The Average Daily Budget for Backpacking in India

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
Beer ₹ 100 £1.00 $1.60
Attractions ₹ 250 £2.50 $3.85

Update Jan 2017 – Most attractions now charge 500 rupees so if you plan to do alot of sightseeing this could push up your daily budget


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The Average Daily Budget for Backpacking in India

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)

Sunset at the temples of Khajuraho

Sunset at the temples of Khajuraho

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

Beaches in Goa are perfect for backpackers

Beaches in Goa are perfect for backpackers

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Sunset over romantic Udaipur in Rajasthan

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The Average Daily Cost of Backpacking in India


  • Megan Indoe says:

    This post is extremely helpful! Scott spent a few months in India a few years back, but we are planning on planning another trip (possibly a year long trip) through India! Sometimes it’s hard to get a good estimate of cost before the trip if it has been awhile since visiting since places are always changing. Thanks for sharing!

    • Anna says:

      Thanks Megan, I’m glad you found it useful. Yes, some places are more expensive than others but these figures are my averages and of course costs can vary depending on your ability to haggle! If you are planning to travel India for a year I would advise budgeting a little more for when you need a bit more comfort (and a visa run after 180 days)

  • Great article! We kept detailed records of our expenses. We spent an average of $12 USD per person per day, but that also includes a lot of CouchSurfing (had rich experiences through that!) CouchSurfing is big in India, so I would highly recommend it to get immersed into the culture and meet some great people.

    • Anna says:

      That’s pretty good. I think couch surfing is a great way to get a more local experience as well as saving money but as a solo female I’m still quite cautious about couch surfing in India although as a couple it would be great!

  • This is so helpful, thank you for sharing!
    We’re on a 10 month trip (with an overseas move at the end), and will be arriving in India in March/April. After blowing slightly over our budget in SE Asia in the last couple of months, we’ve been hoping India will be a chance to make it up again… This post has been very reassuring! Beautiful photos too ????

    • Anna says:

      Hi Miranda! Thanks so much! 🙂 I’m really glad that it helped, of course there are still many temptations to blow the budget in India but I hope you have a great time in India! 🙂

  • Jay says:

    I wish I have found your blog sooner! I’m back from India now after 2.5 months and I could vouch the (approximate) accuracy of this information!! I am trying to write about my travel budget in India as well but yours seems to be so comprehensive I might as well share your blog link to my reader! 😉

  • Georgette Olaiya says:

    Thank you so much for this article! I fly to India on Sunday and reading this really helped put my mind at ease regarding how I should plan my budget while I am there. Its always inspiring to read about people who have quit their jobs to travel and have been doing it for some time – I quit my job last month to do the same thing and this is the start of my travels!

    • Anna says:

      Hi Georgette

      Glad you liked the article and exciting that you are traveling to India soon – you can travel here very cheap but sometimes its a good idea to allow a little more in the budget so you can upgrade to a more comfortable hotel or transport option every now and then.

      Hope your travels go well and glad to hear you got out of the system to see the world and make the most of your life.

      Happy Travels 🙂

  • Were you able to visit Goa? The beach was beautiful and it wasn’t costly. Great job on the article, I’m pretty sure a lot of travelers will find this very helpful and head to India tomorrow! 🙂

    • Anna says:

      Thanks Agness, yes I’m actually based in Goa most of the year! 🙂 Glad you found the article useful and that you enjoyed Goa. Hope you continue to have many more happy travels in India 🙂

  • It’s very cheap to travel in India unless you need to stay in a luxurious hotel, book a private taxi, and dine at a famous multi cuisine restaurant. The most important things to save money in your trip is to book a budget hotel that provides all the facilities and amenities in an affordable price. Also you should choose shared transportation and dine in a budget restaurant.

    • Anna says:

      Thanks for your tips – yes it is easy to travel on a budget or to have a more luxurious experience in India – sab kuch milega 🙂

  • Ross says:

    Thank you for your article! Really has helped me prepare my trip! Am planning to be in india for a month or so from the end of september, then into sri lanka, over to thailand and then slowly make my way through the surrounding countries and then onward to taiwan. As have friends settled there. Cannot wait! First time going east so all new experiences!

  • Kevin Wedd says:

    I have found that getting by on 2000ir is about right. Your article is very useful.

  • Kenny says:

    Im planning a holiday to india for 3 weeks it will be my first time visit i will definantly be going on a budget would 300 hundred pounds be sufficient or should i save more im hoping to go in august september time

  • Ojas says:

    People are often surprised at how affordable India is and in terms of value for money or getting a bang for your buck there aren’t many better places. What India lacks in infrstructure it makes up for in the abundance of services.

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