Traveling in India can be a costly affair. With the ongoing competition of tourist agencies, tour guides and so many other players in this space, finding appropriate options in one's budget becomes a bit difficult and calls for a lot of research one which we hardly ever do. You might often have questions like how to plan a low-budget trip or how can I travel smart and cheap? Well, we are hands-down budget travelers and consider a lot of things before setting out on our trips. Thus, we thought we should share some tips and best practices that go into planning a budget trip in India, the BZee way. Yes, all of these are our personal, real experience and we aren't paid-promoting any brand mentioned. So without further ado, let's get to the 8 budget travel tips for traveling in India.
1) Choosing a place and making a plan
Choosing a place and making an itinerary is obviously the first and foremost thing that you start with. Here are some things to remember to do it the right way and have that perfect budget itinerary for any place in India-
Step 1: Check the number of days you can spare for your travel and define a budget for each day (eg: I can take a leave of 2 days+2 weekend holidays so total 4 days, budget - Rs. 1000/- per day)⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
If you have just a weekend off (or 2 days leave max), look for nearby places that are offbeat, and whether you can self-drive there⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
If you have 3-4 days to spare, check distant locations based on travel costs of modes of transport, choices of accommodation, places of interest (detailed tips on these to follow), and shortlist a few places⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
Step 2: Now finalize one from the shortlist depending on factors like your travel mood, whether you want to do an adventure trip or a relaxing staycation⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
Step 3: Read various blogs or see some YouTube videos on the chosen destination, mix and match to form a rough travel itinerary, for your days, to suit your liking. Keep this handy as we delve into the other travel nitty-gritty.
2) All about transportation⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
Planning transport is the next step and often takes a huge chunk of the budget. So here are some tips to save some 💰💰 while enjoying the budget-friendly transport options in India!
Mode 1 - Trains: India is well-connected through railways and this mode is super budget-friendly. Download the IRCTC app and you are good to go. Trains are your best bets for short journeys of around 3-4 hrs, as well as the longer ones up to 24 hrs. Tried and tested. For shorter journeys take a sleeper class ticket (would hardly be around Rs. 200/-) and for longer ones, book a 3AC ticket.
Mode 2 - Self-Drive Vehicles: For journeys shorter than 2-4 hrs or for weekend trips, etc. get your vehicle out, fill the tank and get, set go! We love remote travel, so usually, we take our bike "Hero" and get going. Great roads, no tolls, money saved! A long drive with all the perks.
Mode 3 - Public Transport: Just like trains, India also has a crazy big network of Public transport in every part of the land. From buses, autos, jeeps, vans, and whatnot. Also, these are so cheap that you won't believe the rates. It's hands down the most economic mode.
Mode 4 - Flights: For longer distances, of course, book a flight. Use websites like Skyscanner or Wego to compare prices and book in advance. You could also use your credit card points to get a free flight! Follow @livefromalounge & @shipraatalounge from Live At A Lounge on Instagram for more tips on the ideal utilization of credit card points with respect to the Indian context.
Mode 4 - Private Transport: Private transport, especially those sleeper buses, is also a great option when looking at budget and duration for certain places. (eg: For Hampi, we boarded a bus from Mumbai to Hampi - duration 17 hrs, the train, however, would take about 20-24 hrs and the ticket cost was almost the same.)
Always weigh in the transport options and the costs to see what you can opt for within your set budgets.
3) How to get the best deals on accommodation?
Another part of travel that requires a big chunk of your budget is accommodation. You need not worry about finding an ideal place to stay on budget in India as long as you use these budget hacks to save some bucks.
Step 1: Well, to begin with, define your rough budget for each day. (eg: 2000/- night with breakfast)⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀