Because India is so budget-friendly, it is an ideal destination for backpackers. Before you set off on your adventure in this country, there are a number of preparations you need to make, such as getting the necessary vaccinations, planning your route and applying for an Indian visa in order to enter the country to begin with.
India, a popular destination for backpackers
According to 2019 data, India welcomed nearly 18 million tourists that year. Among this large influx of travellers were a large number of backpackers, attracted by this fascinating and extremely cheap destination. The fact that India is very cheap for European tourists is partly due to the weaker currency and the many cheap options in terms of food, transport and accommodation. In addition, the culture, the cuisine and the friendly people make a trip to India a unique and unforgettable experience.
Vaccinations, Indian visa and other preparations
Before travelling to India, there are some essential preparations you should make, such as getting the right vaccinations. Although it is only compulsory to vaccinate against yellow fever, it is also wise to take some other vaccinations, for example against diseases like tetanus, diphtheria, typhoid, rabies and hepatitis A and B.
To travel to India, you will also need to apply for a visa. The tourist visa for India, which you can apply for on this website, is valid for one year. During this one-year validity period, you are allowed to stay in the country for a maximum of 90 days. This gives backpackers enough time to get to know the country and enjoy its amazing culture. There are a number of requirements you should take into account when applying for the Indian visa. For example, you must have a return ticket and a passport that is valid for at least one month upon arrival. The cost of the Indian visa is £19.95 and can be paid safely and securely with the most common online payment methods. After approval (on average within a week) the visa is sent to you by e-mail. You need to print out the visa and carry it with you throughout your trip.
Once you have taken care of these mandatory formalities, it is time to plan your trip. Given the enormous size of the country, it is advised planning the route you want to take and the places you want to visit. Indiaʼs enormous diversity and its numerous sights can make this a difficult process. One of the main must-see routes for any traveller is the “Golden Triangle”: Delhi (the capital), Agra (where the Taj Mahal is located) and Jaipur (the “Pink City”). Another highly recommended route is the southern coastal route, which starts in Mumbai and continues via Mangalore to Cochin.
Transport, accommodation and food
The low budget you need is, as mentioned earlier, one of the great advantages of backpacking in India. First, accommodation in India is often much cheaper than in other destinations. For 400 rupees per night per person (approximately £3) you can stay in a good quality hostel.
Indian cuisine is one of the countryʼs strong points. It is not only a pleasure for the palate, but also easy on your wallet. You can eat at a local restaurant for as little as £1 per person, and a more refined à la carte restaurant usually costs around €5 per person. Be aware, however, that for many travellers, food is often the main cause of health problems in India. Drinking tap water, the large amount of spices in Indian cuisine and the lack of hygiene in some places often lead to diarrhoea. Take extra precautions; carry medicine against diarrhoea with you and take oral rehydration medication (ORS).
India has an extensive transport network, which makes it easy to travel long distances. The bus and train are the cheapest means of transport. A train journey of up to 10 hours in Sleeper Class (the best option in terms of price and comfort) costs around 400 rupees. A local bus ride of about 3 hours costs about 100 rupees (just over €1). In the cities, taxis and tuk-tuks are more comfortable and faster, although slightly more expensive (minimum 20 rupees or 20 cents each way).