Are you dreaming of exploring the stunning landscapes and rich culture of Kerala, India, but worried about your budget?
No need to worry!
Kerala can be an affordable destination for budget travelers, allowing you to experience its natural beauty, historical sites, and mouthwatering cuisine without breaking the bank. In fact, did you know that Kerala was listed as one of the top 10 budget-friendly destinations in Asia by Lonely Planet?
In this article, we will look at a budget trip plan to Kerala, covering everything from research and planning to transportation, accommodation, dining, and activities. Get ready for an amazing adventure to Kerala on a budget.
Planning a Budget Trip to Kerala
While planning for a budget trip to any place in the world, you should keep an eye on all the factors that can cost you money. Even a slight change in one of those factors can take away all the budget that you have set for other activities.
Below are some important points that you should focus on while preparing a plan:
1. Setting a Realistic Budget
One of the most crucial aspects of planning a budget trip to Kerala is setting a realistic budget. By assessing your finances and allocating funds to different aspects of the trip, you can ensure that you stay within your means while still enjoying all that Kerala has to offer.
Here are some tips to help you set a budget that works for you:
Assess your personal finances
Start by evaluating your income, savings, and expenses. Determine how much you can comfortably allocate towards your Kerala trip without straining your finances.
Consider cost factors
Take into account various cost factors such as transportation, accommodation, food, activities, and souvenirs. Research and estimate the approximate expenses for each category.
Allocate funds accordingly
Divide your budget into different categories based on priority. For example, allocate a larger portion to transportation and accommodation while keeping a smaller amount for dining and activities.
Research and compare prices
Look for affordable transportation options such as discounted airfare or train tickets. Consider booking in advance to secure better deals and save money.
💡For Example: Instead of booking a last-minute flight, which can be expensive, consider booking your tickets a few months in advance to avail of early bird discounts. This simple step can save you a significant amount of money.
Choose budget-friendly accommodation
Look for economical accommodation options such as budget hotels, guesthouses, or homestays. These can provide comfortable and affordable stays while allowing you to experience the local culture.
💡For Example: Instead of splurging on luxury resorts, opt for budget-friendly guesthouses or homestays. You can find comfortable and clean accommodations starting from INR 800-1000 per night, allowing you to save money for other activities.
Explore local dining options
Try local street food stalls and small eateries that offer delicious and affordable meals. Not only will you get a taste of authentic Kerala cuisine, but you’ll also save money on dining expenses.
💡For Example: Instead of dining at high-end restaurants, savor the local delicacies from street food stalls or local eateries. A filling meal at a local eatery can cost as low as INR 100-150 per person.
Plan activities within your budget
Research and prioritize activities and attractions that fit your budget. Look for free or low-cost attractions, explore public parks and beaches, and participate in local festivals or cultural events.
💡For Example: Instead of expensive guided tours, explore the natural beauty of Kerala by visiting public parks and beaches, which often have nominal entry fees. You can also enjoy the vibrancy of local festivals without spending a fortune.
2. Best Time to Visit Kerala for Budget Travelers
When planning a budget trip to Kerala, it’s essential to consider the best time to visit in terms of affordability.
Kerala’s climate is generally pleasant throughout the year, but certain months can offer better deals and lower prices.
Let’s explore the different seasons and find out when it’s more affordable to visit Kerala:
The months of June to September are considered the off-peak season in Kerala. During this time, the state experiences the monsoon season, with frequent rain showers. While the weather might be wetter, it can be an excellent opportunity for budget travelers to visit Kerala at a lower cost.
The months of October to December and February to May are considered the shoulder seasons in Kerala. These periods offer a good balance between pleasant weather and affordability. Prices for accommodation and flights tend to be lower compared to the peak tourist season.
The peak tourist season in Kerala falls between December and January when the weather is dry and pleasant. This period coincides with holidays and festivals, making it the busiest time for tourists.
While the weather and festivities are enticing, prices for accommodation and flights tend to be higher during this period.
Considering affordability, the off-peak and shoulder seasons are ideal for budget travelers. Let’s look at some cost comparisons:
Accommodation: During the off-peak and shoulder seasons, you can find significant discounts on accommodation. Budget hotels, guesthouses, and homestays offer competitive rates, with prices starting from as low as INR 800-1000 per night.
In contrast, prices during the peak season can be higher, ranging from INR 1500-2000 per night for similar accommodations.
Flights: Airfare prices fluctuate based on demand. During the off-peak and shoulder seasons, airlines often offer discounted fares and promotional deals.
For example, round-trip flights from major Indian cities to Kerala can range from INR 3000-5000 during the off-peak season, whereas prices during the peak season can soar to INR 7000-10000 or more.
Activities and Attractions: Many attractions and activities in Kerala do not have seasonal price variations.
However, during the off-peak and shoulder seasons, you may find fewer crowds at popular tourist spots, making it easier to explore and enjoy without the hassle of long queues or overcrowding.
By choosing to visit Kerala during the off-peak or shoulder seasons, budget travelers can take advantage of lower prices for accommodation, and flights, and potentially enjoy a more tranquil experience at popular attractions.
3. Choosing The Right Mode of Transport to Save Money
When planning a budget trip to Kerala, you should choose the right mode of transportation for a seamless and budget-friendly journey, regardless of where you’re traveling from in India. Let’s compare the various modes of transportation in Kerala based on key factors:
1. Air Travel
- Cost: Airfares to Kerala can vary depending on the distance and time of booking. Prices typically range from INR 3,000 to 10,000+ for round-trip flights.
- Time for Travel: Air travel is the fastest mode of transportation, taking approximately 2-3 hours (varies based on the origin city).
- Ease of Travel: Air travel is convenient and time-saving, especially for long distances. However, baggage allowances may be limited.
- Available Options: Several airlines like IndiGo, SpiceJet, Vistara, etc. operate flights to Kerala from major cities across India.
- How to Book or Plan: Book flights directly through airline websites or use travel portals like MakeMyTrip, Trivago, GoiBibo, etc for comparison and booking.
- Cost: Train fares to Kerala vary based on the class and distance. Prices typically range from INR 500 to 3,000 for a one-way journey.
- Time for Travel: Train journeys to Kerala can take anywhere from 10 to 15 hours, depending on the distance and the type of train.
- Ease of Travel: Trains offer a comfortable and affordable option, with different classes available. Sleeper options are ideal for overnight travel.
- Available Options: Indian Railways provides multiple train routes to various cities in Kerala from across India.
- How to Book or Plan: Book train tickets through the Indian Railways website, authorized travel agents, or online ticketing platforms.
- Cost: Bus fares to Kerala depend on the distance and type of bus. Prices typically range from INR 500 to 2,000 for one-way travel.
- Time for Travel: Bus travel durations can vary based on the distance and route, usually ranging from 10 to 15 hours.
- Ease of Travel: Buses offer a cost-effective option with a wide network of routes. Scenic routes can add to the travel experience but the travel process can be exhaustive.
- Available Options: State-run and private bus operators offer services to Kerala from various cities across India.
- How to Book or Plan: Book bus tickets through the official websites of state transport corporations or reliable online bus ticketing platforms.
4. Own Car
- Cost: Traveling by your own car incurs fuel and maintenance costs. Fuel prices vary, and it’s advisable to estimate costs based on the distance.
- Time for Travel: Travel durations depend on the distance and your driving speed. Plan for breaks and consider traffic conditions.
- Ease of Travel: Driving offers flexibility and the opportunity for detours. It’s ideal for those who prefer independence and personalized itineraries.
- Available Options: Use national highways and state roads to reach Kerala from various parts of India.
- How to Plan: Plan your route in advance, ensure your vehicle is in good condition, and carry necessary documents like a driving license and car registration.
4. Rented Car
- Cost: Rental car prices vary depending on the car type, duration, and rental agency. Daily rates can range from INR 1,500 to 4,000 or more.
- Time for Travel: Similar to traveling by your own car, travel durations depend on the distance and driving speed.
- Ease of Travel: Renting a car provides flexibility and freedom to explore Kerala at your own pace, with options for self-drive or chauffeur-driven cars.
- Available Options: Various car rental agencies operate in major cities across India, offering a wide selection of vehicles.
- How to Plan: Reserve a rental car in advance through the rental agency’s website or contact their customer service.
Itinerary For A 5-day Budget-friendly Trip To Kerala
The itinerary shared below provides a breakdown of the 5-day trip to Kerala, including the destination for each day, recommended activities, approximate cost to stay (per night), and approximate cost for activities:
|Approx Cost to Stay (INR)
|Approx Cost for Activities (INR)
|Explore Fort Kochi, Chinese Fishing Nets, St. Francis Church, and Mattancherry Palace
|Visit Tea Gardens, Echo Point, Mattupetty Dam, and Top Station for panoramic views
|Experience a backwater cruise in a traditional houseboat
|Relax at Kovalam Beach, explore the lighthouse, and indulge in beachside activities
|Visit Banasura Sagar Dam, Pookode Lake, Edakkal Caves, and Soochipara Waterfalls
Please keep in mind that the table above does not include the cost of transportation to Kerala and also from one place to another within Kerala. Also, the costs mentioned are only estimates and can vary based on the month of travel, choice of stay, and chosen activities.
It’s advisable to research and compare prices in advance to get the best deals and stay within your budget.