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.
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.
Average cost per day by city
Averages are for one person, including transportation to the city.
- 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
- We recommend Metro Lodge – 700 Rs for a double with attached bathroom – Book your stay in Metro Lodge now!
Heading to Hyderabad? Make sure to check our foodie guide!
- Aurangabad: 1,214 Rs / €17.35 / $17.85
- We recommend Preetam Hotel (next to train station) – 900 – 1,000 Rs for a double with attached bathroom – Book your stay at Preetam Hotel now!
- 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
- Bangalore: 1.454 Rs / €20.70 / $21.35
- We highly recommend Electric Cats Bed & Breakfast – 500 Rs for a dorm bed – Book Electric Cats Bed & Breakfast now!
- Hampi: 1,000 Rs / €14.30 / $14.70
- We stayed in White Elephant Guest House – 500 – 700 Rs for a double with attached bathroom – Book White Elephant Guest House now!
- 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
- We stayed at Abhiruchi Lodging – 700 Rs for a double with attached bathroom – Book Abhiruchi Lodging now!
- 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!
- 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
- We highly recommend Aldos Ark Homestay – 700 – 800 Rs for a double with attached bathroom – Book Aldos Ark Homestay now!
- 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 this guide to the Kerala Backwaters for everything you need to know!
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?
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.
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.
Yay transparency! Some links here are affiliate links. If you buy something using one of the links, we’ll get a small commission at no extra cost to you. These kinds of links are how we make up the costs of running the blog. We’ll love you forever if you use them 🙂
10 thoughts on “Here’s exactly how much it costs to go backpacking in South India”
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!
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.
That’s great to hear. Enjoy!
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
You’re most welcome. Have fun in Goa!
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.
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.
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.
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 🙂
Wonderful article! Thanks for sharing this post! I got a good experience in the South India tour package. Amitesh Travels offer a broad range of services which include domestic and international holidays, Online bookings, Corporate travels, car rentals, Cab services.