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Hostel, homestay or under the stars? The ultimate guide to finding the right accommodation for you.

Lalitha Mahaadevan

“But where do you stay when you travel by yourself?”

“Is it safe?”

“How did you even find such an amazing place?”

These are some frequently asked questions when people see my travel updates on social media. It’s hard to give one answer to this. In fact, it's hard to say which is the best option for you, for there are plenty of options out there! Plenty of options that are safe, fun and rejuvenating. So in today’s blog, I’m going to take you through the different options available out there and let you pick one. You in(n)? :D


The most well-known option for all of us, especially when we travel as a group. Most hotels in the city are cosy and well-maintained with breakfast included. As the price and accessibility go down, so do the comfort level and inclusions. If you want comfort, privacy, everything delivered straight to your room and live the queen/ king life, a good hotel is where you need to go! Some luxury hotels in the world are visited by travellers just for the incredible stay experience they provide. With private pools, colourful breakfasts and innovative designs, some hotels can make you enjoy your stay indoors even for days together and still keep you entertained.

I’m thinking I should make a list of such hotels to visit. How about you?


Do you want to stay somewhere not just to see the places around but also to have a more personal experience with the locals? More like being part of a family you didn’t know until you arrived? Then home-stays are for you. If you love people and are really into getting to know them and their culture, choose a homestay. Some of my best travel experiences have been when I had stayed with the locals. It really helped me open up and think more about family values. The best way to find home-stays would be based on personal experiences, i.e. if your friend has visited the place or if it is recommended by travel bloggers who you connect with. Or simply by following a local that you meet at the village tea stall. Trust your intuition on this one :) 


I was going to club this with homestays but Airbnbs have evolved so much since they first popularized the concept of homestays. Whether you’re in a village or a city, finding homestay options through this platform is super advantageous because all of its users are verified. You have the liberty to talk to the host before booking their place which is very useful especially for a first-time traveller. Airbnbs are also very suitable for international travel when you’re going to a country that you hardly know about, or does not have a lot of locals speaking English, or you feel like you could use some help while travelling there. These days Airbnbs have also introduced “Experiences” that help you learn and enjoy the local culture a lot better.


Hello, nomads of this world who believe in the goodness of humanity and are waiting to talk to strangers! This one’s for you. Couchsurfing is a platform that allows you to stay at people’s homes for free and also allows you to host people at your place. Though most of us choose this option because we have less or no money in our pockets but lots of wanderlust in our veins, know that the best people in the world are the ones who open their homes without any expectation from you!

Backpacker hostels

We all have heard of hostels and dormitories – they are affordable because you share your room and the bathroom which allows you little to no private space. If you are cool with that because you want to save as much money as possible and meet like-minded people then Backpacker hostels are the way to go! India has recently seen a surge in Backpacker hostels and it's good news for all travellers, for it's the perfect place to meet fellow free-spirited travellers! Hostelworld is the most popular site that comprehensively lists hostels from around the world.


How about staying in a place for free, maybe even getting your food expenses covered, learning about the local culture, living like a local and helping the locals while travelling? If you’re looking to travel with a purpose, then you would love volunteering. Some places in the world are in need of help from educated and skilled people, and if you enjoy helping others, sites like Workaway, WWOOF and World Packers show you how you can work somewhere in exchange for food and accommodation.

Into the Wild

Are you a solitude lover who can survive without comfort? Or in fact, looking to ditch all comfort and stay as close to nature as possible? Maybe you want to lie down and spend the whole night looking at the stars, or maybe you just want to get as far away from the crowds as possible by yourself or with the people you love. All you got do is pack your tent and go. Camping is also a great way to save money cause buying a tent is a one-time investment for life-long accommodation ;) most places amidst forests and jungles have accommodation set up in tents which may not be the most comfortable but will certainly get you as close to nature as possible.

Personal suggestions from friends who have stayed in a place are always the best simply because they know you best. But isn’t this world full of friends? Look at reviews to help you decide before booking a place.

Sites like, Trivago and Make my trip have almost all types of accommodation that I have mentioned on their site

- Don’t forget to trust your gut before clicking the “Book” button ;)

Safe travels! 

Author: Lalitha Mahaadevan

A curious soul who quit her job to travel, Lalitha has spent the past 
two years exploring different parts of the world outside along with her own inner world. Apart from running her own travel blog 'Happy Shoes', Lalitha is keenly involved in conversations about Self-Love, Nature and Environment. And is on a quest to spread Good Vibes wherever she goes. You can follow her Journey through Earth on her Instagram and Facebook handles.

For any queries and special travel tips, shoot her a mail at


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