Unknown to many, but soon to become common knowledge, the propensity of being a digital nomad has recently been drawn to India—the land of colors, spicy cuisine, nomadic lifestyle, magnificent traditions, bright culture, and lively traditions. India may not come to mind when considering living abroad as a digital nomad. But living as a digital nomad in India can be one of the most exciting journeys you ever take!
India is an ideal destination for digital nomads due to its culture and natural beauty, low cost of living, lack of a language barrier, ease of travel, openness to foreign visitors, etc. For many digital nomads, India is a mythical place filled with business people and tech companies, a nomadic paradise. However, in order to get there, we need to be aware of a few aspects of the way of life in the area. So, if you’re a digital nomad or wanna be digital nomad, and curious to know the way out there to travel in India, then this extensive travel guide is for you
Who is a Digital Nomad?
People who are location-independent and use technology to carry out their jobs while leading itinerant lifestyles are known as digital nomads. As opposed to physically being present at a company’s headquarters or office, digital nomads telecommute and operate remotely. As they are not confined to one place, digital nomads can work from coffee shops, beaches, or hotel rooms. For the first time, some remote workers became digital nomads as a result of the 2020 economic crisis and lockdown, choosing to work in other states or nations if they could get access to them. The number of digital nomads is thought to have increased by up to 50% post pandemic.
Why is India an Ideal Destination for Digital Nomads?
- Vibrant Culture and Natural Beauty
India prides itself on having one of the most vibrant economies in the world. India is home to a wide variety of landscapes, including a desert in the west, enormous mountains in the north, beaches in the south, and lush woods in the east. Like no other country, India also boasts a rich cultural heritage. India most likely has something to sate your soul, no matter what form of travel thrills you.
Additionally, there are numerous cuisines in India that you can sample, with each region having its own distinct cuisine. Although the nation is recognized for its use of spices in its cuisine, each state has its own unique cuisine that will wow your senses!
- Ease of Travel
Being a digital nomad is all about having the freedom to travel whenever you choose, without being constrained by a strict work schedule. India’s extensive and very economical transportation system greatly facilitates your trip arrangements. Every area in India is connected by some type of public transportation, whether it be taking a low-cost flight or even just traveling locally in buses, trains, and shared taxis.
- Low Cost of Living
India is just as affordable as the majority of Southeast Asian nations. Compared to living as a digital nomad in the US, UK, Canada, or Europe, it is unquestionably less expensive. A person can easily live quite nicely on a monthly budget of $1000. In reality, one may live on much less if they are diligent. Your life would be made simple and your stay in India will be enhanced by the availability of food and essentials like electricity, water, and housekeeping at extremely affordable prices. Since most internet connections are reliable, you may work without difficulty from most locations.
Fundamentals of staying in India as a Digital Nomad
Although India is a dynamic country and you may already be in love with Indian culture, if you want to work there in a quiet environment, you should concentrate on finding a suitable hotel or coworking space rather than using any coffee shop. India is a nation that welcomes digital nomads from all over the world, despite the chaotic background. However, before you unintentionally get into difficulty, it’s critical to be aware of some cultural distinctions.
- When visiting a temple or a mosque as a visitor, you must act like a native by taking off your shoes and covering any parts of your body that are “too exposing.” This can entail staying away from skirts, top tanks, and other potentially irritating attire.
- Try not to be so amorous in public if you are traveling with your special someone or if you meet one there. Although it is not strictly illegal, public opinion is not favorable when affection is displayed.
- Don’t forget to remove your shoes when you are invited into someone’s home. Leave your shoes at the door because feet are regarded as “unclean” because they are constantly in contact with the ground.
Since most people in India understand English, conversing will not be a problem despite the fact that this is a very different culture, which is something that many digital nomads truly love about India to travel.
There is simply too much to see in India to visit for just one week, therefore we strongly advise you to extend your trip.
Travel Entry Necessities
Contrary to popular belief, traveling to India is not at all challenging. There are more than ten different sorts of Visas, and they all have simple eligibility conditions. Of course, the tourist visa is the one that is most frequently requested. You must have your visa application, a passport with at least two blank pages, and a valid passport (valid for at least six months).
You can request this application via the government’s website. Basically, you’ll need to sign in to the internet, complete the application (which is shown in the picture), and pay the appropriate visa price. Depending on the kind of visa you’re applying for, these costs can be very different. Tourists from the US, for instance, will need to spend about $160 for each visa, while British nationals will need to pay about $830. The cost is significantly lower for people of various nationalities, especially those who live close to India, ranging from $30 to $50.
Extending your stay will be possible and quite simple because a return ticket isn’t always required and the majority of visas are valid for 5 to 10 years. A straightforward health certification enables you to bring up to two pets on your trip. Remember that upon your arrival, you can be asked to undergo another health check.
The processing of your application for a visa takes a minimum of three working days, however making a payment does not ensure that you will be given a visa; rather, it just ensures that your case will be examined. However, India is a friendly nation, and tourist visas are typically granted.
You must go to the Foreign Regional Registration Office (FRRO) during the first 14 days of your arrival if you want to stay in India for longer than 100 days. This office is in charge of managing all residency permits, visa extensions, and certifications while also regulating legal immigration into the nation.
When and Where to Travel in India?
The tourism seasons in India operate similarly to those in other nations, with the exception that weather is a major factor in choosing when to visit. To avoid the monsoon, it is advised to travel to India between October and March. The good news is that because travelers are aware of this and prefer not to travel during the rainy season, hotels, Airbnbs, and hostels are less expensive than you may think during the monsoon season.
Fortunately for us digital nomads, the ideal time to visit India coincides with a number of the festivals that contribute to the country’s allure. Generally speaking, October through March are the greatest times to visit India, especially if you visit Rajasthan (regarded as the country’s most colorful city), Kolkata, Mumbai, or Goa.
If you just have time in September, though, you may either travel to Kerala, where it is warm most of the year and it rains from June to August, or you can visit the Himalayas, where you can take in the alpine foothills from February to May.
Bangalore, Goa, Rishikesh, Kufri and Fagu, Shillong and few states of North-East India is considered as the most ideal place to travel for a digital nomad.
Indian Festivals to Experience
India is a land of festivals where thousands of festivals are celebrated irrespective of beliefs with brotherhood. You simply cannot travel to India on a business trip and skip the festivals. Since every city is filled with colors, people, and flowers, it is also quite difficult to forget about them. To name a few most preferred and popular festivals in Indian origin:
The Holi Festival is one of the most well-liked celebrations, particularly among travelers. It is a ceremony that brings back the annihilation of Holika, an Indian demon. Lord Vishnu’s devotion causes this monster to be destroyed, and as you travel through the streets, you throw colored powder—which is similar to cornstarch—to others before using water pistols to squirt water over everyone there.
The second-largest celebration in India (Maharashtra) is called Ganesh Chaturthi, which honors the birth of Ganesha and is marked by the elephant-headed god images that are lavishly decked with flowers on every single house, hotel, and structure in the country. There will be food, music, and dancing on every street corner across India for the duration of the celebration, which lasts 11 days. This festival is celebrated everywhere in India, but we recommend you to witness it in Mumbai.
Then comes the Diwali festival of Deep. Due to the fact that the majority of the festivities of this festival take place at night and involve hundreds of pyrotechnics, lamps, candles, and other types of light fires as well as people dancing with torches on their heads, it is also known as The Festival of Lights.
You must see for yourself how lovely the entire Indian festival scene is because words cannot do it justice. Even if you are not spiritual, the energy that the entire nation exudes is indescribable.
Technology and Internet Availability
As a digital nomad, you must be able to work from anywhere, thus the issue of technology, WIFI-Internet connection, and accessibility is crucial. When working from home, Wi-Fi connectivity is neither quick nor optimal because the network is not quite stable and you will only have restricted access to home broadband. The amount of gigabytes locals use on their phones and hotspots is substantial, though. The market consumes a lot of mobile technology, which is the major cause; thus, our recommendation is to purchase a hotspot as soon as you arrive in any Indian city.
Coworking spaces, coffee shops, restaurants, and malls are places where you can find connectivity if you require it outside of your hotel. Avoid utilizing public hotspots in squares or other open spaces because they are usually very slow due to the volume of users. Hotspots are really not that expensive in India. Once you get in India, we do advise you to speak with locals to find out their recommendations for the finest hotspots and where to locate them for the best prices on international SIM cards.
Don’t stress too much about the cost of an internet connection through an Indian hotspot. Even 4G connections often cost between $1 and $3 per day depending on the service. Make careful to charge the battery daily if you decide to get one; most gadgets have a 4 to 6 hour usage time.
Cost of Living
The low cost of living in India is the primary incentive for digital nomads to visit. India is still far less expensive than other nations, even if a lot will also depend on the city where you will be residing. In India, a hotel room may cost $2, but do not anticipate receiving many frills for that little. A quality bedroom with at least a passable internet connection often costs between $5 and $15 per night. In Delhi, you can rent a furnished flat for up to $300 per month, but if you move to Bangalore—the Silicon Valley of India—the cost doubles.
Be aware that it may take some time to obtain medium-term housing in India because landlords prefer to rent for weekly or monthly durations and demand at least half of the rent up front.
Regarding food costs, if you dine in modest settings, you may expect to pay between $5 and $10 per day. A luxury meal or top-rated restaurant may cost between $10 and $20 for a dinner for two. A cup of coffee costs only $0.10, compared to $0.90 for a Coca-Cola. Although purchasing locally is very affordable, you can totally indulge in a fine big dinner once a month without worrying too much about your finances.
Cheap Medium of Transport
Similar to every other metropolis on this side of the globe, some taxi drivers will attempt to take the most difficult route in order to charge more. But generally speaking, taking a taxi in India is far less expensive than in other countries. A regular ride of between 5 and 10 kilometers could run you anywhere from $3 to $15, which is actually a pretty fair bargain.
You should be able to hail a cab from anywhere on the street, but it is always advised to become good friends with one particular driver for the duration of your journey. By having the same individual available during your working and spare hours, you can lessen your chance of falling victim to fraud. Taxi drivers much like this type of arrangement since it allows them to make more money each day from the same customer rather than going after new customers all around the city. We advise you to check with the staff at your hotel and the locals to pick the best taxi driver or go for various commuting apps like Ola, Uber etc.
In a Nutshell
Traveling in India is a wonderful experience that requires as much preparation as you can muster, including selecting the best locations and times of year to visit as well as having all the necessary paperwork and residence permits ready. Even though this is a relatively inexpensive location, we advise you to spend a little more than you had planned on for lodging for your safety too; although clean and secure hotel rooms cost a little more, they are unquestionably preferable than a $2 hotel room.
Be ready to meet fantastic experts on your nomadic adventure and have a blast creating your Indian business network.
India is undoubtedly worth taking into account even if it may not be the first nation that comes to mind when people consider becoming digital nomads. I genuinely hope that this guide has aided you in your quest to learn what an Indian digital nomad might anticipate in terms of visa requirements and a general understanding of how life would be there.
There are so many options available within the nation that even when your stay in India is up, I’m very sure you’ll still be itching to see more of it. India is an experience that not many other nations can compare to, with a culture and history as fascinating as its own, and a diverse scenery that is guaranteed to you.
Till then, Good Luck, Take care.
Contributed by Sanal Pillai
Edited by Imtiaz Ullah