India on budget
--- the ultimate backpacking travel guide ---
This post about Northern India is written by our host blogger nomadiciv@.
India is a cheap country. If you are used to more expensive destination you will live as queens and kings here. You can haggle over the prices of taxis, accommodation and souvenirs forever. Traveling by train is very cheap and if you decide to travel by night in sleeper trains, you can save a lot of money for accommodation. You will definitely save some money for food as you will probably suffer from diarrhoea for several days as I did :-D.
The local currency is Indian Rupee (INR). The exchange rate in 2017 is 1 USD = 65.4 INR. Like everywhere else it is best to bring US dollars and exchange them. Be aware that 100 dollars notes older than 2006 are not accepted.
Average cost per person: 27 USD per day
including accommodation, food, transport, entrance fees, souvenirs
excluding visa and flight tickets
Check also top things to see in India in our photo journey.
The main thing you can save money on are the flight tickets. Read our tips how to find cheap flights.
The best choice to travel through this large country is by train. Railway connects all corners of India and is a cheap and fast way of traveling. The long-distance trains has bunks (in first class you get a sheet as well), clean toilets (our biggest concern) and a mouse running on the ground from time to time.
When traveling by bus try to look at the travel time as well. We were recommended very cheap bus connection instead of train, but the ride took 2 hours longer, because we stopped on every corner to take people with rice, chickens and all kind of crops.
When traveling in the cities we chose rather moto-rickshaws than the bicycle ones. We always asked in hotel/guesthouse about the usual price to the place we were heading to. And we found out that not all the drivers were greedy.
Our average price per night was 7 USD per person. We stayed in double rooms with shower and toilet, but it is necessary to say that the standard of rooms differs dramatically. You can get no windows and no running water, monkeys outside the window or the view of Taj Mahal or Ganges river.
Tips: It is handy to take your own sheet as the linen is not always clean. Don't forget your own toilet paper! Otherwise you will be buying one roll of toilet paper for 3 dollars. It just works differently in India. If you are not sure how to do your business on an indian toilet, check out how to use Eastern Latrine.
Indian streets are full of all kind of smells and the smell of masala dominates. Our expectations were that the food will be extremely spicy, so we ordered NOT SPICY in the beginning, but later on we wanted to try more authentic food and we must stay we never had something too spicy.
There are many street stalls with fried food. Meals with meat are generally more expensive so the cheapest way is eat veggie Biryani all the time. Restaurants offer also international dishes. In case of diarrhoea there is always just plain rice you can order.
We always drank water from bottles with a seal, although I brushed teeth with tap water in the end. It can happen you buy a bottle with a fake seal. I bought a Pepsi that was sealed but the color and the taste were considerably watered-down. Try lassi - pure or mango.
Prices example per person
- Taj Mahal - 1000 INR (15.3 USD), btw. locals pay 40 INR
- Red Fort, Delhi - 500 INR (7.7 USD)
- Sarnath - 100 INR (1.5 USD)
- Agra Fort - 550 INR (8.4 USD)
- Humayun's tomb - 250 INR (3.8 USD)
More tips for traveling cheap here .