Best Hostels in Delhi for Solo Travellers, Female Travellers, Couples, & GroupsBest Hostels in Jaipur, Rajasthan for Solo Travellers, Couples, and Small GroupsBest Hostels for Solo Travellers, Female Travellers, Couples, and Groups in GoaBest Hostels in Varanasi for Solo Travellers, Female Travellers, and CouplesThe Best Hostels in Agra Near the Taj MahalThe Best Hostels in MumbaiThe Best Hostels in Cochin and Kerala
Budget versus Quality
You'll find a wide range of accommodation options throughout India. Both budget and quality are highly variable. In the major cities you'll find some of the most luxurious five star accommodation, but you'll also find some of the least expensive, budget accommodation of any country you've ever visited. At the very low end you can find accommodation that is less than $5 for a private room. While in some instances you'll be pleasantly surprised with the conditions of these facilities, in other cases that price will definitely reflect the condition of the room. Many budget hotels offer a shared bathroom with a squat toilet and a poor shower. Definitely inspect the condition of the facility before committing to ensure there are no unexpected surprises.
Negotiating a Price
It's not hard at all to find a good deal in India. In larger cities you will likely want to have reservations when you show up. India's cities can be quite chaotic and challenging to navigate, so it can give you piece of mind to know your destination before you arrive. You may pay a little more, but it is well worth the cost. In smaller towns it is very easy to show up without reservations and find accommodation once you arrive. You'll also get a better deal and will be able to negotiate the price down.
Definitely negotiate in India. Everything is generally negotiable so don't hesitate to ask for a discount. If the hotel is not near capacity, you'll have the most flexibility for negotiating the price. Before you commit to a place, check out both the room and the bathroom. Make sure the electricity and hot water work as well.
You'll likely find the most affordable accommodations in mid-sized cities. Larger cities like Delhi or Mumbai can be more expensive and rural locations have a much more limited selection of hotels. There may be some budget accommodation, but in some places you'll pay more for it or you'll only find higher end accommodation.
Something For Every Budget
India has some of the most affordable accommodation you will find anywhere. It also has some luxury, expensive accommodation as well. Budget accommodation can range in quality. Definitely check out the rooms ahead of time before committing. If having a seat toilet is important to you, you will likely have to pay a little more (but for many of us this is money well spent). Once you're considering mid-range hotels, you can find some great quality accommodation. There are some very dependable chain hotels that you'll find throughout India. They're most common in larger cities, and you know you can typically rely on their quality. If you're looking for a chain, consider Country Inns, Ginger, or Neemrana. The prices for these hotels vary from Rs 1000 to Rs 4000 per night. Alternatively you could stay at a locally owned facility. These are typically cheaper, but they are of varying quality so read some reviews before committing.
Accommodation in Delhi is slightly higher in price than it is elsewhere in India, particularly if you're looking for a budget option. Still, you can find plenty of affordable options that are conveniently located and of decent quality. You will really get the most bang for your buck if you stay in a mid-range hotel. The cheapest hotels in the city are of low quality, but the mid-range options can be much nicer and only cost a few dollars more. These are definitely the best value.
You'll find many of the cheapest hotels in Paharganj, or main bazaar area of the city. This is near the main train station. It's a chaotic and crazy neighborhood with plenty of touts. It's also got a high concentration of budget conscious travelers. Another interesting place to stay is Majnu ka Tilla. This is a small Tibetan settlement that is a popular option for visitors who are interested in the Tibetan culture.
The luxury accommodation options in Delhi are in high demand. It is not uncommon for you to be charged upwards of $400 for a room that is little more than a standard, western style room. If you are lucky and your timing is good you may be able to find a room for closer to $200, but do take note that the taxes (about 12.5%) will be based on the higher, standard price for the room, regardless of what you pay.
Jaipur is a popular destination in Rajasthan. It is commonly referred to as the "Pink City" due to the colors of its buildings. It's popularity with tourists mean there is a large selection of hotel options for visitors to choose from. The budget options are less expensive than they are in places like Delhi or Mumbai, but are still more expensive than in other cities around Rajasthan. The quality of the budget options is also somewhat poor, although you can still find a hidden gem on occasion. There are also a few popular Indian chain hotels in Jaipur as well. These are usually a good quality and a decent value. They are generally mid-range in their price. Many also have restaurants attached where you can enjoy a nice meal.
There is also a large supply of high end choices for those who are looking for a little luxury. Even though there are many to choose from, some of the more popular options are fully booked a year in advance. If there is a specific place you'd like to stay then earlier reservations are highly recommended.