Budgeting and planning for your trip
The figures on this page are approximate, but are designed to give you some idea of the costs of travelling in India.
It is our policy to make it absolutely clear before you book and pay for your trip exactly what is included in the price we quote. Some people prefer to have us pre-book almost everything in their holiday, leaving few additional expenses once they arrive in India. For others having accommodation, transport and breakfast taken care of is enough and they arrange their own meals, entrance fees, guides etc. At the foot of this page you will find a rough guide to the sorts of costs involved in these areas.
While India is still an inexpensive travel destination by global standards, the growing demand from domestic travellers, as well as from overseas, means that this is no longer a ‘cheap’ holiday. There is a shortage of hotel rooms reckoned to be anything up to 100,000 per night! This impacts mainly in business and commercial centres and shouldn’t affect most visitors, except during the peak travel months of December and January.
You may find the following information useful in calculating the possible cost of a holiday in India. All figures are in US Dollars.
We have a wide range of vehicles, suitable for many different travelling options.
All our vehicles are driven by professional drivers who take great pride in their work and who know the routes they cover thoroughly. In the main tourist regions of India (Rajasthan/Delhi/Agra and Tamil Nadu/Kerala/Karnataka) most drivers have a good level of English language and can provide insights into life and the things you will see along the way. In other regions such as Gujarat, West Bengal/Sikkim, Orissa and the mountainous regions of the north, drivers often understand English but don’t have the confidence to speak the language. In these areas we recommend using an accompanying guide to ensure that you maximise your experience and understanding of India. The vehicles themselves are well maintained and are fully insured and licensed according to Indian Government regulations. All our vehicles are air-conditioned. We recommend air-conditioning for your comfort and to ensure better air-quality when travelling in cities, however on some hill routes air-conditioning may not be possible as it diminishes engine power - this will occur only briefly and/or in situations when the outside temperature is cooler and air-conditioning is not essential.
Car hire is a very affordable option in India. Prices vary according to the size of the vehicle, the region of travel and the route travelled. But as a guideline, prices start from $50US a day inclusive of driver, fuel, interstate taxes, parking, road tolls and driver's expenses.
Tata Indigo -India’s most popular mid-size car; a modern luxury sedan vehicle, suitable for 2 to 3 people travelling together with minimal luggage. From $50US per day.
Tata Manza/ Suzuki Desire/Ford Fiesta- these larger sedans have -more comfortable seats and extra interior features. Luggage space is still limited. Exact models vary throughout India.From US$65 per day
Toyota Innova -Toyota’s luxury touring vehicle suitable for 2-4 people travelling together in a high degree of comfort and plenty of luggage space and amenities. The Innova will easily accommodate a guide on the days when you have one with you. Also a particularly good option when travelling in mountainous areas and those parts of the country where the roads can be poor. A vehicle that sits higher above the road ensures a smoother ride. From $70US per day.
For larger groups we have a range of vehicles suitable for groups of up to 35 passengers.
Long distance travel by road in India is not an effective use of your holiday time. We will book rail or air tickets for you as required but as prices for these modes of travel vary so much, we can’t attempt to cover them here. Now there are more airlines operating and fares have come down in recent times.
Tariffs vary massively from place to place and according to the season. These figures do not take into account the peak-season surcharge which most properties apply between approximately December 20 and January 15th. Spending $100 per couple, per night on your accommodation will ensure a uniformly high standard of accommodation in the major places of tourist interest. All the hotels we use are selected after assessment by our team and we are constantly monitoring the performance of the places we use to ensure a high standard is maintained. Prices are based on twin-share or double occupancy and include taxes and breakfast.
• 3 star Comfort hotels with western bathroom, restaurant and some amenities are priced from $60 - $80
• 4 star Deluxe hotels with a greater range of facilities (swimming pool, internet access, etc) are priced from $90 -$150
• 5 star Luxury hotels (with all the amenities you would expect in this class of hotel anywhere) are priced between $200 - $450
• Premier Taj and Oberoi Hotels offer the highest standards and are found in some centres, their rates range from $600-$750
Heritage homestays and hotels are a unique part of any visit to India and as such we are attempting to include these types of properties wherever it is appropriate and if you so wish. Staying in a plantation homestead or restored palace in a historic district or town can provide insights, not only into India’s past, but also how people live today. Being a part of this meeting of past and present, even for a day or two, allows visitors to appreciate a little more what life is like in India in the 21st century. Such properties are priced from $70 - $200, which will normally include all meals, as well as selected other activities.
Jungle Lodges and Wildlife Retreats can be found in some of the most picturesque locales in all the country. Facilities range from simple tented camps to luxury hideaways. The benefits to nature lovers are obvious- you are close to the heart of the action, so to speak – perhaps perched over a waterhole in a solidly-built treehouse, or in a resort style property with a nursery for orphaned baby elephants next door. This type of accommodation is priced from $80 to $250, which will normally include all meals and, in some places, jeep safaris, guided treks, naturalist talks and more.
Houseboats: Cruising the backwaters of Kerala aboard a private, restored rice barge or Kattuvallam is another unique and quintessentially Indian experience. Boats are generally one bedroom, meaning you will have a boat to yourselves with a crew of 3 to attend to your every need, but larger vessels with 2, 3 or even 4 bedrooms are available. All meals are cooked and served on board, and the typical cost for a 22-hour journey (board at midday, disembark after breakfast) starts at $180 for a single bedroom boat. Air-conditioning operates in the bedroom of the boat only between the hours of 9pm and 6am.
Entrance Fees: Monuments and places under the control of the Archaeological Survey of India generally attract a higher charge than those under private or regional government control. Major landmarks such as the Taj Mahal, Fatehpur Sikri or the stone-cut temples of Mahabalipuram cost $10 per person or more. Less famous sites may cost as little as $2. Local museums and the like sometimes charge as little as Rs2, which is 4 cents - barely worth the cost of printing the ticket! Please be aware that most palaces, temples, monuments and museums charge a camera fee which is often many times the price of entry at the cheaper places, but rarely exceeds $2 even at the major places like the Taj.
Typical prices for entry to Kathakali dance performances and Kalaripayattu martial arts are around $3 - $5.
Dining out costs, as in any country, can vary enormously, from a few cents at a roadside stall to $20 a head or more, but in the majority of cases, around $5 per person per meal could see you putting on weight by the time you get home and eating very, very well into the bargain.
As stated earlier, we will clearly inform you which of these fees and entrances have been included in the price of your tour. It is our aim to make sure you don’t face any unexpected costs along the way.
We are not able to cover tips, but these are generally very small amounts - 10 rupees (25 cents) per bag for porters, around 10% of the total meal bill in a restaurant, a few dollars for guides and drivers.
India is a shopper’s paradise and how much you spend on textiles, crafts, art works, jewellery and the like is totally up to you. Many of the better quality shops will accept major credit cards while cash can be easily obtained against your credit card account through ATMs around the country.
Bearing all these things in mind, the likely cost of a 10 day tour in Kerala, staying in 4-star hotels and including all transfers, transport by private air-conditioned vehicle with driver, all hotel accommodation, breakfasts, guide services, and entrance fees would be around $2300 for a couple. A slightly longer tour in Rajasthan, over 16 nights, using the same standard of hotels and with the same inclusions would cost around $3200.
These prices are purely indicative - for detailed pricing and itinerary planning, please email us.
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