Goa is a melange of colours and culture in winter. With night parties and beach revelries that are a riot to surfing and exhausting treks, the perfect weather also makes sure there is something for everyone here. But for those who equate Goa in winters to an empty pocket, there are surely ways to explore the state with a tight string around your wallet. From travelling light to gorging on local delicacies that pinch only your palate, here's how you can ensure your trip to Goa fits in your budget.
Travel by train
For backpackers, opting for a train to travel to Goa will cut down your overall expenses drastically. There are trains to the state from major cities. If you are travelling from Mumbai to Madgaon, you can take Matsyagandha Express and Mumbai Express. From Delhi, there is a direct Rajdhani that starts from Nizamuddin station and goes to Madgaon.
Stay in South Goa
With most of the beaches being in North Goa, the prices of hotels and homestays are exorbitantly high. South Goa, on the other hand, offers quiet and solitude, along with pristine beaches, although you may miss quite some mainstream experiences (this is for you, beach party-goers). But if you don't want to just restrict yourself to the south, you can travel to North Goa, a journey of approximately four hours, and return the same evening.
Opt for CouchSurfing or homestays
Staying in a decent hotel in Goa can cost anywhere between Rs 1,000 and Rs 3,000 per day. For backpackers unafraid of experimenting with stays, look up a CouchSurfing site where you can get in touch with locals, stay with them, experience the local culture, food and return with beautiful memories. Alternatively, staying at hostels is also a different experience, where you just might find the right group of people. Dormitories will cost anywhere between Rs 200 and Rs 300 per night; hostels charge between Rs 850 and Rs 1,300 depending on the amenities available.
Rent a bike
There is little that comes close to a ride with the wind in your hair, and Goan sand in your mouth. Not sand - we're kidding. Renting a scooter in Goa is one of the most mainstream, yet thrilling, experiences because cabs here are pretty darn expensive. Renting would cost you between Rs 250 and Rs 300 for a day, with petrol for around Rs 200 unless you are covering very long distances. If you still want to lessen your expenses, you can hop on Kadamba Bus Service that goes across all the cities of Goa.
Gorge at local eateries
While you would have seen hundreds of videos of bloggers at popular restaurants of Goa, that’s not all that the state offers. Those on a tight budget (or not on a budget at all) should definitely try local Goan fare at one of the many local eateries that dot the cities. Some small roadside eateries offer the best pork vindaloo, chicken cafreal, fish and crab curry at absolutely low prices. Take a tour of bakeries too, and relish the best croissants and patties. For instance, there's Hari's German Bakery in Benaulim, which is known for its apple pies, cinnamon rolls, coconut biscuits and banana cake.
Pro Tip: Carry warm clothing for your December travel, especially if you opt to go by train. Avoid tour operators or booking tickets through agents if you want to save more money and book your tickets in advance to get the best deals.