The Average Daily Budget for Backpacking in India
If you're traveling on a tight budget or backpacking in India it's useful to work out an average daily budget because if you can figure out how much you are likely to spend each day then it's easier to save up and plan for your trip.
So to help you I've broken down my usual daily expenses while backpacking in India to explain an average daily budget and also written down some typical costs and lots of tips for traveling India on a budget.
So how much does it cost to backpack in India?
The cost of backpacking in India can vary depending on the level of comfort you need and your style of travelling.
India is changing quickly, and as it modernises the range of options and services for travellers are increasing; you can still travel here dirt cheap or you can also travel in pretty good comfort, or even ultimate luxury, for less than in many part of the world.
The good news for budget travellers is that backpacking in India is still great value and India remains one of the cheapest places to travel in the world.
So whats the average daily cost of backpacking in India?
It's always hard to generalise because the end cost will be different for everyone depending on the places travelled, the style of travel and comfort and the travellers' skill in haggling! But, my simple answer is that most budget travellers spend between ₹1,300 - ₹2,300 a day backpacking around India. That’s roughly $20 - $35/ £12 - £23 a day (not taking into account initial cost of flights and visas)
So, here’s a quick run down of the average costs you are likely to encounter while backpacking around India.
I have displayed costs in local currency ₹ Indian Rupees, £ British Pounds and US Dollars but be aware that exchange rates and prices can and do change.
The Average Cost of Backpacking Around India
|Item||Average Cost in ₹ Indian Rupees||Approx Cost in GDP £||Approx Cost in US$|
|Guesthouse for 2||₹ 700||£7.00||$10.50|
|Restaurant Meal||₹ 150||£1.50||$2.40|
|Street Food/ Snacks||₹ 50||£0.50||$0.80|
|Long Distance (12hr) Bus/Train||₹ 500||£5.00||$7.50|
|Local Transport & Taxis||₹ 70||£0.70||$1.10|
|Bottle of Water||₹ 20||£0.20||$0.35|
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Budget Tips for Backpacking India
Of course, somedays you will spend more, and somedays you will spend less - fitting in all these activities and expenses into one day you would be pretty exhausted and India is not a place that you will enjoy rushing but this should give you an idea of the common costs to budget for.
Accommodation is the hardest to determine an average price as guesthouses can range between ₹ 300 to ₹ 1000 in a more expensive city like Mumbai or if you are just longing for a bit more comfort. New backpacker hostels are now starting to open up in India but usually a budget guesthouse is cheaper than 2 beds in a hostel.
The fares on local buses and Indian Railways (in the cheapest classes) are great value (but trains can be hard to book see my guide on train travel in India) Deluxe tourist or sleeper buses cost more and traveling long distances quickly is going to eat up a backpacker's budget. Traveling slow can reduce the costs and hassle factor of backpacking India, although if you were taking a long distance bus or train then you would often travel overnight so you wouldn't need to spend on accommodation that night.
Eating Indian food is always cheaper than Western food and skipping a few beers would save you money (India doesn't really have a big drinking culture anyway) There are also many free or cheaper sightseeing options so you probably wouldn't visit a ₹ 250 attraction every day.
So basically some days you will spend more and some less but the average daily spend for backpacking in India would be around ₹1,250 per day (£12 or US$18).
For one month backpacking in India I would allow at least ₹ 40,000 ( £400 or US$ 600)
These are the costs for 2 people traveling together, if you were traveling alone then you would be paying the whole cost of the accommodation and taxis yourself, meals are also often made for sharing so you can split the cost of this if traveling together so you would spend more traveling alone.
I average about ₹ 2,000 INR per day if I am traveling solo and often, as a solo female traveler I will opt for a higher class of train or slightly nicer guest house or restaurant if I feel that I need to for safety or sanity. (See my tips for traveling India as a solo female.)
But you could backpack India cheaper than this
It's still definitely possible to backpack India for ₹1000 a day (£10 / $16) - public transport is great value in the lowest classes, street food can be found for next to nothing and there are many dirt cheap guesthouses, but it's often better to be prepared to spend a little more to make your travels easier and more enjoyable and it's always better to have too much money than not enough!
See a more detailed breakdown of the costs of backpacking India and budget tips here
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