36 Days of Road Trip in India – 6000 KMs and Spent only Rs. 82000

  1. Plan, but Avoid Advance Booking

An oversight was made when we pre-booked our stays in Bikaner and Jaisalmer. The unpredictability of a road trip often leads to unexpected, both delightful and challenging, experiences. During our stay at an Airbnb haveli in Bikaner, we developed a strong connection with the host family, Vishnu and Anita. Their warmth made us feel like part of a relative’s family, and they shared their inspiring journey of leaving mundane photography work, learning French at 30, and transitioning into travel agency roles.

Our connection with Vishnu and Anita led us to extend our stay in Bikaner, resulting in the forfeiture of our non-refundable Jaisalmer booking. While I don’t regret the monetary loss for Jaisalmer, as our prolonged stay in Bikaner brought immense joy, I’ve learned the importance of booking accommodations only when necessary.

Rather than committing to non-refundable bookings, we realized that having a flexible draft travel plan sufficed

– Bikaner
– Jodhpur
– Bhuj
– Mumbai
– Goa (planned for the week of 10th Jan)

This experience taught us that road trips are filled with surprises and uncertainties, emphasizing the need to embrace spontaneity and avoid rigid, non-refundable bookings in advance.

  1. Key Expenditures – Fuel and Toll

During a road trip, the primary expenses revolve around fuel and toll payments.

We allocated Rs. 23,000 for diesel and an additional Rs. 3000 for tolls. Notably, the national highways in Gujarat and Maharashtra featured toll booths every 30 to 40 kilometers, resulting in a toll cost exceeding 1 rupee per kilometer.

To mitigate these toll expenses, we consciously opted for alternate routes, steering clear of national highways whenever feasible. Choosing state highways with picturesque landscapes, including jungles and mountains, enhanced our travel experience compared to the monotony of high-speed expressways. Our daily driving distances did not exceed 300 kilometers, making it manageable to explore more scenic state highways.

While we might have compensated for toll savings with additional fuel costs due to longer routes, the joy of driving through captivating state highways outweighed the financial considerations.

  1. Accommodation Expenses

Have you observed that we spent Rs. 15,800 in the first 6 days on accommodation, but only Rs. 9,500 in the remaining 30 days?

Here’s a breakdown of our accommodation expenses for both months.

We secured a room at a resort for New Year’s Eve, facing the challenge of finding decent lodging on the night of December 31st.

The second most significant accommodation expense was for our desert camping experience. We booked Osian Camp Resort for Rs. 7000, which included a camel safari, an evening of folk music by the campfire, luxurious accommodation in Swiss tents, and dinner and breakfast. Once again, the experience justified the price.

These were the only two instances where we spent more than 5000 rupees per night. For the rest of the trip, we maintained our stay within the range of 1000 to 1500 rupees per night.

Our preference is usually to book through Airbnb, as we enjoy connecting with local hosts and often prefer cooking or requesting homemade meals. However, in some places, Airbnb options are limited.

For alternative bookings, we used MakeMyTrip, ClearTrip, and OYO. Here are additional insights to assist you in making decisions.

– OYO Rooms: Affordable and available in major cities. It served as our last resort for last-minute bookings, primarily for overnight stays. Personally, we found the quality of rooms and services to be less satisfactory.
– MakeMyTrip: Offers rooms even in smaller cities. Opt for a room away from the city, and you may find 4-star accommodations at 3-star prices.
– ClearTrip: Similar to MakeMyTrip, compare prices with MMT before finalizing your booking.

  1. Food Expenses

We were enamored by the delectable cuisine and warm hospitality of Rajasthan. Unfortunately, we struggled to find food that matched our taste buds in Gujarat, Maharashtra (except for Mumbai/Goa), Karnataka, and Madhya Pradesh.

Our expenditure on food for the entire trip amounted to around 15,000 rupees, covering fruits, snacks, breakfast, lunch, and dinner. We genuinely missed the experience of cooking our own food, as it is a customary practice during our extended vacations. Typically, we purchase raw ingredients and prepare most of our meals ourselves when on lengthy trips.

During our journey, we often stayed with friends, where the perk of enjoying homemade food alleviated our culinary experiences.

  1. Personal Shopping & Gifts

Travelling in our own car allowed us the opportunity to acquire items for our home that are not readily available in our local area. At each destination, we made purchases, spending approximately Rs. 12,000 on shopping for ourselves and friends.

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