Top 10 Apps And Websites Travelers To India Must Have To Enhance Their Trip
Updated: Feb 20, 2020
First time travelers to India can feel overwhelmed with the drastic change from what they’re used to, things can get chaotic and confusing pretty fast, but luckily India is at the heart of a digital boom, and consumer targeted technology is one of the best in the country. There’s an app for pretty much anything, and personally, I find that these apps have made life so much easier, especially if you’re in a metropolis. I’ve compiled a list of the apps below which will help holidayers, slow travelers and even expats improve their India stint, and iron out confusions regarding transport, food and things to do. As a matter of fact, the following apps are one of the most downloaded apps within India by the locals, but these are especially good-to-have for travelers to India.
In no particular here are the top apps in India.
(Please note that almost all of these apps have a website too, and if you don’t want to download an app, you can even use the website.)
While traveling in India, getting from place A to B, the bus is one of the best options. You can get anywhere between regular seater, recliner seats to full-on flat bed buses in both AC and Non-AC options, depending on your budget and need. RedBus is the one-stop app/website for booking bus tickets on pretty much any route in India.
While Makemytrip is the biggest travel website/app in India, Cleartrip is an able rival. Both are umbrella apps for booking flights, hotels, package tours, buses, and even trains. (Booking train tickets through the official Indian Railways Site IRCTC can be painful.)
Accommodation in India is mostly cheap, and it’s not hard to find budget hotels, lodges and guesthouses for less than $10 a night. However if you’re a solo traveler, hostels are a great option to save on costs and meet other backpackers. However, the concept of backpacker hostels is just about catching up in India, and Zostel is one of the first ‘branded hostel chains’ here. Zostel has hostels in over 20 Indian cities, including Goa, Varanasi, Jaipur, Jodhpur and most other tourist trail. Prices start around $5 for a dorm bed, and go up to $25 for a private room.
4. Uber India
If you want the familiarity and convenience of using Uber, over dealing with the difficult rickshaw drivers or navigating through the labyrinth public transport, you’re in luck as Uber India has a vast footprint in India. Uber operates in most major cities on the travel trail like Delhi, Agra, Jaipur, Bangalore, Chennai, Kolkata. (Though for Goa, local transport, cabs and hiring bikes is the only way.
5. Ola cabs
Ola is the Indian ride booking app, or the Indian Uber. While both Uber and Ola offer pretty much the same, Ola runs in more cities than Uber, and most people in India use both Uber and Ola interchangeably depending on the availability of rides and prices. Along with cabs on Ola, you can even hire cabs for a whole day or book one for an out of city trip.
(A quick aside. Yours truly has worked at Ola for a bit!)
BookMyShow is the first and the largest website and app for booking movie, theatre, event and concert tickets. If you’re staying in a place for long, and looking to do things around you, BookMyShow is a great option to see the gigs and activities around you.
Nearbuy is a neat lil addition to the world of consumer apps in India. Little app lists deals and promotions running at local businesses. It’s like the Groupon of India. If your local area isn’t very helpful with great deals on massages, salon treatments, or specific cuisines, Nearbuy is worth a download.
Zomato = food. Zomato is the first and largest restaurant listing and food delivery website/ app in India and one of the top Indian apps. It runs in over 20 countries today, but in India, it’s huge and very efficient. Apart from ordering food, it’s a great option to just check out places around you, check out reviews, and even look at their menus along with prices, even before stepping in!
Swiggy and Foodpanda are 2 other players in the Indian food ordering space.
Medical emergencies can happen anytime, especially during travel. Practo is a website/app that lists doctors in a location chosen by you, and even helps you book an appointment. If you’re in India for medical tourism and looking to get dental work or plastic surgeries, again Practo will be a good value add to avoid the quacks!
A little awareness of the current news and knowledge on the country you’re in helps add some perspective and insights to your experience. Inshorts is a nifty app that curates and compiles all the local, national and international news from major news websites in under 60 words in a easy swipe format. Just 10 minutes of scrolling through inShorts while you’re waiting in a queue or sitting on the pot can add to a lot of knowledge about India and the world in general.
Now this is the most offbeat inclusion on this list. Trust me, no Indian local uses this but for a foreigner this is a heaven sent, if a little curious service. A lot of foreigners like to immerse themselves in the local culture by attending local events, including Indian weddings which is understandable given how Indian weddings are about all things Indian, exotic, and culture under one roof. Exhibit A.
But if you’re out of luck with scoring an organic wedding invite, maybe a “ticketed wedding invite” may be your last resort. Joinmywedding is a recent service that lets you “book” an invite to upcoming weddings and tickets are priced according to the pomp-level of the wedding. No kidding!
Some general pointers for using the apps:
It’s better to connect all these apps with your Facebook account, it’s quick and easy, rather than creating a separate login and password for all. You’re mostly going to uninstall them after you’ve left India.
For the ecommerce based apps, they all accept most VISA/Mastercard credit cards, debit cards, net banking and some even have a cash on delivery option. Payments are safe and in an off chance should your order malfunction, refunds could take anywhere between 1-7 days. Most apps run active social media accounts that can be reached for issues.
While some apps can be used across the country, a few local-business apps operate only in major cities.