About India

Money & costs

  • Currency: Indian Rupee
  • Meals
  • Budget: Rs.45
  • Mid-range: Rs.45-120
  • High: Rs.120-230
  • Deluxe: Rs.230+
  • Lodging
  • Budget: Rs.140-460
  • Mid-range: Rs.460-4600
  • High: Rs.4600-9000
  • Deluxe: Rs.9000+

If you stay in cheap hotels, always travel 2nd class on trains and learn to subsist on dhal and rice, you could see India on just 10.00 a day. If you prefer a few more creature comforts, like a simple private room with a bathroom, a varied diet, and occasional 1st class rail travel on long journeys, count on around 20.00-25.00 a day. Staying in mid-range hotels, eating in decent restaurants, and occasionally hiring a car and driver will cost around 30.00-40.00 a day. If you don't want to set foot anywhere other than converted maharaja's palaces, and five-star international hotels, budget as if you were travelling comfortably in the west.

Indian currency notes circulate far longer than in the west and the small notes in particular become very tatty - some should carry a government health warning. You may occasionally find that when you try to pay for something with a ripped or grubby note that your money is refused. You can change old notes for new ones at most banks or save them and use them creatively as tips. Don't let shopkeepers palm grubby notes off on you as change - simply hand them back and you'll usually be given a note slightly higher up the acceptability scale. Keep a supply of smaller denomination notes - there is a perpetual shortage of small change.

Tipping is virtually unknown in India, except in swanky establishments in the major cities. Baksheesh, on the other hand, a term which encompasses tipping and a lot more besides, is widespread. You 'tip' in India not so much for good service but in order to get things done. Judicious baksheesh will open closed doors, find missing letters and perform other small miracles. In tourist restaurants or hotels a 10% service charge is often added to bills. In smaller places, where tipping is optional, you need only tip a few rupees, not a percentage of your bill.

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