11 Best Affordable Backpacking Destinations in India (2023)

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I have been writing several pieces of content on traveling in India. I have written the best honeymoon destinations in India, family-friendly places to visit in India, unexplored travel destinations in India, and several travel guides.

By now, you must have understood how vast India is, and it is nearly impossible to cover all the places in a limited time.

After returning from the USA, I have started exploring my country, yet I cannot cover many places.

My husband and I love road trips, and since we spent most of our time on the road, we prefer less luggage. Backpacking is a newly found travel thing that many travelers love to do.

It may not interest all, but those looking to have an adventurous trip can surely understand why backpacking is exciting.

The main purpose of backpacking is to carry less luggage and explore more. Luxury is not a preferred thing for backpackers.

In this blog post, I will share the 11 best affordable backpacking destinations in India where you can think of going. India is a blend of rich places. The more you explore, the more you will get astonished.

Best Affordable Backpacking destinations in India


Dharamshala, in Himachal Pradesh, is one such hill station that is a treat for all backpackers. The mystic hill station is located in the Kangra valley of Himachal Pradesh and is home to a large Tibetan population.

So, you will find several monasteries and monks. It is a quiet and laid-back place where there is no rush like city life. As a backpacker, you will find plenty of budget-friendly homestays that are situated in the villages, and there you will find solace if that’s what you are looking for.

There are several hotspots to visit around Dharamshala that you can explore.

If you are thinking of backpacking, I would say Dharamshala should be your first preference.



Those who follow my blog will perhaps know that I have a soft corner for Goa. I have been to Goa thrice at different seasons, and each time I have had the best experience.

I have written a detailed travel guide to Goa if you need any assistance in planning a trip to Goa.

Now, why I think Goa is one of the best budget-friendly backpacking destinations in India?

Goa is a small beach destination that attracts tons of tourists each year. Comparing to other cities and tourist destinations, staying in Goa is cheap. A backpacker can easily stay for a longer time in Goa.

There is no shortage of homestays and budget-friendly hotels in Goa. If you are a backpacker, you can explore the whole place at a minimal cost. The overall cost of living in Goa is much cheaper.

You can enjoy the beach life, night parties, water sports, explore the Goan food and culture. Well, let me tell you that Goa is also the best cheap honeymoon destination in India.

Goa is a very lively place where you can do tons of things and experience your life.  



When talking about backpacking in India, I can not forget to mention Kochi in Kerala. Kerala is one place where every traveler or travel enthusiast should visit at least once in their lifetime.

If you plan for a Kerala trip, you can explore various beautiful places like Munnar, Thekaddy, Alleppey, Kumarakom, Wayanad, Kochi. Not only just visiting these places, but you can also, more importantly, explore the culture and tradition of this place.

Kochi has some amazing cheap yet decent hostels for backpackers. You can get a decent room at a cheaper price. There are also homestays in Kochi that you can avail of.

Apart from Kochi, Alleppey and Munnar is a bit touristy place. Both the places have luxury resorts and hotels but limited homestays. While in Thekaddy, I saw a few guesthouses.

Kochi - best affordable backpacking destinations in India
Photo credit: Sarfaraz (Unsplash)


My next recommendation would be ‘Gokarna’ for the backpackers. Gokarna is an offbeat beach destination that has garnered popularity for backpackers only. The wonderful small town is located in the state of Karnataka.

Gokarna is an ideal destination for travelers who seek peace. Its pristine beaches, small cottages, and budget-friendly accommodation make it a favorite place for backpackers.

Gokarna is around 150 km south of Goa, so after exploring Goa, you can travel down to Gokarna and stay there for a while.


Best places to visit in Gokarna?

  • Om Beach
  • Mahabaleshwar temple
  • Paradise Beach
  • Kudle Beach
  • Gokarna Beach


When you think of a budget trip, you can always consider the UNESCO World Heritage Site “Hampi.” Hampi is a great offbeat destination to explore the ancient ruins and temples.

It is not at all ideal for luxury vacations or honeymoon, but for backpacking destinations in India, it is one of the best.

I have covered a blog post on “Hampi Travel Tips & Guide” on my website; you can find every necessary detail here.

There are plenty of affordable hostels and guesthouses for backpackers to stay. You can check out these on Booking.com, TripAdvisor & Makemytrip. (Not Sponsored)



There is another amazing destination in North India, one of the best affordable backpacking destinations, and that’s “Varanasi.”

If you are heading to India and want to experience the local life, backpacking Varanasi will give you the best experience.

Varanasi is not just a travel destination; for us, it represents the Hindu culture, tradition, several Vedic and epic stories.

While backpacking Varanasi, you can explore the place entirely and gather as much experience as you want. It is chaotic, dirty, disgusting yet beautiful and magical in various ways.

The availability of cheap accommodation is one of the reasons why backpackers love coming to Varanasi. You can get a glimpse of the shocking cremation ghats, boat tour in the River Ganges, eat exemplary and delicious Varanasi street food.

Another best thing about backpacking in Varanasi is the food. You can get a vegetarian meal for under INR 30.

It is India’s one of the most prominent tourist destinations; there are all types of budget accommodation available.

You will find guesthouses, hostels, mid-range hotels, luxury resorts, etc.

photo credit: Curlytales


Pondicherry is a wonderful place in south India. It is an amazing backpacking destination in India as well as a great honeymoon destination.

Many solo female travelers too love to explore Pondicherry as it is the safest. If you want to explore Pondicherry, I think the best way to do that is by road. You can rent a car in Pondicherry and explore all the nooks and hooks of the place.

I love Pondicherry because of two main reasons – Portuguese and French establishments and influence in the culture, tradition, heritage, and food.

The second reason is the walking tour through its narrow lanes and its architecture that tells the history.

Best time to visit Pondicherry?

Ignore going during the summer season as it remains very hot and humid. It will spoil your entire trip. The best time to visit, I would say between November to January.



If the mountain is calling you, choose Kasol for your next backpacking trip in India. Kasol is a small and quaint hill town situated in Himachal Pradesh. It is the new favorite destination among backpackers in India due to several reasons.

It is budget-friendly; you will get inexpensive homestays, a perfect place for those seeking serenity and a way to travel sustainably.

So, this makes sense why you can easily spend days in Kasol carrying just a backpack and say goodbye to your city life for a while.



If you are looking for a place where you can detox your mind and body, want to join yoga and meditate. No place is better than Rishikesh, located in the foothills of the Himalayas.

Rishikesh is a spiritual place and an amazing travel destination for experiencing adventurous sports like river rafting, kayaking, bungee jumping, trekking, etc.

After Kasol, I will recommend Rishikesh for a backpacking trip in north India. There are a lot of unique things you can do during your stay in Rishikesh.

If you can find a guesthouse or hostel near the river Ganges, you will have the most amazing early morning view.



The capital city of India, Delhi, is a great budget-friendly & affordable travel destination. It has a great Mughal historical influence where you can literally explore and experience so many things.

If you are backpacking to Delhi, you will cover a huge area within your limited budget. Here, you will easily find budget accommodation, cheap yet delicious food, and cheap transport to travel.

Though Delhi is a very crowded and polluted city.

So, if you want, tranquillity Delhi is not at all for you. If that doesn’t bother you and you want to explore the local and history, you should plan your backpacking trip here.

Here is a tip: Do not miss the old Delhi area as you will find some amazing food corners that you will get nowhere in the world.


Last but not least, apart from being a wonderful and romantic honeymoon destination, ‘Alleppey’ can also fit in the backpacking trip.

While backpacking Kerala, apart from Kochi that I have already mentioned in the first point, you must explore nature’s beauty in Alleppey.

Though you will find the place a little chaotic with all the tourists coming during the peak season (between October – February).

But if you plan properly, even amidst the crowd, you will find solace in your backpacking trip to Alleppey.

For example, while exploring, the backwaters do not spend thousands in houseboats; instead, go for the smaller boats. They charge around INR 600-800, and they will take you to the places where houseboats don’t.

The experience is unique; trust me on this.

Explore the local cuisine from the local road-side restaurants. Check the cleanliness thing; usually, the road-side restaurants in Kerala are cleaner and cheaper.

It is a bit difficult to get a cheap hostel or guesthouse at Alleppey, but outside Alleppey, you will find a few decent ones.

Alleppey, Kerala


These are the best places to take backpacking trips in India. If you plan to come to India and think of a backpacking trip, you can consult me. I will help you with whatever information I have.

Thank you for reading!

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