India can be done five stars or it can be done on the cheap. You just have to know what you want and know a little bit about the country. The true adventurers stay in India for months at a time living on very little money. That may not be what you want to do but it’s also nice to know where you can save a bit of money on your trip to India.
1. Stay at Hostels
Hostels in India have improved greatly as it’s becoming a major tourist hub. There are plenty of lovely chains that don’t feel like you’re staying the night in an institution. The hostels are now quite vibrant and the tourists that gather here are a nice bunch of soul seekers. The beds are comfortable and the rooms come at a far more reasonable price than a hotel. This is especially true in the cities. There is also couch surfing available in India, though you’d want to be careful if you’re a solo female traveler.
2. Go to Rural Areas
In cities around India, hotel rooms have gotten expensive. Off-the-beaten-path places cost way less. All of India is accessible if you’re willing to take a bus or a train. You also get the benefit of getting away from the hordes of people.
3. Book Travel in Advance
Here’s a secret about Indian travel. Their domestic airlines offer better prices when you book in advance. Also know that there is a fare structure so prices will rise closer to the date you want to fly. Booking last minute usually means you’ll pay double.
4. Fly Early or Late
If you’re okay with a little bit of inconvenience, you may want to fly early or late. There is a lot of availability for cheaper flights if you travel out of popular times. It can be beneficial too because you can spend the day sightseeing instead of spending the day traveling.
5. Haggle for Souvenirs
Haggling is common to do in India and it saves you money. Vendors will test you and quote you up to triple the ‘real’ price. By not haggling, you end up paying an unnecessary amount. You can also negotiate a hotel price when you walk in.
6. Go to a Retreat
A retreat allows you to know what you’re in for financially before you even get to India. For example, a yoga retreat in India will cost you far less than most places in the world when you book your trip and pay for it (which you can do in installments), you arrive and it’s all paid for. This can be a cheaper alternative to chancing your nights stay upon arrival. These kinds of resorts will usually pick you up at the closest airport or can put you in the right direction to getting the cheapest ride. A holiday package can include retreats and you can save up to 30% of the regular costs for accommodation and flights within India.
7. Do the Free Stuff
There are plenty of free things to do and see in India. Many interesting monuments and temples cost nothing to visit. Monuments and historical sites may charge a lot for foreigners. If you’re constantly visiting these kind of high tourist traffic sites, it can really add up. There are plenty of free art galleries, old buildings, festivals, and temples to take in.
8. Food Included
Again, if you’re staying at a yoga retreat or some kind of all inclusive, you will save a lot in the long run. Staying at a hotel and eating the food there can get pricey. Many of the hotels will include a breakfast with a nights stay. If not, you can always look around for a small local restaurant. These meals are cheap and delicious.
9. Take Longer Trips
One of the main costs of going to India is of course the flight. So staying in India for a longer time makes a lot more sense. Many people will come for at least a month, especially if they’re doing some kind of yoga teacher training retreat. When you take a long trip, you have the time to take buses and trains instead of racing around on planes, which cost far more money.
10. Travel Off Season
If you travel to India when it is off season, you’ll pay way less money for hotel and travel. You can take in the sites without all the people too. Luxury hotels will even give such good prices; you can stay with them at an affordable place. The peak season is from October to March but in the mountains, summer is busiest because the weather improves. Indian holidays such as Diwali cause a big spike in costs so be mindful of that. For the best deals, go in April or September. If you are cool with rain and want to travel for half the price, go in June, July, or August.
Hopefully, you find these tips useful for your trip to India. Whether you’re doing a yoga retreat or a city tour of India, there are deals to be had and ways to avoid spending a fortune. India can work for anyone’s budget, you just have to find your groove.