How much does it cost to backpack India?
budgeting your money

How much does it cost to backpack India?

How much does it cost to backpack India? It is a question anyone heading to this part of the world will have to ask themselves. After all, money is a big contributing factor to the outcome of our experience, and it is a real issue to all but a few of us. Travelling anywhere for perhaps months on end with only outgoings is likely to cause a fair bit of Anxiety. I am here to help you make sense of how much this is all going to cost and hopefully help you relax your mind.

Quite frankly, how much does it cost to backpack India is a hot topic, and no, I can’t put all of the relevant information into just one post. It would be so very long that you would need power naps in between chapters. I have broken this enormous subject

down into several posts to make it all digestible.

The first thing you will need to do after you have decided how long you will go for is to decide on the level of comfort you are looking for. While India offers fantastic value for money, you do have to be realistic with your expectations. For an honest overview of what your money will get you in India, please check out my in-depth post on the matter. I would suggest that you dont cut yourself too short on your budget as that will greatly reduce the quality of your experience. You are only there once, so if you are short of money, it is definitely better you save up a bit for a more enjoyable experience.

Once you have decided on your chosen level of comfort you will know what to set for your daily budget. Whatever that amount will cover your transport, accommodation, entrance, food etc. However, that figure can not cover any large expenses such as organised hikes, diving, mountain climbing etc. That is a separate issue, and for an in-depth insight into how to structure your money, do not hesitate to check out my blog on that.

This blog is more about the nitty-gritty of it all. What states will be more friendly to your budget and what ones won’t? What mode of transport will be economical for you, and how to choose the most budget-friendly accommodation without subjecting yourself to staying in a flea pit. If you are curious about these things, then read on, my fellow intrepid travellers.

How much does it cost to backpack India?

I also have a blog on saving money based on whatever activity you want to engage in. This is very useful for those of us who want to plan something specific.

What Indian states are budget-friendly?

Why ask what Indian states are budget-friendly? Well, if you are on a budget, it will interest you to know that some states are infinitely less expensive than others. Some areas of the country, such as Bihar, are cheaper for all the wrong reasons. It is inexpensive because it is severely impoverished and may not be the kind of place you want to make your first trip to India in.

However, some states such as Goa, Rajasthan, Karnataka, Himachal Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh have an awesome budget backpacker infrastructure. That means you will easily find budget places to stay and lots of foreign tourist amenities if you require them, of course.

The general rule is if there is a steady trickle of foreign tourists, there will be an infrastructure to suit it. It’s a basic rule of economics, right? If there is a demand, there tends to be a supply. Unfortunately, it is the same vice versa. States that cater primarily to domestic tourists will cost way more. For example, I found Gujarat to be incredibly expensive. I didn’t see a single foreign tourist the time I was there, and that’s a shame since it rocked. Unfortunately, the penalty for me was that I was spending on average around 2000 INR a night as opposed to 800 INR in Rajasthan.

Some states that deal with both will often prefer to deal with domestic tourists. I think I would too if I was a business owner as Indian tourists tend to want a whole lot more from their holiday but stay less time and pay much more. Western tourists take their time and have a very low spend. That means you could find yourself struggling to find a bed in that situation.

How much should you budget on your trip to India depends on a lot of things

Here is a prime example of what I am saying. A few years ago, a trip to Pangong Tso would set you back a few hundred rupees. Then there was a blockbuster Bollywood movie shot around the lake called The Three Idiots. Now today, it will set you back thousands. Do your research and factor this into your daily budget. You will need to increase it in places that do not cater for foreign backpackers.

Finding cheap accommodation in India.

When it comes to finding cheap accommodation in India, 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 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 from 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 written 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.

This so of place is perfect for budget backpackers in India

It’s funny how one man’s bread is another man’s poison. This is my vision of paradise! A simple bamboo bungalow by the sea with nearly no electricity is just what the doctor ordered. However, many people dont want this. This has nothing to do with budget anything; I just think it’s bananas. 

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 always to be attentive and very kind.

In the bigger cities in India, there are now budget-friendly hostels. This is definitely a sign of the times as the cost of just about everything indefinitely increases. There was no such thing just a few years ago, but now they are popping up all over the subcontinent. They are ideal for backpackers on a budget, but dont expect them to be overly clean as they are unlikely to be. Check online to see if there are any in your chosen destination.

Be sure to utilise public transport as it is a fantastic way to save money. There are a lot of ways to get around the country and stick to the cheaper ones. The amount you save will accumulate quickly. Travel in the 2nd class sleeper class on the train or the unreserved if you are feeling brave. This is a great way to meet the locals and save money at the same time. Opt for public buses as opposed to private. For a very in-depth look into getting around India, check out my massive blog on this. It is well worth the time it takes to read it.

In summary of my post on How much does it cost to backpack India?

I hope this has been constructive for you, and I hope you take the time to check out the relevant links. There is a lot to say on this subject, so it is unavoidable that you will have to read a lot of content from me or anyone else for that matter to not lose lots of it. I would imagine that is not something that most people will be keen on,

That is why it is important always to build a clear plan of where you are going and what you want out of your trip. To learn how to plan your perfect trip to India, have a look at the vlog on my new youtube channel. I will walk you through how to do that in 5 easy steps. It really is that simple, so do watch that if you get the chance. With that said, that will do for now, so take care, guys, and I will see you in the next post.







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