How Much Should you Budget for Travelling in India?

Although money is something, which you never want to have to think about when it comes to travelling, unfortunately, it plays a vital role in deciding where you can travel to and what you can to do when you get there.

India is known for being an extremely cheap place to travel, which it definitely is! However, as soon as you head closer to the touristy areas (especially in the South) you will notice the prices of food, drink and accommodation shoot up.

Having just spent 6 weeks in South India travelling through Goa, Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu, I have come across the cheapest of the cheap areas andddd… the not so cheap.

So, if you are thinking of travelling in India but are unsure whether you can afford it/how much money to budget whilst you’re there, here is my guide to what costs what in India.

N.B. This is based on travelling during peak season (Dec/Jan) in the South of India. Prices will be considerably lower as the season quietens down.

Budgeting for India - Thali - My Culture Craving


The cost of food varies so much depending on where you are and what sort of food you like to eat. If you head to a restaurant popular with the locals and are happy to eat what the locals eat, you could indulge in a hearty Indian meal and a chai or two for less than 100 rupees (£1). Similarly, street food will cost around 8-20 rupees (8-20p) per piece.

However, as soon as you close in on the touristy areas such as, Agonda, Cochin and Varkala, expect a main course to cost you between 200-300 rupees (approx £2/3) plus 20-100 rupees (20p/£1) for bread/rice – I know, still very cheap in comparison to at home but if you have to stick to a tight budget (sorry to quote Tesco but…) every little helps.

Budgeting for India - Tea - My Culture Craving


Drinks such as, water, coke, juice, tea and coffee cost around 20-60 rupees (20-60p) in both shops and restaurants whereas, location dependant, alcohol can come at a bit more of a price (especially in Kerala where prohibition is supposed to be in place).

In Kerala a large Kingfisher beer will set you back around 180 rupees (£1.80) and a spirit and mixer will cost approx 200 rupees (£2). HOWEVER, if you’re heading to Goa, you’ll be pleased to know that a small Kingfisher will only cost you 60 rupees (a whole 60 pence)! Dangerous…

Budgeting for India - Hut - My Culture Craving


Accommodation fluctuates a lot with the season. In peak season you will be able to find a room in a budget guesthouse for around 800-1500 rupees (£8-15) and a bed in a hostel for about 500 rupees (£5) including brekkie. If you don’t book in advance, it’s likely you’ll be able to barter the price down on the spot.

Most rooms will go down as much as half in price when the season quietens down.

Budgeting for India - Train - My Culture Craving


If you’re happy to travel around the same way as the locals do then transport around India is dirt cheap.

Non air con, Government buses will cost you around 140 rupees (£1.40) for a 5/6 hour journey whilst short trips can be as little as 8 rupees (8p). For overnight transport you are probably better off booking a sleeper bus, which can cost anywhere between 600-1200 rupees (£6-12) depending on how long the journey is and where you are going to/from (if you are travelling to a very touristy area such as, Hampi, you may find the cost is a little higher than other, similar length trips).

Alternatively, you can hop on a train. If you don’t mind travelling in the sleeper class, trains can be extremely cheap however, they book up VERY fast. A 3/4 hour journey will cost you around 150 rupees (£1.50) and an 18 hour trip will be around 600 rupees (£6).

For exact prices and bus/train times check out Cleartrip.

Have you ever been to India? Was it cheaper or more expensive than you’d expected?

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