I am sure that many of the financially prudent millennials and almost every student can relate to the title of this travel blog post. We all face financial crunch in our life at some point in time, but does that and should that stop us from having fun in our life. Surely, a big No. And, why should it even stop a person in the first place to go out for a vacation? We travel not to escape life but for life not to escape us, and if this serious is this whole thing, then why should and how can the money be a spoiler.
How often have you aspire on going on a bike trip to Ladakh with your gang or a trek to Kheerganga with your friends, but then the strain on your bank balance stopped you? Fortunately, many places in India allows you to plan a budget trip without putting much drain on your wallet. This blog post will introduce these budget destinations to travel in India, where a few thousands will be enough to satiate your desire and beat the drudgeries of the life which is taking a toll on you lately.
As someone said, “Budget Travel Will Turn You In to An Adventurer.” We all need a break from life, and on certain instances, it’s the shortage of money which acts as a hindrance, and then we tend to drop the plan at the last moment, or in some instances, we don’t even make a plan owing to the huge expenses that trip demands. But, in actuality, things are different from what it looks from the outset, some places are not that expensive as it seems, or people usually are oblivious about it. As they say, “All that glitters is not gold.”
List of places to travel on budget
- Alleppey- Venice of the East
- Pondicherry- Paris of the East
- Goa- Cheapest Beer
- Darjeeling- Queen of the Hills
- Varanasi- The Oldest City
- Amritsar- The Gold Lies Here
- Udaipur- City of Lakes
- Agra- Waah Taj!!
Let’s get to know these places in some detail explaining their uniqueness, sightseeing options, budget restaurants, cheap hotels, commute options and everything for you to decide which among them your ideal travel on a budget destination is. I have mentioned the budget travelling tips as well, along with each place to get the maximum bargain to reduce the expenses.
On the top is God, and on similar lines, on the top of our list is God’s own country. Alleppey is an ideal budget trip in India with its natural charm, soothing waterways and turquoise blue lagoons. Houseboats is another attraction, and I can vouch for that. You can book a room in the houseboat among the lush green forest and rivers. You can opt for street food in Alleppey, which is quite cheap and at the same time toothsome, else there are many affordable restaurants as well in the vicinity. Likewise, there are many hotels and homestays at the best prices. Remember, the boathouse charges depend on your ability to negotiate with the owner for the best price.
- Ideal Duration: 2-3 Days is an ideal time to visit this wonderland
- Food: Kerala Parota, Kerala Sadya, Puttu and Kadala, Malabar Biryani, Fish Curry
- Budget Restaurants: Indian Coffee House (₹130-280 per meal), Hot Kitchen (₹100-250 per meal), Café Catamaran (₹140-500 per meal)
- Lodging: Homestays will cost you in the range of ₹377-1350. Rock bottom hotel prices starting from ₹727 per night. Resorts are in the same range
- How to reach: The cheapest way to reach Alleppey from any part of South India is through a train which will cost you around ₹350-480 for sleeper class
Tip: If you’re planning to stay in a houseboat, then it will cost you around ₹5000-6000 (1 BHK) with three meals. Have that experience at least for a day and see for yourself. You can anyway split the expense of the houseboat among your friends
This French territory offers beautiful beaches, serene sunset points, budget nightlife with the cheapest alcohol in India, elegant architecture and almost everything that you expect from a vacation. The cheap alcohol gives a push to the booze lover party animals; you will miss some of the meals as you would be drinking or sleeping. Then you can pray for your sins in the Church. You can hire a bicycle here for a very paltry price and roam around the place in the pleasant weather.
- Ideal Duration: 2 Nights/3 Days is an ideal time to visit this French Riviera
- Places to see: Auroville, Paradise Beach, Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Jesus
- Food: Samosa, Masala Puri, Aloo Bonda, Crab Masala Fry, Mutton Roll, Dosa
- Budget Restaurants: KBS Kofi Barr, Sree Andhra Tiffins, Café Des Arts, Tadkka Dhaba, Bombay Anandha Bhavan Restaurant
- Lodging: Red Carpet Residence (₹666), Hotel Soorya International (₹600), Sri Saibaba Guest House (₹544). There are many such budget hotels in Pondicherry to stay
- How to reach: Again, Train is the most convenient and pocket-friendly option to reach Pondicherry from Chennai, Bangalore or any other city. It will cost you around ₹170-400 depending that it is in sleeper class or AC chair car.
Tip: You can live in Aurobindo Ashram with vegetarian food for free in Pondicherry.
Does Goa even need to be introduced, that too to an Indian? People think that Goa is expensive, but it’s not completely true. I personally went to Goa with Maximus Travellers in 2016, and the 5-day trip was done in ₹11,000. Do look for online packages which include your stay, travelling and local sightseeing, it is a good option for budget travel to Goa. There are umpteen places to stay in Goa which are pretty affordable. Goa has tons of beaches, night clubs, late night markets, seafood, shopping destinations and what not. In short, a perfect place to travel on a budget in India.
- Ideal Duration: 4 Nights/5 Days is an ideal time to visit this Portuguese Land
- Places to see: Baga Beach, Calangute Beach, Saturday Night Market, Chapora (Dil Chahta Hai) Fort, Tito’s Lane, Club Cubana, Aguada Fort, Arambol Beach, Casino Cruise, Shiva Valley, Mapusa Market, Candolim Beach, Anjuna Beach
- Food: Seafood, Cutlet Pav, Shawarma, Omelette, Prawn Rissois, Beef Cutlet
- Budget Restaurants: Viva Panjim, Shining Star Beach Shack, Biryani Palace, Anand Ashram, Chunky Chicken
- Lodging: Hostels are very cheap in Goa, Homestays and Guest House are other options of staying in Goa. Do some research beforehand and book your place, if you are going in the season
- How to reach: Train is the best option to reach Goa from anywhere in India. The Flights usually are expensive in peak season but takes very less time, but any which way expensive.
Tip: Look out for a group going together with an online traveller, it will be a blast with those unknowns. Also, look for shared dormitories or Zostel in Goa for a cheap stay
Renowned for its tea estates, if you are a tea connoisseur like me, then you ought to visit Darjeeling. Some of the tea estates here are more than 160 years old. You can have a view of Kanchenjunga from Tiger Hill, you will carry this visual in your eyes wherever you go as you see the different shades of snow-capped K2 as the sun rises.
Darjeeling also has the presence of several Buddhist Monasteries where you can spend some quiet quality time. There are many cosy cottages, homestays, small hotels and lodges to stay in Darjeeling for a meagre amount. People here are very congenial, and if you can negotiate, you can live with them. All these social niceties and tourist attractions make Darjeeling one of the best budget travel destination.
- Ideal Duration: 2 Nights/3 Days is an ideal time to visit this heaven of tea estate
- Places to see: Toy Train (UNESCO World Heritage Site), Darjeeling Ropeway, Tiger Hill, Nightingale Park, Happy Valley Tea Estate
Food: Kwait, Sekuwa, Pork Curry, Tibetan Thukpa, Kheer, Phambi, Mutton Curry, Mattar Paneer, Sausage, Momo
- Budget Restaurants: Boney’s Snack Bar, Nanking Restaurant, Shree Krishna, Lazeez Affair, Nimto Snacks and Sweets, Tashi Delek Restaurant
- Lodging: Hotel Dreamland, Krishna Residency and a host of Cottages like Ice View Cottage, Vikkyz Homestay
- How to reach: If you are opting for a train then the nearest station is Jalpaiguri (₹350-550) and a taxi from there to Darjeeling. The Train is a convenient option and is also a cost-effective mode of transport to reach here. If you are coming from Kolkata, then you can take a bus till Jalpaiguri for ₹470
Tip: Do try the low price Darjeeling tea here. Talk to the locals and live in their house
This 5000 years old city is one of the most amazing and sacrosanct destinations and my personal favourite in the budget travel list of Indian cities. This city of Ghats is the most pious and most beautiful Indian city you can come across in every aspect. Wash your sins by taking a dip in the holy water, ride on a boat around, shop on the local streets, eat the simple yet delicious food, attend the Ganga Aarti (a must experience if you are in Varanasi), and visit the temples.
The best part about Varanasi apart from spiritual culture is that you don’t have to bargain much here, everything from food to hotel is already at rock bottom prices. I would personally recommend this city to a traveller, do not think that this is a city for the old generation. Hence, it should be in your radar of cities in low-cost travel places.
Ideal Duration: 3 Nights/4 Days is an ideal time to visit this heaven of tea estate
Places to see: Ganga Aarti, Dasaswamedh Ghat, Assi Ghat, Panchganga Ghat, Kashi Vishwanath Temple, Buy Banarasi Silk Sarees
Food: Kachori Sabzi, Choora Matar, Dahi Chutney Gol Gappe, Baati Chokha, Poha, Masala Chai in Kulhad, Dahi Vada, Laaiya Chana
Budget Restaurants: Aadha Aadha Café, Ashish Restaurant, Ganpati Restaurant, Ram Bhandaar, Jai Shiv Restaurant
Lodging: Zostel Varanasi (₹299), Hotel Pratap Palace (₹270), Elvis Guest House (₹198), HosteLaVie Varanasi (₹398)
How to reach: Train is the best mode of commute to reach Varanasi from any part of India. From Delhi, it will cost you around ₹600-1300 depending on which class of Train you book and also how many months ago. If you are in any city near Varanasi, then you can take a state bus as well to reach Varanasi, which is also a good option.
Tip: Do try the Banarsi Paan and Thandai.
And now my personal favourite in North India, Amritsar is your budget holiday destination in India, if you’re looking for some tranquillity from all the cacophony of the people around. This place is so stress-free, and the vibes here are so positive that you will visit this place every month. If you haven’t been to Amritsar, then pack your bags right away and see for yourself by experiencing the hospitality of Punjabis.
You can be from any caste, any religion they don’t care, and you are equal to others. If you want to feel goosebumps, then do pay a visit to the Wagah Border without which a trip to Amritsar is incomplete. You will literally feel a sense of pride while watching the drill performed by the soldiers there and the boisterous crowd in thousands there every day is cherry on the cake.
- Ideal Duration: 2 Nights/3 Days is an ideal time to visit this city of Gold
Places to see: Golden Temple, Wagah Border, Jallianwala Bagh, Hall Bazar, Kesar Da Dhaba
- Food: Amritsari Naan, Tandoori Chicken, Chur Chur Naan, Chole Kulche and the famous Lassi to digest it all
- Budget Restaurants: Kesar Dhaba, Kulcha Land, Brijwasi Chat Bhandaar, Janta Food, Anjan Mutton & Chicken, Gurdas Ram Jalebi Wala,
- Lodging: Hotel Ramneek (₹512), Hotel Sukhman International (₹555), HK Backpackers Hostel (₹250), Hotel Hiroz (₹513)
How to reach: Train is the best option again from any part of India to reach Amritsar, and it costs less if booked in advance. If you are in Delhi, Haryana, UP, Himachal, J&K or any other nearby state of Punjab, you can take a State Bus which is also an inexpensive mode of transport.
Tip: You can get free food and a place to live by paying a paltry amount if you are a guy, else even that is free for women in Golden Temple and the food is the best you can have
Remember the destination wedding in Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani, it was shot in Udaipur. Mount Abu is 160 km from Udaipur, you can also visit there if time allows and you have some money left. How about a romantic lunch in the middle of a lake? Sounds intriguing, isn’t it? Gaze at the gigantic, magnificent palaces, take a boat ride, sit beside a lake for some introspection, and shop in the local market for some cheap souvenirs to take with you.
If you are fond of antiques and cars, then there is a vintage car museum in Udaipur with many old gold cars. And yeah, how can I forget about the Rajasthani Cuisine and Udaipur’s delicious street food at a very reasonable price, do try that. Udaipur thus is a good bet for budget travel in India as it allows you to do a lot of things without looking at the price since they are anyway low.
- Ideal Duration: 2 Nights/3 Days is an ideal time to visit this city of Gold
- Places to see: Lake Pichola, City Palace, Jagmandir, Saheliyon ki Bari, Lake Garden Palace, Vintage Car Museum
- Food: Rajasthani Thali, Onion Kachori, Mirchi Vada, Pav Bhaji, Dabeli, Boiled Egg Bhurji, Dal Baati Choorma, Jalebi
- Budget Restaurants: Neelam Restaurant, Lotus Café and Restaurant, Govinda Cafeteria, Chirag Rooftop Restaurant, Just Eat Corner
- Lodging: Hotel Thamla Haveli (₹502), Oyo Krishnalila Regency (₹719), Hotel Udai Palace (₹734), Oyo Pichora Haveli. There are shared dormitories as well which are cheapest
- How to reach: Udaipur can be reached by Train (it may not be direct), it is a cheap mode of a commute from any part of India. However, if you are coming from nearby places like Chandigarh, Delhi, Jaipur or any nearby state, a state-run bus is a good option in that price range.
Tip: Look for a shared dormitory, it will cost you around ₹100-200 for a day
Also See: 23 Best places to visit in Udaipur
Home to 3 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, this city was the favourite of Mughal rulers owing to their historic and most iconic remains here in the form of some beautiful monuments. Agra is famous for many reasons, but the primary of them is Taj Mahal built by Shah Jahan, a Mughal ruler for his wife Mumtaz Mahal in her memory. It is a symbol of love made of rare white marbles that shines even after 381 years of its existence.
No wonder it’s one of the Seven Wonders of the World. There are many more such monuments to be explored here. There are local markets like Raja Mandi and Sanjay Place for shopping.
- Ideal Duration: 2 Nights/3 Days is enough to visit this Mughal’s paradise
- Places to see: Taj Mahal, Fatehpur Sikri, Mehtab Bagh, Dolphin Water Park, Itmad-Ud-Daulah Tomb (Baby Taj)
- Food: Bedai (Khasta Kachori), Chhole Bhature, Petha of different types (speciality), Pav Bhaji, Samosa Chaat, Panchhi Petha, Dalmoth, Paratha, Shawarma, Butter Chicken, Mutton Biryani
- Budget Restaurants: Joney’s Place, Jahanpanah, Sai Khandela Restaurant, Amar-Noorjahan Restaurant, Novelty Restaurant, Raj Darbar Restaurant
- Lodging: Shree Bihari Cottage (₹100), Rhine Hostel (₹279), Hotel Aditya Place (₹190), Hotel Viren Residency (₹171)
- How to reach: If you are coming from Delhi or its nearby places then taking a state bus is a good option. Though, there are direct buses as well plying on this route. If from any other place, then look for a direct train to Agra, it is a cheap and a safe bet.
Tip: Instead of searching for cheap hotels, look for cottages, hostels and dharamshalas to stay. They are not a strain on your pocket. Eat in small restaurants in Agra; they serve some really amazing cheap food. Travel more much possible in local buses than in autos and taxis
So, these were some of our best picks in this edition of Travel on Budget. Hope you got some insights about the places mentioned in this blog post and you are in a better position to choose your weekend getaway or a vacation from your place even with little money. Let money not impede enjoying our life, these places and other such inexpensive destinations are proof that we can travel and enjoy our life in whatever money we had.
The lesson is, money is and should not be a primary consideration while planning a trip, at least not in this low-cost travel places in India. So, now what are you waiting for, and what is stopping you? Just book your tickets and go on an adventure with a not so heavy wallet and still have all the fun. Remember what the renowned writer Paulo Coelho said, “Travelling is never a matter of money, but of courage” and we at lastminute know that you are courageous enough in your pursuit of wanderlust.