Taking a lovely holiday with friends or family is something almost everyone looks forward to. However, what most people dread is the aftermath of an empty wallet and the stress that inevitably accompanies it. Well, there are a number of budget friends places for you to vacation in India. But first you must keep in mind a few tips when planning a budget trip.

  1. Research Thoroughly and Compare Deals
  2. Start Planning Well in Advance
  3. Travel During Off season If You Can
  4. Make Advance Bookings
  5. Travel Off The Well Worn Path
  6. Find Out About Homestays, Couch Surfing, and Hostels
  7. Travel With Friends To Split Costs (And Share the Experience)
  8. Use Public Transport When Possible
  9. Eat Local Food (Learn About New Cuisines)
  10. Avoid Buying Everything That Looks Worthy of a Souvenir
1) Alleppey

Alleppey is also know as the Venice of the East, surrounded by a lush green countryside, lagoon and waterways. It’s rather peaceful and cheap. It is 594 km Bangalore. There are fun things to do here, like kayaking and exploring the wilderness. I believe both should cost you no more than Rs. 1000. Also, the price per night, depending on where you stay, can be as low as Rs. 800. For food, you could get a decent meal for just Rs. 700. From research I found out that houseboats start at Rs. 6000 per day for 1 BHK, including three meals. This is a good opportunity to split the cost with some friends and have a super fun, super cheap, holiday.

2) Goa

While Goa is getting more expensive, it still remains a relatively cheap vacation spot. There is lots to do here. Beaches, Portuguese architecture, markets, and so forth. You can take a day trip and explore old Goa, and perhaps get some good local fish curry. Now, transport in Goa can be really pricey, given the Taxi Union. So you won’t find Ola or Uber anywhere. The worst thing you could do is book a cab, they charge nothing less than Rs. 1,500 per trip. Well there is a solution. You can rent a motorbike and go explore on your own! Of course, please put your safety first and ride with caution. This means, do not ride under the influence.

3) Kasol

My friend recently went on a trip to Kasol and came back feeling quite pleased with her vacation. Kasol is full of backpackers and explorers, who frequently return to admire the beautiful landscape. This quaint village is spread along the river Parvati, making for a lovely ambience. Also, if you chose to, you can go trekking in the mountains for some fun. Indeed, loads of people go trekking there every year. I would only be care about the winding roads if you are driving there on your own. Go slow, better safe than sorry.

4) Gokarna

Not far from Goa, Gokarna is a good place to get away from the commercial hustle and bustle. Personal favorites of mine include Om Beach and Kudle Beach. The latter of these is located near Mangalore, and is really tranquil. Gokarna remains relatively untouched, hopefully. While you’re there you could try and hire some boats off of local fisherman. Perhaps they would be will to take you around the beaches.

You can still find things like water sports in Gokarna, but you can do that in Goa anyway. Given that it is not yet as crowded as many other tourist destinations, the prices here are very affordable, including beach activities. Taking a bus from Bangalore to Gokarna only costs around Rs. 800. But if you’re driving from anywhere else, you could make a road trip out of it and drive through Goa to Gokarna, and onto Kerala.

5) Kodaikanal

Kodaikanal, from what I’ve heard, has wonderful street food. It is also very cheap and has beautiful views. You can there either via train or bus, or you could drive. Apparently, you can find a room here for Rs. 200 and eat fried chicken for Rs. 20. But expect to find that accommodation will cost 500-1000 per day in a guesthouse. A few places to visit while you’re there are- Kodaikanal Lake, Pine Forest, Berijam Lake, Pillar Rocks, Kurinji Andavar Temple

6) Rishikesh

Rishikesh is a lot of fun. You can go white-water-rafting, which is simply awesome. Unless you’re afraid of water. There some lovely beach camps that you can hang out at. And of course, if you chose to, you could go on some thrilling treks to embrace adventure. Rishikesh is certainly a great adventure holiday on a budget. While you’re there, you could visit the Valley of Flowers. Remember, the Valley of Flowers is completely alcohol free and vegetarian. It is worth it but just keep that in mind. I believe beach camping would cost you around Rs. 1,600 per person. This includes a one night stay, three meals, and river rafting. You might have to go to the loo in a whole in the ground. 

7) McLeod Ganj

Mcleod Ganj is a vibrantly coloured hill station with amazing views in Himachal Pradesh. It is located 448 km from Delhi and is certainly one of those affordable holidays you can take anytime. Mcleod Ganj is known for being rather quiet, and the silence is said to help visitors find peace of mind. You won’t hear any cars crackling by, or any vendors screaming bloody murder. Maybe, just maybe, Mcleod Ganj might help you forget about the troubles and trials of your daily life, allowing you to simply remain present in the moment.

This little destination is also known as the second residence of the Dalai Lama. As such, it is home to a lot of ancient Tibetan culture. The dual cities of Dharamsala and McLeod Ganj are lined with numerous monasteries and temples. Thrown into this, you have the modern cafe culture as well, where, I might add, services are quite affordable. Indeed, you can find very reasonably priced accommodation and food here. For those of you who love to go trekking, you could go check out the Triund Trek and camp. I would say that the three day tip to either Dharamsala or McLeod Ganj makes for a great, budget friendly, vacation.

8) Hampi

Hampi is well known for its historical monuments, amongst other things. Whilst there, you could visit beautiful temple and palace ruins. Perhaps you could rent a bike a cycle around. You could also take a tour of the Sri Virupaksha Temple, a devotion to Lord Shiva, and said to be the oldest temple in Hampi. Apparently it is also the oldest functioning temple in all of India. And finally, you could meet Lakshmi the temple elephant- this would be why I would go. A few more things to see in Hampi include- Vittala Temple Complex, Virupaksha Temple, Sanapur Lake, Elephant Stables, Daroji Bear Sanctuary, Queen’s BathC

The cheapest and the best way to get to Hampi is to take a train. If you’re going from Bengaluru, you must get off at Hospet. This will cost you around Rs. 150 in Sleeper Class. Then, from Hospet, you can take a bus to Hampi which shouldn’t cost you more that Rs. 50. Accomodation in Hampi is also pretty cheap. You should be able to find a place within Rs.600-700 if you chose to do a homestay type thing, or a guest house maybe.

9) Darjeeling

Going on a holiday to Darjeeling from New Jalpaiguri or Siliguri is a great experience. It just so happens that one of the longest cable car rides in Asia is in Darjeeling, and also the only one that passes through rolling tea estates. The ride one way takes 40 minutes with the tea estate below and hills of Sikkim to the right.

Above the town, you have the Kanchenjunga range, the third highest peak in the world. The view of the rolling hills and tea gardens, with a beautiful Himalaya clad horizon, Darjeeling is not only cheap but also awesome. Indeed, you should be able to get a good meal for just Rs. 300. The people are warm and as an added bonus, they make really good chai.

10) Pondicherry

Well for starters, the Aurobindo  ashram here offers free of cost living. On another note, alcohol in Pondicherry is super cheap! One of the best things about Pondicherry is its beaches. There are 4 main beaches- Promenade beach, Paradise beach, Auroville beach and Serenity beach. Unlike most beaches in Goa, you’ll find that these beaches are never to crowded and rather clean. Given that Pondicherry was once a French colony, the architecture here is French, the road signs are in French (and English and Tamil), and a lot of people speak fluent French. Most restaurants serve steak and wine too, which can be a nice little change of cuisine.

11) Lonavala

Although Lonavala is now beginning to get rather busy, owing to the influx of people, it still retains its charm. Surrounded by hills, Lonavala is great escape from the city life for those living mainly in Pune and Mumbai. You could go hiking, and in the monsoon, you’ll find some really lovely waterfalls everywhere.

Lonavala is well known for chocolate fudge and chikki. So you can stock up if you have a sweet tooth. Again, you can find affordable accommodation if you look, like at the ashram for instance. Fairly nice trip that you can quickly for a short break.

12) Nainital

If you are in Nainital, you have to go and see the lakes situated around the city. Naukuchiatal (Lake with 9 corners), Bhimtal (with the small island in the middle of the lake) and Sattal (there are 7 lakes in this area), Khurpatal (the hoof-shaped lake) are absolute must visits.

The Lake City, Nainital is situated in lap of Uttarakhand and is a little valley that is one of the most visited hill stations in North India. Other than visiting the lakes, you should check out the food at Nainital’s Chandani Chowk. It is unlike the one you might have been to in Delhi in that it is not filled to the brim with people. This is because Chandani Chowk in Nainital is restaurant, apparently known for serving delicious food. Additionally, you could use the rope-way to Snow view for a quick glance at the snow clad Himalayas.

13) Jaipur

I think Jaipur could make for a decent trip, with lots to do. You could go look at the forts, of which there are plenty and check out the detailed architecture. In fact, former palaces and the floral-painted mansions known as havelis are actually hotels you can now check into. Of course, I wouldn’t expect you would do so given that you’re reading an article about budget friendly tourist places in India.

The Old City was created by 18th century maharajas as the country’s first urban grid. Jaipur has also long been a center for gem cutting. The Old City’s Johari (jewel) Bazaar is, I hear, a sparkling vision. Moreover, The Jal Mahal (Water Palace) is now open for boat trips to its romantic gardens. The Pink City (it was painted as such for a British royal visit) is on my list of places to travel to. The forts, palace architecture, local crafts, the heritage and the festivals are reason enough, I think, to check out The Pink City.

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Tags-Low Budget Tourist Places in India, low cost holidays india, short tour packages india, budget summer vacation destinations in india