Last night, Simon and I reflected on how we have already been gone for a month. We can’t believe how fast it has gone by, but at the same time, our flight into Kochi International Airport seems like ages ago.
It is still weird to think about the fact that we are actually on this trip. I anxiously waited for so long, and sometimes it still feels surreal to actually be doing it. The best part is- we still have so much more to go. By the time you read this we will have left New Delhi on a flight to Nepal! For about two and a half weeks we will be hanging out in Kathmandu and Pokhara before heading back into India overland.
Me cold, grouchy and waiting to leave Korea!
Even though I did a lot of research and somewhat knew what to expect before arriving, India still surprised, excited and confused me. Nepal on the other hand feels like unknown territory. All I really know is that it has three things: the Himalayas, prayer flags and notoriously bad roads!
Back in Korea, I did my best to figure out a “realistic” budget for this trip. Going off that original estimate of $22 a day in India, plus extra amounts for tours, special trips and nightlife, 30 days would cost us $935 each. Prior to the trip we also purchased 2nd class AC train tickets (one of the more expensive budget options) for 4 overnight journeys which came out to $91 each. So, the amount I would have allowed myself to spend (and hoped to stay well under) was $1,026 in 30 days.
One Month in India: February 21-March 21
The Actual Numbers:
- Planes: 0
- Trains: 7
- Buses: 12
- Scary tuk-tuks: too many
- Camels: 2
- Cities: 11
- Safaris: 3
- Places with bed bugs: 1
- Bouts of minor Delhi-belly: 2
- Fights: 0 (bickering: countless)
The Taj- one of India’s most expensive attractions for foreigners. 750 rupees ($13) to enter.
The Actual Costs:
In total, we have spent about $1309. This comes out to $654 each!
- Daily average: $49.70 total, $24.85 each.
- Average cost of double accommodation: $12.30 (could be much cheaper, we splurged a few times.)
- Average daily price of all meals (not including water and snacks): $13.80 total, $6.90 each.
- Average price for a large Kingfisher $2.76. Expensive
*I should note that we did get a few things free due to our blogs this month and the amount would have come out to an extra $60-70 each*
The breakdown for one month in India, two people:
Costs of traveling in India:
As you can see, we spent much less than we imagined. When I did the initial budget, I knew India would be cheap but I had no idea to what extent. I also didn’t want to constrict us to a budget we couldn’t stick to, so I overestimated. Interestingly enough, we could have done this month even cheaper if we tried harder!
We weren’t always strict with our budget. If we wanted a more expensive meal or room, we went for it. Usually a few more dollars got us a bigger room or a ginormous dinner, so it was hard to say no. Also, our “vacation mentality” had a lot to with our somewhat relaxed spending. Many backpackers we met, especially solo travelers, were on much stricter budgets and were able to get by on a few hundred rupees less each day. This means they haggled for room prices more than we did, didn’t worry about finding rooms with wi-fi and were staying away from the more touristy restaurants.
Traveling as a couple has its economical advantages in India. Most budget accommodation is mostly of the guesthouse variety, and real backpacker hostels are almost non-existent. Being able to share the cost of every room has also allowed us to spend a little more for a few more comforts.
One of our splurge rooms. About $20 a night with TV, hot water and wi-fi.
One issue we have encountered in India are the “tourist prices”. Taxi drivers, guesthouse owners and even tourist sites all raise their prices for foreigners. Fixed prices are also few and far between and most things, even room prices, will be somewhat bartered for. Many times, we have had no idea if the price we paid was fair or a complete rip-off. It can be draining to never know how much something should cost. Lonely Planet can be helpful to gauge prices sometimes, but often we have found the guidebook to underestimate the amount we have paid for tuk-tuks and recommended restaurants.
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Have you been to India? What was your daily budget?