Checkout time is often noon, but confirm this when you arrive: some expect you out by 9am, but many others operate a 24hr system, under which you are simply obliged to leave by the same time as you arrived. Some places let you use their facilities after the official checkout time, sometimes for a small charge, while a few won’t even let you leave your baggage after check-out unless you pay for another night.

Not all hotels offer single rooms, so it can often work out more expensive to travel alone; in hotels that don’t, you may be able to negotiate a slight discount. It’s not unusual to find rooms with three or four beds, however – great value for families and small groups.

Like most other things in India, the price of a room may well be open to negotiation. If you think the price is too high, or if all the hotels in town are empty, try haggling. You may get nowhere – but nothing ventured, nothing gained.

Note that all hotels and guesthouses are required by law to have an official list of approved room prices. Some establishments, especially the cheaper ones, ignore this rule, while others do not display the rates. It is always worth asking for the “tariff list”, if you cannot see it, as a starting point for any bargaining. In cheap hotels and hostels, you needn’t expect any additions to your basic bill, but as you go up the scale, you’ll find taxes and service charges creeping in, sometimes adding as much as a third on top of the original tariff.

Service is generally ten percent, but taxes are a matter for local governments and vary from state to state. Such taxes are not included in the prices quoted in the Guide.

Essentials

Everything you need to know before you set off.

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