India is such a VAST country, you’ll probably be city-hopping and sightseeing as many places as you can fit into your itinerary! There are loads of ways you can travel through India, and it’s sometimes confusing trying to decide between the different kinds. That’s where I come in!
Here’s what I thought of the different ways you could get around:
Trains are super convenient and there’s a wide range in budget.
You get to see the countryside.
They can be a little cold if you’re in AC Chair class. If you’re in Second Sitting class, they can be really cramped and the wooden bench isn’t too comfortable after 5 hours. My butt went numb.
A Note on Classes:
You could go AC chair class, which is air-conditioned and comfortable, or Second Sitting class, which is not air-conditioned but sooo much more lively (and in my opinon, fun) than the higher class. The AC chair class is about 3 times as expensive as Second Sitting class, but still not too expensive if you’re coming from a Western country. I really liked sitting in second sitting class.
Overnight trains are pretty comfortable, and SO convenient!
It’s so nice to be able to wake up in your destination. You also save money on accommodation!
Can be noisy/bright; comfort level depends on class; first class is VERY expensive; it’s better to book in advance
BEST Tip for Train Travel
If there’s one thing you’re going to take away from this guide, it’s this!
If you’re travelling by train, and everything is booked up for the train you want, check and see if the train station of the city you’re in has a foreign tourist reservation office. There’s this thing called the Foreign Tourist Quota Reservation; essentially, the booking office reserves a certain amount of seats to sell to tourists. The foreign tourist reservation offices are usually found in big cities. This is how we booked a train just a couple of days in advance; online, the train was sold out for MONTHS!
This is the fastest way to travel in India! There are budget airlines that can be super affordable.
You need to have a stricter schedule; flight changes are probably not worth it. You also have to book a little further in advance to get the great deals.
The bus is fast and a great way to travel when trains are sold out. They typically aren’t on winding roads; I get carsick pretty easily and I felt fine.
They take a little longer than a train or plane and they can get a little hot. Usually, the tourist buses are air-conditioned- try to go for those!
Overnight buses can be REALLY comfortable. We took an overnight bus where we had our own cabins and basically a huge bed area to ourselves.
Like the overnight train, it’s nice to wake up in your destination and to save money on accommodation.
redbus.in is the website to go to if you want to book yourself!
Overnight buses can be very delayed and the roads can get a little dangerous.
The level of comfort is dependent on which bus company you go for and what route you are going on.
I don’t think I can go back to road trips in a car! The 360* view from a motorbike is incredible.
I found that roads I’d normally get VERY carsick on were totally fine on a motorbike.
It’s just really fun.
If there are two people on the motorbike, space for luggage is limited.
The bumpy roads HURT after a while.
This is a SUPER easy way to travel and it’s really comfortable compared to public transportation. It’s pretty fast, too.
This can be really pricey and you have to make sure your taxi driver will honour the price that you agreed on beforehand (AGREE ON A PRICE BEFOREHAND!).
It’s slow because you’re being peddled across a city. Better for short distances.
Fun! They’re also pretty fast as they can avoid traffic.
You have to haggle a bit and sometimes you think you’re going to get into a car crash haha
Uber is actually SO good in India. It’s nice having a set (and very fair) price; usually it’s cheaper than just hailing a taxi or autorickshaw. They do have an autorickshaw option.
It’s sometimes a bit hard to find your driver if you’re in a crowded area. Also, we got cancelled on a LOT.
Air-conditioned, super fast, VERY affordable. This was the BEST way to get from the Delhi Airport into town.
It’s not air-conditioned outside of the trains so it can be incredibly hot while waiting for your train. Buying tickets can be a little confusing because you have to go into a certain line.