Indian rupee (₹)
Budget: Less than ₹2500
- Dorm bed: ₹200–400
- Double room in budget hotel: ₹600–1500
- Thali or pizza: ₹200–350
- Bus or train ticket: ₹30–350
- Double room in a hotel: ₹1500–5000
- Lunch or dinner in a local restaurant: ₹300–1000
- Admission to forts and museums: ₹500-600
- Taxi for a short sightseeing jaunt: ₹500–3000
Top End: More than ₹10,000
- Double room in a hotel: ₹5000+
- Lunch or dinner in a hotel: ₹1000–3000
- Cocktails and wine: ₹1500–3000
- Hire car and driver: ₹900–1500
Unless shopping in fixed-price shops (such as government emporiums and fair-trade cooperatives), bargaining is the norm.
Most urban centres have ATMS accepting Visa, MasterCard, Cirrus, Maestro and Plus cards. Carry cash as backup. MasterCard and Visa are the most widely accepted credit cards.
The Indian rupee (₹) is divided into 100 paise (p), but paise coins are rare. Coins come in denominations of ₹1, ₹2, ₹5 and ₹10; notes come in ₹5, ₹10, ₹20, ₹50, ₹100, ₹200, ₹500 and ₹2000. The Indian rupee is linked to a basket of currencies and has been subject to fluctuations in recent years.
- ATMs are found in most urban centres. Visa, MasterCard, Cirrus, Maestro and Plus are the most commonly accepted cards.
- Some banks in India that accept foreign cards include Axis Bank, Citibank, HDFC, HSBC, ICICI, Standard Chartered, State Bank of India (SBI) and Bank of India (BOI).
- Before your trip, check whether your card can reliably access banking networks in India and ask for details of charges.
- Most ATMs have withdrawal limits of ₹10,000 to ₹15,000.
- Notify your bank that you’ll be using your card in India (provide dates) to avoid having your card blocked; take along your bank’s phone number just in case.
- Always keep the emergency lost-and-stolen numbers for your credit cards in a safe place, separate from your cards, and report any loss or theft immediately.
- Away from major towns, always carry cash as backup.
- Black-market moneychangers exist but legal moneychangers are so common that there’s no reason to use them.
- As a rule, if someone approaches you on the street and offers to change money, you’re probably being set up for a scam.
- Major currencies such as US dollars, British pounds and euros are easy to change throughout India. Many banks in Rajasthan also accept other currencies such as Australian and Canadian dollars, and Swiss francs.
- Private moneychangers deal with a wider range of currencies.
- When travelling off the beaten track, always carry an adequate stock of rupees.
- Whenever changing money, check every note. Don’t accept any filthy, ripped or disintegrating notes, as these may be difficult to use.
- It can be tough getting change in India: jealously hoard your ₹10, ₹20 and ₹50 notes.
- Officially, you cannot take rupees out of India, but this rule is laxly enforced. You can most easily change any leftover rupees back into foreign currency at the airport (some banks have a ₹1000 minimum). You may be required to present your encashment certificates or credit-card/ATM receipts and show your passport and airline ticket.
- Credit cards are accepted at a growing number of shops, upmarket restaurants and midrange and top-end hotels; they can usually be used to pay for flights and train tickets.
- Cash advances on major credit cards are also possible at some banks.
- MasterCard and Visa are the most widely accepted cards.
- Indian law states that all foreign currency must be changed at official moneychangers or banks.
- For every (official) foreign-exchange transaction, you’ll receive an encashment certificate (receipt), which will allow you to exchange rupees back into foreign currency when departing India.
- Encashment certificates should be able to cover the amount of rupees you intend changing back to foreign currency.
- Printed receipts from ATMs are also accepted as evidence of an international transaction at most banks.
Private moneychangers are usually open for longer hours than banks and are found almost everywhere (many also double as travel agents). Upmarket hotels may also change money, but their rates are usually not as competitive.
Restaurants A service fee is often already included your bill and tipping is optional. Elsewhere, a tip is appreciated.
Hotel Bellboys appreciate anything from around ₹20 to ₹100.
Train/airport Porters appreciate anything from around ₹20 to ₹100.
Taxi/rickshaw drivers A tip is not mandatory/expected.
Hire car with driver A tip is recommended (around ₹100 per day) for more than a couple of days of good service.
For current exchange rates, see www.xe.com.