time I would be needing for my visa. I explained that I wanted to go from DOH to BAH and found a cheap ticket with an overnight stay in Riyadh, and that I needed enough hours to get two full days in Riyadh. The excuse was accepted and later that day the woman called me and said that I had been granted 48 hours in the Kingdom. The passport arrived in the mail already the next morning, just three days since I posted it by mail. So as long as you dont have an Israeli stamp in your passport, getting a visa for shorter than 72 hours should not be a problem for anyone who wish to visit the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.