With your semester exam out of the day and the weather being a super sport; travel is something that is on the minds of every college goer. But with festivities over and gifts for family and friends you would hardly be left with any money to plan a trip with your buddies. But is planning a truly memorable trip with friends on a tight budget really that difficult? Certainly not, if you are ready for an adventure!
India is a vast and varied country with some amazing travel destinations and hidden gems which you can explore on a shoe-string budget. Be it beaches or hill-stations, spirituality or patriotism; whatever you seek can be found in India and within your college pocket money. To help you in your search for cheap travel destinations, we have listed some cool places that you can visit with your friends and make stories that you will savour for a lifetime.
1. Auli – India’s very own Switzerland
Want to make your version of DDLJ come true with a dance in a chiffon saree surrounded by picturesque snow clad mountains all around; well you dream can come true in Auli - India’s very own Switzerland. One of the most beautiful destinations not only in India but in the world; Auli can certainly put many European destinations to shame. Be it treks, pilgrimage (thanks to Joshimath) or adventure sports like Skiing; Auli has everything and much more.
Affordable and budget hotels and even hostels run by GMVN (GarhwalMandalVikas Nigam Ltd) will make sure that you find a cosy bed to snuggle in the night. During the day time, you can head over the market or explore the several trekking routes. Food is amazingly cheap with no compromise on quality of the taste. Reaching Auli is a bit of challenge but can be managed if you are ready for an adventure.
2. Goa – Make your own DilChahtaHai
The ultimate party destination of India – Goa is Las Vegas, Thailand and Bali all wrapped up into one. Let’s admit it, we have all made plans for that one awesome Dil Chahta Hai style trip to Goa but unfortunately couldn’t materialize. While there might be many factors that may stop you from visiting Goa but money is certainly won’t be one of them.
Goa is the ultimate travel destination for college goers, thanks to the affordable beaches, booze and boarding options. Homestays and hostels will help you stay comfortably during your sojourn to Goa while beach-side cafes will keep thirst (yup, the same thing which you are thinking) and hunger at bay at affordable prices. With amazing seafood options and traditional Goanese cuisine on offer; it will surely leave your taste buds asking for more.
3. Amristar – Time for some Balle-Balle
Home to the Golden Temple – Amritsar is one of the most mesmerizing tourist destinations in India. But what is more important to us is that it is super affordable for ever-broke college students. This low cost travel destination is just a bus ride away from Delhi or you can even take a train directly. Once there you can take a holy dip in the spiritual divinity that Harmandir Sahib Gurudwara offers. The gurudwara offers free accommodation to girls while charging some nominal amount for boys. The free langar is something that can’t be missed and this along makes travelling all the way to Amritsar worth it. Your boarding and lodging is pretty much taken care of by the Gurudwara. Once you satisfy your stomach, you can head over to Wagah to experience the border ceremony which happens two hours before sunset each day. You will come back full of patriotism and proud to be an Indian. It is a must have experience of any young college goer.
4. McleodGanj – Explore your Spirituality
Although McleodGanj ticks all the boxes to be termed as an ideal hill-station, but that is not what attracts young millennials to this awesome place in Himachal Pradesh. The serene surroundings of the Himalayas meet the calmness of Buddhism, making McleodGanj one of the best places to be if you want some ‘me time’. Popular for Tsuglagkhang- Dalai Lama's temple as well as several trekking trails that start from here; this Himalayan beauty has everything that a college goer wishes for in a travel destination.
In terms of budget; McleodGanj can certainly be managed with the savings you have managed from your pocket money. Reaching there is quite simple with an overnight bus from Delhi. Local travel can be managed on foot as almost everything is accessible on foot. Food is amazingly cheap and shopping can be hectic as there are too many cheap accessories and even Buddhist culture and crafts to pick from the roadside stalls. So, head over to McleodGanj if spiritual divinity is what you seek.
5. Gokarna – Goa, but better
If Goa is too mainstream to satisfy your hunger for some sun, sand and waves; Gokarna will surely impress you. Fondly called as the little sister of Goa; Gokarna has some amazing things to offer, minus all the things that you despite about Goa. In Gokarna you will be welcome to pristine beaches, scrumptious food and endless happy hours; all without the crowd and at low cost. There are several wellness centres and cottages that can provide you boarding and lodging options. If you want to try your hands on Yoga, you certainly can, thanks to all the ashrams that are available in this little beach paradise.
6. Hampi – Soak in some Heritage
If history and heritage are things that really interest you then Hampi would be the perfect travel destination for you. Based in Karnataka, this ancient architectural marvel is a UNESCO World Heritage site which attracts folks from all over the world. Be it temples, palaces or other architectural master pieces; Hampi has them in abundance.
As far as affordability factor is concerned, you can reach this place via a quick train ride from Bangalore. What makes this place great for college students is affordable stay options, be it cheap cottages or hostels that offer overnight beds or dormitory options to the students. Cuisine is primarily south Indian and amazingly delicious at respectable rates. For local commute, you can hire a motorcycle to cut down the transportation costs.
7. Pondicherry – Experience ‘voyage en france’
Always wanted to experience France since you saw Woody Allen’s ‘Midnight in Paris’ or Jonny Depp starrer Chocolat but was let down by your pocket money. Well, now you can satisfy your soul with voyage en France through Pondicherry.
Pristine beaches, beautiful road and French architecture all around you; Pondicherry is certainly one destination that should be on the bucket list of every college goer. Add to this the super cheap booze and many affordable stay options and suddenly this former French colony becomes the ultimate cheap destination for college students planning their next trip on a shoe string budget. Worried as to how you will roam around in this beautiful city? Just rent a bicycle and you are sorted.
8. Kasol – Your own Hilly Highland
If your travel motto is ‘Hills are Calling’, Kasol should be your among your top travel destinations of all time. Unlike other popular places in hills, Kasol is still very-much untouched, non-commercialized and definitely one of the most picturesque destination among the hill-stations. Once you get to Kasol, you are surrounded by snow clad mountains, pine trees and serene natural beauty in all its glory.
Coming to the budget part; despite being a little hard to reach place, travel doesn’t cost you as most of the tough part is to be covered on foot through a trek or jungle trail. Food and accommodation are also super cheap as you will find several affordable cottages and cafes to satisfy your needs. The best part about Kasol is the crowd that visits it. If you pick the right time to visit, you will bump into college goers and young tourist from all across the globe.
So, what are you waiting for? Start counting the notes in your wallet, call up your friends and get going already. Money should never be the limitation when it comes to travel and making some great memories with your college friends. After all, you will need some cool stories to share with your juniors or even your kids in future.
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So, start planning and wish you and your friends a happy journey!