As a flashpacker, I’m always on the lookout for pocket friendly countries to travel in (Read: Confession: I’m Not a Backpacker). So as I watched the rupee fall over the last few weeks, I went into panic mode; countries like Bahrain and Canada, which I visited earlier this year, are now almost twenty times more expensive to travel in! I desperately turned to
my best friend Google to determine if this was the end of my dream to travel the world on a meager income (Read: How I Afford my Travels and How You Can Too). Turns out, the rupee can still take us far enough on roads less travelled!
The currencies of these 7 countries have either depreciated or remained steady against the rupee, and there are plenty of other compelling reasons to visit them:
2 Icelandic Kroner = 1 Indian Rupee
Iceland is possibly the most surprising result of my research; I had sub-consciously bracketed it among countries that are too far and too expensive, albeit gorgeous. In this land of pristine glaciers, ice-covered volcanoes, hot springs and the midnight sun, travelling is only as expensive as that in a big Indian city like Delhi. Part of the Schengen zone and accessible via any major European city, this surreal Artic country is best visited during its mild summer weather.
2 Sri Lankan Rupee = 1 Indian Rupee
I finally got around to discovering the island nation of Sri Lanka in our own backyard earlier this year (Read: Sri Lanka: First Impressions), and can’t recommend it enough. The dazzling blue Indian Ocean, the white sand beaches, the charming hill country, the lush tea plantations, the quaint villages deep in the hinterlands, the friendly locals, the sumptuous local food – Sri Lanka has something to woo every traveller. Go now, and go again (Read: Top 5 Offbeat Things to do in Sri Lanka).
1 South African Rand = 6 Indian Rupees
Best known for its wine and wildlife, South Africa promises to be as affordable as it is exciting; it is slowly climbing to the top of my own bucket list (Read: My Travel Bucket List for 2013). From arid desert landscapes and world famous national parks, to its wine countryside and mountain pockets, to fascinating cultures and languages, South Africa could be the answer to pocket-friendly long term travel. I hope you and I both make it there soon!
INDONESIA, THAILAND, VIETNAM
1 Thai Baht = 2 Indian Rupees
182 Indonesian Rupee = 1 Indian Rupee
339 Vietnamese Dong = Indian Rupee
Southeast Asia is where I first caught the travel bug. I spent weeks travelling through the interiors of Indonesia, Vietnam and Thailand, marveling at their surreal mountain landscapes, discovering tribal villages that have had little contact with the mainland, and soaking in the serenity of undiscovered beaches (Read: Koh Mak Islan: Of Hidden Beaches, Broken Boats and Beer). Considering the sheer size and diversity of each of these countries, there will always be reasons to go back and go off the beaten path, and luckily for us, the rupee hasn’t depreciated much against their currencies.
I can’t help but include India in this list; despite how much you may have already travelled in the country, there will always remain nooks and corners that will surprise you. My recent rendezvous with coastal Karnataka (Read: You Can Shake The Sand From Your Shoes, But Not From Your Soul) and the hinterlands of Goa (Read: Wake Me Up When September Ends) has left me craving to continue wandering through the mountains, shores and deserts of India, experiencing life away from the cities. I hope my blog can inspire you to feel the same way!
Where in the world are you setting off to? What countries would you add to the list?
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Most of the times the intermediate currency of exchange is USD and that really hurts one’s budget in INR. Any thoughts on that Shivya !
I know what you mean, Ashutosh. I try to find ways to exchange currency directly to that of the currency I’m heading to, sometimes by researching for small-scale money converters. Haven’t found a better solution yet unfortunately.
Well do update if you find some good converters. Coz i’ve hit a dead end! The only hope is that the other currencies too get weak with rupee…
One way to skip the problems of an intermediate currency is to minimize it. For example: while visiting Iceland, try and use your credit cards as much as possible, yes there will be an intl surcharge on some cards but it would save you the hassle of first changing to USD and then to Kroner. Plus using credit cards can earn you mileage/points on the program of your choice as well, so you make up there.
what about international markup (3.5% or more) on every transaction made !
ICELAND?? That’s my dream! Okay… Obsessive ticket checking time!!
Hope that’s been fruitful, Surya! Do note that my research and assessment was based on costs on the countryside; as people have mentioned, Reykjavik will be expensive.
Of course… But less expensive than usual 🙂 Good enough!!
Sorry to burst your bubble, but Iceland prices will make you bankrupt
yup. i agree with @guy_in_london – I’m on way to iceland. the exchange rate may look nice on paper but everything costs much, much more. their economy is killing it. they’re higher than the euro in terms of cost of living. I’ll give you the update when i return. I just know I’ve booked the most expensive airport shuttle I’ve ever encountered for when i land. :-\
(p.s. to give you an idea, the decent hotels START at 11,000 rupees a night for double occupancy. Unless you share a bed in a 10-sleeper dorm room). I wish it were otherwise…
I have to admit that my research was based on the countryside, away from Reykjavik, where costs seem much more affordable than most of Europe. I hope you’ll check out some of these places, Chhavi (and @guy_in_london), and report back? Would love to hear the ground reality, and make it myself someday!
I live in Norway. Have traveled to Iceland. Even if you travel countryside of Iceland it still is very expensive. Check out the food prices for example.. Eating out in restaurant is kinda luxury.
Nice! Very helpful article! I appreciate your good work, but at the moment I am not in a position to visit any country…
Thanks Renuka; that makes two of us! I hope both our situations will allow us to travel further soon enough 🙂
If ur going i am there too! Any country looks costly in terms of inr- i wish v wer paid in pounds /euro/ dollor
Planning to visit bankok.I hope it will be a good trip.I need a company could anybody will able to join me
I am also booked tickets for Bangkok, but in next April.In case if our Date matches, I like to travel with you.
It’s very grateful of you to come with this article. What more one can ask for? 🙂
An air ticket, perhaps? Haha 😉
Actually, along with India a lot of the currencies of the emerging world have also depreciated against the USD. Hence, it is not that bad. But a great list nonetheless.
Thanks Sankara. I wonder if that’s so, since the rupee is what seems to have depreciated against all currencies, not the dollar risen.
This is perfect! Thank you so much! 😀
Glad you found it helpful, Priyam!
I’m surprised Iceland made it on this list… as you were too. I was there this summer, and it was expensive for me as a Canadian. Doesn’t matter, though. It was sooo worth it, and I tell everyone who asks about Iceland to go if you have the chance. Iceland is just amazing.
Thanks for sharing your experience, Colleen! Did you go primarily to Reykjavik, or beyond into the countryside too? Just want to test the accuracy of my assessment in terms of costs; I can imagine it will be worth it anyway!
Yes, I couchsurfed in Keflavik, visited Blue Lagoon and did the Golden Circle (which is absolutely necessary when visiting for the first time!).
What about Nepal…that’s a great option too! It is definitely one of the most under rated places among Indians
I agree Ruth (even though I haven’t been there myself yet). Wanted to include it on this list, and can’t remember why I chose not to!
I love the stuff you have in here. I don’t agree with Iceland though!!! I am on it, have friends there and it is freaking expensive even when you earn in Dirhams. I think the presumption that conversion rate alone is enough to show if it is cheap to travel to a country or not is very naive. The costs there are almost always not proportionate to the exchange rate!!!
Thanks Shoba. I didn’t base my judgement on the exchange rate, considering which alone, many more countries would’ve made it. I looked at costs on the countryside, smaller towns and villages away from Reykjavik, and the average costs seemed much lower than the countryside in Europe. I wonder which part of Iceland do your friends stay?
While it’s a nice list, I don’t think attractive rupee-to-xyz conversion rates indicate affordability. 1 rupee equals 1.58 yen, but nobody can say Japan is cheap!
I agree, AH. The exchange rate is just to give an idea of how the currency is currently comparing to the rupee; my judgements weren’t based on that 🙂 And yes, I have heard how expensive Japan can be, especially outside of Tokyo!
Good info ….i think apart from iceland all other countries can be visited 🙂
Great Read 🙂
But I am wondering why didn’t you mention Nepal? I mean what can be more beautiful than the snow covered Himalayas? 🙂
I thought it was kind of impossible to live like that being a female, seeing as world isn’t a very safe place for us. It is however very inspiring to do that. Where do you get all the money to travel, if I may ask. 🙂
Great to join you Enthusiasts,
We are couple confused between Bali and Krabi.
Kindly share a budget stay list and the approx budget in INR.
Hi!! Firstly, Kudos to you Shivya. You have done a great job!! Thanks for the info but can you give me more detail about your stay in Indonesian. about the places you visited, accommodation, etc. Would be a great help!! Thank you and best of Luck for your future endeavors.
nice info,thanks for sharing…surprised and felt happy after seeing Iceland initially..but it went down after going thru the comments above…I heard similar case with Indonesia also…..Seychelles, Mauritias island countries also suit’s the above category…
Iam into virtual relationship with an Indonesian girl & I really wants to finish this distance. Thanks for the perception buildup for travelling .Any where in world, i guess purchase power parity & inflations sets prices of the domestic market, Any ways INR against IDR is seems to be strong. I am hoping for the best and want to travel soon & meet my girl friend.
A really direct and informative article. I am still studying but traveling the world is what I want to do… ! This blog on the whole is so exciting! I have traveled to sri lanka recently and I have to say that the process are so amazing! Shoppers abode!
I recently visited Indonesia and it was really a cost effective trip… Any one who wants to start there off shore trip and have less budget then i would recommend them to start with Indonesia
hi shivya i have always wanted to be like you, like you mentioned you quit your job and travel around the world, pls advice me how you are able to take care of the financials and how often do you travel. Lemme tell u, i am in a boring job since past few years and just want to live some good life before its too late. Your help and guidance can be a life giver dear. thanks
wish i could join u.
Hey guys will Indonesia a good option..
Please advice me.
My life is such a bore….earning money with no reason… I want see the beauty of world before I die..
Shivya please tell me how to manage financial issue while planning to travel any of these countries.
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What about Japan?
A holiday in Sri Lanka is money well-spent anyway. Love the beaches and the tea estates.