Activity-based modelling approaches require a typical survey instrument which can collect the finer details of activities of each individual over both time and space. This paper focuses on the design of a new survey instrument called an activity-travel diary; examines its method of administration; and analyses activity-travel behaviour in the context of developing countries. The Mumbai Metropolitan Region in India is selected as the study area. With the aim of understanding the activities of each individual over a period of time, a pilot survey was conducted in a continuous time frame for a period of 15 days, followed by a main survey. The analysis of data collected by the instrument reveals some interesting facts regarding the relationships between socioeconomic attributes, activities and trip making behaviour. Identification of interactions among households and other members were also facilitated by the newly designed diary, which is not a well-versed topic for research in the context of a developing economy like Mumbai's. © 2014 Taylor & Francis.