Here’s exactly how much it costs to go backpacking in South India

A detailed budget report about how much it costs to go backpacking in South India for three months. Includes average costs for each city, common expenses, and recommendations for budget accommodation in South India.

 

Financial planning is the least fun part of trip planning—it’s annoying and time consuming. To save you a headache or two, we tracked our expenses over three months so you can see exactly how much it costs to go backpacking in South India.

This budget report covers the cities Delhi (where we flew into India, as many of you will), Chennai, and Hyderabad, and the states of Kerala, Karnataka, Goa, and Maharashtra.

Know before you go

India can be as cheap or as expensive as you wish it to be. It’s a perfect budget destination, but costs can add up quickly if you only visit the tourist areas and are keen on drinking often. This budget report is based on a slower travel style (3+ days per location), using mostly public buses, and focuses on budget backpacking in South India. If your travel style differs from ours, expect to spend more.

 

Thinking about traveling to South India soon? Here's a budget breakdown for how much it costs to go backpacking in South India. Click to see average daily costs by city, average costs for common expenses, recommendations for budget accommodation, and more.

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Here’s how much it costs to go backpacking in South India

 

Exchange rate used for this trip: $1 = 68 Rs and € = 70 Rs

 

Total cost of backpacking in South India for three months

  • For two people: 184,708 Rs/ €2,639/ $2,716
  • Per person: 92,354  Rs / €1,319 / $1,358

 

Average cost per person

  • Total per day: 1,026 Rs / €14.70 / $15.10
  • Food and drinks per day: 200 – 400 Rs / €2.92 – 5.70 / $2.95 – 5.90
  • Accommodation per day: 300- 600 Rs / €4.30 – 8.60 / $4.40 – 8.80
  • Long distance sleeper train: 300 – 500 Rs / €4.30 -7.15 / $4.40 – 7.25
  • Long distance night bus: 800 – 1,200 Rs / €11.40 – 17.15 / $11.80 – 17.65
  • Uber around town: 50 – 150 Rs / €0.70 – 2.15 / $0.75 – 2.20
  • Rickshaw around town: 30 – 150 Rs / €0.40 – 2.15 / $0.45 – 2.20
  • Entrance to most major sights: 200 – 500 Rs / €2.85 – 7.15 / $2.95 – 7.35

Note: Most cheap hotels offer separate rates for singles and doubles, so solo travelers can expect to pay a similar price as mentioned above. Backpacker hostels are usually more expensive than cheap hotels. Don’t forget to bargain—all hotel prices are negotiable, as long as the place isn’t fully booked.

 

How much it costs to go backpacking in South India - Kapaleeshwar temple in Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India - Lost With Purpose

The lurid Kapaleeshwar temple in Chennai

Average cost per day by city

Averages are for one person, including transportation to the city.

Miscellaneous cities

  • Delhi: 1.429 Rs / €20.40 / $21
    • Hosted by friends
  • Chennai: 741 Rs/ €10.60 / $10.90
    • Hosted by friends
  • Hyderabad: 1,009 Rs / €14.40 / $14.85

Heading to Hyderabad? Make sure to check our foodie guide!

 

How much it costs to go backpacking in South India - Bibi Ka Maqbara in Aurangabad, Maharashtra, India - Lost With Purpose

The Taj 2.0, AKA BIbi Ka Maqbara, in Aurangabad

Maharashtra

  • Aurangabad: 1,214 Rs / €17.35 / $17.85
  • Nasik: 736 Rs / €10.50 / $10.80
    • Hosted by friends
  • Mumbai: 1,835 Rs / €26.20 / $27
    • We stayed at Hotel Lawrence – 1,000 Rs for a double with shared bathroom

 

How much it costs to go backpacking in South India - Bahamani tombs near Bidar, Karnataka, India - Lost With Purpose

Bahamani tombs near Bidar

Karnataka

  • Bangalore: 1.454 Rs / €20.70 / $21.35
  • Hampi: 1,000 Rs / €14.30 / $14.70
  • Mysore: 845 Rs / €12.10 / $12.40
    • We recommend Hotel Maurya (Hanumantha Road) – 650 Rs for a double with attached bathroom
  • Kushalnagar: 666 Rs / €9.50 / $9.80
    • We stayed in a cheap hotel near the bus station. Don’t remember the name – 300 Rs for a double with attached bathroom
  • Hassan: 1,710 Rs / €24.40 / $25.15
  • Mangalore: 1,275 Rs / €18.20 / $18.75
    • We stayed at Expressway Hotel – 800 Rs for a double with attached bathroom
  • Udupi: 730 Rs / €10.40 / $10.75
    • We stayed at Sri Residency – 600 Rs for a double with attached bathroom
  • Gokarna: 969 Rs / €13.85 / $14.25
    • We stayed at Sangrila – 400 Rs for a prison cell with attached bathroom
  • Bijapur: 908 Rs / €13 / $13.35
    • We recommend Rajdhani Hotel – 700 Rs for a double with attached bathroom
  • Bidar: 878 Rs / €12.55 / $12.90
    • We stayed in a mediocre hotel near the bus station – 700 Rs for a double with attached bathroom

Headed to Karnataka? Check our off the beaten track guide for Karnataka!

 

How much it costs to go backpacking in South India - A banana leaf thali in Varkala, Kerala, India - Lost With Purpose

An insanely cheap—and damned delicious—thali in Varkala

Kerala

  • Kalpetta: 1,019 Rs / €14.55 / $15
    • We stayed at White Bee Residency – 800 Rs for a double with attached bathroom
  • Fort Kochi: 1,078 Rs / €15.40 / $15.85
  • Alleppey: 744 Rs / €10.60 / $10.95
    • We stayed at Monkey Republic – 700 Rs for a double with attached bathroom, including breakfast – Book Monkey Republic now!
  • Varkala: 1,055 Rs / €15.05 / $15.50
    • We stayed at Happy Land – 500 Rs for a double with attached bathroom
  • Kannur: 1.108 Rs / €15.80 / $16.30
    • We stayed at Haven Inn (near the train station) – 630 Rs for a double with attached bathroom

Want to visit Alleppey’s backwaters for cheap? Check out our photo essay to see how it’s done!

 

How much it costs to travel in South India on a budget - Motorbiking in Morjim, North Goa, India - Lost With Purpose

Cruising by motorbike in Morjim

Goa

We stayed in Goa during peak holiday season (Christmas/New Year). However, Alex’s family was visiting, so we hardly had any expenses for 10 of the days we were there.

However, due to inflated pricing for the holiday season, overall averages are still relevant. Just realize that you’ll spend more to much more, on average, if you visit Goa during the holiday season.

  • Agonda: 1,087 Rs / €15.50 / $16
    • We recommend Shivalay Cottages – 800 Rs for a double with attached bathroom
  • Baga: 250 Rs / €3.60 / $3.70 (would normally be more expensive than Agonda)
  • Arambol: 2,509 Rs / €35.85 / $36.90
    • We recommend Madrid Home – 1,930 Rs for a double with attached bathroom and kitchenette (probably less outside of peak season) – Book Madrid Home now!

Visiting the south of India? Why not check out adventurous Sri Lanka, too?

Thinking about traveling to South India soon? Here's a budget breakdown for how much it costs to go backpacking in South India. Click to see average daily costs by city, average costs for common expenses, recommendations for budget accommodation, and more.

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How much it costs to go backpacking in South India - Exploring Shettihalli Rosary Church near Hassan, Karnataka, India - Lost With Purpose

Exploring the abandoned Shettihalli Church near Hassan

Things to consider

  • We were occasionally hosted by friends or people we met online, lowering costs. If you want to do the same, consider signing up for Couchsurfing!
  • 10 days in Goa were spent vacationing with family, albeit during the highest of high season. This brought the average slightly down.
  • We travel slowly, and visit plenty of low-key places. If you travel quickly, or visit only touristy areas, expect to spend a bit more.
  • If we don’t think a tourist sight is worth the entry fee, we don’t visit. If you have a serious case of FOMO, expect to spend more.

 

How much it costs to travel in South India - Chilling in Marina Bay, Mumbai, Maharashtra, India - Lost With Purpose

Chilling on the cheap in Marina Bay, Mumbai

Our travel style

  • We aim to always walk or take public transport… unless there is none.
  • Usually eat cheap meals or fast food, which means a lot of idly and dosas in South India.
  • Sleep in the cheapest accommodation we can find that isn’t smelly or filled with cockroaches.
  • We don’t like museums, and will walk away from tourist sights we think are too expensive.

 

Thinking about traveling to South India soon? Here's a budget breakdown for how much it costs to go backpacking in South India. Click to see average daily costs by city, average costs for common expenses, recommendations for budget accommodation, and more.

Useful? Pin it!

 

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Sebastiaan

Just another Dutchie. Extrovert with introverted tendencies. Some say I'm lazy, I say I'm masterfully inactive.

More about Sebastiaan

9 thoughts on “Here’s exactly how much it costs to go backpacking in South India

    Noriko says:

    This is a place where I had similar experiences that you had in Xinjiang. I didn’t like the people vibe in India at all and I can speak some Hindi too. Couldn’t wait to leave but the food is very good! Chai tea, naan, I really liked it a lot!

    Anita thakur says:

    I am planning a spiritual trip with my parents to south India, but budget is my main problem. This information is very helpful me to plan a trip in budget.

    Sebastiaan says:

    That’s great to hear. Enjoy!

    Manya says:

    I am totally agree with your suggestion. I always wanted to go to Goa but due to budget problems. I could not go there, but with the help of these tips you have given, I can plan trips to Goa. Thanks

    Sebastiaan says:

    You’re most welcome. Have fun in Goa!

    Ben says:

    Great post!

    I went to India 3 years ago, for 3 months. In total, I spent just over £300/month.

    Despite our relatively small spend, we managed to see all the sights we had planned, had 3 meals a day (street food), traveled by train and bus and managed to “splash” our on the occasional bottle of Old Monk Whiskey.

    My sister and I are leaving for India in January 2018 for 2 months. I would expect we would spend around the same.

    Sebastiaan says:

    Great to hear. Yeah India can definitely be done on the cheap. Prices for backpacker accommodation and sights have gone up significantly, though, but we spend roughly $500 per person per month.

    Attar says:

    India is the best option when it comes to budget travel. You can travel as little $8 a day including hostel stay and food. I have shared my travel experience in Himalayas of Northern India. You must explore it yourself.

    Alex says:

    I’ll have to check out more of the Indian Himalayas! I was only in Ladakh and Himachal for a brief period of time, and once summer comes, perhaps I’ll head back 🙂

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