India step by step: how much money would you need to travel in India? (2017)


The costs of one month staying in India depend on many factors: place of residence, broadly understood economic situation, lifestyle, shopping preferences or even advance planning-booking accommodation or transport. It will be completely different for a single staying person, backpacking traveler and different for 2+1/2+2 family model. Currently I live in western part of India: Pune (Maharashtra) with previous experience of Bangalore and Chennai, and I am aware of the fact that prices vary from region to region, from state to state. Sometimes I wish someone told me many things before coming to India so as I can do the math early and save money and… tones of patience 😉

Nevertheless, today I would like to bring to your notice approximate costs for some expenses, starting from every day ones such as: 1 kg of rice and ending booking a train ticket. Stating it 29th June 2017.

How you can spend money sparingly in India? (or in other words – how not to lose money and get fooled by local shopkeepers)

India feels completely crazy when you first arrive here and that feeling may never go away. From a traveler point of view it might be surprising that the tourist infrastructure still isn’t well built out yet in many places, even big cities and it means that budget hotels are hard to find, and also far more expensive than one would expect.

With the exception of Delhi or Mumbai, you can find hotels starting well under 10$ that are nice, and rooms in houses as low as 1$. Just one thing to remember, the real magic of India cannot be found in its crowded mega-cities 🙂 So, in general. If you are a backpacker lover or you enjoy traveling on budget. Do you plan for one-month travel in India? First, check out these two – quite accurate websites that will help you understand average expenses you need to plan in advance.

And, at the same time: some tips from me.

  • Street food – 0.5$ per meal
  • Cheap restaurants – 1$ per meal
  • Good restaurants – 2$ per meal
  • Luxury restaurants – 6-8$ per meal
  • Fancy restaurants – 14 – 18$ per meal
  • Hostel/dormitory: 1-8$ per night, depends on facilities
  • Single rooms: 4-25$ per night, depends on facilities/cities
  • Luxury/fancy rooms: 100$ – no limit
  • Train, general class: 1$ maximum (for a distance of 100 miles)
  • Sleeper class: 1-10$ (for a distance of 300 miles)
  • AC: 15$-100$ (for a distance of 1000 miles)

Booking a train in India does not require from you an Indian mobile number any more. Still you need to register to the IRCTC website. Tickets are sold out quickly and you might end up in waiting list.

Payment can be done by currency card (ie Revolut) but as far as I know – other cards are also accepted.

*All prices are per person.

  1. Only train travel is mentioned here because if you want to get sense of the Indian culture, this one is irreplaceable it 🙂 Been there! And it’s cheap too.
  2. Booking tickets in advance will save you lots of money. Prices grow accordingly to the season: starting from days of the week (obviously it will be more expensive on weekends) or festive seasons. Don’t expect discounts on Diwalii or Christmas time 😉
  3. Cheaper or street food is not necessarily unhealthy here, but no one can guarantee how your stomach will/or will not adjust with it. You ‘might’ spend more on medications later on.
  4. You will find a huge difference between the price for foreigners and local people – if possible, travel with Indian friends who knows local language and would help you in negotiating or knowing the local price for selected products

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How much money do I personally spend living here in India?

From expat life perspective, food is one of the highest monthly expenses in the budget of our family. One conclusion comes to my mind: the larger the family – the higher the cost. In my case for 4-member family living in Pune, all food/home keeping product expenses are currently closing at about 10000 INR / month (around 150$/135 €). We rarely go out and have a take away food, all the dishes (breakfast/lunch/snacks/dinner) are homemade and prepared by me from local shop ingredients or balcony gardening. Although I know few families living in the center of the largest urban centers and they can spend as many as 25000 INR (350$) or more as well.


The second position among the expenses we have is the cost of maintaining the home / apartment or renting it. Paying for water, electricity or rent is an average of 15000 INR (230$) in metro cities for modest unfurnished 2 BHK. I stay in Pune suburbs and I am lucky to pay 6500 INR (100$) per month for 3 BHK. Just my luck!

Clothing, shoes

The monthly costs for the average household for dresses and footwear are about 2000 INR per month (personally I prefer and buy not branded ones, as I feel guilty spending money on clothes, which after few washings look like old potato bag).


Travelling to office/school can ruin your budget too 🙂 if not taken good calculations beforehand. Single ride 8 km distance may reach 0.30$ – public bus transportation. For long distance travelling, like overnight trip – around 350 km bus tickets will cost you 7-15$ depends on the season.

Related links/websites.

Thank you very much for reading this article. I am curious what are your suggestions for money saving in India (meaning not losing 🙂 ) – please – share them in comment. And if you liked this post, please share it, click “I like it” and subscribe to my newsletter.

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