Photo courtesy of Igougo.com
Planning my first backpacking trip to India, in 2008, was a stressful mess! I was Skyping with my girlfriend in California. We were both, wildly flipping back-and-forth betweenLonely Planet India pages and internet browser windows for hours, attempting to plan the best route around India and decode its train schedules and bookings.
This time around, I didn’t have the time or patience to repeat that kind of planning. Fortunately when I arrived in India, there was a wealth of travel agencies at my disposal everywhere I went. They’d give me advice about transportation planning and for a slightly higher rate, they would book my bus and trains for me. But I still felt there was a pot of gold deeper below the surface.
Midway through my trip, I met others and gained useful search tips to help me plan my trip on my own. Most of these sites were recommended to me by vacationing Indians, expats living in India and fellow travelers. It was like learning the secret password to open Ali Baba’s cave!
Did it save me money? Yes! Time and stress? Definitely. I could handle my bookings from an internet cafe, my laptop on a moving train and now, I can even plan my future trips from anywhere! Now, I don’t need to take the 10,000 steps I took to trip planning back in 2008. Instead, I just can follow India…
Here are 4 popular search engine sites Indians go to for travel booking and planning :
• Makemytrip.com offers standard international/domestic flight and hotel searches. It also handles train, bus and car bookings throughout India.
Being able to see train and bus schedules and make reservations on the spot bookings made it one of my favorite go-to sites.
• Cleartrip.com handles standard flight and hotel searches and offers IRTC train reservation bookings.
• Travelocity.co.in handles the minimum of Travelocity services, such as flight bookings (domestic/international), hotel and vacation packages for your budget holiday. Though I learned of this site too late to try it, I’ve heard from others, it promises the lowest prices of all search engines!
• igougoindia.com is a good umbrella search engine if you want to check several different search engine sites in India.
Any tips on what worked for you when you planned your India trip?
- 5 Travel Must-Haves for India (grrrltraveler.com)
- How to travel solo in India: Interview with Chiaki Nakashima (grrrltraveler.com)
- Yoga & Volunteering: Traveling to Dharamsala with a purpose. (grrrltraveler.com)
- Dealing with Indian currency and a torn rupee (grrrltraveler.com)