India is consistently claimed to be one of the cheapest countries in the world to travel in.
I have to say, though, it wasn’t as cheap as I was expecting. We were definitely amazed on numerous occasions just how cheap things could be, but based on my own research prior to arriving I expected my daily expenditure to be much lower.
Let’s face it, the older you get, the higher your standards are and Oli and I are no exceptions. Whilst we once used to pride ourselves on being king and queen of the £1 hotel room, nowadays we crave more privacy and comfort than those prices bring.
I can’t seem to equate this need with my budgeting plans though and had to change my daily budget numerous times on our trip to India so that I wouldn’t get judged by the mean cartoon in the Trail wallet app!
So I want to add my two rupees to the table and give you a 2015 update for an india travel budget, based on my own honest spending.
For two people sharing costs, at a level of comfort and extravagance that factors out dorm beds and factors in multiple lassis a day, here is how we spent an average of £18.23 per person, per day for a 49 day trip to India.
I’m talking about these first to disclose that I’m not including the £130.31 I spent on souvenirs in the calculations for this post. This is mainly because ¾ of that amount was my christmas shopping!
I love travelling in November as it means I can get my friends and family really unique presents and by the time December 25th rolls around I’m not completely broke. So, as this is not a typical travel expense, I’ve deducted the £2.66 daily average for souvenirs from the totals you see in the print screen of the trail wallet pie chart.
India is a fabulous place to shop, especially for homeware and jewellery, so do factor in a little extra cash for souvenirs yourself.
Food was our biggest expense by a long way, at £5.73 per day. What can I say? We ate SO well in India.
This daily average includes 3 meals a day plus drinks, such as our daily lassi and lime soda obsession. Usually it is Western Food that brings food budgets higher, but other than a pizza here and a bowl of granola there, we ate only India food. So, if you have a penchant for burgers and pasta dishes, expect to add a little more to our daily budget.
Knowing we would inevitably drink a lot of tea, I attempted a Chai budget but often forgot to separate the bill and log it separately. Bearing this in mind, we also spend a daily average of £0.25 on delicious, delicious chai.
Accommodation was our second biggest expense and came in at an average of £4.28 per day.
You can absolutely spend much less by sharing double rooms in very basic hotels and even for some beds in dorm rooms. I think accommodation was where I under-budgeted the most based on other blog recommendations. We ended up spending a bit more on private rooms in fun hostels and unique Haveli stays, which were so worth it.
I’ll actually write a separate post about some of the places we stayed as we had some of the best accommodation experiences of our travels in India.
Our daily average for entertainment was £3.87 which includes entrance fees for attractions and museums as well as boat trips, massages and our cooking class.
This is unsurprisingly the third biggest expense as we saw a hell of a lot in our 7 weeks in India. Do not underestimate the tourist prices for palaces and forts which were often about 500 rupees.
Transport is relatively low on the list considering the fact that we visited 12 different places. It’s a testament to just how cheap travel can be in India.
We spent an average £2.63 per day and took 54 separate forms of transport. Our most common choice were buses simply because so many trains we tried to take were fully booked.
Essentials for the trip included buying a sim and keeping it loaded with call time and data, as well as laundry and other random necessities like a new padlock. This clocked in at £0.77 per day, an amount I would recommend budgeting as having a functioning phone was so useful for booking hotels, calling tuk tuk drivers and, uh, Instagram.
Last but not least was alcohol. Amazingly, unlike any budget breakdown I’ve done before, this only equated to £0.67 per day!
In India alcohol is expensive in relation to most other expenses and is also not readily available in many places due to religious and cultural reasons. We splurged on a couple of evenings out but ultimately preferred fresh lassis and chai and felt amazing for it.
The Take Away
When you break it down, India really was a cheap destination considering how much we felt like we splurged. Apart from abstaining from alcohol, we stayed in some of the nicest hotels we’ve ever stayed in and didn’t miss out on any trips or sights due to budgeting. And we still only spent less than £20 a day.
For anyone reading this, I want to emphasise how much it is worth adding an extra £5 to your India travel budget. We could have been more frugal, but I am so glad we didn’t. In India, there is some serious luxury, and some serious adventures, to be had at fantastic value and you would not want to miss out on that.
Have you visited India? How did you find it budget-wise? Also, for anyone not aware of Trail Wallet it is a budgeting app made by travellers, for travellers and it is such a fantastic way to track spending while abroad.