India is a huge country that has captured the interest of many. Whether you are interested in the history, the wildlife, the food, or the culture, India has plenty to offer. But, just how much does it cost to go to India? Read on to find out.
Since India is huge, so I’m going to design this estimate on one of the most popular touristic routes in the country: The Golden Triangle. This circuit covers Delhi, Agra, and Jaipur and is typically done in a week (7 days and 7 nights). Please note that this guide is based on the cost of a single person, so if you are a couple, make sure to double these estimates (except for hotels).
India Trip Cost
Local transportation $70
Food and drink $100
Random spending $100
Total US $1,990
The above estimate is in American dollars, so please use xe.com to find out the average costs in your home currency.
India can be an incredible destination, however, many travellers had admitted that journeying through India can also be difficult. If you are travelling alone or stressed about planning your own trip to India then consider joining a group tour. G Adventures and Intrepid travel both offer Golden Triangle trips as well as several other India itineraries. Joining a tour is more expensive, but it can be worth it.
If you’re Canadian, you may want to consider applying for one of the best travel credit cards in Canada to help offset your costs by collecting points. For example, the American Express Platinum Card gives you a generous welcome bonus that’s often worth more than $900 (potentially more if you transfer your points to Aeroplan or Marriott Bonvoy). There’s also the Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite card that has no foreign transaction fees, and it comes with airport lounge access.
India is a long haul flight from North America. You can expect the journey to take you about 20 hours (if not more) depending on where you are flying from. As such, it’s not one of the cheapest routes out there. However, like with all other flights, if you book in advance or keep an eye out for seat sales, you may get a better deal. On average, you can expect a flight from North America to New Delhi, India to cost about $800.
From backpacker hostels to some of the most luxurious hotels in the world, India has a wide range of accommodation options. Prices in the bigger cities can be comparable to prices in other large cities around the world. As such, I’ve estimated accommodation costs based on the price of top-rated mid-range hotels which comes out to about $120/ night.
If you are looking for suggestions, consider the following:
New Delhi Hotels
If you have the right credit card, you can save a fair amount of money on hotels. Americans should strongly consider the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant American Express Card since you can earn up to 95,000 Marriott Bonvoy points and $300 back at U.S. restaurants as a welcome bonus.
Canadians should consider the Marriott Bonvoy American Express, which gives you up to 75,000 Marriott Bonvoy points. That’s enough points for a few free nights at some hotels, which could easily have a value of over $500.
Getting around India using local transportation can be cheap, but also a bit chaotic.
Trains are very common for transportation between cities. There are different categories of trains and tickets, so that’s something to keep in mind as you plan. The 2S, or second seating class, are the cheapest but tend to be hot, cramped, and don’t offer assigned seating. Most travellers prefer to travel in 2A- AC 2 tier or 1A-AC First class which are the most expensive. However, ‘expensive’ means about $20 for a 3-hour journey, so pay the extra money for your comfort.
You can take taxis, motorbike taxis, and rickshaws around cities. It is important to barter and agree on a price ahead of time. Do not rely on the meter as it is typically ‘broken’. So, ask at your accommodation what you should pay for a ride and barter for that. There are also local buses and subways in some cities that are much cheaper to use. Generally, when people use these methods, they spend less than $5/day.
Remember, this itinerary is for the Golden Triangle. If you want to see other parts of India, you may need to fly which will cost you more.
Museums, architecture, historic tours, and more. The main Indian cities in this proposed itinerary have plenty to see and do to keep you busy during your time. You’ll want to budget about $80 for attractions throughout the week.
Some ideas to consider include:
- Taj Mahal and Agra Fort
- Agra Instagram tour
- Gwalior Day Tour
- Forts and Palaces of Jaipur
- Hot air balloon ride in Jaipur
- Street food tour in Jaipur
While it’s possible to do things on your own, hiring a guide that includes transportation is inexpensive.
Food and drink
Meals in India can be quite inexpensive if you are willing to eat locally. Daily meals at local restaurants will cost about the following prices:
- Breakfast: $2
- Lunch: $3
- Dinner: $6
Which comes out to $11/day. Not bad at all!
It is important to note that you will need to buy bottled water while travelling through India as tap water is not safe to drink.
Tipping is common practice in restaurants in India. A 5% tip is the standard, 10% is considered extremely generous. However, if you at a luxury tourist place a service charge may already be included in the bill, so make sure to look at that first!
If you want to eat at nicer restaurants or at hotels, you’ll need to budget 3-4X more than what I’ve listed, but that’s still a great deal.
Having a bit of extra cash on hand is always a good idea when you travel. I suggest allocating an extra $100 for your week in India. This could be for souvenirs, a nicer meal, an extra activity, or excursion etc. You never know when you may need it.
A week in India is not exactly a long time but it covers the most popular areas. It may be worth flying to another city of India and spending a few days there. If you plan on doing this, you’ll need to budget some additional funds.
So, how much does it cost to go to India? Based on a one-week itinerary for the Golden Triangle route, you can expect to spend about U.S. $1,990. A pretty reasonable price for a vacation halfway around the world!
Keep in mind that I based these estimates on a more upscale mid-range type budget with big-name hotels and more comfortable modes of public transit, so there is definitely room to decrease this budget (or increase it!) depending on your travel style.