Accommodation is like food, it’s a necessity when you are travelling. It can be the biggest portions of your overall travel cost at times. If you are ready to come out of your comfort zone, the problem can be fixed.
Irrespective of your taste and comfort, you would not want to pay a fortune, especially if you plan on hitting the road often. All you have to think is how much comfort you are willing to give up. You must decide if the particular travel is just about being comfortable or you are OK with making a few compromises. If it’s the latter, you can well look for safe, practical and value for money accommodations.
To begin with, you must stop picturing guest houses and hostels as they are shown in movies or the way your parents describe in order to convince you out of the idea. It’s a simple concept; you don’t judge it until you live it.
Hostels and guest houses are one of the best options available for budget travellers. While living in a hostel is more associated with the “young thing,” you must know that these places are cleaner, they provide Wifi, bigger rooms and bathrooms and lot more as the “young” expect more comfort. If you don’t wish to share the space with strangers in a dorm, a lot of hostels even have single and small rooms with a private bathroom.
These places are really for anyone who is looking to meet travellers, from across the globe, regardless of age.
I’m relatively new to budget travelling. Although I chose to stay in fancy resorts in my previous travels, I made it point to pick a guest house when I made a random plan to Pondicherry with my sister. She is a travel enthusiast like me so she suggested a guest house her friend had recommended to her. Little did we know, staying at A La Villa Creole would turn out to be the best part of our two-day trip to Pondicherry.
Our check-in at the guest house was at 12 noon. Even though we got there even before 7 am, the manager was very understanding as he gave us our room within half an hour without any fuss or extra charges.
There is no doubt that a car drive from Bangalore to Pondicherry is a perfect road trip idea for a weekend but people, who are looking to save money, would instead take a bus. And, I recommend Green Line travel agency. The bus was on time at our Bangalore stop and got us to Pondicherry bus station even before the scheduled arrival time. It cost us 800 INR per person for a comfortable sleeper bus. It was worthy of every penny.
Pondicherry is a small and laid back city. If you ever plan to visit it, make sure you are put up in the residential area of White Town (French Quarters). It’s a perfect location for travellers interested in history, ambience and architecture. It’ll take you closer to the local culture and trust me, you don’t want to miss it.
You’ll find several pleasant and cosy guest houses in almost every street of White Town. Ours, A La Villa Creole, was located in La Bouedonnais St. The street literally is a reflection of the French heritage. There is a French institute opposite the guest house and that’s the landmark. A french family lives next door. All the houses in the lane are colourful and attractive. There are enough trees around. It looks like a happy street.
The location is just perfect. It is at a walkable distance from the beach road and is surrounded by several French cafes.
The homestay itself has a small rooftop restaurant that gets beautifully lit in the evening. There is room service available too if you want to just chill and enjoy the room.
I have always associated Pondicherry with the colour yellow. When I found a room that looked to have a vintage touch to it with bright yellow walls, I immediately booked that one. Fair to say, we were not disappointed as our room was exactly as we saw in the pictures. The rooms are warm and are decorated with Teak and Rosewood antique furniture.
Ours was a two-day trip and we paid less than 2K for this place for one night. Rooms with tariff less than 1500 INR are available too. Considering the location and the facilities and help they offer, I think it’ll be all worth it in the end.
It was my very first time in a guest house and undoubtedly, it was a hit for me. Instead of always booking a cab or an auto, I hired a two-wheeler, which was provided by the guest house itself. They charged INR 300 for a day excluding the petrol charges. There are four-wheelers also available.
But, I must warn you, Pondicherry people have absolutely no sense of driving. They do not follow any traffic rule so I was glad I returned the bike without any injury to me or to the vehicle.
The beach road was hardly 500m away from where we stayed. Since it was peak summer season, we drove down there instead of walking. You’ll find several french cafes around the guest house and more near the beach road.
Moreover, the manager of the guest house, Abhishek, was very helpful. Thanks to his guidance, we saved a lot of time and money when we went exploring.
There are a few flaws in the place like the water flow was not good enough since our room was on the third floor. There was no lift and the stairs were really steep. Until you kept the AC switched on for half an hour, it did not cool the room. Nevertheless, these were minor defects that should be solved in the coming days, as said by the manager.
Overall, I would certainly recommend this place as it is a great find for budget travellers.