Disclaimer: The expense report does not include travel costs incurred to reach Varanasi since the origin of a traveller varies to a great extent.
Every backpacking trip that I take is a challenge for me because I intend to complete all my trips at a really crazy budget, an amount that is unexpected. When it came to Varanasi, I had put up a challenging amount of Rs. 2500 for a trip that was to last for 8 days. Initially, I thought it to be something that was doable but as I actually started spending my time in Varanasi I realised that it was not really an easy task. With tempting places like Kashi Chaat Bhandar and heavy transportation costs to places near Varanasi (Sarnath), my challenge to complete my trip under the estimated budget seemed out of sight.
The good news is that I was able to complete my trip for less than Rs. 1900 but it was a trip that lasted only for a week though, instead of 8 days.
Well, it is quite a lot of times that people ask me how do I manage to travel on such crazy budgets and thus I thought that I would share my expense reports of my travels so that all of you out there can understand how can travelling be made so budget oriented.
I hope that this expense report will give you an idea of making your travels even more budget-y.
I have divided my daily costs into four categories - accommodation, food, transport and miscellaneous costs. During my trip, there were other costs like entry fees into monuments, locker charges and a bit of touristy shopping which have been added into the miscellaneous tab since I could not put them into the other three categories.
Table 1: Expenses Incurred During the Entire Trip
The one thing that is the most noticeable from the above table is that there were almost no expenses incurred in the field of travel. This is so because all intra-city travel that I did was done via hitchhiking and walking. The bikers in Varanasi are really friendly, once I was lucky enough to get dropped at the exact location when I was travelling to the Tulsi Manas Mandir. Even walking through the city can be a good enough option to reach the touristy areas of Varanasi, because the places aren't way too far. Sometimes, exploring Varanasi on foot will lead you to discover hidden gems that aren't given on the internet or mentioned anywhere else since there is a lot that goes on in the narrow streets of Varanasi. The only travel expense that you might have to incur is if you are planning to go and see the nearby places like Sarnath or the other forts around Varanasi.
Walking through the ghats is recommended since you never realise how 30-45 minutes of walking just passes by.
On the last day of mine, I paid no accommodation charges since I used the common area to my advantage as I was to leave the hostel at around 3 AM at night, so I stayed in the common area for the day at no cost.
Lastly, I would like you all to know that you can budget your trip even more on two fronts, food and the accommodation. Since I planned the trip at the last minute, I had to take up paid accommodation. There are various ways of getting free accommodation, through the platform Couchsurfing or else even volunteering at a hostel in return for free accommodation. Whereas, in the food section, you can reduce your costs by cooking your own food or else exploring the streets to find out cheap food on your own. In case you're taking up accommodation at a hotel/hostel, then the traditional tip would be to find a room that provides complimentary breakfast.
I will end this report right here, in case you have any queries regarding a specific aspect of the expense report or anything else related to budgeting of your trip, you can always contact me.