Hello, you all wanderlust folks! Welcome to my blog. At some or other point of time, we all have had bitter experiences when it comes to accommodations during our journey. Here is a compilation of some tips to save a few bucks on booking accommodations in hotel/Dharamshala/Dormitory or wherever you go. Please feel free to share your experience, I will be glad to include that here.
Early booking saves a lot
This is the best and simplest way to save your money on accommodation. I have saved a good amount of money multiple times by booking in advance. With advance, I mean booking at least 2 months before. There are good chances that you get the rooms at much lower price. The reason is when someone books in advances, owners get a surety of their business and they may agree on low fares happily assuming to make a profit with last minute booking of the empty rooms during the peak period.
But… before booking, make sure you have been through point 2 and 3
Look for discounts/promotions/offers on different apps/websites
With almost every kind of accommodation going online, the discount/best deals and offer war have come up. And if you do not spend some 15-20 minutes looking for some deal, you are surely gonna miss those free bucks.
Try to book from Apps rather than websites. The reason is when someone installs any app on their device chances of booking through the same app increases by 50%. But this is not the case with websites. That is why App providers give extra discount on Apps then their website.
Never ever book a Non-Refundable room
Always, always make sure that your booking is refundable. If it isn’t, move ahead to some other website or app even if the offer is mind blowing. I repent one of my booking which was non-refundable. The review of the hotel was Okay and the offer was super crazy. I went with the review and booked it. When I checked in I was super disappointed. I felt cheated. I could fight but who has time for all this. It’s better to spend some extra rupees than closing all your gates of exit 🙂
Offer to Write a Review
You can also try to rip off some money from fare by offering them to write a review. Do not promise to write a good review, instead, write honest reviews. You can also negotiate with them to write a detailed post about them if you blog somewhere and have decent traffic. I have tried this and it has earned me money and good friendship with them 🙂
Locals know the best
Above 3 points were for friends who leave on strict timelines and plan their itineraries for last minutes’ fallbacks. But for the wanderlust folks, leaving with 0 plan it gets difficult to book anything in advance and look for discounts.
Sometimes I prefer to plan my things ahead but sometimes I just step out of the door. Such times, trusting locals for feedback/review remains the only option. If somebody asks me online or locals my answer would be locals. And this is out of my experience. I have some of the best experiences when locals have helped me with an open heart.
They know exactly the cheapest and best place to eat, stay and shop. There are greater chances of getting a good insight of the place. Do not hesitate to approach them. But make sure you double check the information from multiple sources.
Make use of Dharamshala/ Sarais / Temples
As far as I know, all the major cities and towns have at least one Dharamsala. Dharamshalas are no more used by travellers to that extent. Of course, time has changed and people prefer to spend some extra rupees and get access to modern amenities. You can’t expect Free Wifi in Dharamshala or attached bathroom with hot shower. But for those who seek room rather than cozy bed they can anytime head for it. And they are super cheap. They may charge 100 or 150 for two people. Besides, they are located very close to markets.
I have enjoyed my stay in two Dharamshalas both in Rajasthan. One was in Jodhpur and other in Jaisalmer. Some communities have a network of Dharamshala throughout India and they expect pilgrims or no non-sense travelers as their guests. So make sure you do not drink or make noise there. The best source to enquire about Dharamshala, again the locals.
Get into Dormitories whenever and wherever possible
Another favorite location is dormitories. They are cheap, clean and mostly empty. I remember when I booked through GMVN, the official tourism agency of Uttarakhand I spent a total of 500 rupees for 5 days. Cheap isn’t? I booked a dormitory bed for myself in 5 different locations for 5 days. And everywhere I went it was super neat and clean. For 3 locations all the 9 beds in the dormitory was mine. Isn’t that awesome 😀
If you want to book dormitory, do check the official tourism agency websites as they have their properties in prime locations. And the dormitory charges rarely exceed 300 per night. If you are coming to Maharashtra check MTDC in MP book MPSTDC in Uttarakhand book GMVN in Himachal book HPTDC. You will be amazed by the saving you will make and the location of the resort or hotel or guest house whatever you call it. You can try private agency like Zostel, YHAI. They too are super cool.
So, be wise to spend some time researching or be open and talk to locals. That will surely gonna help you.
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