Okay, first things first: if you’re looking for a budget friendly destination, Kerala - or more specifically India - is a great option.

For European, American or Australian/New Zealander backpackers your money can go a very long way.

Whilst expensive hotels and super fancy restaurants do exist, the bread and butter of the standard traveller’s expenses are low. Tours are reasonably priced, good value accommodation options are everywhere, transport is incredibly cheap, and you can eat out every lunch and dinner without worrying that you’ll need to cut your trip short.

With that being said, if you’re anything like us, you appreciate having a general idea of how much certain things or experiences should cost in a new country or region before you go - and that’s where this article comes in.

Within this post you’ll learn not only how much you should expect to spend on accommodation, but also very specific costs such as what to budget for a Munnar tea plantation tour, tuk-tuk and train rides, and how much an Ayurvedic massage should set you back.

If you’re wondering just how much it should cost to travel in Kerala, then keep reading!

The costs below are the average we encountered in our time in the region (November - December 2019), and the individual items have been chosen for their popularity amongst travellers in Kerala. Note that prices may vary according to seasonality, particularly accommodation.

Currencies are Indian Rupees (₹) / £GBP / $USD / €EUR, with conversion rates accurate at time of publication.


Private double in a traditional homestay

Part of travelling in Kerala is enjoying the hospitality of the local people - specifically in one of the region’s many homestays.

How much you pay for this experience depends very much upon whether food is included, the standard of the accommodation and - certainly as it appeared to us - whether they were included in the Lonely Planet.

The price listed here is for the most popular guide book rated homestays and includes your meals.

₹2000 | £22 | €24.50 | $27


Cheap private double (No AC)

Despite having grown out of dorms, we still really enjoy staying in hostels. The unfortunate thing for couples in Kerala however is that hostels with private doubles are few and far between, and hostels thatdohave them tend to only offer one or two.

This means that you either have to be super organised with your travel plans (definitely not us) or accept that you may spend a portion of your time in homestays and guest houses instead.

Note that some basic guesthouses will have AC, but you have to pay an extra 300 rupees or so per day on top of the basic room rate to secure the remote control.

₹600 | £6.4 | €7.4 | $8.3


Dorm bed

With new hostel chains spreading across the state, there are now an abundance of options for single travellers and those on a budget.

And it is very very cheap, even for the best places in town, with average prices ranging from ₹300 to ₹500 per person. The main difference in pricing is whether you want to share the dorm with 7 other people or go for something with only 4 beds.

Just always remember to only stay in dorms with a secure place for your valuables - and bringyour own padlock.

Keep Reading | First time in hostels? Read our beginner’s guidehere.

₹300 | £3.2 | €3.7 | $4.2


2 hour train journey in sleeper carriage

There is no better way to travel across India than by train.

And we’ll fight anyone who disagrees!

It’s also incredibly cost-efficient, especially if you choose to travel in sleeper class like us. A step up from the even cheaper ‘general class’, it doesn’t have air-con and is basic but very enjoyable and a great place to chat with locals.

The sample cost is for the 2-hour train fromVarkalato Allepey.

Read more | Our guide to Indian train travel (coming soon)

₹120 | £1.3 | €1.5 | $1.7


a bowl of curry

Before we visited India, we were warned that after four weeks we’d hate the sight of curry.

Nope, didn’t happen to us - it’s just too damn delicious.

Curry for breakfast, curry for lunch, curry for dinner for nearly four weeks solid - and we still want curry.

We’ve listed the price for a lovely paneer curry at good tourist-focussed restaurants, but had the same dish for as little as 140 rupees at more local-focussed or cheaper tourist restaurants.

In short, you will eat like a King for less than a cup of coffee back home.

Keep Reading | Learn how to cook an authentic Keralan curry - find out where inour guide to Kochi.

₹240 | £2.5 | €3 | $3.3

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Large beer in an official bar

Although not officially a ‘dry state’, strict licensing laws mean that getting hold of a thirst quenching cold beer in Kerala can be a little tricky.

Whilst restaurants and bars in backpacker-friendly places such asVarkalawill serve you a covert beer in a mug for ₹180-200, your only option in many destinations is at a bar with an expensive license, such as a fancy hotel.

This unfortunately means that it won’t be as cheap as somewhere like Goa.

₹250 | £2.6 | €3.1 | $3.5


Masala Dosa

One of the most typical Keralan breakfast foodstuffs, this rice flour pancake stuffed with curried potatoes and served alongside coconut chutney and sambar will totally set you up for the day!

It’s the food that Emily misses most since returning to the UK (she actually developed a mild dosa addiction in Kerala)

Top tip | These are at their absolute best in the most basic of restaurants, and our favourite was actually in train station vegetarian restaurants.

₹60 | £0.6 | €0.75 | $0.8


Full day canoe tour of the backwaters

你不能访问喀拉拉邦,不花点time travelling along its famous backwaters.

We had initially wanted to stay overnight on a houseboat, however because of concerns about pollution and sustainability we opted instead for an excellent value canoe tour - and never once regretted our choice!

Keep Reading |Our guide to visiting the Kerala Backwaters

₹1000 | £10.6 | €12.4 | $14

10 minute rickshaw ride

Whilst many rickshaws have meters that correspond to a payment system written behind the driver’s seat, we never ever successfully got a rickshaw driver to actually turn it on. Instead, we always had negotiate the journey price before setting off or were provided an official price outside train stations.

A fairly standard rate for a tourist hoping to take a 10-15 minute journey is around 100 rupees however, we noticed that when travelling from south to north, this price began to creep up despite journey times decreasing…

Keep Reading |23 Things to Know Before You Visit Kerala

₹100 | £1.1 | €1.2 | $1.4


Chai from a street side tea shop

Despite the heaped tablespoon of sugar that went into one small cup of tea, we couldn’t stay away from the chai shops - these super sweet drinks almost always come with a side of authentic Indian culture and are unmissable.

Make a point of stopping for chai.

₹10 | £0.1 | €0.1 | $0.15


ATM withdrawal fee

Accessing money can sometimes be quite a challenge in Kerala, and trial and error allowed us to work out which banks ATMs were most reliable for working with our cards.

Canara Bank was definitely the best, with no fee for us, whilst others charged from ₹200-238 for any withdrawal.

Keep Reading |23 Things to Know Before You Visit Kerala

₹200 | £2.1 | €2.5 | $2.8


30 day E-Visa

In place since 2014, theIndian e-visahas done away with paperwork - and the hassle associated with the old system.

This $25 USD fee provides you with a 30 day visa for India, but there are other options for longer stays.

Keep Reading | There are so many scammy Indian visa websites out there that will make the whole process much more complex than it should be, and charge an awful lot more. For advice on how to avoid them, and how to apply for the e-visa, seeour guide.

$25 USD

(official currency to purchase visas)


A Cheap 60 minute Ayurvedic Massage

Kerala is the home of Ayurvedic massage, a treatment based on the Ayurveda system of alternative medicine developed in India nearly 3,000 years ago - and you kind of can’t visit Kerala without trying it out at least once!

It is however worth noting that not all massages, or indeed massage parlours, are created equal and you often get what you pay for.

Expect to pay somewhere in the realms of 2500 rupees for a professional massage carried out by an expert therapist.

Keep Reading |23 Things to Know Before You Visit Kerala

₹1200 | £12.7 | €14.9 | $16.7


Munnar Tea Plantation Tour

Munnar is a destination firmly on the Kerala backpacker trail, and for those that haven’t previously seen field after field of tea stretch out before them, it’s quite a sight to behold.

There are a number of activities on offer in the area, but you really must visit one of the tea plantations to understand a little more.

We actually opted to do a combo tea plantation walk, tea tasting and factory visit so we could appreciate the process from leaf to bag (which we highly recommend), but plenty of people choose to just visit the factory.

Keep Reading |Our Guide to Munnar

₹100 | £1.1 | €1.2 | $1.4


A Surf Lesson in Varkala

Whilst Kerala isn’t a world famous surf destination, Varkala has a surprisingingly large number of surf camps, usually offering a week long surf +/- yoga package.

If you’re just in town for a few days however, you can get surf lessons for around ₹1500 or get half day board rental for ₹800.

Keep Reading |Our Guide to Varkala

₹1500 | £16.50 | €18.25 | $20.25

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