India is famous as a budget-friendly destination, but how much does it really cost? I spent two days in transit and 10 days in Delhi with perhaps the least expensive hostel and dining expenses of any destination on my RTW itinerary.
This budget also includes a long layover in Helsinki. I am counting it as part of my trip to India, as I had to go into the city center with the express purpose of sorting out my Indian visa. I didn’t really get to devote time to seeing anything of Finland as a tourist.
Heathrow Express $27.19
Flight to Delhi $161.58
Train to/from Helsinki center $9.10
Prepaid taxi to Saket $5.24
3 day tourist card on Delhi metro $4.49
1 day tourist card on Delhi metro $2.22
Train ticket cancellation fee $2.88
1 night in a sleep pod at Helsinki airport $38.84
10 nights in a 10-bed dorm at The Hosteller $59.79
1 week groceries $8.65
1 lunch at Helsinki airport $12.21
5 lunches at The Hosteller cafe $6.72
1 lunch at Hotel Saravana Bhuvan $7.39
Snack at Heathrow Airport $2.47
1 coffee at University of Helsinki cafe $2.22
Printing visa letter at Helsinki public library $5.55
Bottled water at Delhi airport $0.75
Average Spent Per Day: $29.77
Total without Finland expenses: $289.37
Average Spent Per Day without Finland expenses: $24.11
How I Saved
- Knowing when to quit
I recently wrote about my failed attempt to visit the Taj Mahal. Knowing when to call it quits ultimately saved me money, though this is admittedly money I would have been happy to spend.
- Using a SteriPen
Having my own means of water purification meant just buying one bottle of water and refilling it all week. It worked great. I made it through 10 days without the infamous ‘Delhi belly.’ And it was better for the environment.
- Taking the metro
I took one taxi ride in Delhi and honestly it was enough. I thought going to the prepaid stand would mean not getting ripped off, and I really think I did. The guy at the counter seemed to just be quoting arbitrary prices and coming up with markups for my bag and my purse. I also had to argue with him for a few minutes to get my correct change back. And after all that, the driver still tried to claim I owed him more money. The metro was so much cheaper and safer.
- Finding free attractions
Instead of spending what little cash I had on sights like the Red Fort, I found free things to do in Delhi like going to the Lotus Temple or preparing for my Nepal trek with long walks around the city’s parks.
- Sticking close to home for meals
My hostel had a rooftop cafe with super cheap meals available. It was really easy for me to focus on work and head up for a quick lunch of vegetable pakoda, curried noodles, or fried rice. I don’t think I ever paid more than a couple bucks per meal. And I had a few basic groceries so I could cook for myself even more cheaply.
India was one of the cheapest destinations on my RTW trip. Find out how much it cost to see one of the most expensive stops: Iceland.