India is a budget traveler’s heaven: it is one of the cheapest places to travel in the world and has some incredibly affordable accommodation.
How to Find Cheap Hotels
Most cities and towns in India have a range of budget hotels and room rates can be as low as just a couple of hundred rupees (a few dollars) a night. The cheapest places to stay are often called “lodges”. Some lodges can be good value for money, especially if you just need to stop for one night before catching a train or a bus to a new destination. Some of the cheapest ones, however, are places most tourists want to avoid, especially if you are a lone female traveler or if you are traveling with children.
Hotel rates are generally higher in big cities. Mumbai and Bangalore are especially famous for expensive hotels that do not always offer the same value for money as in smaller places. In some parts of India, tax is added to mid-range and top-range room rates.
Bamboo Huts on the Beach
If you’re visiting India’s beaches in Goa, Kerala or Gokarna, a simple bamboo hut on the beach can cost you as little as $US2.00 a night. You’ll need to be prepared to live very simply and share toilets and bathroom, but if you’re hoping to stay near the beach as cheaply as possible, beach huts can be sometimes be the best option.
Sometimes the best way to find cheap accommodation is to book early in advance, and this applies in India during the peak seasons such as Christmas and New Year, and especially in Goa and other popular tourist destinations. However, often the best way to find a budget place to stay in India is to look around on arrival. Many budget travelers to India book a hotel room for the first night or two, and start to look around for cheaper places to stay locally.
Mid-Range Hotels and Homestays
A wide variety of mid-range accommodation has appeared in India in recent years as Indian residents travel more and more, and as there is more demand for places to stay between the rock-bottom cheap and the five-star. Mid-range in India can still mean very cheap for many foreign visitors: US$20-30 can sometimes get you a surprisingly nice and comfortable double room in a pretty location.
Homestays offer some of the best value for money in India. A homestay is usually run by a local family and offers comfortable mid-range accommodation and home-cooked food. For example in South India’s Coorg, an old coffee growing region, many coffee plantations have ventured into the guesthouse business and offer comfy accommodation, often in picturesque cottages, with home-cooked meals and friendly service.