The Best Ways to Take Travel Money to India
What Currency Should I take into India ?
The currency you should take into India, is its official currency, the Indian rupee (INR). The symbol for rupee is ₹.
Planning a thrilling adventure in India?
Currency needs to be on your to do list. Here is some general information about the Indian rupee and some tips and tricks to get the best deal on your conversion from AUD to INR.
How to buy Indian Rupee before your trip
This is usually the cheapest way to buy currency, but you need some time. You can choose where to pick the order up from, and in some instances can get home delivery.
This is the best way to get currency quickly. You will find them in major shopping centres and towns.
- Use a discount coupon to get $10 off from Travelex stores
- The exchange rates are better in your CBD. So it can be worth going there if you're exchanging more than $2,000
- Always ask for a better rate. We've found you can often get a better deal just by asking, particularly if you're buying more than $100
Most banks do exchange currency. The issue is that they often have high fees, and don't offer very good rates. It's always better to compare rates elsewhere before deciding, but as a standard rule it's best to avoid your bank. Especially for a popular currency like Indian Rupee.
Yes, you can buy currency at the airport. But that doesn't mean you should. While it's convenient, it's also very expensive.
- Ordering it online and picking it up at the airport is much cheaper than buying it in person
- If you've run out of time before your trip, it's definitely better to buy currency when you get overseas, or use your Aussie debit card instead
How to buy Indian Rupee in India
If you decide to buy your currency when you get to India, the first thing you'll need to do is make sure you have Australian dollars in cash. This way you can exchange it when you get there.
Similar to Australia, it's best to avoid buying currency at the airport and the bank, and better to do it in one of the major city centres.
You can use this link to find Travelex stores in India.
Currency Exchange in India
There are many money changers in India aside from the banks, they include UAE located in
New Delhi: Shop# 123, Market, Opposite Jain Bhawan, Shaheed Bhagat Singh Place, Baird Lane, Sector 4, Gole Market, New Khanna Market, Gole Market
Mumbai: 5th Floor, NO:5014-, Oberoi Garden Estates, near Chandivali Studio, Compound Off Saki Vihar Road, Mumbai, Yadav Nagar, Chandivali, Powai, Maharashtra
Bangalore: First Floor, #3-Y, 59th Cross Rd, Near Bhasyam Circle, 3rd Block, Rajaji Nagar, Bengaluru, Karnataka
AUD to INR Exchange Rate Calculator
What Indian notes and coins look like ?
The notes are structured in the same way Australian ones are. The notes themselves are designed differently, but they are the same type. Indian rupee notes are made up of:
₹1, ₹5, ₹10, ₹20, ₹50, ₹100
Coins in India are called rupee. They are predominantly silver in appearance and circular in shape.
₹1, ₹2, ₹5, ₹10
How Much Indian Rupee can I take into India ?
You can bring up to 25,000INR (approximately $490 AUD) into India. There is a little confusion over whether it is illegal or restricted to bring rupee into India. It is restricted. The same applies on departure, you are able to take up to 25,000INR (approximately $490 AUD) out of India.
Is it cheaper to convert currency in Australia or India?
Exchange rates change frequently, and every provider offers different rates. This makes it hard to say what the cheapest way and place to exchange currency is.
When you're travelling to a place like India you can often get good exchange rates when you arrive because Australian travellers go there frequently. This means money exchangers in India are happy to trade between AUD and INR.
Just steer clear of exchanging currency at the airport. On both ends, the rates will be much worse there than in the city centres.
To find the best way to buy INR, you can read our guide here.
The 3 Best Travel Cards For Aussies to Use in India
It can be tricky working out which is the best travel card to use in India.
The fact is, the best one for you will really depend on what you need from the card you're using.
We've listed what we think are three of the best prepaid travel cards you can use while you're in India.
What are different types of travel cards?
They can be either prepaid, debit or credit cards designed specially for using overseas. You can use travel cards to make purchases online, in stores and to withdraw money at ATMs. There are 3 popular types:
- Prepaid Travel Cards
- Travel Credit Cards
- Debit Cards
Let's have a look at each one.
Prepaid Travel Cards
For prepaid cards, you're able to load the card with a set amount of money in the currencies you need. Ideally you do this before your trip, but often you can reload them as well.
Most prepaid travel cards allow for multiple currencies to be loaded onto the card. So it's important to know what currency you'll be using on your travels. Airlines also offer prepaid cards so the money you spend can earn you reward points.
With prepaid travel cards you need to be careful, as they can have numerous fees and charges which can make it more expensive than other options. But if you're organised and travelling to multiple cities a prepaid travel card is a good option.
Best Prepaid Travel Card: The Travelex Money Card
The Travelex Money Card is our best value prepaid travel card. With this card:
- There are no ATM fees so you can withdraw cash at no extra cost
- You can access Travelex's online rates
- You can lock in your initial loading cross currency rate
- Ideal for the organised traveller.
- Can load up to 10 currencies including AUD, USD, EUR, GBP, NZD, CAD, THB, SGB, HKD and JPY.
- Smartphone App & Free Wifi Cross
- $0 overseas ATM fees (Australia excluded)
- Free Replacement Card
- 24/7 Global Support
- Limited Currencies
- 5.95% currency conversion rate
- $100 minimum initial load
- 2.95% Australian ATM withdrawal fee
Learn more about the Travelex Money Card
Travel Credit Cards
Credit cards have obviously been around for a long time. But now there are specialised travel credit cards. Generally, these cards give you longer to pay back what you've spent but the interest rates after this time can be quite high.
The main advantage with credit cards are the reward points you get in return for your customer loyalty when you spend. But it only works if you pay off the balance in full each month.
Credit cards are great to use for car hire, restaurants and accommodation - larger expenses that are easier for you to pay back over time. Some services only take credit cards to hold purchases so they can definitely be handy while you're travelling.
Best Travel Credit Card: 28 Degrees Platinum Mastercard
The 28 Degrees Platinum Mastercard is our best value travel credit card. With this card:
- There are no annual fees
- No overseas purchase fee or currency conversion fee
- You get 55 days interest free on purchases
- Access to free 24/7 concierge service
- Emergency card replacement worldwide
The 28 Degrees Platinum Mastercard has additional benefits including shoppers and repayments benefits cover. For more information read our review.
- Can have 9 additional cardholders
- No overseas purchase fee, or currency conversion fee
- No foreign transaction fee
- Free Replacement Card
- High interest rates after the initial 55 days
- Minimum credit limit is $6000
- No introductory offers or rewards
Learn more about the 28 Degrees Platinum Mastercard
Debit Cards offer the convenience of a credit card, but work differently. They draw money directly from your bank account when you make a purchase. It is designed for everyday money transactions and means that you're not accumulating debt.
If you have spending issues, it's a better option to use your debit card whenever possible, because it will prevent you from falling into credit card debt. And for daily purchases, we think a debit card can help you stick to your travel budget, because you can't overdraw money from your account.
Generally, we recommend having a combination of a travel debit and travel credit card for safety, flexibility and convenience on your trip.
Best Travel Debit Card: Citibank Plus Everyday Account
The Citibank Plus Everyday Account is our best value travel debit card. With this card you can benefit from the following:
- Withdraw cash at no extra cost with no overseas ATM fees
- Free cash withdrawals from over 3000 ATMs Australia-wide
- No monthly fee or minimum opening balance
- Transfer funds to friends and family anywhere in the world for free in 25 countries and currencies
- Free bottle of wine at Citibank Dining Program partner restaurants if you pay with your Citibank card
Please be aware, there are daily transfer and withdrawal limits. $10,000 for online transfers and $1,000 for ATM withdrawals and EFTPOS transactions.
- No international ATM or transaction fees
- Fee-free international money transfers to any account worldwide
- SMS notifications through Citi Alert
- Cash deposits available within 24-48 hours
- Can’t have two cards active at the same time
- $5 account closure
Learn more about the Citibank Plus Everyday Account
How Much Things Cost in India
India is a popular destination for Australians. And with the food and cultural attractions - it's not surprising. Travelling somewhere new for the first time can make budgeting a bit difficult. But it becomes easier to plan your holiday once you know how much things cost in India.
To give you a better idea of how much everything is going to cost, we've listed some essential things you might need on your holiday like accomodation, transport, food and more.
All the prices we've quoted in this article are in Australian dollars, but you can visit our currency converter to find out what the exchange rate is between the AUD and INR.
Before you head to India, learn about:
- Is it expensive to visit India?
- How much you need to bring to India?
- How much it costs to fly from Australia?
- The cost of food
- Buses and trains
- Tours in India
- Hiring a Car
Is it Expensive to Visit India?
When it comes to travelling in India, there is a big difference between there and Australia. Let's have a look at the cost difference between some food and activities in India and Australia:
Australia vs India
In this table, we have a comparison of some things you might do in India. The prices are approximate, and can change between different cities in India.
|Expense||Cost in Australia||Cost in India|
|1 full month of public transport (MyKi)||$145AUD for a MyKi Pass||$13AUD|
|Full priced Movie ticket||$20AUD||$5AUD|
|1 full month Gym membership||$65AUD||$27AUD|
|A bottle of beer||$5.5AUD||$2.5AUD|
How much money do I need to bring?
The answer to this question really depends on the type of holiday you're planning. Will you be backpacking and staying in hostels? Will you be living it up at a fancy hotel? If you want to do it on a budget, you easily can or you can splurge and go on a luxury holiday.
India can be a slightly more affordable country to visit, compared with other Asian destinations. Here we have listed an estimate of what you'd need, per person, per day depending on your holiday.
Budget holiday: $100AUD
Middle of the range holiday: $100 - $200AUD
Luxury holiday: At least $200AUD
How much does food cost in India?
Food is a pretty important part of a holiday, and a great way to get to know a country. Especially somewhere like India where there is delicious food to try on every corner. In India, you can really decide how much you want to spend on food everyday. You could get by on as little as $30AUD or if you're fine dining you could spend a lot more! Below we've listed some general prices for eating and drinking out, and the cost of some other bits and bobs.
- Breakfast: $5 - $10AUD
- Lunch: $10 - $30AUD
- Dinner: $10 - $40AUD
- Coffee: $2AUD
- Beer: $2.5AUD+
- Glass of wine: $11AUD+
Some other examples:
- Big Mac meal: $5AUD
- Bottle of Wine: $11AUD+
- Bottled water: $0.30AUD
- Cocktails: $20AUD+
- Food tour: From $20AUD
How much does it cost to fly from Australia to India?
Like flying anywhere in the world, flights between Australia and India can change depending the time of year. Having said this, there are often sales that can get you there quite cheaply.
The flight prices also depend on where in Australia you're flying from but from most capital cities you can easily get a direct flight.
Generally the average cost of a return flight to Indira Gandhi International Airport from Melbourne or Sydney will cost you about $700 - $1,800AUD.
Similar to Australia, India is an expansive country which is often traversed internally by airplane. Flights between major cities are approximately $80AUD. Domestic airlines include Air India, Jet Airways and Spice Airways.
Another option for intercity travel is by train. It almost covers the entire country. There are 3 types of passenger trains, the express inter-city, the super-fast air-conditioned and the slower local passenger trains packed with character. There are overnight trains for longer distances. There are normally 3 classes on each train.
Buses have a more expansive network than trains and leave more frequently. There are government run buses and private bus companies.
Taxis, tuk tuks or rickshaws are in ample supply in most Indian cities and are easy to hail down from the side of the road.
Utilising tours is a great way to meet other travellers and learn about the area you're in. If you're looking to have a completely guided tour, you could consider looking into companies like Intrepid, Bunniks or Hidden Treasures of India. But even on a smaller scale, you can often find guided tours to different parts of the country which can usually be organised through your hotel or hostel. These may set you back a small fee to cover the cost.
Viator is a great website to get information about tours you can do throughout India!
Hiring a Car
You can hire a car in India.
Although, with ample public transport you may not feel the need to. The traffic can also be a little chaotic in some parts of the country. In order to drive there you will need to obtain an International Drivers Permit (IDP) which you can do in Australia. Remember that if you're hiring a car and you're under 25, it is usually more expensive than it is for older drivers.
Price of a Rental Car in India, per Week:
- Budget: $200AUD per week for a budget car that will comfortably fit two people and luggage
- Mid-range: $300AUD for a mid-range car that will easily fit four people and luggage
- High-end: From $400AUD+ for a high end car such as a convertible, large SUV or luxury vehicle
Rental Car Companies
You can somewhat be flexible about how much you spend on accomodation when you get to India. If you're keeping it low key and don't want to spend much, there are hostels, or you could live it up! Below are some rough guides to how much you can expect to pay.
Accomodation on a budget, like hostels cost up to $80AUD a night.
Mid-range accomodation like a double room in a 3 star hotel will probably cost up to $150AUD a night.
A double luxury hotel room will cost from $150AUD up to as much as you're willing to spend per night.
Using the following sites will give you an even better idea of how much the accomodation you're after will cost you.
Tipping is not compulsory in India but appreciated. You may find that you want to tip and at some places you might find there is a service charge added to your invoice. Below we've listed some things you should keep in mind about tipping in India:
- Restaurants: Depends of total of bill, bills under 300INR - 10%, bills under 1,000INR - 7 to 10% and bills over 1,000INR - 5 to 7%
- Hotels: Approximately 5% of tariff, best to keep 10 to 30INR notes for bell boys and maids
- Taxi: From the airport - 30 to 50INR, multiple day taxi - 150 to 250INR per day and it is not expected in a casual taxi or tuk tuk