Travelling around India for ₹ 20.000 a month

19th Nov 2015
Photo of Travelling around India for ₹ 20.000 a month 1/1 by Nicolas Zapata

There are 3 facts:

  • We like to travel.
  • There are many places to see. It takes time.
  • That usually requires money.

So, the 3 facts combined, depending on where you are in your life, might mean that you want to travel for as little money as possible to be able to get to those faraway wonderful places for a long time.

Here I show you how we travel in India, and basically live on the road, for 20.000 a month per person.

1. Is all about decision

How long do you want to travel for? How bad do you want to see all the wonders the world has to offer? How long do you want to stay on the road before the money runs out? What kind of histories do you want to tell? How passionate you are about traveling?

Most normal people travel only on their holidays, a dedicated traveler knows that those 2 weeks a year he gets as a reward, can be actually a life in itself, and decides to make then much more than 2 weeks and turn them into months.

What you spend most time doing is, by definition, your occupation. My dream is to travel the world, to see what it has to offer, to change it, for it to change me, to learn, to unlearn. So, I took the decision to travel, which doesn´t necessarily involves luxuries or even comfortableness.

2. Comfort Vs. Price

As obvious as it may sound, once you set up your budget, stick to it. On a sunny day taking a rickshaw instead of the bus or walking, might feel like not too much extra for the day. But once you start doing that several days a week, and paying extra for things that won´t add to your experience, then your money will run out fairly quick

3. Couchsurfing

An all-time favorite of many long term travelers. In case you don´t know it yet, Couchsurfing works by connecting 2 kinds of people: the ones who may have a spare place in their home, such as a sofa, and want to meet people from other cities or countries, to experience the world without travelling, and people who is travelling away from home and want to meet locals, and maybe stay at their home with them for a few days. All for free.

As convenient as it is to have a place to stay for free for a few days, the real beauty of Couchsurfing is the people you meet, the friends you make and those fantastic cultural exchanges that occur when people from different backgrounds sit down to share some time together.

Through the years I’ve stayed with surgeons, government officials, dancers, rich students, poor students, guesthouses owners, cruise ship pilots, entrepreneurs and many other interesting people who have opened the doors of their houses to share our cultures and enjoy fun times together.

4. Preparation

Having no plan at all is a lot of fun, but if you do have a plan an you want to follow it, try to book trains ahead, find out when festivals are happening, get accommodation in advance for places that will be ridiculously crowded (not very common, but when it happens it is a nightmare). Tickets run out, prices go higher, seats become unavailable. All of that happens and takes a dent on your budget. We usually don´t book more than a week in advance, in case we change our minds, but don’t get caught in the last second rush.

5. Bargaining

As a foreigner I am always asked for higher prices, but those usually fall after I tell them where I am from. It is very common thing to be asked where you are from, and depending on that they will quote one price or the other. Russians and people from the US get the highest prices, then Europeans and Australians. For the rest of the world they charge you low prices.

Still, if you go asking around usually you will find very low prices, and depending on the season, huge discounts on the regular price. Don´t be afraid to state your budget expectations, they are usually ready to meet them somehow.

6. Do it yourself

Get the feeling it is too expensive to have breakfast outside everyday? Buy some fruits and have them for breakfast next morning on your bed. Feel that you are spending too much on sodas in those hot days? Buy some Tang and buy a cold bottle of water, or even better, feel it before leaving home. The city tour feels too expensive? Read about the city and go on by yourself at your own pace. Feel the bus or train tickets are too expensive in the travel agent? Go and book it yourself on the internet or at the station. Feel you are spending too much money to get somewhere? Go and hitchhike for the time of your life.

7. People

Rely on people. Make friends with other travelers, with locals and even with those who seemingly cannot help you when you are in a cross road. You will be surprised to find how kind people can be and how willing they are to give a hand to a traveler. Also, if you definitely have to stay in a guesthouse, it is much cheaper to share it with someone, maybe someone you met recently.

People who we have met on the road have offered us to stay in their places, to go party with them, to call their friends to make sure we have somewhere to get to. If you are happy, people notice, so go on and make yourself happy by living on the road.