The one country on my itinerary that scared me more than any other was India (at least to go by myself). So I decided to buy a tour from G Adventures to handle almost all of the logistics. This made India far easier than it could have been (though not without troubles) but also made it extremely expensive compared to the previous countries I went to. But then, the people that I got to go on the tour with were amazing. So everything evens out in the end!
In all, in 7 days in India, I spent $1,366.05.
How did that work out?
India was a pretty big hop from Myanmar, so the airfare was one of the more expensive on the trip. Luckily, I ran into a great sale on business class airfare – so this cost even includes the business class ticket from Kuala Lumpur to New Delhi.
Americans needs visas to get into India, and you can’t get them on arrival. Luckily, they’ve introduced an online process that’s quite easy, though the form is surprisingly long! It’s a flat $75 for US citizens.
Accommodations and Activities: $752.29
The G Adventures tour cost $749 and included accommodations, admission fees, and most transportation. Overall, I felt like this wasn’t a terrible value, but at the same time, I didn’t feel the hotels were as nice as they should have been for what we paid. If I booked them myself online, I would have been surprised if I paid more than $12/night for any of them. (And many of them were far less nice than the hostels in Myanmar!)
Just a couple of expenses here – there was the cost for the train between terminals in Kuala Lumpur, and then a split cab back to the airport at the end.
This doesn’t look like much on food for the week – but honestly, I was incredibly surprised by how expensive it was! The hotels (even though the in-room materials said “breakfast included”) charged us for every breakfast. I think this was how G Adventures negotiated an even lower rate with them – which made it feel even cheaper, and does make me question the overall value of the tour. For other meals, our guide tended to take us to relatively expensive restaurants – most lunches and dinners were over $5. That’s not much in US terms, but for India that’s quite steep. On the other hand, I didn’t get sick from any of the restaurants, and they were quite tasty. So a win on the whole!
Another thing not included on the group tour – there is an expectation to contribute to a group tipping kitty for any guides, bus drivers, etc on the trip, and then you’re also expected to tip your guide at the end of the week.
I bought two main souvenirs – a marble-inlaid elephant for my “rock things from the world wonders” collection, and a really pretty green amethyst ring. Jaipur is known for gemstones and cutting them, so it was a good place to buy one.
And as for the ring? It perfectly fits the fourth finger of my left hand, and the green of the amethyst is light enough most people mistake it for a diamond. You know, because I’m heading to the Middle East and I definitely did not go there alone. My husband is there on business, and I tagged along – he’s back at the hotel while I’m out sightseeing.
(I’ve heard from many sources that it’s actually a good idea to wear an engagement ring in the Middle East – apparently men respect the idea that you have a spouse. I’ll let you know how it goes. I’m sure I’ll also give you a post on the story of my spouse. I can tell you all about how we met, how he proposed, all sorts of things!)
Ultimately, it came out to an average of about $195.15 per day. I targeted my non-flight/visa costs to be under $150/day, and came in at $139.94. (My flight/visa comes out of a separate visa, so when I budget per country per day it’s without those included.) Group tours are certainly a much more expensive way to travel than I have been, but I think it’s worth it for the safety and the amount I got to see in a week!