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What Is A Hostel In India


Modified: December 28, 2023

by Suzi Bunting



When it comes to traveling in India, accommodation plays a crucial role in ensuring a comfortable and affordable stay. While hotels and guesthouses are popular choices, another option that has gained significant popularity in recent years is staying in a hostel. Hostels offer a unique and budget-friendly accommodation experience that is well-suited for solo travelers, backpackers, and even groups of friends looking to explore the diverse and culturally rich country of India.


India, with its vast and varied landscapes, historical sites, and vibrant cities, attracts millions of travelers every year. Whether you are exploring the bustling streets of Delhi, the serene backwaters of Kerala, or the stunning beaches of Goa, hostels are an excellent choice for travelers on a budget who are seeking a social and immersive experience.


In this article, we will delve into what exactly a hostel is, the different types of hostels in India, the facilities and amenities they offer, the costs associated with staying in a hostel, and the advantages of choosing this accommodation option. We will also provide helpful tips for selecting the right hostel to ensure an enjoyable and hassle-free stay in India.


Definition of a Hostel

A hostel is a budget-friendly accommodation option that typically provides shared dormitory-style rooms and communal spaces for travelers. Unlike hotels, hostels focus on creating a social and interactive environment, making them a popular choice for backpackers, solo travelers, and those seeking to meet like-minded individuals from around the world.


At the core, a hostel is more than just a place to sleep; it is a community that fosters connections and encourages cultural exchange. Many hostels feature common areas such as lounges, kitchens, and outdoor spaces where guests can mingle, relax, and share experiences. This communal atmosphere allows travelers to make new friends, share travel tips, and create lasting memories.


The dormitory-style rooms in a hostel are designed to accommodate multiple guests, typically with bunk or single beds. While privacy may be limited, most hostels offer separate gender-specific or mixed-gender dormitories to cater to different preferences. Some hostels also provide private rooms for those who prefer a bit more privacy.


Hostels are usually operated by hostel management who are dedicated to providing a comfortable and safe environment for their guests. While the level of service may vary from hostel to hostel, friendly and knowledgeable staff are typically available to assist with any questions or concerns.


One important aspect of hostels is the opportunity they provide to experience the local culture firsthand. Many hostels organize social events, city tours, and cultural activities, offering guests a chance to explore the city and connect with the local community. This immersion in the local culture sets hostels apart from other accommodation options and enhances the overall travel experience.


Overall, hostels are much more than just a place to sleep; they are hubs for meeting fellow travelers, creating memorable experiences, and discovering the true essence of a destination.


Types of Hostels in India

India offers a diverse range of hostels catering to the varied preferences and budgets of travelers. From bustling cities to tranquil countryside, here are the different types of hostels you can find in India:

  1. City Hostels: These hostels are located in major cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, and Kolkata, catering to tourists and business travelers. They often have a modern and urban ambiance, with close proximity to popular tourist attractions, shopping areas, and transportation hubs.
  2. Beach Hostels: If you’re planning to explore the beautiful coastline of India, beach hostels can be found in popular beach destinations like Goa, Kerala, and Andaman and Nicobar Islands. These hostels offer a laid-back and beachfront atmosphere, perfect for travelers seeking relaxation and seaside charm.
  3. Hill Station Hostels: For those looking to escape the heat and enjoy the cool mountain air, hill station hostels are available in popular hill destinations such as Manali, Shimla, Ooty, and Darjeeling. These hostels offer stunning panoramic views of the surrounding mountains and provide easy access to hiking trails and other outdoor activities.
  4. Heritage Hostels: India is known for its rich cultural heritage and historical sites, and heritage hostels offer a unique opportunity to live amidst history. These hostels are often located in renovated heritage buildings, palaces, or havelis, preserving their traditional architecture while providing modern amenities.
  5. Eco-friendly Hostels: With a growing focus on sustainability and eco-tourism, eco-friendly hostels in India aim to minimize their environmental impact. These hostels often use renewable energy sources, employ eco-friendly practices, and offer guests the chance to engage in responsible travel.

Each type of hostel in India offers a distinct experience, allowing travelers to choose based on their preferences and the kind of adventure they seek. Whether you’re a beach lover, a history enthusiast, or an eco-conscious traveler, you’re sure to find a hostel that aligns with your interests and adds an extra layer of authenticity to your Indian journey.


Facilities and Amenities Offered by Hostels

Hostels in India provide a wide range of facilities and amenities to ensure a comfortable and enjoyable stay for their guests. While the specific offerings may vary from hostel to hostel, here are some common facilities and amenities you can expect:

  • Bedding and Linen: Hostels typically provide clean bedding and linen for guests. This includes bedsheets, pillows, and blankets, ensuring a comfortable sleep experience.
  • Shared Bathrooms: Many hostels offer shared bathrooms, which are usually well-maintained and equipped with modern amenities. Some hostels may also have ensuite bathrooms available for private room options.
  • Common Areas: Hostels have dedicated common areas where guests can relax, socialize, and unwind. These areas may include lounges, TV rooms, libraries, or outdoor spaces like terraces or gardens.
  • Free Wi-Fi: Staying connected is important for travelers, and most hostels provide free Wi-Fi access throughout their premises. This facilitates communication, research, and staying in touch with friends and family.
  • Lockers: To ensure the safety of guests’ belongings, hostels often provide lockers or storage facilities. These secure spaces allow travelers to store their valuables and have peace of mind during their stay.
  • Kitchens and Dining Areas: Many hostels have communal kitchens where guests can prepare their own meals. This is especially beneficial for budget-conscious travelers who prefer to cook their own food. Additionally, some hostels have dining areas where guests can enjoy their meals together.
  • 24/7 Reception: Hostels typically have staff available at the reception desk round-the-clock. This ensures that there is always someone available to assist with check-ins, provide information, and address any concerns or queries.
  • Laundry Facilities: Some hostels offer laundry facilities or access to washing machines and dryers. This is particularly convenient for long-term travelers who need to refresh their clothing during their journey.
  • Travel Desk and Tour Assistance: Hostels often have travel desks or tour assistance services to help guests plan their itineraries, book transportation, and organize tours or activities. They can provide valuable insights and recommendations for exploring the local area.

The facilities and amenities provided by hostels contribute to creating a comfortable and convenient stay for travelers. These offerings ensure that guests can relax, socialize, and make the most of their time in India, all while staying within their budget.


Cost of Staying in a Hostel

One of the major advantages of choosing a hostel as your accommodation option in India is its affordability. Hostels are known for providing budget-friendly stays, making them an ideal choice for travelers looking to save money without compromising on comfort. The cost of staying in a hostel in India can vary depending on several factors:

  • Location: The cost of staying in a hostel can vary based on the location. Hostels in popular tourist destinations or city centers may be slightly more expensive compared to those in less crowded areas or off the beaten path. However, even in high-demand areas, hostels tend to be more affordable than hotels.
  • Room Type: Hostels offer various room types to cater to different preferences and budgets. Dormitory-style rooms with shared facilities are generally the most economical choice, while private rooms with ensuite bathrooms are usually priced higher.
  • Season: Prices of hostels can fluctuate based on the seasonality of the destination. During peak tourist seasons, such as holidays or festivals, prices may be higher. Conversely, off-season periods often come with lower rates and potential discounts.
  • Duration of Stay: Some hostels offer discounts for longer stays, especially for guests planning to spend several weeks or months in a particular location. This can make the cost per night even more affordable.
  • Amenities: The range of amenities and facilities offered by a hostel can also influence the cost. Hostels with more extensive facilities, such as swimming pools, onsite bars, or organized activities, may have slightly higher rates.

On average, the cost of staying in a hostel in India can range from around INR 300 to INR 1500 per night, depending on the factors mentioned above. It is worth noting that some hostels also offer meal plans or include breakfast in their rates, providing even more value for money.


Staying in a hostel not only offers significant cost savings but also allows travelers to allocate their budget to other experiences and activities during their trip. It provides an excellent opportunity to meet fellow travelers, share stories, and create memorable connections – all while keeping your accommodation expenses in check.


Advantages of Choosing a Hostel

Choosing a hostel as your accommodation option in India comes with several advantages that make it a popular choice among travelers. Here are some of the benefits of staying in a hostel:

  • Affordability: Hostels are known for being budget-friendly, offering significantly lower rates compared to hotels. This makes it an attractive option, especially for backpackers, solo travelers, and those on a tight budget.
  • Social Atmosphere: Hostels provide a unique social atmosphere that encourages interactions with fellow travelers from around the world. This makes it an ideal choice for solo travelers looking to make new friends, share experiences, and even find travel companions.
  • Cultural Exchange: Staying in a hostel allows travelers to immerse themselves in the local culture. Many hostels organize cultural activities, city tours, and social events that provide opportunities for guests to engage with the local community and gain a deeper understanding of the destination.
  • Travel Tips and Recommendations: Hostel staff and fellow travelers can provide valuable travel tips, recommendations for places to visit, and insights into the local scene. Their firsthand experiences and knowledge can enhance your travel experience and help you discover hidden gems.
  • Convenience: Hostels often offer convenient amenities such as communal kitchens for self-cooking, laundry facilities, and 24/7 reception desks. These amenities can add to the convenience of your stay, allowing you to save money on dining out and take care of your laundry needs.
  • Cultural Immersion: Hostels located in heritage buildings or in culturally rich neighborhoods provide the opportunity to experience the local way of life. Living among locals and exploring the nearby attractions on foot allows for a more immersive and authentic travel experience.
  • Flexibility: Hostels generally have flexible check-in and check-out times, allowing guests to adjust their schedule as needed. This is particularly useful for travelers with early or late flights, train journeys, or bus rides.
  • Cost Savings: In addition to the affordable rates, hostels offer various cost-saving options. This includes communal kitchens where travelers can cook their meals, free or discounted access to local events and activities, and the opportunity to share transportation costs with other guests.

Overall, choosing a hostel in India provides not only a cost-effective accommodation solution but also an enriching and socially immersive travel experience. It allows you to connect with like-minded individuals, explore the local culture, and create lasting memories while keeping your travel expenses within budget.


Tips for Choosing the Right Hostel

When it comes to choosing the right hostel in India, there are several factors to consider to ensure a comfortable and enjoyable stay. Here are some helpful tips to help you select the perfect hostel for your needs:

  • Location: Consider the location of the hostel in relation to the places you want to visit. Choose a hostel that is conveniently located near public transportation, attractions, and amenities that are important to you.
  • Reviews and Ratings: Read reviews and check ratings of the hostel on reputable travel websites or apps. Pay attention to recent reviews to get a sense of the hostel’s current condition, cleanliness, and customer service.
  • Amenities: Take note of the amenities offered by the hostel and match them with your preferences. Consider factors such as Wi-Fi availability, kitchen facilities, laundry services, common areas, and any specific requirements you may have.
  • Atmosphere: Determine the type of atmosphere you prefer. Some hostels have a lively and social environment, while others may be more relaxed and quieter. Choose the atmosphere that aligns with your travel style and desired level of interaction.
  • Safety and Security: Consider the safety measures in place at the hostel, such as CCTV cameras, lockers for valuables, and secure access to rooms. Reviews can also provide insights into the hostel’s safety record.
  • Staff Friendliness: Look for hostels with friendly and helpful staff who can provide local tips and assist with any concerns or queries during your stay. Reviews often mention the helpfulness and responsiveness of the hostel staff.
  • Price and Value: Compare prices among different hostels, considering the facilities and services offered. Take into account the overall value for money and assess whether the hostel meets your expectations and budget.
  • Cancellation Policy: Check the hostel’s cancellation policy before making a reservation. Ensure that the policy aligns with your travel plans and provides flexibility in case of any changes or unforeseen circumstances.
  • Recommendations: Seek recommendations from fellow travelers, friends, or online communities to get insights into their personal experiences and to discover hidden gems that may not be as well-known.
  • Plan Ahead: Hostels can be in high demand during peak seasons, so it is advisable to book in advance to secure your desired hostel and room type. However, if you prefer spontaneity, keep in mind that availability can vary, especially during busier periods.

By considering these tips, you can choose a hostel that fits your preferences and ensures a pleasant stay in India. Remember, each traveler has different needs, so take the time to research and find the hostel that best matches your travel style, budget, and desired experience.



Choosing to stay in a hostel during your visit to India can provide you with a unique and rewarding travel experience. With their affordability, social atmosphere, and opportunities for cultural exchange, hostels offer much more than just a place to sleep. They allow you to connect with fellow travelers, immerse yourself in the local culture, and create lifelong memories.


In this article, we have explored the definition of a hostel and the different types of hostels you can find in India, from city hostels to beach hostels, hill station hostels, heritage hostels, and eco-friendly hostels. We have also discussed the facilities and amenities typically offered by hostels, including common areas, free Wi-Fi, shared kitchens, and travel assistance.


One of the major advantages of choosing a hostel is its affordability. Staying in a hostel allows you to save money on accommodation and allocate your budget to other travel experiences and activities. It also offers a social atmosphere that fosters connections and provides opportunities to meet fellow travelers from around the world.


To choose the right hostel, it is essential to consider factors such as location, reviews and ratings, amenities, atmosphere, safety, staff friendliness, price, and recommendations. By taking these factors into account and planning ahead, you can select a hostel that aligns with your preferences and enhances your overall travel experience.


In conclusion, hostels in India offer a budget-friendly, social, and culturally immersive accommodation option that is well-suited for solo travelers, backpackers, and groups of friends. Embrace the opportunity to stay in a hostel, explore the diverse landscapes and vibrant cities of India, and create unforgettable memories with fellow travelers from all corners of the globe.