This is all the money you need for a Sri Lankan holiday

Travel cheap to an underestimated destination

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Planning international trips take a while mostly because of the money involved and while it may seem a lot, it is also important to see if it is worth the experience. While most travellers settle for exotic destinations in Europe and the US and UK among others, looking closer home may help Indians looking for shorter trips.

Around India, Sri Lanka is an under-explored destination and can be a good change for people on a shoe-string budget. There are many reasons to visit the colourful land but an easily available visa and the lower currency rate are easily on top of that list. The currency is almost two-and-a-half times the Indian Rupee and the visa comes to you within two days.

If you’re itching to go on a cheap holiday, Sri Lanka is not more than INR 60,000. Our trip for five days turned out to be an amazing stay that encompassed almost everything we wanted to do while in the country. Here is the break-up of the money spent followed by tips on how it can be cheaper.

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Local food in Sri Lanka

Money spent for five days:

Flight tickets – INR 18,200 (round trip)

Tour Package – INR 28,500 (including car with driver, breakfast and dinner, stay)
The tour included staying at two five star hotels – Amaya Hills in Kandy and Hotel Eden in Bentota and a three star Hotel Sapphire in Colombo (which is closer to the airport).

Visa – Rs 1,400 (for one month) 
The visa can be applied for online or can be acquired on arrival. Applying for it online is easier and less time-consuming

Miscellaneous expenses – Rs 12,000 (lunch, alcohol, shopping and souvenirs)

Do’s and Don’ts

1. Book flight tickets four months prior to reduce cost to barely Rs 12,000.

2. Do not spend on food at big restaurants. Eat local food at SLR Rs 130 – 150.

3. Travel by local transport or be ready to spend on food and drink for personal driver.

4. Inform personal driver that eating local is priority and not at fancy restaurants if comfortable with local cuisine.

5. Walking around will save money and help explore place better.

6. Do not go by a tour guide as it will save a lot of additional unwanted costs.

This is the first article in a series about my Sri Lankan travel experience. Come back for more on the best places to visit, food and culture and my personal experiences.