Category : Travel
Travelling anywhere in India used to be notoriously difficult, frustrating and exhausting. Fortunately, online booking has revolutionized the way we book and pay for our travel requirements and has transformed the whole India travel experience. No longer do you need to queue for hours at one counter to fill in a form that needed to be presented at yet another counter before finally making your way to the Reservations counter–that’s assuming you could even find the correct counters. However, it still pays to keep your wits about you.
With the plethora of web sites dedicated to taking your money in exchange for flights, train/bus tickets, rental cars, hotels etc., it is more important than ever to do your research and spend wisely. Otherwise, you may find that you are travelling lighter (at least in terms of cash) than you had intended. Whilst most sites are bone fide, some rapscallion rascals out there will happily take you for a ride. Buyer beware—even the reputable sites have little tricks that you need to be aware of.
Are there pirates in India?
Yes, there are but if you use your head, you can avoid having your hard-earned money being drawn and quartered by someone else. We are going to look at one of my favourite sites for booking travel where you can get more bang for your buck (and not bucks for the buccaneers).
We will also look at some of the sneaky tricks the pirates will use to steal your pieces of eight.
Cleartrip is a site I have used regularly but like all things in life, nothing is perfect. This review simply reflects my personal experience.
What can I use Cleartrip for?
You can search and pay for air, train, bus, hotel and flight/hotel combined. It allows you to choose your currency so that you can get an immediate feel for price comparisons. This is an invaluable function. It isn’t so easy to know the value of your deal when you are used to thinking in USD and you are quoted a price of 96,000 Rupees or 160,000 Rupiahs. For goodness sake, just tell me what it costs in doubloons.
One of the best functions of this site is its ability to book train tickets (through IRCTC) for travel on Indian trains. If you have ever tried to book a ticket for an overnight sleeper berth in India, you will know exactly what I mean. This site can save you hours of frustration and stress and for this reason alone it rates as one of my top five sites. You will still need to register with IRCTC, the Indian Railway and Catering Tourism Corporation, but Cleartrip make the entire process as seamless and easy as possible.
Can I get cheap flights?
However, when it comes to finding cheap flights, Cleartrip, like most ‘bucket shops’, attempts to palm off cheap, miscellaneous flight sectors that can prove to be poor value for money. For example, you want to travel from Bangalore to Christchurch (NZ) – search – it is your lucky day – you can travel with Kingfisher Air and have complimentary stopovers in New Delhi and Abu Dhabi for the price of a direct flight with Singapore Airlines. Don’t get me wrong, I love Abu Dhabi airport – wow – six hours imbibing the delightful atmosphere of the Abu Dhabi terminal. Thanks, I will have a bottle of rum with that. To fly half way around the world in the wrong direction and then fly back again? Frankly, I would rather sail with Long John Silver on the Flying Dutchman to Treasure Island.