Friday, October 24, 2014

Websites You Might Need to Click-in for Your Tours and Travels in India!

Travelling beyond the limits of your local area of residence in India is not an easy task even when you have your own transport means. It needs quite some planning.

On the road by the side of an iron ore mine
on the border of Odissa state and Jharkhand state

That is because of many factors. I had written about some aspects of the present day road travel in many parts of this country in some earlier blogs.

I had also written about the railways, the major public transporter in India owned and operated directly by the government of India.

The air travel is not much different, even after the Indian skies and the Indian airports getting opened up for admitting the several private players.

But such problems would likely remain for the many years ahead as the travel demand in India is always ahead of its supply.

A View from Meghathipur, Jharkhand.
But we should admit the progress that we made in the information technology field. The internet has been a big boon. The dotcom companies and the thousands of their young software engineers have made things easier for the travel and tourism industry and their millions of individual customers. 

They keep helping us to find the best alternatives for getting our travel tickets and the travel options without much hassles. 

Can you locate the snake posing for this photo?

While the railway berth and air line seat reservations have come to us much earlier, the options of getting long distance bus tickets booked online and getting the reliable taxi service online in select cities began only later.

You may have to ask for directions from this one, sometimes!

While all these are improving with time, let me highlight a few of the most reliable of such websites that have become indispensable for our travel planning in India.

1. The IRCTC ( the official ticket reservation company of the Indian railways. This site requires that you sign up first before using their ticket booking facilities. In the recent days, the site has become more user friendly and has improved its response speed. You should require some online banking facility for taking full advantage of this site for railway booking. The site also provides other travel assistance in a limited manner for air line booking, hotel booking and taxi cab booking.

2.  Yatra , Make My Trip, GoIbibo, Cleartrip, are all dependable online private IT enabled companies that provide air ticket booking, price comparisons, railway booking, bus booking, hotel booking, etc. It is better to sign up and register with these sites before you attempt using their facilities. 

3. 90di is a site which would help one to find the best travel options by entering some search query questions in their search box. It has additional facilities to enter the start time of your travel option to find the appropriate bus, train or plane. It would search all the possible data from all the sites listed above and list them out for you to make a more informed choice.

4. PNR Status is a site that helps reserved air and railway travelers in India to check their Passenger Name Record (PNR) status. This will help them to know the actual reservation status, changes in flight or train schedules, etc. The site also gives some important information regarding railway booking, getting PNR status by mobile short message service (SMS) etc. For the Indian railways, this could be done in this Indian Railway Passenger Reservation Enquiry site also.

5. IndiGoAirIndia,  AirAsia, Spicejet, JetAirways, JetKonnectGoAir, etc are the major scheduled arlines in India. Air passengers can book their air tickets through these official websites and also get other important passenger information. Vistara is the newest airline which is about to start its operations in India. There are a few other small scheduled and non-scheduled air line companies also in India.

6. Visiting Andaman Islands could be done through ships. This facility at present is offered only by the Shipping Corporation of India. Details of the ships, the fare, the schedules, etc can be obtained on the web page of the shipping corporation of India. 

7. For those interested in booking houseboats in Kerala backwaters may try My Boat Trip website.

8. redBus is a reliable site that provides long distance bus ticket reservations connecting several Indian cities. The reservations could be done two weeks in advance.

9. India Hotels provides reservation information on hundreds of Indian hotels with tariff, availability, facilities, booking information, etc.

10. Olacabs, UberCarzonrent, Cabs4Hire, Savaari, Cabbooking, BookMyCab, etc are the now active online car rental websites that provide car rental online booking facilities for the major cities of India. There are  several other local level players in many major cities that provide similar services online.

11. Distancesfrom, GoogleMaps, Yahoomaps, etc are the reliable online map service providers which gives the most important geographical and route information for the travelers, especially those who wish to travel by road. Now-a-days, most android cell phones with Geo-positioning service (GPS) facility provide the much needed information for the traveler. Yet, I personally prefer to have hard copy print outs of the detailed route maps while I travel in India. The mobile connectivity and data service facility might ditch you any time while in India, unless you happen to use some direct satellite connectivity!

The Base for Infrastructural Development

In addition to the above there are hundreds of local travel agents with websites operating in most of the major tourist destinations in India. However, it is difficult to ascertain their reliability for sure. Travelers may use their discretion before availing their services.

Wild greenery in a Mining Area!
I would like to request experienced readers to share their real experiences about these sites or other such information useful for all those who wish to travel and explore India.