India is an extremely interesting and vibrant country both to visit and live in. The various regions offer the visitor a variety scenery and historical sites from the Himalaya in the north to the temples of the south.
If you are considering moving to India, the various costs listed below will help you make an informed decision on what costs are involved when moving and living in this fascinating country.
Quick India Facts:
- Population: 38 billion (2020 census)
- Official Language: The official language of India is Hindi, but there are 122 languages and dialects spoken throughout the country. English is also widely spoken.
- GDP Per Capita:US$1,850
- Billionaires: India ranks number three in the world for the number of billionaires residing in the country.
- Currency: Indian Rupee (INR ₹ ) As of early 2022, 1 USD = 81.5850 INR, £1 = 79.18INR, $1 CAD = 59.74INR, $1 AUD = 59.92INR
1. Moving and Shipping Costs to India
Here are some sample container shipping rates to India from various other countries.
2. India Housing Costs
The cost and availability of housing depends on where you choose to live. In general, cities like Mumbai and Delhi are more expensive than smaller cities. In these cities, houses are usually unaffordable and most people live in apartments.
Monthly Rental Prices in India
- 1 bedroom apartment in City Centre: ₹12,000+
- 1 bedroom apartment outside the City Centre: ₹6,000+
- 3 bedroom apartment in City Centre: ₹30,000+
- 3 bedroom apartment outside the City Centre: ₹18,000+
- Price per square metre (10.7 square feet) to buy in City Centre: ₹110,000+
- Price per square metre (10.7 square feet) to buy outside City: ₹50,000+
India Housing Cost Comparison
This is how rents in India compare with other countries around the globe.
United Kingdom is 194.44% more expensive
United States is 876.22% more expensive
Toronto is 498.87% more expensive
Cape Town is 173.21% more expensive
Paris is 186.44% more expensive
Dubai is 498.60% more expensive
How to Save on Housing Costs
- Share an apartment or house. Have a look at the following sites to find your perfect room or flat mate: com, Flatmate, Indian Roommates and Nestaway.
- Different areas – different prices. Most expats live in cities such as Mumbai, New Delhi, Bangalore and Kolkata. Expat complexes have been built in meet the increasing number of foreigners looking to live in India. Have a look at these sites to see where expats choose to live – Dreams in Heels, Housing, Thrillophilia and Holidify.
3. India Food, Grocery and Restaurant Costs
The cost of food in India is relatively low, especially if you eat at local restaurants. Street food is also very cheap and can be found everywhere. Supermarkets are available in every cities, but they are more expensive than local markets. Exploring the markets is a treat in itself. The colours, the smells and the choice of spices and fresh produce encourages you to cook rather than eat out.
- Inexpensive Restaurant: ₹200 – ₹800
- Takeout Coffee: ₹50 – ₹250
- Bottle of Coke: ₹20 – ₹60
- 1L of milk: ₹50 – ₹70
- Loaf of Bread: ₹25 – ₹65
- 12 Eggs: ₹58 – ₹120
- 1kg Chicken: ₹160 – ₹500
- 1kg Beef: ₹220 – ₹700
- 1kg Apples: ₹80 – ₹250
- 1kg White Rice: ₹40 – ₹100
This is how restaurants and food prices compare with other major countries in the world.
- London restaurants are 195.43% more expensive and groceries are 99.76% more expensive than India.
- New York restaurants are 310.18% more expensive and groceries are 312.38% more expensive than India.
- Los Angeles restaurants are 263.61% cheaper and groceries are 207.05% more expensive than India.
- Toronto restaurants are 205.91% more expensive and groceries are 165.73% more expensive than India.
- Sydney restaurants are 173.46% more expensive and groceries are 178.43% more expensive than India.
- Paris restaurants are 163.85% more expensive and groceries are 161.69% more expensive than India.
- Dubai restaurants are 202.60% more expensive and groceries are 10.20% cheaper than India.
Bonus Tips for Cheaper Food, Restaurants and Groceries
- Know your supermarkets: You can find supermarkets in all cities, and many are stocked with imported foods to tempt the expat’s palate and help him part with his money. Common supermarkets include Big Bazaar, DMart and HyperCity.
- Find Cheap Eats:India has very affordable restaurants that offer a wide variety of international and local cuisine. Have a look at the following sites to find restaurants that appeal to you: Rough Guide, Trip Advisor, Wanderlog and Culture Trip.
4. India Alcohol Costs
Alcohol consumption is prohibited in several regions in India like Bihar and Gujarat. Be sure to check out the laws in the region of India you intend to move to.
- Pint (0.5L) domestic beer at a restaurant/pub: ₹90 – ₹300
- Bottle of imported beer at a restaurant/pub: ₹180 – ₹500
- Pint (0.5L) domestic beer at a supermarket: ₹80 – ₹180
- Bottle of imported beer at a supermarket: ₹100 – ₹300
- Mid-range bottle of wine at a supermarket: ₹350 – ₹1,500
How to drink for less in India
- Keep an eye on the local papers and flyers for cheap drinks, either in supermarkets or in bars, clubs and restaurants.
- Many bars and restaurants have specials after work. For example, Amnesia Longue Pub has happy hour on Tuesdays where wine, cocktail and beer are all half price while B Hive pub has happy hour available all the time. Have a look at the following sites for more tips on where to go to save money on a night out – Zomato, Travel Triangle, Tripoto, LBB and
5. India Transportation Fares
India has a good transport system mainly consisting of buses and trains, both of which can get extremely crowded and hot unless you pay for first class travel. Roads, especially in the cities, can be a nightmare to travel on.
Here are some example ticket costs.
- Adult Single – ₹40
- One day ticket – ₹126
- Monthly season ticket, unlimited – ₹900
How to save money on public transport
- Buy a weekly unlimited travel ticket.
- If you live close to where you work or shop then walking is an option.
6. Cost of Internet in India
Internet prices in India are expensive compared with many other countries in the world. Here are some sample broadband internet prices for unlimited downloads, based on a 12-month contract:
7. Cost of Clothing, Personal Items, Gym and Leisure
The climate of India varies widely, depending on the location. The country experiences three distinct seasons: summer, monsoon, and winter.
Summer is the hottest season of the year, with temperatures averaging between 30C and 40C. The monsoon season lasts from June to September, with heavy rainfall and occasional floods. Winter is the coldest season of the year, with temperatures averaging between 10C and 20C.
Here are some clothing prices, together with other useful prices.
- Pair of Jeans: ₹1,000 – ₹3,982
- Summer Dress: ₹1200 – ₹5,000
- Running Shoes (Trainers): ₹2,200 – ₹7,000
- Business Shoes: ₹1,500 – ₹5,000
- Short Doctor’s visit (15 mins): ₹4,655
- Deodorant: ₹315
- Shampoo: ₹308
- Toilet Paper (4 rolls): ₹217
- Gym membership: ₹800 – ₹3,000 per month
- Movie (cinema) ticket: ₹300 – ₹650
8. Cost of Owning a Car and Driving a Car in India
Most people in India use public transport to commute to work. Some people do drive but it can be a nightmare in the large cities due to high volumes of traffic and constant traffic jams.
You can drive on a foreign license for up to 12 months but after that you will need to get an Indian driving license. You can get your license at the Regional Transport Office (RTO). To exchange your foreign driver’s licence follow the process here.
Here are some other sample costs of owning and driving a car in India:
- Volkswagen Golf: ₹1,000,000
- 1 litre (¼ gallon) of gas (petrol): ₹102.20
- Other fees (if any):The average cost of state and local taxes, license, title and registration fees is ₹25,478 per annum
Ways to save money driving in India
- Car sharing or pooling is one way to save money. Try Quickride, Carpooling, Red Busand Carpling.
- Taxis can sometimes be a cheaper option, especially if you are going to have to park all day. Try Uber, although it’s only just arrived in India and hasn’t really taken off yet.
Need your car/vehicle moved to India? Then read our guide to: Car Transport & Vehicle Shipping
9. Taxes in India
No matter where you live in India, you will pay direct and indirect taxes. To learn more about the different taxes in India go to PolicyBazaar and the CBDT. VAT (sales tax) in India is 18% and is added to most goods and services.
If you own your home, you will be subject to property tax based on the area in which you live and the size of the property you live in. Learn more about property tax in India at BankBazaar. Finally, if you decide to an apartment or house in India you’ll have to pay real estate transfer tax.
10. Flight Costs from India
If you do make the move to India, here’s approximately how much it will cost to fly to other major world cities based on lowest, one-way fares from Skyscanner as of October 2022:
- London: ₹44,434
- New York: ₹84,396
- Los Angeles: ₹97,770
- Toronto: ₹105,761
- Vancouver: ₹100,624
- Dubai: ₹19,651
- Sydney: ₹143,434
- Melbourne: ₹136,667
- Cape Town: ₹107,051
- Hong Kong: ₹38,401
Other India Relocation Tips
The costs and pricing above should give you a good idea of the cost of living in India but perhaps the following extra tips will make your move go smoothly.
11. Relocating to India Alone
Moving is always a stressful time but moving on your own can be exceptionally difficult. Indian culture may be completely different from anything you have experienced before so find ways to gently ease yourself into your new life.
Here are a few tips about making new friends in India.
- Meetups:India has many Meetup groups covering a wide range of activities from IT to cricket.
- Attend local events: There is always something going on in India and many of the activities are free. Have a look at the following sites for inspiration – TripAdvisor, Timeout, Eventbrite, 10times and Expedia.
12. Moving to India with a Family
Moving to India with your family can be a difficult but fascinating experience. There are beaches, mountains, cool highland areas, parks and many, many activities which will enthral children.
- New parents (or parents to be):Check out India Parenting and Indian Express for advice, courses and ways to meet other parents or parents to be.
- Live in a family friendly area:Chennai is very popular with families. It’s known to be safe; house prices are lower and it’s a quiet neighbourhood, fully parked with necessary amenities. Have a look at the following sites to find areas in India that would suit you and your family: Kashmir Observer, Medium, Holidify and Life from a Bag.
- Find things to do with the kids:India has lots for children to do. Have a look at the following websites for inspiration –Trip Advisor, Culture Trip, Globetrotting, Travelology India and Indian Holiday
13. Moving to India for Work
Moving to a new country for work is one of the most common reasons people choose to move. While it is possible to move without a job, it makes sense to ensure there are jobs in your field before you make the move.
India is a highly populated country, which means that the job market is very competitive. The agricultural industry employs nearly 152 million people. Specialised jobs within the industry are on the rise, due to the need for increased food production and processing. Education, healthcare, IT, construction and engineering and the railways are always looking for talented people.
Here are a few things to consider when moving for work:
- Salary:Salaries in India are not as high as other countries. This is offset by the fact that the cost of living is relatively low. You can also check salary ranges on sites such as Naukri and Indeed.
- How to find work: If you want to have a job lined up before you move to India, but aren’t sure where to begin, the following sites are good places to start: Indeed, Naukriand Monster. You may also want to Google recruiters in your industry, as they can often help land you some initial interviews as well.
14. Moving to India from Australia
There are around 3,500 Aussies living and working in India. If you are thinking of moving from Australia to India, here are a few things to consider.
- Size comparison:If you look at the population of the whole of Australia and compare it with cities in India, you’ll find that Mumbai’s population is only slightly more than the whole of Australia.
- Join expat groups:Meetup, Internations and Facebook offer ways of meeting up with other Australians in India.
15. Moving to India from Canada
There’s a comparatively small number Canadians living in India. If you’re considering making the move from Canada here are a few things to consider.
- Size:If you compare the population size of Canada with a city in India, then it would be slightly bigger than New Delhi and Surat combined.
- Expat groups:Meeting up with fellow Canadians helps the moving process. Link up through sites such as Internations and Meetup.
16. Moving to India from the United Kingdom
There are around 150,000 Brits living in India, so if you’re considering joining them, here are a few bonus tips:
- Size: Looking at the total population of the UK, it equates to the population of the three main cities of India; Mumbai, New Delhi and Calcutta.
- Expat groups:If you want to get together with others from the UK who are enjoying the weather, then go to , and Meetup.
Hopefully, the tips and costs above are helpful. If want to get started pricing out how much it will cost you to move to India you can start by comparing moving quotes here.