If you've never been before, India is intimidating, but we're going to let you in on a little secret. We found an app that streamlines the process of booking travel around the subcontinent.
If you've never traveled around India, you've probably never heard of Cleartrip, but it's not exactly new. The app is the mobile version of the website, which has been a booking platform for years. But who needs a website when the app is so user-friendly?
Cleartrip does it all: flights, trains, hotels, and activities. In fact, it has even expanded well beyond India, searching flights and hotels all over the world — though Cleartrip is not alone in that functionality. (There are other excellent apps for booking world travel.) Cleartrip, however, excels in trip-planning within India. In such a vast country with so many transportation options, getting around can feel like a formidable undertaking. The easy-to-use booking app makes sense of it all.
In the seventh largest country in the world, flying often makes the most sense. Cleartrip's booking interface is easy to use and can be optimized to fit different schedules and budgets. Even though domestic flights are already pretty cheap, the app lists top deals on flights from India's major cities, like a $18 flight to Jaipur from New Delhi.
If you're not traveling far enough for a flight, you might brave the Indian Railways. This is where Cleartrip becomes truly indispensable. The app walks you through creating an account with the IRCTC (Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation), allowing you to book trains quickly and easily. When searching train schedules, Cleartrip lists the ride duration, expected departure and arrival times, and available seating. If you've purchased a ticket on a train with a waitlist, Cleartrip allows you to check the PNR status (your waitlist number) with the tap of a finger. You can check the live status of your train at any time and search availability over a 15-day period. (For more tips on taking the train in India, read our how-to guide.)
Cleartrip's latest and fastest-growing feature, however, comes into play once you've arrived at your destination. Toggle from “travel” to “local” at the bottom of the app screen to browse all the activities in your location. Book a hot air balloon ride over Jaipur, a three-day trek to the Valley of Flowers from Rishikesh, or a waterfall tour through Goa — right in the app.
It's just a booking app, but an intuitive one that makes traveling within India feel manageable. You probably won't use it anywhere else unless you're traveling to one of the handful of Middle Eastern countries where the app is live, but in India, Cleartrip will be your personal assistant, your security blanket, and your best friend.
Download for free on iTunes and Google Play, or head to cleartrip.com.