Great news: If you crave the adventure of international travel, endless views, and delicious cuisine, you can have it all – no matter what your budget. India is a frugal traveler’s dream destination, with so many amazing attractions and once-in-a-lifetime experiences that it would take years to see everything. With a little careful planning, you can find comfortable accommodations, all-inclusive tours, and even meal plans to ensure that your money goes as far as it can.
Set Money Aside for Transportation
The most expensive part of a trip to India? Unless you’re planning to splurge in a big way, it’s likely to be airfare. Consider searching for discounted flights, and if you’re part of a tour group, you may be able to get a deeper discount.
Next up: Ground transportation. It’s often a very long way from one destination to the next, and unless you have an unlimited amount of time, you’ll need wheels or railroad tracks to take you where you want to go. Again, your best bet is to choose a tour operator that offers complete packages; it’s cheaper to buy your travel “in bulk” than it is to go a la carte. Note that you’ll need to pay more for better amenities like air-conditioned railway cars.
Stay in Touch without Breaking the Bank
Plan your trip, talk to contacts in India, and enjoy cheap international calls with Viber. A free app with paid calling plans that start around 2 cents per minute, this voice-over IP service connects you with any phone number anywhere. Because it is internet-based, you can use it anywhere you have WiFi accessibility, making it easy to stay in touch with loved ones back home while you’re on your vacation. Viber Out works on Android and iOS platforms, and is compatible with a wide range of devices ranging from laptops to tablets to smartphones.
Know When to Go
When’s the best time to travel to India? Most experts agree that it is at its best between November and February. Unfortunately, peak tourist season tends to bring higher prices, making March and October good alternatives for those who want to experience India on a budget. You’ll find even lower prices during the summer months and may find temperatures in the mountains agreeable; however, lower altitude attractions are likely to be too hot to enjoy. If there’s a specific attraction you absolutely must see, be sure to check for the best times to go. The Taj Mahal, for example, is best between October and December, with second window of opportunity opening up between February and March.
Know Where to Stay
Relax on a houseboat, stay in a historic tea planter’s villa, live like a king in an old palace, or relax in comfort at a small family-owned hotel. These are just a few of the options available, and most of them come in at less than £50 (about $65 USD) per night. If you’re looking for cheaper accommodations, you can easily find them – just be sure to read reviews and check the rooms before you commit. If you don’t like what you see, it’s OK to move on – there are many nice, inexpensive places to stay. While they might not offer much in terms of amenities, they’re clean and comfortable. Popular, highly-rated accommodations tend to fill up fast, so book ahead if you have your heart set on a certain hotel or room type.
Select Destinations with Your Budget in Mind
Many of India’s attractions are free, and most are very affordable. It costs nothing to view the country’s magnificent architecture, and many sites are free to enter. Major attractions charge tourists more, but prices are quite low in comparison to those charged by other international sites.
Consider a Pre-Planned Adventure
Unless you’re bound and determined to spend your entire vacation backpacking, consider using a well-rated tour guide to fulfill your travel needs. The options are many, and are just as varied as the wonders of India itself. Check out a cultural tour of North India, travel overland from the metropolis of Delhi to the beaches at Goa, or travel to Kathmandu. These are just a few popular choices, and prices begin at well under £1,000 (about $1,300 USD). Entry fees, meals, accommodations, and overland travel are usually included. Set some money aside for tipping – it’s tradition, and failure to tip is considered impolite at most venues.
Try a Themed Tour
Love cycling? Try touring India from the unique vantage point offered by a bicycle seat. Enjoy folk music, long for sandy beaches, or thrill to the sight of archaeological points of interest? These are just a few of the themed tours available to India travelers. Many are quite affordable; with a bit of homework on your part, it’s not at all difficult to find a unique travel experience that suits your taste and budget alike.