How can I travel cheap in Kerala?
Many of us will be making this state part of our Indian adventure, so you may well be asking yourself, how can I travel cheap in Kerala? For most of us, money is an issue. Kerala is one of Indias most affluent states, so it makes sense to be asking this question. There is an excellent reason tourists make a beeline here. It is beyond beautiful! Even the government’s slogan is Kerala is gods own country, and it might well be.
We have all heard the rumours about the luxurious beaches or the stunning backwaters. Many of us have even heard of the fertile Western Ghats or the iconic tea plantations of Mannur that are home to so much wildlife. With so many destinations to choose from, it is hard to know where to invest your fleeting time.
There are obviously pros and cons to visiting any place in the world. Here it is a no brainer! It is worth your time and money to create the perfect adventure in one of the most incredible states in the whole of India. Let’s take a look at what you can do to stay on budget and answer how I can travel cheap in Kerala?
How much does it cost for a Kerala trip?
Everyone will ask themselves how much does it cost for a Kerala trip? First of all, you have to work out your daily budget in India and for that, check out my in-depth post on that to get a realistic insight into what your money will get you. The answer to that question is essentially what kind of comfort are you looking for?
After that, I would advise you to work out any large spends and keep that aside. This can include things like the cost of staying on a boat on the backwaters or a trek into one of Kerala’s many national parks. This can not be factored into your daily budget as the cost is too high. If you do not carefully plan your adventure, you can spend too much time on transport or backtracking. This will cost you more than it needs to. For information on how to structure your money in India, check out my in-depth post on the subject for all my best tips.
If you happen to be unsure how to plan your trip to Kerala, I have a separate vlog for you to check out that will explain that in 5 easy steps. I can’t overstate the importance of creating a coherent structure for your adventure.
I always recommend you plan plan plan your trip before you go anywhere. Not only will planning your dream trip give you a reason to get out of bed on a Monday morning, but it will also help you gauge how much money you will need before you set off.
Use the cheap Public transport in Kerala.
Please use the cheap public transport in Kerala as it will save you buckets of money and there are links all over the state. There is no need for private transportation in all but the most far-flung areas. The railways are always the best to get around for comfort unless you are travelling in the unreserved class, and then it can be hard to find even a little legroom. The government bus service is perfectly comfortable, and unlike the trains, you will find very few delays.
When you are in the cities and towns, I recommend downloading the Uber and Ola apps for the best rates for a taxi. There is no need to stand there arguing for a reasonable price when it can all be done on your smartphone. There is plentiful transport, and the people are very friendly, so there is no need for a tour. It can all easily and safely be organised yourself. Doing so will save you a truckload of cash. For a complete look at getting around India, click the link provided.
Finding cheap guesthouses and homestays in Kerala.
When it comes to finding cheap guesthouses and homestays in Kerala there are quite a few steps you can take, so Let’s take a look. In the UK, it is far cheaper to book rooms online using a website like booking.com. This is not so in India. If you book online you will inevitably pay more. What’s more, it seems there is no law against owners using pictures of your chosen place from years before. I have seen a lot of sad faces of people booking online and not getting what they ordered.
It is far better to walk in as your business is not guaranteed, and I have found even if the room rates are set in stone on the wall, it is still negotiable. If there is more than one of you, it is a huge advantage if someone waits with the bags while the other visits many hotels.
That way, you can shop around without sweating with your bags, and the fact you dont have anything with you suggests you already have a room. No one wants to see perfectly good money walk out the door, so it gives you a winning edge when bargaining to start with.
Your other bargaining chips include how long you will stay, how many of you are there, what services will you use, and the time of year you visit. If you are a couple who just want to spend a couple of nights, it will pay to turn up with no luggage. If you are a solo traveller and want to use this little trick, you could find a tourist cafe and buy a cup of coffee. Ask to leave your big bag there while you walk around and hunt for the best place to rest your head, problem solved!
The last thing I will say is dont be fooled by a fancy reception area neither. This often does not reflect the rooms, so insist on seeing them before committing to anything, please.
If you decide to stay in one of Kerala’s homestays, you would have made the right choice. Not only will this be a good insight into Kerala’s culture, but they also tend to be of good value and often include local home-cooked food. If there is an option for a homestay, I will always take it. I have found my hosts in Kerala to always be attentive and very kind.
The local food in Kerala is inexpensive.
The local food in Kerala is inexpensive and delicious. As obvious as that sounds to some people it still deserves some explaining. Tourist food costs more to buy, so the cost is shown in the costs on the menu. Also, because the ingredients are more expensive to buy, restaurant owners are reluctant to throw anything away. This can cause problems for you if you wind up eating old food. All of the worst cases of food poisoning in all my years of travel in South Asia have been from tourist restaurants, and when I say my worst, I mean life-threatening.
However, in the same token, you have to take it slow and build yourself up to eating locally every day. Many of us are not used to it, and our bellies will find it all too rich. For the first few weeks of starting a long journey, I tend to have a western breakfast and a local dinner. As soon as my belly is ready to take it, I eat local food only as it is cost-effective and tastes better anyway.
Indian people have mastered Indian food, but when it comes to fine pasta, not so much. I am sure Indian people feel the same way when they come to the UK and see our attempts at making Idli. They must think, what on earth is that! The moral of the story there is when in Rome…..
Keralan food is delicious, and there is so much to choose from. The food of Kerala’s Malabar coast has become famous worldwide, and it would almost be a crime to miss out on the delicately flavoured dishes you can find at bargain prices here.
In summary of my post on how can I travel cheap in Kerala?
I hope you have found this post to be of value and you have picked up a tip or two on saving money. My blog was written to give you a fast and furious answer on How can I travel cheap in Kerala? If you would like any more information on this or any other topic on Indian travel, then do not hesitate to ask. See you in the next post, guys.
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