Taj Majal, Ganges, Amer Fort, Harmandir Sahib and Harmandir Sahib— these iconic structures can be found in an Asian country named India. India is certainly a place filled with impressive attractions, perfect in curing your wandering feet. These attractions, however, are located in different locations, which can be quite far from one another.
The ideal way to visit these tourist spots and some other spectacular structures is to ride on a train. Travelling using the railway system in India is a well-loved mode of transportation, not just with the locals, but also with the travellers. Train rides are considered as one of the cheapest and the most exciting manner of discovering the marvels of India. To completely enjoy your train journey, be sure to know some tips in buying and booking train tickets in the country.
Book in Advance
A given tip to all travellers, always book in advance. To ensure a smooth trip, it is better to book ahead of time, at least a day or two so that you can still choose your seat, based on your preferences. However, there are times when there is a high demand for train tickets in India, so it’s best to be booked months in advance. This will completely make your trip to India more pleasurable and less stressful. There are different ways to book a train ticket in India— through online, a travel agency or directly at the Indian Railways counter.
Trains can come in an array of classes— Air-Conditioned First Class, Air-Conditioned 2-Tier (2AC), Air-Conditioned 3-Tier (3AC), AC Executive Chair, Sleeper Class and Unreserved 2nd Class. However, not all of these classes are available on every train.
For online booking, some of the best websites offering train tickets in the country are Yatra, Must See India, Make My Trip, Clear Trip and Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRTCTC). In case of cancellation, remember to cancel you booking more than 24 hours before your trip so that you will not be charged with a higher percentage of the ticket price.
Normally, online tickets can sell out fast. But don’t fret as you can still ride the train on your scheduled trip. RAC (Reservation Against Cancellation) and waitlisted tickets are your chances in riding your preferred train. There are three categories in the Indian Railways website— confirmed, RAC waitlist and waitlist. Once your desired trip is already full, you can still book on the RAC waitlist and waitlist category. Well, cancellations are very common and the two latter categories may guarantee that you get on the train at your desired schedule.
Through a Travel Agency
Booking through a travel agency is another way to have train ticket. This is more convenient for travellers who want to have an effortless booking, but wouldn’t mind paying a bit more. However, just make sure to choose a reputable travel agency to complete your train bookings or else this might be the reason for a ruined trip. There are certainly fake travel agencies swarming the internet nowadays, so better be sure about your selections.
At the Train Station
If you want to try a more personalized and adventurous booking, might as well get your tickets directly at the train station. This could be challenging as some railway clerks could not completely understand the universal language because their English can be sub-par.
For tourists, you should know that there are certain cities in the country such as Agra, Calcutta, Jaipur, Mumbai, New Delhi, and Varanasi, wherein you will be entertained in a specific and separate booking office, commonly called as the International Tourist Bureau. Once you’re already at the station counter or at the particular office, be ready with the following: passport, visa and of course, cash. Be sure to have the right currency as the counter officer only accepts payment in Indian rupee, US dollars, UK pounds and Euros.
Apart from that, never believe someone who will tell you that the train has already been closed, relocated or even burnt down. These are all tricks made by some travel agencies to entice you to avail of their offerings. Further, don’t get intimidated with the names of the railway stations as it can be different with the names of the cities. Don’t be afraid to ask questions if you are in doubt. Traveling by train in India is definitely an exciting journey that gives you a peak of the country’s daily living. The trip is a combination of fun and endurance as much like other Asian countries, which is can be beautiful and baffling at the same time.