Sitting out the recession in India

Ajanta Buddhist caves, India

Tripbase received an email from a friend recently: “I’m sorry to say I got laid off this week,” he wrote. Our friend explained that the company he worked for needed to trim 300,000 US dollars from its budget, and his position was one of many that were eliminated. “HR and I signed some paperwork,” he said, “and that was that.”

“I’m not overly upset,” he continued, saying that his wife and he have been wanting to leave Alaska, where they’ve been living for two years, for quite a while. “That’s suddenly a lot simpler,” he said. “It will take about two weeks to wrap up loose ends around here, and then we’re going to visit friends and family for awhile. We want to see loved ones and decide where to live.”

Beach, Arecibo, Puerto Rico

Our friend’s family lives in Puerto Rico, his wife’s family lives in Florida. While taking some time to rethink his career path, our friend and his wife will visit with both.

Sure, they won’t be paying for hotels, but it got all of us at Tripbase thinking about travel destinations with low overhead costs… places we could take a time out from the recession and size up our lives from afar.

I thought immediately of another friend of mine, a writer. He spends the school year teaching, but every summer, he sublets his places and heads to India to spend the summer vacation writing. Yes, the plane ticket is pricey, but the overhead is so low in India, he swears he saves money this way (and gains material, as well).

Sitting out the recession, or at least part of it, in India doesn’t seem like an awful idea to me. Why? Let’s do some quick math here. Bear with me…

Children playing, Rabat, Morocco

Rent varies wildly throughout the United States, but just for the sake of argument, let’s assume an average of 1000 US dollars a month of rent, including electricity, water, cable, and internet. Of course there are other living expenses, too, such as gas and food, so let’s knock that average up just a bit to 1400 US dollars. Six months would cost you somewhere in the ballpark of 8400 dollars.

Now let’s compare that to the cost of spending six months in India.

Let’s assume that you’re paying ten dollars a day for your room (and this is estimating high– we’ve paid half of that in hostels in India). That’s roughly 300 dollars a month in overhead costs. What about food? Let’s budget something outrageous for India… let’s say 200 dollars a month. For 500 dollars a month, or 3000 dollars for half a year, you’re living in India! Even figuring in a plane ticket, you’re coming out ahead of what you’d be paying in the States or Europe.

Girl on motorbike, Chinatown, Bangkok, Thailand

OK, we know this idea isn’t for everyone. We know that some people have mortgages and families and can’t just pick up and run to India. But if you do have the flexibility and you want to take a breath before plunging back into the less-than-stellar job market, why not spend 6 months on the subcontinent, rather than 6 months sitting at home while the economy is stagnant?

Some other interesting travel destinations where we could stretch the dollar or Euro came to mind… one of us lived in Alexandria, Egypt for part of a summer and paid about ten dollars a week for a small room in a shared apartment. What about retreating to Egypt? Morocco? Thailand? Laos? Vietnam? Central America? Certain areas in South America are quite affordable, too…

7 thoughts on “Sitting out the recession in India”

  1. Yeah….

    it’s the whole getting unfortunately caught up in 300 people being burned alive on a train types of things that keeps me from wanting to live in India. Visit, yes……

  2. You get what you pay for.
    I’m an Indian, and if I was in your place I wouldn’t do this. (Not trying to sound inhospitable – if you really want to come here you’re most welcome).

    There’s no 911. Get run over by a car, or set your house on fire and you’re on your own. The majority of people who die in automobile accidents in India don’t die in the accident itself – they bleed to death lying on the road where they got hit.

    There’s no enforcement of standards. That nice bottle of water you bought might have been bottled in someone’s backyard from tap water.

    There probably isn’t a single city anywhere in the country that has 24 hours of uninterrupted electricity supply a day.

    There isn’t much of a rule of law. The cops might help you, they might just as likely steal your money and send you on your way. Politicians are above the law. If you get run over by a minister’s car, or if you are a pretty white female and you get assaulted by the minister’s son, you can pretty much lick your wounds and go back home.

    Rather than look for an easy out, in your place, I would just grit my teeth and work two jobs or something like that.

  3. Ok pradeep, I know India isnt quite as safe as the U.S., and I live in San Francisco.

    But I have traveled around India on two different trips. The first for two months, and the second for six months, and you know what I felt perfectly safe, and had an amazing adventure on both. The first time my parents took me and my two brothers when we where 10, 14, and 17 and it was an amazing experience. One of the best I had as a child. The second time was my honeymoon with my wife.

    Yes it is more dangerous than living your day to day life in the U.S., but are we not alive to experience life. I think traveling is the essence of being alive, it allows you to experience new cultures and bring personal growth like almost no other activity in life.

    Lets not forget the random violence in the US, the drive by shootings, and of course 911. If you want to live your life comfortably numb go ahead. I for one cant wait for my next adventure :)

  4. Pradeep you must be crazy. India is the freest and safest place to visit. I am a missionary from the USA

    People help you instinctively. my car broke down and I had a young wife and with a 2 year old daughter.

    On an isolated highway, seven cars and four trucks stopped and gave me help. In fact a family travelling in a station wagon took my wife and kid to town and one person stayed with me till my car was OK.

    amazing. The mechanic did not even charge me. And this was Bihar –the worst state.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *