Sikh Celebration in Delhi

How Much It Costs To Travel In India

Derek India, Travel Costs 201 Comments

Sikh Celebration in Delhi
After receiving a request for a post about how much it costs to travel in India from a reader of my Facebook Fan Page, I decided that such a post was a great idea. So here we go…

India is commonly known as one of the least expensive destinations for travelers, especially for budget travelers. Prices here can often seem shockingly low for anyone who has spent much of their time in North America or Europe, and even for those who have traveled to other regions of the world, India usually seems like an incredible bargain.

But just how much of a bargain is it?

For those of you on the tightest of budgets, you could survive here in India with a daily spending limit of $15 USD per day. This would enable you to stay in low-end budget hotels, to eat simple meals at local eateries and to utilize local and government buses, as well as 3rd Class trains to get around.

If you can manage $25 USD per day, you’ll be able to travel in significantly more comfort as you’ll soon see below. And for those who can spend more than $25 per day, your experience could involve the occasional 1st Class train, nicer budget hotels and a wider variety of eating options.

At the moment, the exchange rate for Indian Rupees (Rps) is:

$1 USD = 54 Rps
1 Euro = 71 Rps
1 GBP = 88 Rps
1 CAD = 55 Rps
1 AUD = 57 Rps
1 NZD = 44 Rps

And now, in order to provide a more thorough breakdown of the costs involved with a visit to India, here’s some additional information:

VISAS

When it comes to India, just about every traveler will need to secure a visa before they arrive. This can usually be done at any Indian Embassy or Consulate abroad although, certain Embassies/Consulates sometimes will not provide a visa unless you are an actual resident in the country where the Embassy/Consulate is located. But for the most part, at least in my experience, most Indian Embassies and Consulates will issue tourist visas.

Of course, given that this is India we are talking about, getting a visa is often not the most straightforward of processes. There are usually several types of visas available (3-month, 6-month and for US Citizens only, a 5-year and 10-year tourist visa) and they usually cost different amounts depending on your nationality.

Also, if you are a citizen of the USA, Canada, UK or Australia, and you are applying for an Indian visa while in your home country, you must apply for that visa through the official visa outsourcing company that the local Indian Embassy or Consulate has contracted with.

– US citizens must use Travisa Outsourcing
– UK citizens must use VFS UK
– Australian citizens must also use VFS Australia
– Canadian citizens must use VFS Canada
– For other nationalities, just check the visa requirements on your local Indian Embassy website

Just to give an example of potential costs, for US Citizens, the 6-month multiple entry tourist visa costs $76 USD (including processing fee) and the 5-year tourist visa (which I obtained this time around) costs $166 USD. But again, prices differ for all nationalities.

So you get your visa…now it’s time to pay attention to the fine print.

First, your visa is valid from the date it is issued, not the date you arrive, so if you obtain a 6-month visa on March 1st and you don’t travel to India until May 1st, you will only have four months to spend inside the country.

Second, for most nationalities these days, once you leave India, you cannot return for two months. Even if you have a 6-month tourist visa, and your visa is still valid, you still cannot come back to India once you leave until two months have passed.

The only exceptions are if you are traveling to Nepal or Sri Lanka. In these cases, you can obtain a Re-Entry Permit at any immigration office in India that will allow you to visit these neighboring countries and then return to India without having to wait the two months. Re-Entry Permits usually cost around $30 each.

*The following countries can now receive a 30-day, single-entry tourist visa upon arrival in India: Finland, Japan, Luxembourg, New Zealand, Singapore, Cambodia, Vietnam, Philippines, Laos, Myanmar, Indonesia

ACCOMMODATION

While there are some hostels that offer dorm rooms for as low as 50 Rps per night, budget hotels are more than plentiful and quite inexpensive as well, making such accommodation my accommodation of choice while here.

Pink House, McLeod Ganj

For the most part, in just about any town or city, you can get a somewhat grubby private room with a private bathroom in a budget hotel for around 300 – 500 Rps per night. In some locations you can find such a private room for 150 Rps and in others, especially Mumbai, you might have to pay closer to 1000 Rps per night if you want a room with walls that reach the ceiling and mattresses that are thicker than a piece of cardboard.

Here’s some more details about what kind of accommodation exists in India:

Dorm Room: As cheap as it comes at around 50 – 100 Rps per night, poor conditions, questionably clean toilet facilities, usually men-only

Budget Room: For 250 – 500 Rps per night you get a large bed with thin (often hard) mattress, sparse furniture, dirty walls, plug outlets that spark, somewhat clean private bathroom, sometimes with hot water shower (available during set times)

Deluxe Budget Room: 500 Rps – 1000 Rps typically gets you a more spacious room, with 24 hour hot water, more comfy mattress, television, some furniture and more of a ‘hotel feel’

Deluxe Room: For 1000+ Rps per night, you can get a nice room, usually still with some marks on the walls and less than sparkling bathroom, but with proper mattress, more furniture, perhaps a desk, large television, air-conditioning and hotel staff that are significantly more attentive

FOOD

India is a dream when it comes to food, as you can barely walk two meters without facing another street stall or restaurant serving up some kind of snack or dish that you suddenly want to devour. Whether it be samosas, pakoras, lassis or momos, whether it be North Indian or South Indian cuisine…it is all so very tempting.

And luckily, for the traveler, most of this food is quite economical and so you can try as much as you wish (at your own risk of course…I’m not responsible for cases of Delhi belly!).

Thali in Udaipur

Here’s an idea of what it costs to eat in India:

Samosas or Pakoras from a street vendor – 10 – 30 Rps
Sweet Lassi from a lassi stall – 20 Rps
Plate of 4 Tibetan Momos – 10 Rps
½ kg of Bananas – 25 Rps
Thali (meal consisting of a vegetable dish, dhal, rice, roti and more) – 80 – 150 Rps
Dish of Matter Paneer (Peas & Cheese Curry) – 40 – 100 Rps
Dhal and Rice – 40 Rps
Chicken Tandoori (½ chicken) – 120 Rps
Butter Naan – 15 – 30 Rps
Masala Dosa – 50 – 100 Rps
Chai from a chai vendor – 5 Rps
Egg Sandwich from a street stall – 15 Rps

You get the idea…it doesn’t cost much to eat in India. And even a filling meal at the rooftop restaurant of a nice hotel in a touristy town will probably only set you back around 200 – 300 Rps per person.

As some may be aware, Indian cuisine varies quite a lot depending on the region and actually, what many of us know as Indian food is generally only found in the north of the country. The food of the south is of an entirely different variety, with items such as dosas, uttapams, idlis and more to be found on the menus.

For vegetarians, India is ideal with the majority of restaurants being ‘Veg-Only’ considering that a significant portion of the population is vegetarian. With that said, there is no shortage of restaurants that serve up chicken dishes and even mutton (lamb) can be found in most places as well.

However, with the incredible diversity of vegetarian dishes available in this country, few meat eaters that I know of actually end up missing meat while here as the vegetarian dishes are usually quite delicious and filling.

TRANSPORTATION

By now, it should come as no surprise that transportation, whether by bus, train, taxi or even flights, are also quite affordable.

Let’s look at the options…

Trains: Train journeys in India are more than transportation, they are complete experiences that are usually a memorable part of any traveler’s adventure here. If you want to truly rough it, you could travel in 3rd Class (no assigned seat, unbelievably crowded, people sleeping on the floor or in the luggage racks) from Delhi to Udaipur, a trip of around 12 hours, for as little as 50 Rps. If you want to move up to the much more popular 2nd Class Sleeper (assigned seats and beds, but no compartments or privacy, full open cars), you could travel the same distance for around 350 Rps. And if you want to experience 1st Class, you could choose the lowest level – 3A – which comes with a more comfortable bed, sheets, pillow and blanket, air-conditioning, plug outlets and a curtain to block off each section) for 1000 Rps. You could pay even more for 2A and 1A, the highest levels of 1st Class. But in general, if you stick with 2nd Class Sleeper, you’ll be able to travel around this great country for just a handful of dollars per trip while having a chance to meet and interact with all of the locals sharing the car with you.

Buses: Buses naturally vary in quality and you can use either government-run buses or private buses. Government-run buses are usually cheaper and they can either be quite decent or truly painful. However, the quality of private buses can vary as well and so that extra premium you paid might not get you much in the end. Unfortunately, it’s a gamble as there is rarely any way to know ahead of time what kind of bus you’re getting for your money. In terms of cost, a normal government bus (bench seats, no A/C, lots of stops, can be super-crowded) from Delhi to Dharamsala, a journey of 11 hours, will cost around 500 Rupees, while a private bus (with reclining seats, A/C, limited stops and no more passengers than the number of seats) costs around 750 Rps for the same journey. In some states, you can actually purchase a ticket for a ‘bed’ on long-distance buses. These beds are located above the seats and are small compartments that usually have a sliding window on the outside and a sliding door or curtain for privacy on the inside. While the single beds are ridiculously tiny, the double beds are a great value, whether for one or two people. There’s enough space up there for two people and two backpacks and you just might get some sleep during the journey.

Indian bus

Long-distance Taxi: Between some destinations, you may find it easier to just take a taxi, especially if you are several people traveling together. Usually, this will get you to your destination more quickly and you can stop wherever you want along the way. In general, it costs about 8000 Rps for an 8-hour journey although taxi prices can almost always be negotiated. With that said, the safest way to organize a taxi is to use the official taxi stands located in most towns/cities where you will be able to see the official rate in order to ensure you are not being ripped off. On the other hand, if you wish to take it slow and stop at several places along the way, you might want to use a car and driver from a reputable local travel agent as they will be able to customize the journey and hopefully give you a good deal.

Flights: The number of budget airlines in India seems to be growing all the time and as a result, the fares are often remarkably low. I was just online yesterday checking out a few flights and I found a flight from Kolkata to Delhi for $75 USD, a flight from Delhi to Kochi for $85 and Delhi to Mumbai for $75. I even found a flight from Kolkata to Guwahati in the Northeast State of Assam for $50, a flight that would save a traveler about 20 hours of travel time. So, flights are worth checking out these days, especially for long distances.

Local Transport: When it comes to getting around towns or cities, you’ll basically have the following options…your feet, auto-rickshaws, cycle-rickshaws, taxis and local buses. And once you choose your method, it’s best to understand that you will almost always pay more than the local fare but with some confident negotiating you can usually keep the foreigner premium to a minimum. You might get lucky and find a taxi or auto-rickshaw driver who has and is willing to use their meter but chances of that happening are slim. The ticket collectors on local buses should quote you the normal fare, which should be very low, around 5 or 10 Rps per trip. And with cycle-rickshaws, you just reach an agreement and go from there…local fares on this method are absurdly low and even if you pay double that amount, it’s an inexpensive way to get around. In cities such as Kolkata and Delhi, you can also use the metro to reach many destinations, making local travel relatively hassle-free.

ENTRANCE FEES

As with everything else in India, entrance fees are all over the map. The Taj Mahal costs 750 Rps for foreigners, the Red Fort in Delhi costs 250 Rps and the wonderful Bundi Palace costs 150 Rps. Some places might cost 5 Rps, others might cost 200 Rps, and many are free…there just doesn’t seem to be much of a pattern. One thing to note is that for many sites, there is a two-tier fee system where foreigners pay significantly more than Indians. Either way, the entrance fees are not too outrageous – almost always under $5 USD – and I can’t think of any place that is so overpriced that it’s not worth visiting.

Orchha, India

INTERNET & MOBILE PHONE

The availability of internet for travelers in India has greatly improved recently, with free Wi-Fi now available at some budget hotels and at cafes that cater towards travelers. However, internet is often quite slow here and in many cases during my current trip, too slow to use at all. Another option is to purchase a local USB WiFi device from an Indian mobile network provider, but again, those travelers I met who had been using one were quite disappointed with the connection quality. In fact, their connections were usually much worse than the excellent connection I’ve been enjoying with my mobile WiFi router from Telecomsquare.com. So for those of you who really need reliable internet while traveling, you may want to check out Telecomsquare as well.

When it comes to using your mobile phone, India has now made it quite easy for foreigners to purchase a local SIM card. All you need is a passport photo and a photocopy of your passport and you can get set up at any mobile phone shop. On this trip, I bought a SIM card with the company AirCel. It cost me 100 Rps for the SIM card, 98 Rps for 1 month of unlimited data around the country and then I added 200 Rps worth of call/text credit. Not a bad deal at all.

FINAL TIPS

Here’s a few more tips that I’ve learned during my many visits to India that might help you keep your expenses as low as possible…

– Bargain…for almost everything. Unless the price is listed somewhere, you’re generally free to try and negotiate a better price.

– If you’re at a stalemate while bargaining, politely decline the vendor’s final offer and walk away. You just might find that he’s suddenly calling you back, willing to sell you the item at the lower price that you asked for.

– Stay calm and friendly while bargaining as this is all part of how business gets done here. Anger won’t get you anywhere.

– Keep a small amount of money in one pocket and a larger amount in the other so that you don’t have to pull out all of your cash when paying for small items.

– When purchasing items from a normal shop (bottled water, packaged snacks, soap/shampoo, etc.) there is always a MRP (maximum retail price) printed on the package. This is the price that you should pay as these prices are set by the manufacturer, not by the shop owners, so be sure to check before handing over your money and never pay more than what is listed.

– There is no shortage of ATMs in India but do keep in mind that local banks charge 200 Rps per ATM withdrawal for foreign bank cards.

– Credit cards are sometimes accepted at higher-end shops and hotels but they usually add on a fee of up to 5% so make sure you ask before handing over your card.

– When checking into a hotel, be sure to ask if there are any taxes or service charges added onto the final bill. These extra charges vary greatly among hotels and sometimes, you can negotiate to have all of those taxes/charges removed. (Some restaurants also add on taxes and a service charge and I’ve managed to avoid paying these with a little negotiating.)

– Remember that no matter how much you pay for something, you’re in magical India, and that you shouldn’t let a little overpaying ruin your incredible trip!

I hope the above helps out those thinking about traveling to the subcontinent and as always, I wish you wonderful adventures ahead!


If you’ve been to India, or live there, do you have any additional tips/comments to share?

Since 1999 I've been traveling and living around the world nonstop. Sign up below for personal stories, real advice and useful updates from my adventures. Only good stuff, no nonsense.

Are you ready to earn money and travel?

How to Work on a Cruise Ship and Travel eBooksClick above and get started!

Comments 201

  1. John Siriopoulos

    Thank you so very much for replying almost instantly. I appreciate it. So I was thinking of budgeting maybe $1000CAD for in India and $1500 CAD (obviously having more flexibility is better than running out of money) for travelling to and from so that should definitely be within my budget. I don’t need all the bells and whistles but also I don’t want dirty rooms and shared sleeping spaces (I can barely share my bedroom with my girlfriend haha).

    Thank you!

    1. Post
      Author
      Derek

      Trust me, with 1000 CAD, you’ll be fine for 2 weeks. You can stay in some cool places (old Indian mansions, for example) for that amount. If you want specific recommendations, depending on your itinerary, just send me an email through the contact me link above and I’ll assist!

  2. John Siriopoulos

    Derek,

    Thank you so much for compiling this article. I was wondering what you would classify as having enough but not too much money while travelling in India for 2 weeks and what is the best way to exchange money (either while in India or before at a local bank) on a trip to India? And what are your experiences with bank cards when traveling?

    1. Post
      Author
      Derek

      Hey John – It really depends on your style of travel I guess. You could get by for $300 for 2 weeks if you stay at budget hotels, take local trains/buses and eat at local restaurants. Or you could spend anything above that depending on all those factors, also on how much you plan to move around. As for exchanging money, the best option is to use the ATMs or the money exchange offices that are located everywhere in India. The rates are always good, no commission is charged and it’s an easy option. I would recommend not exchanging money before you arrive because India recently got rid of some of their denominations and you risk ending up with old money that will be worthless inside India. You’ll have no problem using an ATM card in India. Hope that helps!

      1. John Siriopoulos

        Thank you so very much for replying almost instantly. I appreciate it. So I was thinking of budgeting maybe $1000CAD for in India and $1500 CAD (obviously having more flexibility is better than running out of money) for travelling to and from so that should definitely be within my budget. I don’t need all the bells and whistles but also I don’t want dirty rooms and shared sleeping spaces (I can barely share my bedroom with my girlfriend haha).

        Thank you!

  3. drew cunningham

    Thanks Man – I was in Nepal trekking for a month about thirty years ago with my girlfriend. We crossed over into India for a few days before heading back to Thailand…I really enjoyed it and have always wanted to spend a month in Country. A professional editorial and documentary photography, India has so much to offer…..I carry expensive gear though really try to go with a small kit when travelling to such countries….any ideas on how to keep valuables more secure? dos and don’t sort of thing??? Anyway, great article, answered a lot of my question…I am now 53 and finally making it to India for the month of November….hope to sell a couple of illustrated articles upon my return…..cheers man , great info.

    1. Post
      Author
      Derek

      Honestly, I wouldn’t worry about the stuff too much. If you use the same common sense you use at home, the chances of anything happening qre quite slim. But you would want to make sure your gear is in bags that is well protected because whether it be on buses, trains, rickshaws or just walking down crowded streets, the chances are higher in India that your stuff could get banged up.

  4. Pingback: The Ultimate Guide To The Cost Of Traveling The World

  5. Elizabeth Aker

    Derek,

    What would you think about the language barrier? I know the consulate can recommend some great ‘tour guides’ that can assist if you’re not familiar with the languages, or dialects per region, but what are your thoughts on this?

    Any recommendations – or what were you finding was the typical ‘Indian response’ when speaking English?

    Thanks!

    1. Post
      Author
      Derek

      Hey Elizabeth – Most Indians speak English given the British history there. Unless you are in the most remote village, there will always be people around who speak English. Language barrier is definitely one thing you don’t have to worry about in India!

      1. Elizabeth Aker

        Derek – thanks really awesome to know! I know some brief English history on the area, but didn’t even think of this! Thanks so much!

  6. Klaudio

    Earl, this is really great as me and my wife are looking forward to our trip in India.
    I am just wondering how much things might have changed, since your last trip and maybe you have any additional/new info.
    Cheers!

    1. Post
      Author
  7. Dominique

    The most help i have found so far with preparing for my 3+ months trip too india in 2018 🙂 first time international trip so alot of good info

  8. Agness of a TukTuk

    Hey Earl, you’ve done such an amazing job on this! I had my time in India, and it was a beautiful place, filled with so much activities. We tried to save as much we could and got by around $25 a day! The thing about how you put in the details here you article is that you gave the travelers great options, ‘budget travel’ in terms on how far its’ stretched it subjective to a lot of travelers. This would totally be helpful for a lot of people looking into visiting India soon!

  9. Aleksi

    Very informative post! Thank you for that.

    I was browsing through the web looking for the cheapest hotel/hostel prices in India. The cheapest, for example, in Delhi/Varanasi/Kolkata/Jaipur seemed to be something around 10 euros per night or more, on websites like hotels.com/hostels.com or even on tripadvisors hotel search. I searched for this february.
    Was it just that I was on the wrong websites/ are hotels/hostels in India just more expensive in winter months/ or is it a far more cheaper to book hotels/hostels on the go?

    If I’m aiming for 1-5 euro price range per night, what would be the most realistic method to achieve that? I am going to travel to India next summer for three months, from June to September. My travel budget is 1400 euros total for accommodations, train tickets and food. I plan to travel a lot by train, preferably in 3rd Class/2nd Class. When it comes to food, I plan to eat always the cheapest way availabe; from street stands. And finally, quality is no requirement when it comes to accommodations. I prefer hostel dorms if available. Am I able to pull it off?

    I hope you have time to answer at some point. (:

    Best regards,

    Aleksi

    1. Post
      Author
      Derek

      Hey Aleksi – It’s possible on 1400 Euros for 3 months but honestly, it won’t be too enjoyable. It would be better to stay for 2 months and spend a little more. Eating from street stands will probably get you sick and traveling on 3rd Class train is okay for one short trip but after that you’ll want to definitely travel in 2nd class, which costs more.

      You can find hotel rooms for a few euros per night. They won’t be listed online though for the most part. You simply need to show up and look yourself, asking people and seeing what you find. If you can afford a 10 euro room, you’ll have a much nicer place though and can book ahead and will have much less hassle to deal with. It can be a big hassle to arrive in a new town and try to find accommodation by walking around as it will take a lot of time and who knows what you’ll find.

      There are some hostels in India now but they are usually more expensive. A bed in a dorm is around 400 – 500 rupees per night. The reason is that they offer a very nice atmosphere so you’re paying for that.

      1. Aleksi

        Thank you so much for your help, Derek! I will take your advice in my heart and plan my trip accordingly. Will consider 2 months and make the calculations on how much more I’m going to be able to spend by doing that.
        This really was a life-saver for me, I truly mean that. Thanks again.

        Aleksi

  10. Jamie Victoria Guna

    Hi Earl,

    Amazing post that has really fed me with so much information, thank you for all the effort put into it.

    My sister and I (both female) will be going to India for a month or so. We will be in Rishikesh for 2 weeks and would hope to do Agra and then head to Goa after.
    Would you recommend that we go Agra first before Rishikesh and fly straight to Goa after?
    Any places you’d recommend to visit and stay in these places? We currently have Taj Mahal on the list for Agra but that’s about it. In Rishikesh, we are staying in a ashram for a 2 week yoga programme and then hoping to find another place to stay thereafter to visit other attractions/sports in Rishikesh. I am quite fearful of roaches so that is a hinderance right now planning our transport and stays in India. I was told that only certain train company’s class systems can be trusted while the some are still very bad (for me, roaches) even in the 3rd/2nd/1st class cabins? Is that really true?

    Any advice and contacts would be very much appreciated!

    Best regards,
    Jamie

    1. Post
      Author
  11. Sandra

    Hello Earl,
    I’m a 62 year old woman and I’ve never been to India but I’m thinking about going to Juhu, Mumbai to visit the Iskcon Temple and while I’m there I’ll like to buy a few Indian outfits. Then I’ll like to go to Delhi for a couple days too and visit the Taj Mahal and the Golden Temple. I’m thinking about staying at the Iskcon Temple when I’m in Juhu, Mumbai but I’ll like to know where will be the best and safest place for me, as a lone traveler and also as a woman to stay when I’m in Delhi. Can you please give me some info. If you can tell me how I can book a trip with you that will be fine too. Thank you so much and God bless.

    1. Post
      Author
      Derek

      Hey Sandra – If you want some detailed recommendations for India, please send me an email through the Contact Me link on my blog. I’d be more than happy to answer your questions!

  12. Nancy

    I will be traveling to India for 5 days in the holidays ( Delhi, Agra, Jaipur’s) tours and 4 star hotels are booked with driver.
    Will need money for food and tips …
    How much should I plan for a day?

  13. Maya

    Hey,

    Solo female traveller here. Do you have some recommendations on how to find groups to travel with eg to Vaishno Devi in Jammu, Amritsar or anywhere really? Many thanks!

    1. Post
      Author
      Derek

      Hey Maya – I offer small group trips to India 🙂 WanderingEarlTours.com

      Apart from that, there really aren’t organized small groups to go to places that are as off the beaten path as Jammu. You pretty much just have to get to India, hope to meet other travelers going there and then go together.

  14. Pingback: 20 Budget Travel Tips India Bound Tourists Should Consider | NoMadicJoy

  15. Logan Kershaw

    Hi Earl,

    Thanks for the awesome info on this post , I’m travelling to India in 4 weeks for a month and just happened to stumble across your page ….
    It’s been an awesome read and answered a few questions I had about SIM cards and accomodation, I’ve already booked my hotels and internal flights so I’m pretty organised as I really didn’t want to leave to much to chance in India ..
    I was really pleased to see you ranked UDAIPUR and Varanasi as some of your favourite places you visited as I’m there for 6 days each and wondering if you had any tips of special places not to be missed and awesome little restaurants or cafes they you really enjoyed …

    Thanks a lot mate and love your page

    Logan

    1. Post
      Author
      Derek

      Hey Logan – Very cool that you’re heading to India! For Udaipur, I recommend going to a local restaurant called “Natraj Dining Hall”. It’s in the ‘new city’ and make sure you go to the original one. Super local but packed with people all day. You sit down, there is no menu, they just keep piling food onto your plate. Great place and experience! Also, try to head out to Animal Aid Unlimited, a great organization on the outskirts of Udaipur. Check out their FB page. And there are plenty of cafes in the old city to enjoy as well as rooftop restaurants with awesome views. For Varanasi, my favorite place to eat is a small place called Spicy Bites…weird name I know. The food in Varanasi isn’t so good but this place is excellent, cheap and super nice staff. I eat most of my meals there. Not really any cafes in Varanasi as it’s not quite that kind of city.

  16. Kate

    Hi Earl,

    My partner and I are planning a trip to India for a few months. We would like to spend the majority of our time in Dharmsala but also visit Darjeeling, Bodh Gaya, Varanasi, Hardiwar and Kolkata for a few weeks. We would like to stay in a decent room with a private bathroom and travel by train and air. Flights are looking at about $900 roundtrip, how much should we expect to spend while there? Also do you recommend getting travel insurance? Thanks

    1. Post
      Author
      Derek

      Hey Kate – It really depends on how much you move around, where you eat and what kind of ‘decent’ room you’re looking for as that definitely varies. You could spend as little as $35 USD per day (as a couple) without transportation. Add in trains and flights and you’re probably looking at closer to $1000 per person for a month, which would include good budget hotels ($20 USD per night), a couple of flights and second class trains. As for travel insurance, that’s always recommended!

    2. Mahendra

      You can get better class rooms around 1000 rupees (120 -150 $)per day, if you want more superior then it will range about 3000 rupees. Dont travel by general class train those will be very crowdy especially in North India.

  17. Patrick

    This is a fantastic bit of luck I stumbled onto your site and posts.
    reading through what others have said is handy too.
    I am hoping to plan a trip for next spring, And it’ll be my first trip anywhere.
    Doing a lot of research, bit overwhelming all the stuff to keep in mind and look through.
    This is a great resource.

  18. Pingback: 20 Budget Travel Tips India Bound Tourists Should Consider - Nomadic Joy

  19. Shelby Wischan

    Hi Earl,

    Thanks for all of the helpful information! I’m hoping to go over to India after some trekking in Nepal. As a solo female traveler, do you feel that it’s safe enough for me to go by myself? I’m quite an avid traveler, but I’m also a young female and might make for a better target. As interested as I am in going to India, I don’t want to be in danger!

    Thanks so much for your post.
    Shelby

    1. Wandering Earl

      Hey Shelby – Thanks for writing and to be honest, I think you’ll be okay over there. As long as you use the same common sense you would use at home, you’re going to be just as safe. As a solo female you might have to deal with a few more stares and it might be less comfortable in crowded areas but as for overall safety, India is not a dangerous place. You’ll find many examples of solo female travelers who have been to India and who would recommend it. I also offer tours to India and the females on my trips always tell me that they had no problems and felt much safer than they ever imagined, including when they were out and about on their own.

    2. Madan

      Hi shelby,

      Hope you are fine..

      As you asked, Is it safe to travel to INDIA or specially for women.. so yes, it’s absolutely safe.

      I believe that India is the only technicolour country. you could travel to some fascinating place over here.. India is in a class by itself. All life is here.

      Come with an open mind and open heart and India will open up to you. India is as rewarding as it is challenging but ultimately your attitude will affect how much you enjoy and get out of the trip. You could even try starting your trip with a homestay or something where you can learn about Indian culture though your host family.

      One of the most important things when travelling in India, or anywhere else really, is to be confident. assertive and hold yourself well. Forget about being polite, it may be taken as a sign of weakness, be prepared to stand up for yourself and don’t be afraid to speak out.

      You can’t be naive and trust everyone.The best option is to just walk confidently past, ignore them all, don’t believe everything people say and be careful who you trust.

      Finally Whenever you will be here in India my advice is to please visit Himachal Pradesh (The Land of God) too. is famous for its Himalayan landscapes, hill stations and temples.

      If you have any query or want to know anything about the places in India’ Please feel free to ask me or shoot me an e-mail on [email protected].

      Warm Regards,
      Madan, India

    3. Utkarsh Suryavanshi

      Hi Shelby,

      Thanks for asking this question. Of late, there has been a lot of negative press about the safety of solo female travellers to India. However, generally India is safe. Compared to South and Latin American countries, we are far, far safer. Solo travel is actually picking up within India and now people are getting used to seeing a lot more women (Indian women) traveling around alone and are accustomed to it. Just a few tips for your safety:

      – Think twice before trusting someone who randomly approaches you (male as well as female) especially in big cities (Delhi, Gurgaon, Noida, Chennai, Mumbai, Kolkata; Bangalore and Hyderabad are much safer).

      – It is always best to carry small amounts of money in your pockets while keeping the bigger portion of your money in an inner sling pouch (usually inside your shirt). Not that someone will be jumping on you to steal from you, but there are areas where there may be pickpockets. If you are from a country with random petty crimes, you have nothing new to worry about.

      – You are likely to be much much safer in smaller towns than in big cities. For example, you will have a wonderfully safe and pleasant experience in the states of Rajasthan, Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Odisha, Sikkim, Kerala, Arunachal Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh etc. But it is likely that you will find people much more rude or unpleasant in Delhi/NCR, Chennai, Mumbai etc type of big cities. Being a bit cautious would be good. Delhi is somewhat like London or Manhattan in terms of what to expect when taking precautions. If you’ve done well, you have no problems to worry about here.

      – In the last two years, our new national government has brought about a lot of measures to improve safety for tourists including 24 hour helplines in 12 international languages and special numbers for tourist complaints. You will be catered to well.

      – Don’t hitch-hike with random people on the highway. Or if you are in a situation where you have no choice, be a bit cautious.

      – Don’t get excessively drunk at night in lonely areas. That is fine and cool in Mumbai and Bangalore it is fine but not advised for safety in other big cities.

      – Transport is really not a problem and an overwhelming majority of Indians will be very helpful to you; men, women, kids, elderly almost anyone. If you wish to travel by road between states (they are pretty long journeys usually), you can book buses on http://www.redbus.in or on the respective state’s tourism transport. Here, ‘Volvo Bus/Mercedes Bus’ is usually the top tier bus with comfortable adjustable seats and for long travel.

      – If you are sure to travel to India, make sure you make ‘belts’ of places to visit. It will take you about a dozen visits to fully enjoy India as our country is pretty vast in geography and culture. Hint: It is perfectly normal to find over a thousand types of dishes within a city. By belts, I mean based on the basis of what terrain you wish to enjoy.

      For example, if you want to enjoy Himalayan beauty, target any one of the 5 Himalayan states of India (Kashmir, Himachal, Uttarakhand, Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh).

      Similarly, if you wish to want to enjoy the lush green hills and coastal heavens, you might want to try Kerala, Maharashtra, Goa, and Karnataka.

      For a white and golden desert experience, Gujarat and Rajasthan will be delightful to explore.

      To explore forests and rugged lands filled with ancient temples and rich spiritual culture Tamil Nadu, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha and Chhattisgarh would be great.

      For a cloudy/hilly bliss with greenery and peace around, the six northeastern states will do well (non-himalayan): Assam, Meghalaya, Nagaland, Manipur, Mizoram and Tripura.

      Then there are of course the traditional tourist hotspots in Uttar Pradesh (Agra’s Taj Mahal, Varanasi’s Ganga banks etc) and Bodh Gaya (holiest Buddhist pilgrimage shrine in Bihar).

      In short, your trip to India will be amazing if you just take a few smart precautions.

      I humbly welcome you to my great motherland.

      Regards,

      An Indian

  20. Chloe2

    Hello Earl,
    Absolutely love your blog and have found it extremely helpful, I’m super appreciative! I’m heading to India later in the year with my partner and we would absolutely love to do a homestay or multiple homestay, more than happy to help the host family in any way possible. Do you know how we could find places or have do you have any contacts that could help?
    Thank you 🙂

    1. michael dilawar

      Hi guys,
      there is a place called Mussoorie in India…i would suggest you guys go there….its a beautiful Hill Station….not many people know about it….its the place where i was born and studied….Being at an average altitude of 1,880 metres (6,170 ft), You will love Mussoorie, with its green hills and varied flora and fauna.From delhi you can get a train (6hr) or a flight (40 min) to Dehradun Valley…from there its just 45 Min drive…

    2. Madan

      Hi Chloe,

      As i already mention above on Shelby’s status,’ Come to India with an open mind and open heart and India will open up to you. You could even try starting your trip with a homestay or something where you can learn about Indian culture though your host family.

      Homestay is not a big deal. You can do the homestay but it’s all up to you mean to say that it depends upon your perspective Nature, Behaviour, way to talk with peoples.

      In India we consider the guest as god.The Host-Guest relationship in India is truly one of the most revered relationships. An integral part of the Indian culture, it says that every guest should be treated like God. No distinction should be made based on the guest’s caste, colour or creed and He/She should be showered with all love, care and affection.

      In the North of India, where I’m from, “a Guest is God. When someone comes to our home, we treat them with the highest of respect and love. Even if we have to miss eating, we make sure they are well fed. That’s our culture. It brings us joy.” Perfect.

      If you still have any query Please feel free to ask me or shoot me an e-mail on [email protected].

      Warm Regards,
      Madan, India

  21. Pingback: Countries For Budget Travelers | Katie Turnbull

  22. Pingback: 13 Cheap countries that are perfect for budget travelling. – Weekly NewsFlash

  23. Cade

    Hi Earl, I will be traveling to India in three months on a YWAM mission trip. My housing and food is already provided. How much spending money do you think I might need. It would probably be for meals, drinks, and souvenirs outside of our living space.

    1. Wandering Earl

      Hey Cade – It’s hard to say. In India you could live for as little at $5 per day and for much more as well depending on the kind of places you want to eat at. In general though, I would budget around $10 – $15 USD per day for extra stuff.

  24. Kerrie

    Thank you so much for all of the helpful information!
    However, while doing further research on re-entry, India has done away with barring re-entry (except for citizens of some Asian countries). Just thought future people who read this don’t get scared about combining side trips to neighboring countries.

    I wish you well on all of your future travels!!

  25. Oliver J

    This was extremely interesting and helpful, glad you remarked the bargaining side.
    I would be travelling with two friends for 4 weeks in July, and would love to have some help with my itinerary by someone who knows his stuff like you!
    Any suggestions?
    I have read the comments below, but I am looking for maybe a more purer look of India.
    We will do everything at the lowest budget, with only a backpack each to live the country at its best.
    Would you care to give us a hand pointing us out some good locations and maybe some more info on real low budget, non touristy trip?
    Thanks for the help!

    1. Sim

      For a real real budget trip, you can stay at Dharamshalas and Gurudwaras. You can find them on internet and contact them via phone to obtain a prior booking. I’m an Indian we sometimes stay at these places maintained by religious groups when we don’t get hotel bookings or when we are on an unplanned trip. India is huge and I have travelled far and wide here but am still not able to visit the whole of it!

    2. Madan

      Hi Oliver,

      Don’t to be worry about the places and the budget.

      As per your query you are looking for Low budget, so i recommended you to visit North of India(Himachal Pradesh) and South-east of India(Uttarakhand).

      Himachal Pradesh is a part of the Indian Himalayas. It has wide valleys imposing snow mountains, limpid lakes, rivers and gushing streams. Himachal Pradesh is the land of eternal snow peaks abounds in exotic valleys, glorious green hill-slopes, mountains, streams and the hills of Himalayas welcome the tourists from all over the world. Himachal Pradesh is full of hill resorts, pilgrimages, adventure sports destinations, and wildlife that attracts a wide range of tourist traffic. Today, Himachal Pradesh is one of the most important tourist destinations in India.

      Main tourist complexes are Shimla, Palampur, Dharamsala, Kulu-Manali, Chamba-Dalhousie. Temple at Bhima Kali, Sarahan, Hatkoti, Jwalajee, Chamunda Devi, Chintpurni, Renuka and Rewalsar, Deoth Siddh and Naina Devi are major attractions for pilgrims.
      Tourist complexes are also being set up at Keylong, Kaza, Sangla, Shoja, Kalpa, Khadrala, Kharapathar, Chindi, Bharmour, Chansal and Naggar castle.
      Solang Nallah slopes are getting popular for winter sports.

      There is an art gallery in Naggar and museums in Chamba, Shimla and Dharamasala. The beautiful tourist resort of Khajjair in Chamba district has been christened as the Switzerland of Himachal Pradesh.

      If you have any query or want to know anything about the places Please feel free to ask me or shoot me an e-mail on [email protected].

      Warm Regards,
      Madan, India

  26. Esteban

    Earl thanks for the information, it was really helpfull. I am going to India somwhere between August and November, for two to three weeks, so I wanted to ask which cities do you recommend as a must in India?

    1. Wandering Earl

      Hey Esteban – That’s a tough question because India has such a variety of places to see and every traveler has their own interests. You really just need to do some research to figure out what regions and destinations are best for you. All I can say is that my favorites include Varanasi, Bundi, Udaipur and some smaller locations in the mountains, as well as the state of Kerala. But in the end, there is an endless amount of things to see over there so you just need to figure out what’s best for you (what appeals to your interests) and go for it!

    2. Pushkar Sinha

      I will suggest, given your very short travel duration, to visit the desert state of Rajasthan (Jaipur, Jodhpur, Jaisalmer, etc) for a week and then the Kashmir valley for the rest. Both can be accessed from Delhi as a base.
      You could visit the Taj Mahal in Agra as a daytrip from Delhi.
      Pushkar.

  27. Zsofia Szucs

    Hi Earl!

    Thank You for your great post ! I found it very useful !
    Oh and btw – Merry Xmas 🙂

    I’m going to travel with my partner for 3 month (flying in 2 weeks) in India and i would like to ask a few question if its ok. 🙂

    We want to travel as much as we can from Kolkata to down to Kerala than travel through the west coast to the desert than visit the big cities then spend the last few weeks in the mountains in Darjeeling and that area then we flying back from Kolkata in mid April.
    We got the visas and the flights sorted so my question is that How much £££ do you think we need after all /person for this 3 month – just for the basics for travel, food and being basically? We thinking spending around 500rupees for rooms or less if its an ok condition . We are backpackers so doesn’t have luxury standards really.
    And also wanted to ask that when you stay in hostels or guest-houses do you pay for per room or per person?

    And last – we are both musical people and one of the reason we want to go travelling its because we want to get inspired and write songs out there together as well 🙂
    Which city or area would you recommend to us – whats a must seen or must experienced between mid Jan and mid April?

    Thank You very much for your time !
    Looking forward to hear from you !

    Zsofia 🙂 x

    ps : if you want to have a look the music project what we gonna do – here’s a little crowed funding page about it, enjoy ! :
    httpss://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1064542965/exploring-ways-of-making-music-throughout-the-worl?ref=video

    1. Kiah

      Hi!!!

      I’m doing exactly the same in a few months with a friend of mine and was wondering how much to budget for the trip.

      How much did you end up spending on this trip can I ask, very confused at the moment as of how much money I should take

      Thanks !! Hope you had a great trip xx

  28. Pingback: 13 Affordable Countries for Travelers on a Budget | Wine and Wayfaring

  29. Simon

    Dear Earl,

    My friends and I will visit India from mid-November till mid-December. The first two weeks are already planned out with a wedding in Delhi, and tours in Goa and Mumbai. Afterwards we will visit Rajasthan and then go back to Delhi/Varanasi (hometown of one of my friends). In between we will have a gap of 6 to 8 days. We are still undecided if we should go to Kerala or fly to the Andaman Islands.What are your thoughts? Or what would you recommend instead?

    1. Wandering Earl

      Hey Simon – I can tell you that with your current itinerary that takes you all over India, you’re going to be quite exhausted. Traveling in India is a bit more difficult than many other places and as a result, I always recommend not trying to cram too much into your trip, or else you simply won’t enjoy it. You really need to go slow and it’s better to visit a few places for longer periods of time than to try and visit a bunch of places quickly.

      So, wherever you’ll be when those 6 to 8 days of free time begin, I would just go somewhere close by. There’s always somewhere fascinating to go no matter where you are in India!

  30. Josh Locke

    Thanks for the article Earl, a month today and I will be landing in Mumbai to embark on a 5 month adventure around India.

    Thanks for all the tips, I feel they are going to be very valuable! I’m actually planning to buy a motorbike so that I can explore more freely during my time there, have you got any insights or comments as to whether this is a good idea?

    Also if there’s any travelers that will be in Mumbai around the end of November, my email is [email protected] , it would be great to team up with someone and get to grips with the place so don’t hesitate to hit me up!

    Cheers

    1. Wandering Earl

      Hey Josh – Enjoy your trip! I have no doubt it will be quite an experience. Buying a motorbike is a common thing for some travelers in India…I would spend some time there first and see how you adjust and whether you think it will make sense for you though. It’s not your normal driving and it can be quite easy to travel around by bus and train as well. Let us know how it goes!

  31. Rubenthri Naidoo

    I am planning to go to India and am feeling rather overwhelmed at the thought of travelling to especially India on my own. I would like to travel to both North and South India for roughly a period of 6 months. I actually have no clue where to start and have many questions such as where do I start looking for accommodation? How do I know I am choosing accommodation in a safe area? What if I find I cannot survive, will I be able to book a flight back even though I might have already come with a return ticket to the country? How do I prevent myself from getting ripped off?

    Most importantly, what tips can you provide to a solo female first time traveller?

    Rubenthri

  32. Pingback: Traveling India - India By Marriott

  33. Farah

    Hi Earl – great post! I see you’ve a contact for a great company that can organise Golden Triangle tours at affordable prices. Would you mind sharing? I’m planning to head there end Oct.

    thanks!

  34. Paul

    Hello Earl!

    I saw in one of your comments here that you have contacts in Delhi who can arrange travels right?
    May I be hooked up with those awesome people?
    I think it might come in handy when I book my transportations when I go around 🙂
    Thank you!

  35. Josh

    Hi Earl, thanks for the tips on the website and the replies to the comments also make for interesting reading.

    I’ve got about two weeks and wanted to get a bit of a feel for at least a couple of different aspects of India, so was thinking about spending a week – ten days doing Delhi, Agra, Jaipur and then fly down to Goa for a few days from where i’ll depart back to the UK. Do you think this is 1 – viable, and 2 – sensible?

    Thanks!

    1. Wandering Earl

      Hey Josh – If it were me, I would skip Goa, simply because going all the way down there for a few days won’t be much of an experience. It will be rushed, you won’t see/do much, you won’t have time to find the beach that’s the best match for you, etc. But that’s just me. Time wise, it’s doable, again, rushed but doable. I personally would just prefer to spend those extra days in the north and take it more slowly.

  36. daphne

    Hi I’m from Puerto Rico and I’m very interested in traveling but I have difficulty finding cheap airplane tickets. I was wandering what might you suggest, I tried using traveling agencies that give you packages but for distant places for example India, Asia places like that have really high price.

    1. Wandering Earl

      Hey Daphne – Maybe you can look for cheap flights to Miami or NYC and then look for separate flights from there to wherever you want to fly. That would probably work better!

  37. Brian

    Hi Earl,

    Thank you for this info. We are trying to travel to India and my main concern is safety as I am traveling with my wife. We will be going for 10 days.

    We are going to fly into: Ahmedabad
    We are going to spend 2 days there. Then we want to explore more places.

    Do you have any recommendations on a 10 day trip?

    Thanks,
    Brian

    1. Wandering Earl

      Hey Brian – As long as you use the same common sense you use at home, you won’t run into any issues in India. As for a 10-day trip, my recommendation is to visit only a few places. It can be quite tiring traveling around India and if you try to cram too many places into your itinerary, you won’t enjoy it as much. I would just do something like head up to Rajasthan…Udaipur, Ranakpur and Jodhpur or Jaisalmer, then back to Ahmedabad.

  38. Rosalie

    Hi

    Me and my son (18) are travelling to India on a guided tour Withnall accomm and transport provided and entry into some stuff , my question is , do you think $2000 each Australia dollars is enough for 2 weeks spending money , ?? We are wanting to try most things that are on offer and engage In the local activities

    1. Wandering Earl

      Hey Rosalie – It always depends on your personal travel style but that should be plenty for 2 weeks in India.

      1. Rosalie

        I usually like to stay in really nice places but me and my son are wanting to just try the whole back pack experience , this blog has been an amazing help thank you

        1. abhishek

          some other tips for our visitors
          1. always drink packaged water or water from a water purifier
          2. Avoid “over friendly” people who may be touts
          3.If you need help , Ask a cops
          4. Emergency no in india is 100 and not 911
          5. Try all types of local food. Be sure to carry your tums
          6.

          1. raja

            Hi earl, Im traveling from Oman to India, i would like to visit delhi, agra and jaipor. and visiting all the important sites there for 7 days.
            Kinldy let me know if It is better to go and look for a guide there or take the package of the travel agency which will cost me almost 259 dollar for the guide only. total package is 402 dollar in 4 stars hotel.
            also, Is it safe to travel alone (im a woman)?
            thanks.
            Raja

          2. Wandering Earl

            Hey Raja – If you are going for only 7 days, I would book your trip ahead of time. I have a great contact in Delhi that can arrange a wonderful tour for you. They have great drivers and the price is very reasonable.

            If you want his contact info just let me know and I’ll send it to you!

  39. Ashley Wilson

    Wonderful article! I’m heading off for 3 months, travelling on an unfortunately tight budget. Your article has made me feel a little happier about the amount I have to travel with.

    Thanks!

  40. Paul

    Hello Earl!

    I’m Paul from Philippines! I stumbled on this site and found it to be quite informative! I’ve been planning to go to India for many years and on Feb 2016, I might just make that happen. Thing is, I only have 10 days to spare since I will be reporting back in school soon after. At the moment, what makes sense to me is see Delhi, Agra and more of Rajasthan including Jaipur, Jodhpur, Udaipur and Jaisalmer!

    I want to ask your opinion if you think these are feasible within 10 days? Im still a student so it would be amazing if you could give me tips on where to stay in each of the cities as well as a good and sensible budget? I have no qualms in taking the public transportation, for accommodations, for as long as I get aircon and it’s clean, im good. For food, I dont plan on eating fancy! Just to sample really good quality Indian food for a bargain fits me best!

    I know seeing the southern region would be hard considering I only have less than 2 weeks to spare. If u have other recommendations other than the ones I was thinking of, it would be greatly appreciated!

    Thanks in advance Earl!
    I wish you more amazing travels

    1. Wandering Earl

      Hey Paul – Thanks for commenting and as for your plan, I honestly think that is WAY too much for 10 days. You’ll spend more than half of your time on the trains. If I were you, I would stick to Delhi, Agra, Jaipur and maybe Bundi or Pushkar. If you try to go to Jodhpur or Udaipur or Jaisalmer, you’ll be really rushed and India is not the kind of place you want to rush through. It can be exhausting traveling around so you need to move as slowly as possible.

  41. warren

    hello Earl,
    My name is warren, form South Africa.
    My wife and I are heading to India, for about 3 weeks before heading over to South East Asia for another 2 months. We going to be doing the touristy part that is the Golden Triangle, and a toss up between Darjeeling and Dharamsala. We’ve been reading loads of travel blogs and have found yours to be fantastic.
    I wanted to get your opinion on accommodation. We found a website called agoda.com which suggests cheap accommodation with potential discounts. Can you recommend any other such sites or have any other advise for us? We have a rough budget of around $55 a day for the both of us. Should that be about enough for us to get by and still have a great time?
    Thanks for your time. I have the utmost respect for anybody who can get away with spending their life travelling. Nice work bro

    1. Wandering Earl

      Hey Warren – India is tricky because you can find plenty of great places to stay for around $15 USD per night that are hard to find on websites such as agoda.com. It really depends what you’re looking for. For Delhi, you could look at something like: Heritage Home Hotel in Paharganj. For Agra, something like the Dawaat Palace Hotel. In Jaipur, definitely try to stay at the Hotel Pearl Palace. And if you go to Dharamsala/McLeod Ganj, I can highly recommend the “Pink House” guesthouse.

      All of those places range in price from $15 – $25 USD per night usually.

      Hope that helps!

  42. Jeff

    Hi Earl,

    Great info. Seems like it might be a little less expensive now with the better exchange rate. But in general terms I’m considering a month on the Ganges Plain in 2016. Round trip tickets from Colorado to Delhi is $1500 or less. If one can live a month there for $700 USD, it seems that for a total of $4000 or $5000 USD one could fit in travel quite well?

    Question: Do you know anything about a bare bones approach – camping, hostels, trekking on foot at times with backpack? Are there parks for camping? Does it get more expensive in Nepal? I’m considering volunteering there to help rebuild after the earthquakes. But in general, how’s roughing it in India?

    Thanks! Great info!
    Jeff

    1. Wandering Earl

      Hey Jeff – Great to hear you’re headed that way! As for accommodation, the thing is, you can easily find budget hotels almost everywhere for around $5 per night (300 rupees), so there really isn’t much reason to try and find a spot to camp. It’s quite rare for there to be camping grounds over there. And there are a small number of hostels but again, a dorm room in a hostel usually costs more money than a private room at an ultra-budget hotel. Nepal is slightly more expensive I’d say but not too much of a difference.

  43. Jennylyn

    Hi Earl,

    Thank you for your wonderful blog.

    I received an invitation from my friend to visit India this coming June for only just a week due to some event. I’ll be staying at their house and roam around the place for sometimes. My problem is that i don’t have any idea of how money should I bring during my one week trip. I’ll be availing a Tourist Visa on Arrival and I don’t know how much is enough to show the officers that I’m capable of staying on their country. Can you help me on this? Thank you Earl.

  44. Sapphire

    Hello, thank you so much for this information. I would like to ask or hope you can help me with this. Me and my boyfriend were planning to move in India. my boyfriend is indian and Im from philippines. Im confused what visa should I apply if i want to move there and ill find work there in india. Hope you can help me with the process or what to do first. thank you.

  45. angela

    Hello Earl, i would like to ask if i have 2,000 USD. Is it enough to stay in India for 1 month. Because i will aquire a Tourist visa upon arrival. And i will stay in in Pathankot Punjab for 1 month in there house. So i dont need to pay for my accomodation. So 2,000 USD is my pocket money. Do you think they will grant me a tourist visa upon arrival with that amount of money in my account. Plz do reply. Thank you very much.

    1. Prateek Agarwal

      Hi Angela,

      If you are excluding accomodation,then 2000USD is going to be enough.
      If you are an avid shopaholic,the case may be different(you may need more).
      Excluding shopping,2000 bucks is going to be enough for a good lifestyle in Punjab for a month.
      I am a student studying in Jalandhar ,Punjab.

  46. Pingback: Preparing for India |

  47. Mayara

    Hello Earl,
    How are you doing? I hope fine!

    I am goingo to India next March with my family and I am looking for how much I will spend there.
    I am talking with a guide from India and the price for a tour on Rajasthan with two meal, accomodation, transport and some some activities (elefant ride, camel ride…etc) it’s like $70,00 per day.
    I was thinking about is a good idea a guide only for the first days in India and than we can travel by ourselves…
    Do you think is that to expensive if you consider your experiense there?

    After our trip in Rajasthan we are planning go to Varanasi and Rishkesh!

    Thanks for your time.

    Best Wishes
    Mayara

    1. Wandering Earl

      Hey Mayara – It depends on what kind of accommodation, what kind of meals, what type of transportation, etc. so it’s hard for me to say if that’s a good price. Just make sure you have as many details as possible before your trip so that you know exactly what to expect and there are no surprises when you get there.

    2. shishir

      Well its a great idea just be careful do not get ripped off by anyone.
      I live in delhi and i have been to rishikesh and rajesthan $70 is a decent amount, food and travelling can happen in it but accomodation depends on what type of place do you choose
      and one more thing rajesthan is a big state and there are many places to visit there so travelling though will not be costly but it will be exausting and then you will certainly need a comfortable place to rest so here you may have to shell out more but it will be worth it because the hospitality at rajesthan is the best so I hope you have an enjoyable journey here
      ***cheers***

    3. rahul

      Hi Mayara,
      Sorry that I am replying you very late
      But Dear today only I registered in wanderingearl.com and saw your post today.
      Dear would like to tell you that if any one is asking you for usd 70000.00 for a day for two time meals and transportation and accommodation and camel or elephant ride then he is charging you very very much for a day.
      So be ware before paying anyone this amount if you need a fair deal then please send me your requirements then I will qoute you amazing deals with all your package tour including air fare and accommodation and local sight seen and food. And Could advise to your friends for fair deals and comfortable stay give us a chance. Thanks and Regards
      Rahul pandey
      Mob no 09837482007
      E.mail- [email protected]

  48. omer

    hey! these were all the details, could u please tell me that if I have a 10 day trip to India how much would it cost for me? I mean if I have a luxurious life not much luxurious but some how near to luxurious, like if I want to go to three or four cities and do site seeing. looking forward for your kind answer.
    thanks

    1. rahul

      Hi jacqui
      Sorry that I am replying you very late
      But Dear today only I registered in wanderingearl.com and saw your post today.
      Dear would like to tell you that if any one is asking you for usd 70000.00 for a day for two time meals and transportation and accommodation and camel or elephant ride then he is charging you very very much for a day.
      So be ware before paying anyone this amount if you need a fair deal then please send me your requirements then I will qoute you amazing deals with all your package tour including air fare and accommodation and local sight seen and food. And Could advise to your friends for fair deals and comfortable stay give us a chance. Thanks and Regards
      Rahul pandey
      Mob no 09837482007
      E.mail- [email protected]

  49. Antonio

    Hi Earl,

    thanks a lot for the explanation. I’m going to india next month and I’m organizing the all trip. I have on question though: how can I book the cheap and decent hotels, where I won’t be eaten up by bugs and bit to death by mosquitos? I can’t find any cheap places in the usual booking websites.

    Thank you

    1. Wandering Earl

      Hey Antonio – Don’t worry, that won’t happen. The thing with India is that it is difficult to find budget places listed on those booking websites. It’s much better to look online, at blogs and other articles from people who have been there. Simply search for blog posts about India on Google and contact the writers for their recommendations. If you let me know where you’re going in India, I can list a few good places too.

      1. Anita

        Hi Earl,

        Excellent post, lots of great info for planning my trip in the coming months. I will be spending two months (May and June) in India, travelling from Delhi to Kerala. I am currently looking at Delhi-shimla/ladakh-Rajasthan-Mumbai-Goa- Kerala before returning home. I will be travelling with my partner and we are looking at mid-range hotels that comes with a private bathroom. Nothing too expensive (approx. 20AUD). Would really appreciate hotel recommendations for these places. Just a note: we will be travelling as an unmarried couple and I’ve heard some hotels can turn you away for this reason. Is this true? We’re certainly keeping this in mind when picking hotels 🙂 Cheers

        1. Wandering Earl

          Hey Anita – That doesn’t really happen in India. I’ve never come across it except in one city, Ahmedabad, which is more conservative than others.

  50. isabells bellina

    so useful information, coz india such a crowded country that sometimes scared to visit…but its has so much wonderful place to travell…
    Very very useful
    Thank you

  51. Bhola Koirala

    thank you for the information that you provided in this blog. i want to visit india next summer and i am in tight budget. currently i live in USA, but i am from Nepal and i am pretty knowledgeable in indian culture and language. I am planning to live in india for 2 months and 1 month in Nepal. how much do you think i need for whole trip? (including flight cost)

    1. Wandering Earl

      Hey Bhola – It really depends on your travel style but you could stay in that region for around $700 USD per month quite easily, if you don’t move around too much. And the flight depends on when you will go but you should expect to pay around $1500 for all flights.

  52. Suresh

    Dear Earl,

    I am from Bangalore, India. I’ve recently stumbled on your blog and I have to say it’s really fantastic about India!!

    There are few details about my country for your travel adventures
    (you can put it in your blog for future travellers)

    Indian journey – where one lifetime of discovery falls short.

    The most incredible thing about India is its diversity. We have so many languages, dialects, religions and festivals and yet we continue to co-exist in a reasonably peaceful way. At every turn, stepping from one state to other, one will find a different tradition, cuisine, attire and language. It is just amazing ….

    1. Architecture
    There are at present 22 cultural i.e. historical and five natural ‘world heritage sites’. Some 19 more are awaiting recognition for the last ten to two years respectively. We proudly highlights the UNESCO world heritage sites of India for you.
    Taj Mahal – Symbol of love, one of the seven wonders of the world.
    Agra Fort – Mughal emperor Akbar (1542-1605) made Agra his capital and commissioned the massive red sandstone fort.
    Fatehpur Sikri – 26 km from Agra, served as the short-lived capital of Mughal Emperor Akbar between 1571-1585.
    Qutub Minar – the 238-ft (72.5m) five storey high sandstone minaret in Mehrauli, area makes a travel guide icon in Delhi.
    Red Fort – When Mughal emperor Shah Jahan shifted the capital from Agra to Delhi in 1639, he built the lal quila (Red Fort).
    Humayun’s Tomb – The Mughal practice of building gardened-tombs began with Humayun’s mausoleum.
    Rock Shelter of Bhimbetka – 45 km south of Bhopal, harbor exquisite stone age rock paintings dating approximately 9,000 years ago.
    Buddhist Monuments, Sanchi – The great Stupa – or Buddhist relic mound-commissioned by emperor Ashoka became the nucleus of architectural and artistic enterprise that continued through Sunga, Satvanha and Gupta period.
    Temples of Khajuraho – The much publicised erotic sculptures of Khajuraho constitute a small niche.
    Elephanta Caves – The island called Gharapuri got its name Elephanta from Portuguese colonizers.
    Ellora Caves – One of the largest rock-hewn temple complexes in the world, the Ellora Caves mark the apogee of Indian rock cut architecture
    Ajanta Caves – the Ajanta caves are most renowned for their pseudo-frescos and relief sculptures.
    Champaner Pavagarh -50 km from Vadodra, is an awe inspiring complex where Hindu and Muslim Architectures jostle.
    Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus – Formerlycalled Victoria Terminus or Bombay VT this grand British era railway terminus is one the busiest in India.
    Monuments of Hampi – Hampi ruins are the ‘remains of the day’ when the ‘never to be forgotten Hindu empire’ Vijaynagar succumbed to the Bahmani coalition on January 23, 1 565 at the battle of Talikot.
    Chola Temples – Cholas, the mighty empire builders, also erected some magnificent temples in Tamil Nadu between 10th and 12th century.
    Churches and Convents of Goa – The Churches and Convents of Goa, built in 16th and 17th century, include earliest specimen of European architecture in India.
    Mahabalipuram Temple Complex – Mahabalipuram temple complex is an alfresco museum of religious architecture and sculpting.
    Monuments complex at Pattadakal – 8th century-wonder of consecrated architecture, Pattakadal temple complex in Karnataka was primarily a work of Chalukya kings.
    Mahabodhi Temple Complex – Bodh Gaya (2002), Gautam Buddha (566-486 B.C.), famously attained his enlightenment below a Bodhi tree near today’s Gaya (Bihar) in 526 B.C.
    Sun Temple, Konark – a small coastal town in Orissa, is best known for its 13th century architectural wonder, the sun temple.
    Mountain railways of India. – When British developed hill stations in India, they were faced with the challenge to connect them meaningfully with the plains. This was achieved through construction of mountain railways that were an engineering miracle.
    2. Adventure tours
    Plan an exhilarating adventure, eco tour, or jungle safari with its extraordinary pastiche of landscapes from pancake flat deserts to jagged mountain peaks- India offers a myriad of outdoor Pursuits: a blood-pumping Himalayan trek, an inspiring wildlife safari, an invigorating white water rafting trip, or a splash in the sun – warmed water of tropical southern beaches. There is no death of fresh air pastimes. Thrill -seekers indulge in everything from paragliding, kayaking, and rock climbing to scuba diving, skiing, and even the new sport to “Zorbing.”
    A brilliant way to explore India’s great outdoors- blessed with a stunning repertoire of flora and fauna- is by safari. Safaris – on foot , jeep, elephant, boat, or horse- are possible in numerous protected areas, where visitors can view some of the most exotic wildlife on earth, including endangered animals like the Bengal tiger, Asiatic lion, and India rhinoceros. Birdwatchers shouldn’t miss premier sanctuaries such as Keoladeo Ghana National park, near Bharatpur, Rajasthan, which attracts over 350 species. India has more than 80 national parks and hundreds of wildlife sanctuaries. No matter which type of reserve you visit, making arrangements in advance for accommodations and safari bookings as well as checking prime wildlife -spotting time – is advisable.
    3.Wildlife Tours
    If you have yen for wildlife and wish to capture it on your camera, then make your travel plans to some of India’s finest wildlife parks…
    India’s wealth of plant and wildlife can be best savoured in its national parkls and wildlife swantuaries. Some of the famous national parks of India are Ranthambore national park, Jim Corbett, Bandhavgarh, Kanha, Periyar, Kaziranga, Gir Forest. Judging from statistic, India is concerned about it’s flora and fauna -we have 80 national parks, 441 sanctuaries, 23 tiger reserves, which house the largest number of tigers, Asiatic Lions, one-horned rhino, elephants and birds in the world.
    4. Shopping Paradise
    India is a treasure for shopping lover. India is known for its Handicraft, Jewelry, Textiles, Carpets, stones, spices and many more items. The artisans of India have been in business since the days of Indus valley Civilization (2500 BC). Like in pre-industrial medieval Europe, craftsman were organized into various corporate guilds in ancient India. Every craft was sub-case e.g. weavers, potters, carpenters, goldsmiths that gave them a hereditary genius. From Kashmir to Kanchipuram (Tamil nadu) and Kutch (Gujarat) to India’s north-east almost every state of India has a flourishing craft culture. The art of silk weaving in India is said to be one of the finest in the world.
    5. Peoples and culture
    The people and their genuine warmth is what attracts everyone to India. Treat the guest like ” Atithi Devo Bhavah” hold absolutely true here. This is something you won’t find anywhere in the world. The optimism in us is what keeps us going. It’s only in this land where you will stumble upon people playing marbles and flying kites, juxtaposed with ascetics meditating on the riverbanks and the Himalayas. India is a land of contrasts. Here, the past rubs shoulders with the present and great architecture, a rich culture, history, diversity and magnificent natural splendour make this country the preferred destination of many.
    6. Festivals
    India is a rainbow of festivals. In a land of diversity, each of India’s many diverse groups exult in their own special revelry. Be it the vibrancy of Ganesh Chaturthi, the beautiful classic poses of dancers during the Chennai dance festival, the clarion call of muezzin during Eid, the furious rowing of the boatman during the snake boat races of Onam, the gourmet spreads laid out during Navroz, the chanting of hymns in white-washed churches or the tribal festivities of the Hornbill festival. The biggest fairs and festivals to be enjoyed in India from the months of August to December. Travelers are coming from all over the world for festival tours of India.
    7. Indian Cuisine
    Indian cuisine is famous and relished all over the world and enjoys a reputation at par with other cuisines of the world. The culinary of Indian cuisine is a science, which has developed over thousands of years. The classic range of regional cuisines from North to South and East to West reflects the great size of India and its un parallel cultural heritage. The Indian Cuisine in both vegetarian and Non Vegetarian Indian food, has an unmatched charm because of the extravagant spices used in Indian Cuisine, thus India is better understood as “HOME OF THE SPICES”. The art of preparing authentic Indian Food does not involve an overdose of spices, but the delicacy and mixing of right spices in right quantities. India is a land of diverse religions, customs, festivals, culinary flavors and climatic conditions. Thus each part of India has added and enhanced the flavor of its dishes by blending spices, herbs and condiments to make the dish more exquisite, exotic and heavenly.
    8. Wellness and Spa
    Wellness in India, has different forms, connotations and techniques. From Yoga to Ayurveda (the science of healing) to Indian medical systems, the most famous way of keeping fit is perhaps Yoga. The recent surge of different forms of yoga and its popularity in almost every generation of fitness enthusiasts has proved one thing: India is going back to its roots and leading the world too.
    In recent years peoples are visiting India for yoga and wellness tour. India has variety of Ayurveda and Spa resorts. South India is famous for its Ayurveda Packages. Destinations like Rishikesh and Ananada in the Himalayas are very famous for their ashrams and yoga learning centers in India.
    9. Spiritual India
    Spirituality, like an ageless rhythm, has travelled through the ages, enveloping sages, kings, reformers and devotees in India. Some kept it hijacked, as a tool to power; some coined it in difficult texts and kept it carefully guarded from ordinary men; some liberated it from the clasp of priest; some transformed it into melodious rhyme and song; some gave it the freedom to curl on lips the way nature intended it to be …
    Pilgrimage Tours of India gives an opportunity to communicate with the creator, it opens up the bright vistas of positivism as one begins top expect, it renews the will to live. Spiritual India brings comfort to the soul.
    10. Landscapes
    No destination in the world beats the landscapes of India. Where else in the world you can find deserts and mountain ranges together. India is blessed with natural beauty and a land of topographical contrasts. India is, undoubtedly, the ideal and affordable destination for those looking for a relaxed holiday in a cool and pollution-free setting. So some and explore the nature, beautiful landscapes and snow covered peaks.

    “If I were to look over the whole world to find out the country most richly endowed with all the wealth, power and beauty that nature can bestow, in some parts a very paradise on earth, I should point to India.”Professor Max Mueller (1832-1900)”

  53. Scarlett

    Fantastic information!! Thanks so much. We are planning on going in March from the UK. So incredibly excited and your blog has just made me that bit more excited!!! So reassuring that we are able to do it on such a cheap budget aswell. The only thing a couple of 23 year olds are worried about really…!

    1. Wandering Earl

      Hey Scarlett – Is is one of the easiest countries to visit on a cheap budget so I don’t imagine you’ll have much of a problem!

  54. Siana Gurung

    What if we can’t speak Hindi language? What do we have to do if that situation comes up?
    Are there any Translating Companies? I am always thinking of traveling to India but I get really disappointed while thinking about not being able to speak the language.

  55. Mackenzie F.

    I’m looking into traveling India next Christmas and am curious about visas. I’d only be there about 3 weeks. As a US citizen, for a short time period, do I need to get a longer visa anyway?

    1. Wandering Earl

      Hey Mackenzie – The minimum visa for US citizens is a 6 month tourist visa so that’s what you need to apply for no matter how long you plan to stay. Also, keep in mind that the visa is valid from the day it is issued, not the day you arrive in India. So if you got it now and went to India in 3 months, you would only have 3 months left.

  56. Gav

    Hey Earl,
    Great blog, glad I found it! So my wife and I are heading out to India in three weeks, we think for three months. We’re on a budget, so it seemed like a good place to get bang for our buck!

    Would you recommend landing in Mumbai or Bangalore for our first stop and entry point? We were going to spend a month taking it easy in a beach area before making plans, maybe Karnataka?

    1. Wandering Earl

      Hey Gav – Either Bangalore or Mumbai works…they are both big cities so it doesn’t really matter. My advice would be to get out of either as soon as you arrive though as many people get a bit overwhelmed when they stay in one of the major cities for a few days. If that’s your first India experience, it can definitely be intense so it’s better to go somewhere smaller and save the cities for a time when you’re more comfortable. As for the beach, Karnataka works….there’s always a place like Gokarna which is nice, or else just head to Goa. There are dozens of beaches in Goa and you can definitely find one that suits your interests.

    1. Wandering Earl

      Hey Yasmin – It’s going to be tough to visit much of the himalaya in February. Many of the roads will be blocked because of snow 🙂

  57. Linda

    Hi Earl,
    We are leaving October 31 for three weeks to Bangalore, Mysore and Poontthatham for a Ayuveda week. Any must sees? Two philosophies I am hearing, plan every second with tours and the other from my world travelor friend saying relax, take it day by day with very little planning. This is my only time going to India and I want to make the most most of it. Would love your suggestions. Thanks

    1. Wandering Earl

      Hey Linda – I personally wouldn’t plan but that’s how I like to travel. I find India far more rewarding when you just show up, see how the adventure goes and take it one step at a time. You won’t see everything, and in 3 weeks, you’ll barely see a tiny fraction of the country so the best thing is to accept that, try to visit a few destinations and immerse yourself as fully as possible in those few places you do get to experience.

  58. Katie

    Hi Earl! This guide was extremely helpful in confirming my budget plans! I’m getting ready for 3.5 months in India and 2 weeks in Vietnam starting November 21. Seven weeks of this trip is dedicated to yoga in Mysore, but the rest is travel time. I’m excited but apprehensive about doing India alone for the first time. What are your thoughts on tours? I’ve been looking at an Intrepid Travel tour for the first three weeks of my trip to get a bit acclimated before I strike out on my own.

    1. Wandering Earl

      Hey Katie – It really depends on the individual as some people are more comfortable on a tour and others get excited about traveling independently, even if it will be challenging. I see nothing wrong with tours if that’s what you prefer and if you think that will make your adjustment easier but at the same time, if you take it slow and do enough research, India doesn’t have to be as overwhelming as many people make it out to be!

  59. CGV

    Hi Wandering Earl,
    I’ve recently stumbled on your blog and I have to say it’s really fantastic!! I will be travelling solo for the first time to India in Sept, actually doing some volunteering in Rishikesh for a few months. For the most part I have heard that there is little too worry about me being a solo female traveler in India but I know I should still be vigilant. My question is, in your opinion, where is the best place to exchange your USD for Rupees? And if I plan on being there for a few months how much money should I exchange? While volunteering I will be staying at an Ashram so my accommodations will be covered while volunteering. I don’t want to take to many trips to the ATM or banks for security reasons. Any thoughts?
    I look forward to following your blog!

    1. Wandering Earl

      @CGV – I personally would just take money out of an ATM as you don’t want to travel around India, or stay in India, with a large amount of money on you. That’s never a good idea in any country as it simply increases the risk of losing a large amount of cash. And there are ATM machines all over India so you can take out what you need whenever you need it (just check with your bank about how much the international fees are to take out money overseas). This is much more secure than carrying cash with you for sure.

      But as for how much you need, it really depends. Food is quite cheap but if you want some more Western food, it will cost more. I always say you could travel in India for around $500 per month, especially if your accommodation is covered.

  60. Yatinder

    Hi Earl
    you wrote exactly what happens in India
    But also need advice (we Indian give free advice everytime)
    you opted wrong mobile network here Aircel a new born to india
    You should go for Airtel or BSNL with 3G (you can put it in your blog for future travellers)
    For food I must remember E coli travellers diarrhea so packaged food only and water only from branded company like bisleri Pepsi or Coca-Cola
    try Indian cuisine but careful only standard hotels only
    transport never hire a 3 tyre auto they always unfair with you I have seen many times 5 times price prepaid taxi or Indian tourism department taxi are better
    for long distances hire cars (runs as per kilometer) or govt buses
    never get into 3rd class or general class of Train never you got crushed in crowd and your luggage surely stolen(depends on which part of India you travelling)
    other then this next time

    1. Wandering Earl

      Hey Yatinder – Thank you for the comment. The thing is that I think you are looking at India from a local perspective, where I am looking at it from a foreigner’s perspective. There was nothing wrong with Aircel at all and their rates were extremely cheap…I can highly recommend them. As for food, eating at hotels is not something that travelers want and it is perfectly easy to eat in restaurants all over the country and not get sick. Packaged food is not good for you either as that is typically full of preservatives and additives. And auto-rickshaws are also good for foreigners. Yes, we might get charged more but we can negotiate and in the end, if we get charged a little more, it’s not the end of the world. I’ve taken hundreds of auto-rickshaws during my travels in India and I’ve never paid more than a prepaid taxi! Third class trains are also a cultural experience for foreign travelers.

  61. AJ Aerni

    Derek, I used a different website for getting my India visa and didn’t have any problems at all while I was in Chiang Mai so perhaps it could be added to your post above to offer more options? (you mentioned US Citizens have to use the Travisa Outsourcing site) I’ve included a link to the service and process I followed here – https://destinationgrowth.com/how-to-get-a-visa-for-india-while-in-chiang-mai/ Happy travels, thank you for sharing your wonderful experiences, and of course – be well. And namaste.

    1. Wandering Earl

      Hey AJ – In regards to the visa, I was simply showing how US Citizens must get an Indian visa when applying in the US. There are no other options for applying in the US than using this website I mentioned. There are other options for applying when applying at an Indian Embassy/Consulate overseas.

  62. Ashley

    What about racism in India it seems a great place to put on an itinery but I heard of one black backpacker getting stones thrown at them. I am mixed race myself but it would still be a concern.

    1. Wandering Earl

      Hey Ashley – I’ve never really heard of anything like that happening in India and have met plenty of people from diverse backgrounds – religious, racial, ethnic, etc. – traveling there.

  63. Pingback: India Must-Read Blogs | FRUGAL FROLICKER | Independent Adventure Travel

  64. Brandon Quinn

    Thank you for this post! I will be traveling through India for a year on a roughly 20 dollar per day budget beginning in early August. I am open to working here and there to suppliment income. Any specific ideas about quick jobs that you can pick up? Are there any cities/sites/experiences that you think are must sees for anyone with a highly flexible plan?

    1. Wandering Earl

      Hey Brandon – That’s a tricky one as India is not an easy place to find work, especially paid work, since it is a developing country. There just aren’t many opportunities for foreigners when there are so many locals that need work and the wages are on the low side. I would check out helpx.net and look for opportunities there although keep in mind that most of these will offer room/board in exchange for a few hours of work per day. They generally won’t be paid positions.

  65. Pingback: Travel Information About India - Blogs Research - Fluent In Frolicking

  66. Don Hancock

    I earl – I really thought your post on costs was great. However, I am planning to travel around India with my partner and 2 kids (7 & 10) and I wondered how your rough costs multiplied when considering children? Sometimes it is hard to find accommodation that sleeps 4 and this can increase price as well as difficulty. Assuming 25 USD/ day per person should I estimate for 100 USD for a family of 4 or do you think I will be able to secure ‘group discount’. 🙂

    1. Wandering Earl

      Hey Don – You wouldn’t need to increase the price that much at all. Many hotels, especially budget hotels, will let you have a family in the same room for the same rate as two people, or in some cases, they might charge an extra couple of dollars and they will add a couple of mattresses. Otherwise, most budget hotels have larger rooms with three or four beds and these are usually not too much more expensive than a double room. Of course, it depends on your overall travel style but a family of four that shares one room could probably get by on about $60 – $70 USD per day in my opinion. So there will definitely be a group discount involved!

  67. Rhyma

    Talk to a local resident!
    Nothing like asking someone [who looks approachable -perhaps a college kid] what the local rates of a certain commodity or what the fare ideally would be from place to place – this is most effective in bigger cities like Mumbai and Delhi. If you have the time, ask a couple of people. You’ll find they are happy to help and speak fluent english.

    Very often I’ve seen foreigners get asked to pay 3 times as much as what I was asked to pay – specially at flea markets and in places like Goa where they have a frequent flow of tourists. Its very rare that a local will step in and tell you what the actual cost is or what you should be paying.

    Good luck!

  68. Pingback: How to Manage Money When Travelling

    1. Wandering Earl

      Hey Izy – Well, I should probably find a female traveler to write about that topic 🙂 However, I can say that there are solo females traveling all over this country and the overwhelming majority don’t seem to have any problems beyond the frequent stares, marriage proposals and the occasional wandering hand of a stranger.

  69. Elle of Solo Female Nomad

    India, I agree, is very cheap to travel in. I did find that there was very much a two tier sytem for almost everything I purchased, even packets of chips/crisps. The foreigners would pay one price, and the Indians a much cheaper price.
    Bargaining was very much a daily activity, so much so that when I got home to the UK I was still bargaining with vendors!

    1. Wandering Earl

      Hey Elle – The key is to always check the packaging as the official price is printed on things such as chips/toiletries/cold drinks/ or pretty much anything else that comes in a package. You should never pay more than that price!

  70. Elaine Cook

    Hi Earl,

    I can’t believe my luck on stopping by your blog by chance.

    I’m travelling to India this February for the first time and have set up a travel blog (another first), called A Geordie Up The Ganges.

    http://www.ageordieuptheganges.com

    I’ve just scrolled quickly down your list of posts in India and can’t wait to read the posts properly – I think the information you have posted will be very helpful to me – I’ve got so many questions running round in my head.

    Just wanted you to know you’ve got another follower.

    Enjoy your time in India.

    Elaine

  71. Shreyas

    Hi!

    Its amazing to read such a detailed post on India from a foreigner. You seem to have cracked the nut here. But one thing I noticed common throughout your Indian blogs is that you rarely mention anything about south India. In case you haven’t explored this part, I strongly suggest you spend some time in cities like Bangalore and Hyderabad. Although there aren’t a lot of ‘places to visit’ like the Taj Mahal or Palaces of Rajasthan, the western ghats in Karnataka and Kerala are amazingly beautiful in terms of natural beauty. I’m sure that with the amount of travel you do every year you wont mind relaxing for a while in the backwaters of Kerala enjoying excellent Ayurvedic Spa sessions.

    Considering this is my first comment on your site, I must say you really know how to keep your audience entertained while giving away a lot of information which inspires quite a number of aspiring travellers like me. Cheers!

    1. Wandering Earl

      Hey Shreyas – I have been to the south of India two or three times I believe but it’s been a few years since my last visit there. But if all goes well on this current trip, I do plan to return to Kerala/Karnataka/Goa in January!

  72. Lien

    Thanks Earl for the great information. India is on my list. Who are those great looking men you were sitting with? Best, lien

    1. Wandering Earl

      Hey Lien – Those were some Sikhs that were having a celebration for one of the Sikh holidays and I just happened to be walking by. They are actually the ones who called me over to have a photo taken!

  73. Regina @ a Nomad's Dream

    Thank you so much for this fantastic post. We have recently startingto think about India, once we are done with Thailand, Cambodia & Vietnam.
    Had always wondered about the internet quality, since its essential for us. So thank you for your advise there.

    1. Wandering Earl

      Hey Regina – Internet quality is actually decent here…it’s just not everywhere. But it’s much better than it was several years ago!

  74. EarthDrifter

    This practical info would have helped me immensely while planning my trip to India and it’ll be good for a good brush-up if and when I make it back. It’s Interesting that Finland and Luxembourg are the two European lands whose citizens can get 30-day visas on arrival, and New Zealand too, and US citizens aren’t eligible for this yet it’s the only citizenship that qualifies for five and ten year visas.

    1. Wandering Earl

      @Earthdrifter – It is bizarre and who knows how all of these visa rules/regulations come about…I can’t imagine who makes these rules!

  75. Preeti

    This is perfect timing. I just found out I was accepted into a program that’ll allow me to study/work in India for a year. I’m so exited and just starting to figure out a budget for the year.

    The last time I was in India, we went to Nepal and came back a few days later without any issues. Every country has some strange restrictions on something. You just have to learn to roll with it.

      1. Preeti

        I’ll be in Delhi for 6 months, Mumbai for 3 months and Goa for 3 months. I’ll pretty much be all over the country and I am so exited. Its going to be awesome year.

  76. Stephen

    I’m actually in the middle of getting my visa application ready to apply in Houston (fingers crossed for 10 years!).

    Per Travisa’s page regarding re-entry:

    “Permit to Re-Enter Restriction Lifted

    Travelers on a Tourist visa were previously required to have a gap of at least 2 months between two separate visits to India. The restriction has now been lifted except for nationals of China, Iran, Pakistan, Iraq, Sudan, Bangladesh, Afghanistan, foreigners of Pakistan and Bangladesh origin and stateless persons.”

    httpss://indiavisa.travisaoutsourcing.com/homepage

    Hopefully that will prove useful to you and your readers!

    1. Wandering Earl

      Hey Stephen – Thanks for sharing that and if that’s the case, traveling here will be much easier and more hassle-free! Good luck with getting your visa 🙂

  77. Sarah Shaw

    I thought you did a great summary of travel in India. After my first trip. I went ahead and got a 10 year visa as I knew I would be going back again and again. Planning my 5th trip for 2013 now! One thing that took me by surprise my first time was the number of times there was a camera fee when visiting destinations. Not always a lot of money but I always wanted the photo memories and others might want to add it to their budgets too.

    1. Wandering Earl

      Hey Sarah – The camera fee thing always surprises me too. Usually it’s reasonable though…except at the Jama Masjid (the big mosque in Delhi) where they charge 300 Rps.

  78. Deb

    Now that’s what I’m talking about, Earl! Great post and very informative. Boots on the ground info is invaluable. Thanks for the heads up on internet and phone. Less than $4 for ATM fee…ha! I am currently paying $8 in Panama.

    1. Wandering Earl

      Hey Deb – And I think I figured out the other day that if you use the official State Bank of India ATMs, there are no fees! I need to confirm this again though.

  79. Tyrhone

    Great info for travelers, when we went there a few years ago, we were travelling more like holiday makers, and ended up going the slightly “posher” route, paying as you say around 1000 rupees a night for acommodation. On a budget now I wouldn’t dream of spending that much if I didn’t have to.

    1. Wandering Earl

      Hey Tyrhone – Luckily, if you do come back to India, you won’t have to spend that amount as there are plenty of cheaper options around!

  80. Jonathan Paradis

    Good summary, Earl! One think I’d like to mention for those who hail from the West is that luxury is surprisingly undiscounted in India. If you want to live an Indian lifestyle, that is eat what locals eat most of the time and shop for what you need in street bazaars, it’s indeed possible to survive on a very low budget. I’ve noticed, however, that as soon as one wants to live in a way that’s slightly more Western, prices increase dramatically. For example, in Delhi a cup of chai generally costs Rs. 5, but a cup of coffee is Rs. 70 and up. Malls such as Saket offer anything you’d find back home, but also at the international prices you’d find back home (if not more). Alcohol in states such as Delhi or Mumbai are relatively expensive, unless you avail of happy hours which generally involve getting a free beverage for each you order before a certain time. People who have money in India are absolutely fine with spending it on goods they proudly display to enhance their status. Anyone who expects finding comfort levels that are comparable to those of the West are better expecting to pay just about as much as they would in their country of origin. For those willing to rough it though, India remains an incredible bargain, especially when exchange rates are on your side!

    1. Wandering Earl

      Hey Jonathan – Thanks for all of that information! And I think that India is still a great bargain for those who are okay with a couple of steps up from ‘rouging it’ as well. I’m in a nice cafe right now drinking a medium cappuccino that only cost me 50 Rps 🙂

  81. Scott

    My mothers cousing and his partner spend 3-6 months out of every year in India….perhaps I am missing out on a great place to see.

  82. Jenni

    Having been to India several times I can say that this is a GREAT breakdown of the expenses associated with traveling through this awesome country! Thanks for putting this info together… I will share it with others who may be interested!

  83. karen

    Actually (in New Zealand anyway) you can only get a six month visa and can stay 90 days then have to leave for two months then stay another 90 days….a recent change apparently to visa rules. Not sure how that works by going to Sri Lanka then returning immediately – I am about to apply for my visa and find out!
    Also how is using your cell for skyping on a local data plan? I’m a journalist and need to work while I travel interviewing people by phone. The internet provider you mention in your article is very expensive US$12.95 for just 150MB per day so not really practical for long term travellers like me.

    1. Wandering Earl

      Hey Karen – The data plan is okay, but usually not strong enough for clear skyping of more than a minute. It does cut off, especially if you’re outside of major cities, which is most of India 🙂

  84. Gigi

    Perfect timing! Just started a roundup of all the good budgeting resources I can find for travel. I’m putting yours on the site as we speak.

    Cheers!

  85. Pingback: Traveling is Not as Expensive as You Think | the ramble

  86. Patricia Adams

    Fabulous work you did on the blog. I hitched through Europe in 1972 following the book “Europe on $10 a day”. It worked great—-super little hotels, the restaurant and travel deals – tres bon!

    I STRONGLY feel you should flesh this out a bit and publish your own book on traveling to India. It would be a hit! You are close to halfway there—-India on $25 a day (with side notes on the $15 a day). Oh Yeah, big seller, I see it now! Peace, Patricia

    1. Wandering Earl

      Hey Patricia – Thanks for the recommendation and it’s not a bad idea at all 🙂 All I need now is some free time to make it happen!

  87. Forest Parks

    I so badly want to go to India. It sucks that I can only get 6-months as I would also love to actually live there for a year or two, still you can’t have everything :).

    Thanks for the comprehensive breakdown of costs. I expect i’ll get there in 2014 and I wonder how much prices would have changed by then.

    How quickly have prices been rising since you first visited?

    1. Wandering Earl

      Hey Forest – You’ll get there eventually I’m sure 🙂

      And prices haven’t increased too much. Ultra budget rooms back in 2001 cost around 200 Rupees per night and that’s about what they cost now. Food is still around the same prices too. Transportation has increased but with the 2nd Class Sleeper trains, it’s still a huge bargain to get around. I’m researching a trip for next week that will take 13 hours by train and the 2nd Classs Sleeper ticket is only 300 Rps (less than $6 USD).

  88. Alyson

    That is fantastic information, thanks. We are going next year, taking the kids for the first time. India is my favourite country too. I’ve spent a fair bit of time there, so I’m semi comfortable with taking the children, but it will be challenging. Last time we went, 11 years ago, our daily budget was $10, that was as a couple, obviously cheaper than 2 individuals, and covered rooms, food, transport and a fair amount of beer. Accommodation was patchy, some places were better than others, only one place, in Goa, was so full of cockroaches that we had to leave. We ended up in a fairly luxurious hotel that was cheaper than the backpacker place as it was the off season and the package tourists weren’t around. Prices have obviously gone up a bit since then, it’s still looking pretty budget friendly though, thanks.

    1. Wandering Earl

      Hey Alyson – It’s definitely still budget-friendly and your mention of staying in a luxury hotel for the price of a budget hotel is something for any traveler to take note of. I did the same on my last visit to India and it’s one of the benefits of traveling during the off-season 🙂

    1. Wandering Earl

      Hey David – The 5-year and 10-year visas are only available to US citizens for some reason as there is some kind of deal that was worked out 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *