Backpacker hostel bookings surge ahead of Durga Puja, Diwali! How to find affordable accommodation this festive season

© Provided by The Financial Express Staying at a backpacker hostel in Europe became the turning point for Pankaj Parwanda, Co-founder of goSTOPS, as he sensed the opportunity to solve an important need for the market – bringing backpacker hostels to India. (Image: goSTOPS, Bir)

Big boost in travel confidence among young backpackers in India! The demand for backpacker hostels this festive season is witnessing a huge surge with reservation bookings up by 50 per cent to 60 per cent. Travel can open up turning points in one’s life, which is why young Indians love to opt for the best backpacker hostels to thrive with their kind of ‘tribe’!

How to find affordable accommodation was easy to decide before COVID-19. In fact, there used to be a time when all travellers could plan their trips in a hassle free manner. For students and young travellers, the pandemic dented their travel wish lists like never before.

Safety and affordability became even more important, which is why the festive season is now seeing an interesting shift in their preferences – from how they travel, to where they now head out to.

Common questions related to backpacker hostels in India include: Are backpacker hostels safe in India? How much money do you need to be a backpacker?

Stay in a backpacker hostel dorm that is safe and regularly sanitised

Wondering what it takes to be a backpacker in India?

According to Pankaj Parwanda, “With vaccination rates above 50% at 69 crore people now vaccinated with their first jab, we are seeing a return in travel confidence. But safety and hygiene has taken top priority in the traveller’s mind, coming to a point where it has become a non-negotiable. Travelers are looking for affordable accommodation that does not leave them worried about these aspects. They would rather stay in a dorm that is safe and regularly sanitized over unsafe, unhygienic private rooms.”

Staying at a backpacker hostel in Europe became the turning point for Pankaj Parwanda, Co-founder of goSTOPS, as he sensed the opportunity to solve an important need for the market – bringing backpacker hostels to India. Simply put, this meant that the country’s youth would be able to access affordable, high quality accommodation that was earlier beyond their reach. His business vision is simply this: The young Indian traveller deserves the best accommodation experience, wherever they go, without having to stretch their budget.

Indeed, the pandemic brought a halt to the travel industry as people were initially confined to their homes. However, with the Covid situation in recovery mode, the country is tip-toeing its way back to normalcy while following the covid safety protocols.

Prioritize drivable destinations this festive season

Pankaj Parwanda highlights that goSTOPS has seen a significant surge in enquiry and booking from the metros and mini metro cities, especially in drivable destinations with close to 1000% increase in demand.

Opt for flexible bookings with hasslefree cancellation options

There is also a significant shift towards people preferring flexible bookings as rigid bookings with a strict cancellation policy does not work for them.

Offbeat leisure locations gain momentum

“Festive season is proving to be a boon for us. In the last few days, we have started receiving a lot of enquiries for the festival weeks around Ganesh Chaturthi, Durga Puja and Diwali, with a 50-60% spike in daily reservations. A prominent trend to witness is the increasing traveller preference and booking requests for offbeat leisure destinations, owing to lesser dangers of overcrowding as these are not so popular on traveller’s bucket lists. Destinations such as Jaipur and Udaipur are hot favourites among the travellers and Pushkar is emerging as a traveller’s preferred choice. Business cities such as Mumbai, Amritsar and Delhi have also done exceedingly well,” Pankaj Parwanda observes.

Notably, a key trend that catches Parwanda’s attention is the protruding shift in traveller’s preferences from nature back to culture or more specifically, from the hills to the plains.

Hills are a favourite destination with young Indians

He adds. “During Ganesh Chaturthi, we saw a surge towards plain areas as people rushed to enjoy the monsoon showers. Given the terrific landslides that hit the hilly areas, there was a noticeable decline in booking towards the otherwise popular hill stations such as Manali. However, with the onset of the Diwali season, hills have picked up again post the landslides, especially in the quaint locations of Uttarakhand and Himachal. Leh, a beautiful desert devoid of rains, continues to do fabulously well in this season even through rains and landslides.”

Face masks and safety protocols have fully enmeshed themselves into our daily lives, no doubt about it. But there’s something about traveling that continues to appeal to Indians. And this festive season, there’s no stopping the increased number of travel bookings and reservations. Just stay safe, travel safe and remember, no country is out of the woods yet!

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