One of the most asked questions we get while on the road is "how much are you spending on your trip?" Truth be told, this is an extremely difficult question to answer. The cost of each country varies so much, but our cheapest destination (and coincidentally, favourite!) has by far been India.
Here were our expenses (per person, in USD) for six weeks in India. It should be noted we travelled relatively comfortably, opting for 2AC Tier trains for long distances and eating a lot of food (we are hungry people), so your expenses could easily be cheaper than ours.
Breakfast: $34.55 ($0.78 per day)
Breakfast was super easy and cheap in India. We would typically head to a local juice bar and get a one litre local fruit smoothie for 100 rupees ($1.58), or just buy a kilogram of bananas for 30 rupees ($0.47).
Lunch: $90.57 ($2.05 per day)
Dinner: $99.19 ($2.25 per day)
There are no shortage of "tourist restaurants" throughout India. If I had a dime for every time I saw a restaurant advertising "Israeli, American, Russian, Italian, and Indian food"...Eating at these places are more expensive, for example, a penne pasta dish would cost around 170 rupees ($2.68) and a veggie burger with fries for 150 rupees ($2.37). To save money, head to the spots where the locals eat, and you will find better food for cheaper - a full veg thali can cost 70 rupees ($1.10) with masala dosas going for around 60 rupees ($0.90).
Water: $32.83 ($0.74 per day)
Prepare to be thirsty in India. Whether it is the pollution, humidity, or sunburn - I found myself always feeling dehydrated. As tap water quality is questionable, we unfortunately had no option but to drink bottled water during our six weeks here. A one litre bottle of water costs no more than 25 rupees ($0.40).
Accommodations: $179.60 ($4.08 per night)
This is where you will notice India is super cheap. We spent an average of $4 per night each on accommodations, and every night we had a private room with ensuite and a ceiling fan. Our cheapest nights were in Pushkar when we stayed at Diamond Guest House for 250 rupees per night ($3.91 total, $1.95 each). I wouldn't go as far to call them hotels, but the guests houses we stayed in were simple, (kind of) clean, and of course, cheap.
Transportation (train, bus): $172.86 ($2.55 per 100km traveled)
This figure really depends on how comfortable you prefer to travel. Our general rule of thumb is if the journey was 12 hours or under, we rough it out in sleeper class. If over 12 hours, we will pay the extra cash for 2AC class. To give you a rough idea of how much transportation costs, here are some examples of fares:
After six weeks of chaos, colour, and curry, we man
aged to travel 6,767 km by train and spend $172.86 - a mere $2.55 per 100 km of travel. India is a special place for many reasons, but its also super easy to get from point A and point B, as it has one of the most well connected railway systems in the world.
Transportation (tuk tuk, taxi): $62.12 ($1.40 per day)
This figure includes transportation costs within a destination, whether that be a taxi from the airport, a ride on the Delhi metro system, or dodging cows and oncoming traffic on an auto-rickshaw. Most larger cities in India are a nightmare to walk far distances (I think India is the least pedestrian-friendly country in the world), so you will probably find yourself taking a tuk tuk to most places. You will likely never have a tuk tuk driver agree to turn on the metre, so be prepared for ridiculous fixed rate prices that you can bargain down to a reasonable fare. From our experiences, a tuk tuk should never cost more than $1.60 if you are travelling within a city.
This should give you a good idea of how much a typical day in India costs. India's inexpensiveness has been haunting us to this day: no country is cheaper to travel.