Are you low on budget, but still want to travel? Hotel-booking apps such as Urbanpod, Zostel and Backpacker Panda could help you with budget roadtrips, while helping you connect with fellow travellers. For instance, Urbanpod, India’s first capsule hotel, provides stay at a starting cost of ₹ 990. “Accommodation cost varies between Rs990 to Rs2,500 a night for a person, depending on the categories of pod. Single pod, which is for one person, is for Rs990. The cost for double occupancy is Rs2,500," said Hiren Gandhi, co-founder, Urbanpod.
The company currently operates only in Mumbai with 140 pods. “We plan to expand to cities such as Bangalore, Delhi, Hyderabad and Ahmedabad. We are looking to reach pilgrimage sites and railway stations," said Gandhi. Gandhi said small businessmen, entry level management professionals, backpackers and solo travellers opt for their services. What do you get? The space you get is between 90 sq.ft. and 150 sq.ft., with basic amenities such as WiFi, breakfast and washroom.
The concept of backpacker hostel is on the rise too. “We cater to Indian backpackers in the age group of 18-35 years. The culture is seeing traction. We have 27 hostels," said Akhil Malik, co-founder, Zostel. The company offers dormitory as well as private room. “The starting price for a bed in the dormitory is ₹ 500, depending on the location," said Malik, adding they offer WiFi facility. The company offers hostels in cities, including Dalhousie, Chitkul, Spiti, Varanasi and Udaipur. Backpacker Panda has 13 destinations listed on its website. The company has a similar pricing of ₹ 400- ₹ 900 for a bed a night, with WiFi, locker and other facilities.
What you should know?
Remember to check the cancellation policy, as there may be different rules for group and individual bookings. As it is a low-budget accommodation, things such as towels and toiletry kits may come at an additional cost. Some of the hostels don’t allow you to stay if you belong to the same city. All these places will ask you for identity proofs. Some don’t accept permanent account number (PAN) card as an identity proof. You can read the reviews to get a sense of their service. You also have other options such as Airbnb, homestays and hotels. Compare prices across segments to get the best deal.