From golden-hued beaches bordering the Indian Ocean to the snow-covered peaks of the Himalayas, India offers endless vistas, mystical historic sites, bustling cities, and dozens of UNESCO heritage sites, all begging to be discovered. With so much to see and do, it’s surprising that India is such a budget-friendly destination. With these traveling tips, you’ll save plenty of money while you travel India. Who knows – you may even decide to put it toward your next trip to India!
Plan According to Average Costs
One of the best ways to stick to your budget when traveling in India? Conduct some in-depth research and know what to expect in terms of daily expense. Prices vary depending on your destination, but the average daily budget for Indian travel is 2,011 Rupees, or about $31 USD. Sites like Budget Your Trip are updated frequently, providing current insight into prices for everything from bottled water to a rickshaw ride.
Pad Your Budget for Emergencies and Unexpected Opportunities
Besides following common-sense practices like purchasing travel insurance and keeping emergency contact information on hand, it’s a good idea to pad your budget in case an emergency arises. If, at the end of your trip, you’ve got unused funds, you can spring for something special or give yourself a congratulatory pat on the back while contributing to your savings account.
Don’t Pay for a SIM Card
Certain companies insist that SIM cards are vital for staying in touch while you’re traveling in India; luckily, budget international calls are available with a good VoIP app like Viber Out, which works with Wi-Fi and completely bypasses high surcharges associated with cellular providers and landline operators. If you decide to go for a SIM card, be sure to obtain it from an official office. Fake SIM cards are often sold by scammers.
Recognize Common India Travel Scams
It’s sad but true: Scams are a dime a dozen in India. In fact, the country happens to be among the worst destinations for unwary travelers. It’s a good idea to conduct some in-depth research to learn exactly how scams play out and where they’re most prevalent, as doing so will help you hold onto more of your money. A few big ones to look out for:
- Fake ‘government’ tourism offices: There is only one government-approved India Tourism office, and it’s located at 88 Janpath Road in New Delhi. The rest are operated by scammers.
- Fake train ticket offices and ticket officials: There are a few variations of this common travel scam; read reports in depth so you’re aware of potential pitfalls.
- Offline tourist agencies: The best tourist agencies can be found online.
- Beggars: Scammers know that westerners tend to be a soft-hearted bunch, and they use pitiful children to beg for money as well as things like sweets, milk, and pens, which are later returned to stores in exchange for cash that makes its way not to the needy, but to scammers. It’s best to avoid beggars altogether, since they sometimes band together to carry out robberies. If you’d like to make a difference, consider donating to a reputable charity.
- Helpful strangers: People who seem to be going out of their way to help might mean well, but all too often, they’re part of a scam or robbery scheme.
Use India Travel Specialists to Book Flights and Train Trips
Shop around and read reviews as you decide where to make large purchases like airline tickets and train trips. Certain companies specialize in India Travel, and they’re familiar with strategies for helping you stick to your budget. Do some research on your own before committing to a purchase, so you know the average cost of tickets and associated fees. If you want to save even more money, opt to travel overland via bus rather than train.
Research Accommodations Options Carefully
Dormitories, hostels, and hotel rooms are traditional choices for India travelers on a budget; thanks to sites like Couchsurfing though, it’s possible to save even more money by staying with friendly locals who are eager to meet people and extend their hospitality. Couchsurfing offers ratings and reviews, so you can plan your stay with confidence. Camping is another budget-friendly option worth exploring.
Plan Your Itinerary around Your Budget
As with other destinations, prices vary throughout India. Places like Goa, Pondicherry, Rishikesh, and Darjeeling are a few examples of incredible areas with plenty to offer. Even Hampi with its ancient temples and historic sites meets the needs of budget travelers, as does the exotic city of Udaipur. Note that the more time you spend soaking up the atmosphere of one destination, the less time and money you’ll spend traveling from one place to the next while enjoying a far more immersive experience.
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