If you ask anyone to list the Indian destination they wish to visit and it is almost certain Himachal Pradesh will be in their top three. Clearly, Himachal’s magical mix of snow-clad mountains, dramatic valleys, thundering waterfalls, shining lakes, lush forests, quaint villages, and adventurous activities guarantee unlimited entertainment. The Indian state holds its own charm and beauty and should not be missed. Understandably, Himachal Pradesh can be expensive too. But that’s old news. There are lots of things you can see and do here without bursting your holiday budget. Yes! You can certainly travel to Himachal on a budget!
Here are some tips and tricks on how to save money while planning a budget trip to Himachal.
1. Travel in the off-peak or shoulder season
This is a smart way to get cheaper accommodation and transportation, and you won’t have to share the popular attractions with quite as many others. If you have flexibility in your schedule, you can save big by avoiding travel during peak season, which is from March to June and September to December (for winter sports). Instead travel in the off-season from July to September and January to February. And you can still save hundreds or maybe thousands altogether on transportation and lodging.
If potentially cold weather doesn’t seem inviting, try shoulder season (November). The shoulder season is typically a few weeks or a month before and after the peak season. Prices are usually a little less expensive and with fewer crowds and more availability, you will typically get a lot more bang for your buck.
2. Travel in group
Travelling in a group means ample opportunities to share the costs. Plan your trip to Himachal together with your extended family or a group of good friends, so you can rent a large guesthouse, apartment, or house and use this as a base. This option can cut costs significantly.
3. Check for discounts
Whether it is for flight, attractions or souvenirs, once you know where you are going, you can usually find significant discounts for your trip. Of course, shopping skills come in handy when looking for travel deals for Himachal online. If you want cheap travel to Himachal, actively hunt for the best discounts. There is a healthy competition in the market, where every travel agent tries to outdo the other by offering competitive rates, incentive bookings etc. Cash on such opportunities.
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4. Book homestays / basic accommodation
While planning your Himachal vacation, you’ll find that room rates at hotels (even two-star ones!) can get quite pricey. When travelling on a budget, you must opt for basic accommodation. There are many budget lodges, homestays and guest houses of decent standard that provide the basic amenities. If you travel in a group, it’s also easier to get a private room for all of you which, of course, gives a lot of comfort.
For super-thrifty and self-sufficient explorers, Himachal offers lots of camping sites. Most camping sites have cabins for rent, from the very basic to the highly luxurious. You can stay in a tent when you trek to Beas Kund or other Himachal treks. The “Hotel” section on our website is a great place to find the different options as per your budget.
5. Save on flight costs with Akbar Travels’ special flight deals to Himachal
A large part of the expense of visiting Himachal is contained within the cost of the airfares. By booking your flights early, you may be able to score a good deal. You can get the cheapest flight to Himachal about six to eight months before departure. While it may not be possible to book that early, booking as soon as possible definitely saves you money. Also, just make full use of our Himachal travel deals to save tons on your flight expenditure.
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6. Look for affordable restaurants
Most Himachal towns and cities have eateries in all price ranges. Restaurants can be painfully expensive in touristy places but Himachal is also full of cheap supermarkets and street foods (which will let you save a lot of money on food). Cooking a lot of your own food, or at least parts of your trip will work wonders on your budget trip to Himachal.
Tip: Make sure you try local dishes like – Dham, Tudkiya Bhat, Chana Madra, Akotri and Mittha; lovely food within your spending limit.
7. Book early
Another simple thing to remember is to book your Himachal trip as early as possible. That way you have a far better chance of securing the most affordable rates for flights, sightseeings and also the cheapest accommodation. If you are thinking about visiting Himachal in April-May, we advise you book at least 6 months prior to ensure you get your first preferences.
8. Join guided tours
Himachal is an adventure playground where you can go skiing, paragliding, hiking, cycling, kayaking, and rock climbing, or just enjoy scenic nature and lovely towns and cities. It might be a good investment to join one of the many guided activities offered all over the state. There are also many places that rent out equipment such as bikes, skis, canoes, kayaks, climbing harnesses, and more at reasonable rates.
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9. Head off the beaten path to save money
Skip the popular places that are full of tourists and head off the beaten path a bit. The beauty of this amazing Indian state is so spectacular; each corner, laneway, main street has too many incredible things to see, people to meet and food to try that you won’t have to spend loads or queue for hours just to get close! And above, you’ll enjoy the sights and activities more because there will be fewer crowds. No one loves a crowd!
10. Explore free things to do
Some of the best things in life are free (and cheap)! Many Himachal cities and towns provide visitors with free tourism activities. No matter where you plan to travel in Himachal, research free things to do. Some of the sites you most want to see may cost you nothing. Visit a public garden, take a self-guided walking tour or hiking in a nearby national park are all great ways to explore a new place for little to no cost.
11. Book a Himachal tour package for best deals
While this may not essentially be the cheapest way to travel, but it is the best solution! If you want someone else to take care of all the arrangements and logistics for you and you want to just pay a fixed price and know there are no hidden extras – you should consider exploring Akbar Travels’ Himachal tour packages. When you book a package deal, you’ll get a good rate on Himachal airfare and hotels, some meals, often guided tours, activities, as well as, transfers. Don’t believe us? Take a look at our Himachal packages and then try to book the same airfare and hotel separately—the package will almost always be significantly less.
Moreover, these are particularly convenient if you have limited time or are not used to traveling independently.
Himachal is one of those “bucket list”, “once in a lifetime” experiences that are worth every penny you spend. Just keep in mind all the cost-saving measures we’ve suggested here as you plan your trip. Overall, the best strategy is to mix and match all these tips we’ve covered. Consider what you want to do, how much you can spend, and what your travel preferences are. And you’ll save money and have the time of your life.
So, why wait? Get started on your ultimate Himachal adventure today.