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How to Travel Cheap in India: 5 Tips for a Safe and Inexpensive Vacation

by Clare Rhodes

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The advantage of traveling cheap around India is that it gives you the opportunity to truly immerse yourself in this hypnotic culture. Instead of staying in one of the well-known hotel chains that look the same on the inside as they do in every other country in the world, why not experience the intense colors, tastes and smells of true Indian life? 

Like Africa, if you plan and research your trip to India in detail beforehand, it is possible to travel on a budget without putting yourself at risk of danger. This beautiful place offers such a wide variety of landscapes such as snow-capped mountains, tropical rainforests, and exotic beaches. Here are a few ways that you can travel cheap and safely around India:


India’s Top Attractions are Cheap to Visit!

Bengal tigers

India is well known for its magnificent temples and mosques. Many of them are free to visit and the most famous ones include the Golden Temple in Amritsar, the Galta Monkey Temple in Jaipur and the Jama Masjid Mosque in Delhi. 

Other India attractions that won’t cost you anything include a visit to some of the art galleries. The most popular ones include the Jehangir Art Gallery and the Delhi Art Gallery. A must see is The Gateway of India, which is the most recognized monument in Mumbai. While you are there, visit the Hanging Gardens or take a walk through the picturesque Lodi Gardens in Delhi. You will be surprised at how easy it is to experience most of what India has to offer without breaking the bank.

India’s other big attraction is its amazing wildlife. Catch a glimpse of the mysterious Bengal tigers and majestic Asian elephants when you go on a safari tour in one of their many national parks!


Opt for Homestays

There is nothing more authentic than staying as a guest in the home of an Indian family. At an Indian homestay, you will get to experience firsthand local knowledge of the area and, often times, the family will be happy to act as your own personal guides to show you the best sights. Indian people are traditionally very proud of their homes and any guest will be welcomed and looked after like royalty.

One of the highlights of your stay will be the delicious traditional home-cooked meal that you would not be able to experience in any restaurant or hotel. The dishes served in an Indian home are usually lighter than restaurant food and contain meat or fish. If you have specific dietary requirements, it is possible for you to request vegetarian or vegan only homes.


Travel by Train

India train

The most popular and iconic way of traveling around India’s beautiful country is by train. No visit to India is complete without experiencing the hustle and bustle of an overnight train journey in sleeper class. Be sure to book sleeper class, otherwise, you could be sitting on a wooden seat in a crowded carriage for hours at a time.

While sleeper class may be pretty basic, not only is it cheaper than flying but also saves yourself the expense of a hotel. The railway network has almost 7,000 stations, which means that most destinations around India are certain to be accessible by train. You will meet many interesting people on your journey and perhaps chat over a cup of fresh tea served by the Chai-Wallah, who walks through the cabins at various times of the day.


Go on a Boat Trip

Ganges River

India is home to the Hindus most sacred river, the Ganges. With over a million people depending on the river for their daily needs, the river is, unfortunately, the fifth most polluted river in the world. Going on a boat in India will allow you to see the country from a different viewpoint. You will experience a variety of landscapes along the 1,569 miles (2,525 km) of the river.

One of the most popular India attractions is to sail the backwaters of Kerala. If this is on your bucket list, you can take a trip on a rice boat and experience the lakes and lagoons that pass through the many villages. You will get to see how these river communities live their day-to-day lives. In Kerala, you will also see a number of yoga ashrams and devout yogis practicing during the day, invoking a sense of peace in you. The serenity of the river is definitely something to be experienced and the incredible sunsets are a sight to behold.


Street Food

indian cuisine

There is certainly no shortage of street food stands in India, and it is a very cheap and healthy way to eat while you are there. Mumbai is especially popular for this kind of food. The traditional way to eat Indian curries is by scooping it up with some sort of bread, so be prepared to get your hands dirty.

You will be amazed at the variety of foods on offer. Indian cuisine is known to offer a punch full of flavor. Layers of different ingredients such as meat, fish, vegetables, legumes with spices and sauces are used to provide the ultimate gastronomic experience at a reasonable price. However, if you have any severe food allergies, it might be wise to steer clear as nuts are among the many food types used.

Ready to go on an Indian safari adventure? Begin your tour at Tadoba National Park!

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