When was the last time you felt you needed a break and didn’t know how to manage your time/finances around it? I am guessing, not in a very long time. I presume one of your last backpacking or road trips was only a few months ago, if not weeks. I am not just talking about a 3-months backpacking trip but ones that last for barely a few days. The whole point of taking shorter yet sporadic breaks is to escape both the external and internal chaos that a city/work life brings.
“Almost a decade ago, India was a vacation-starved nation. Most people remained tied-up to their work, reserving the weekends for relaxation. At times, when they would take a vacation to break the monotony, the idea would be to go big and splurge. The concept of staying at an economical place, for precisely the same experience, was unheard of.”– DNA India
Travelling has indeed become a way of life and our zealous hotel/hostel marketers are fast catching up. There’s been a nip in the air since 2011 that has brought in a paradigm shift in the world of travelling and in our case – in backpacking/road trips. Backpacking trips are no longer perceived to be these ‘long’ ‘ around the world in 80 days’ kind of journey. The trips can be as short as 2-3 days to one week to as long as a year – of course not many of us have been as adventurous as taking off for a whole year.
The changes are more because of a different attitude and mindset with respect to travel. The Indian youth/millennials are seeking serenity, calmness, freedom or just an escape from the hustle bustle of the day-to-day life. The change in the work culture, available of more disposable income, fewer obligations, absorbing the benefits of travel – are just few of the reasons that set off this raging shift and mushrooming of ‘modern’ hostels.
Backpackers hostel is still perceived to be a novel concept. The hotel/hostel experts have tapped into a budget traveller’s need and introduced a concept that today tailors to a newer lifestyle. They are providing all the necessities and delivering an almost similar experience and comfort that is offered by the high-end hotels.
“Backpacker hostels originated in Germany in 1912 and approximately 99 years later in 2011, the concept came to India. Amber and myself quit our high-paying consulting jobs in Singapore and moved back home to India to open what was arguably India’s first backpacker hostel on the sunny shores of the backpacker capital of India – Goa” – OrangeMango
There are quite a few hostels today that are catering to our animated and enthusiastic travelers of all kinds, who now don’t need to worry about safety or affordability. Even those who work as freelancers are welcomed into hostels with free WIFI, giving them enough scope to simultaneously continue both work and play!
I have clipped and jotted down about 4 backpackers’ hostels from a laundry list of hostels that are claimed to be widespread and popular. In the past our travelers did have options with respect to hostels/guest houses like YWCA etc. However, these ‘novel’ backpacker hostels offer a remarkable experience that otherwise cannot be acquired without a high budget.
“When I first went backpacking in India, hostels did not yet exist. Instead, there was mostly cheap hotels and guesthouses available. This is still largely true but there are now some backpacker orientated hostels popping up across the country, especially in Rajasthan and around Goa” – Will Hatton, 2018
# Madpacker’s Hostel – Delhi
This hostel is perceived to be a friendly and a relaxed hotel, located at a safe yet accessible location. It offers comfortable beds and spick and span washrooms – a significant requirement for all kinds of travelers. Those who want to stay here for a longer duration can bask in the rooftop garden or luxuriate in the lounge or have an action-packed evening in the game room. The lounge is deemed to be a very cozy and airy common room that can be used by those who have enough time to kill.
There are a few mixed dorms with one restricted to females. The dorms are fitted with hardwood furniture that includes air conditioner, LCD flat panel tTV, mini fridge, a writing table and iron with the ironing board.
The place is in proximity to the touristy destinations – it is around 3.4 km from Qutub Minar, around 6.6 km from the historic Humayun’s tomb and 6.7 km from Tughlaqabad Fort and airport is just 11 km away. It is only a 5 minutes’ walk to HauzKha’s metro station.
HostelWorld crowned Madpackers Hostel as the “Best Hotel in India 2016”.
# RoadHouse Hostel – Goa
This hostel was opened by a group of friends who, like the other enthusiastic travelers, have been bitten by the same ‘globetrot’ bug. They know the significance of crafting a great experience for those who are looking for a budget accomodation. The focus was on the youth, student travelers, solo travelers – when working on the design and layout of the hostel. “I was greeted by a cat resting on a bean bag just outside the entrance and a picture of Jim Morrison on the wall to the right of the reception table.” – India.com
They provide air-conditioned dormitories with bunk beds. They have also incorporated a common room where the like-minded people have a chance to connect. The inclusion of a recreational area to ward off boredom makes it a fantastic place to kill time with playstation, pool table or foosball table. You can even request or be a part of parties and meal services that is organized by the team here. They are known for being tied up with local bars, restaurants and even walking tours. It will barely cost you Rs.400-500 per day.
According to an article on Livemint, RoadHouse confirms the incorporation of cameras in all public spaces. This is to ensure superior safety which is a major concern for all travelers, especially woman/solo travelers.
“The backpacker space is seeing a lot of interest from founders and investors. However, the key will be to build an organisation model to replicate many such hostels and to deliver superior and consistent service,”said Raghuvanshi. – Livemint
# Zostel – Jodhpur, Jaipur, Udaipur, Agra, Varanasi, Delhi, Ooty, Goa, Vadodara et al
“In an industry that typically consists of innumerable small players, Zostel changed the game with 7 MBA students deciding to do for hostels what McDonald’s did for burgers.”
In the year 2013, a group of 7 MBA students, after receiving a fund of one million dollars, decided to open a couple of hostels in Rajasthan. Soon they opened 6 more, one of them being in Goa as well. However, not realizing the efforts and infrastructure needed to run these many hotels, Zostel had to shut down a couple of them. With time they managed to devise a strategy and post acquiring a fund of 15 million dollars and managed to open quite a few branches and soon went international.
Zostel is said to be modern and funky. It incorporates both dormitories and private rooms. They even have dorms that are restricted to females. Zostel offers laundry service, hot showers, private lockers, tea and coffee facilities, and free wireless internet. Like other hostels they have a common room and a fully stocked kitchen. Zostel is known for organizing social events and parties – keeping their inhabitants jolly and occupied!
# Vedanta Wake up – Ooty, Kodaikanal, Madurai, Pondicherry, Mysore, and Coorg
This hostel offers an exceptional experience to their guests by giving them quite a few opportunities to socialize. They have incorporated a range of activities such as dinners at restaurants, bar crawls, music and movie nights, ayurvedic massages, karaoke nights, board game nights, cycling tours of the city, cooking classes and yoga sessions.
Vedanta Wake up was opened by Rishabh Gupta and Aadil Muscatwala in 2011. It first began its operations in the main cities in Kerala, such as Fort Kochi, Thekkady, Kovalam, Varkala, Alleppey, Wayanad and Munnar. It offers cozy rooms and dorms along with a well-decorated common lounge. They provide all the essential facilities that include en-suite bathroom and personal lockers.
India is dotted with quite a few such hostels like Stops Hostel, Moustache, The Hosteller et al. They all cater to young travelers who are on a budget and looking at a more adventurous route. “Hostelling allows travellers to be in a safe and secure environment where they can meet new people, share stories and experiences with complete strangers, make new friendships and learn about different cultures all at a very low budget. This isn’t always possible when staying at luxury hotels where the guests tend to have a completely different motivation for their travels.” – India Infoline News Service
Planning your next road trip or a backpack adventure? Check out these hostels that will not only add more excitement and thrill to your adventure but ensure you have a grand time with the restricted budget.