Friday, February 1, 2013

Budget for India travel

Most people know India is a cheap country to travel in. No wonder this is a backpackers' paradise. But the economic reforms that India took in the early 90s and the booming IT and off-shoring business has created pockets of wealth. Just like any other capitalistic country, the divide between rick and poor is not very significant and pronounced. As an Indian who lived in India for over 22 years, India today excites me and scares me at the same time, welcomes me and disgusts me at the same time. It is this diversity and extremes that makes it electric.
Most people start the trip in Delhi and proceed to Agra and Rajasthan. This is the well known golden triangle tourist circuit, with an array of services geared for western tourists. Prices can be high. I am from Tirunelvelli, Tamil Nadu a place close to the tip of India some 100 km from Indian ocean. Western tourists are rare, many would  not know that a dollar is worth Rs50 and have not eveolved to take advantage of the western wealth (yet). Small cities like these can have good transportation links, nice air conditioned hotels. A near western style Air conditioned room for 2 is $24 and a non-air conditioned for $14 for 2. Places like these have a lot of history , temples and historic monuments, markets that purely cater to locals and authentic villages stone throw away.
Cities Accom Luxury Accom comfort Accom backpack Meals western Meals comfort Meals backpack travel comfort travel backpack
Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Calcutta $250 $100 $40 $40 $20 $8 $50 $5
Trichy, Vijayawada, Nagpur, Pune $125 $60 $25 Limited options $10 $5 $40 $5
Tanjore, Pallakad, Rishikesh, Gaya NA $40 $12 NA $20 $8 $30 $5

The cost of beer and public transport tends to be standard across India, however some states have low tariff on liquor making it relatively cheaper. Best best if to opt for comfort accommodation as the costs are for 2 people. Backpack accommodation works best for solo travelers.

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