I hope this chart is helpful for you in planning your own trip to India! I’m a major budgeting/planner and I love to have an idea of how much money I could possibly spend in a country. This budget is on the higher end with me not wanting to spend more than $1,500. We really weren’t concerned with how much we were spending and were free to shop and go to as many attractions as we wanted (which really isn’t hard in India). We also traveled more for the specific purpose of going to a wedding. As guests, our housing was covered for the days we were there and we spent our free day just relaxing with a movie at a mall.
The most surprising thing was how much I spent on gifts. If you know me at all, you would know that gift-giving isn’t my greatest love-language. Yet, I bought wedding gifts, gifts for our host family in Kolkata, and a few trinkets for coworkers who covered my shifts back home, which added up over time.
Also, I flew from South Korea, which made the price cheaper than maybe what you would find from North and South America. You’ll have to do your own research for the flight to figure out how much it might be from your specific country.
To sum up the budget:
I planned to spend $1,500 at the most to cover all transportation/food/accommodation/etc.
I ended up spending $1,248.73.
Here’s how that broke down:
Accommodation: $70.33. In Delhi and Jaipur, we stayed in hostels, while in Kolkata we stayed for free with a family. I was less than impressed with the accommodation we stayed in with Jaipur, while I thought the Delhi hostel (Madpackers) was pretty top-notch for being in India.
Round Trip Airfare: $647.17. This was coming South Korea to Delhi, then leaving Kolkata to South Korea. I used a site that allowed for multi city bookings to book it.
Visa: $60. Every country has to get at least a 30-day tourist visa (easily applicable to on the tourist visa website). America’s price happens to be $60.
In-country flights: $111.00. The flight from Delhi to Jaipur was cheap at $27.00 including a piece of checked baggage. The flight from Jaipur to Kolkata was more expensive at $84 including a piece of checked baggage. If you have the time, most backpackers prefer to take a train or the bus to the new cities. However, we didn’t have the hours it would take to travel cross-country to these locations, so we shelled out a bit more.
Transportation: $64.89. This includes: hiring a rickshaw for 3 full days in Jaipur and also the private bus from our hostel to Agra (private, meaning it was only available for people at the hostel, there were no randoms on the trip). It also includes a very expensive trip cross-town in Kolkata to see the family I lived with the first time I was there via Uber. And the one time we messed up in Uber because we had no idea where we were going–that wasn’t fun.
Shopping: $153. I bought two sprees, a bangle set, a few books, gifts for coworkers back home, and a gift for the host family with this money.
Attractions: $61.89. But really, priceless, I think, all things considered. This includes access to the: Taj Mahal, Humayun’s Tomb, National Gallery of Modern Art, Gaitor, Amber Fort, Galtaji, and the Albert Hall Museum.
Food: $52.05. When we ate (I think we really only at one, maybe two meals a day), it was usually at nice sit-down restaurants. The price was definitely driven up by the one time we went to an expensive (but fantastically delicious) buffet. It would be quite easy to make this smaller by splitting food more often or eating more street food. We did quite a bit of that, too.
Misc: $27.85. This includes doing laundry, some random tips, getting saree blouses made, some random gifts, and things such as towel rentals at the hostels.
Overall, I was pleased with my budget. Had I been going true backpacker-style, I’d imagine I would have easily spent less than $1,000. However, we had a comfortable trip and didn’t really concern ourselves so much with the overall cost of things as long as we were under-budget.