Your complete guide to #TravelSmart!

In this day and age we are married, and happily so, to our smartphones. We will travel alone, globe trot solo and sleep under the stars but our relationship to our phones is monogamous. For those of you who look at their phones as their match made in heaven, here are reasons and apps to get more out of your relationship with your smartphone. Team Fxkart brings to you a list of the apps you must have for a productive and smart travel through India.

Planning your trip

Lay out a plan of tentative dates for your trip, destination and budget. You can log onto tripadvisor.com or holidayiq.com to get a hand in planning your trip. Even if you don’t have a destination picked out TripAdvisor can give you options for destinations and tourist attractions that would be great for the kind of holiday you are looking for. For vacations, it would be great to have flexible dates as these sites can tell you the best time to travel in that period by showing best air fares and hotel rates.

Planning your travel and stay

For flight and hotel bookings you can log on to via.com, goibibo.com, cleartrip.com, makemytrip.com or musafir.com. There are travel aggregator sites such as ixigo.com in India and Skyscanner abroad which aggregates price listings from all these sites for comparison to get the best deal available.

Just to be sure you are getting the best deal on your flight and hotels you could go old school and contact your local travel agent. Not so likely, but who knows the offline path less trodden might pleasantly surprise you with a discount not available online.

Often hotel stays burn the hole in our pockets. More so in the peak travel season where the sky’s the limit for hotel rates. You can book your stay with a renter on airbnb.com. The concept is that of affordable bed and breakfast with a local host rather than a hotel and in addition, reviews from users build trust and reputation of the host. And Airbnb does not just offer accommodation but an opportunity of experiencing first hand the unique abodes of the locals.

Foreign Exchange

Fxkart.com is an aggregator site that works by providing you with the best forex rates in town. What’s more is that you have the option of store pickup, home delivery as well as airport pickup of the currency. Fxkart’s unique bidding system gets dealers on one platform to bid for forex requirement thereby bringing the rates further down. You get the assured best rate in town for buying as well as selling foreign currency.

Airports

Trip38 has branded itself as your travel assistant. True to the label of travel assistant, it is a great app for getting information like status alerts such as check-in, baggage allowance, delays and reminders such as baggage allowance, boarding gates and terminals. It also provides information about ATMs, lounges and duty-free with directions. It can operate offline thus saving on your data plan and won’t let you get lost in the name of a low connectivity. Not only serving as an airport guide, this travel assistance app also serves a local guide in your destination.

Trains

IRCTC is the Indian railway website and also has an app. Just like any government service, it is slow and frustrating. It operates in cooperation with the Murphy’s law and when you are urgently trying to book a train ticket with the poor internet connection it will insist on an update! The updates don’t really leave you with an option to defer and book your ticket urgently, so you pretty much are left at the mercy of your ‘3G’ (wow!). So if you have plans to travel through India keep your IRCTC app updated and enjoy what technology the tourism board tried to bring to you. We should really thank your stars we have an app and don’t have to wait in queues or travel general class.

A new app called TravelKhana is up and coming for providing catering services to the train passenger. You have to enter your train’s PNR code, the destination and date of travel. Order and pay online and the food will be delivered at a station notified to you. Not all trains are covered by TravelKhana as of yet and always keep some backup food in case there is a failure to deliver the food, which does happen at times.

Taxis

In India, we used to have taxi services such as Meru and mega cabs which had to book way in advance and the payment system was not centralised. With the advent of Uber model of booking cabs, uber and following suit ola cabs are ruling the roost now. In my opinion, Uber is a bit better than ola as the driver does not incessantly harass you to reach the pickup point by calling and asking for directions. The uber drivers strictly follow navigation so is my preferred choice of booking a cab. But ola is great too. Tip- Be sure to have both apps on your phone. In the case of non-availability of cabs on one app, you can check the other app.

Buses

RedBus is your go-to site for booking buses to travel through India. Trains are not always available or offer convenient timings.

Destinations

Trip38 works great as a destination guide for restaurants, places to visit, malls and nightlife. So your search is for a great time and an adventure rather than on google.

Word lens is another app which is a must have if you are travelling to a land which has a language foreign to you. It serves as a translator of sign boards and text. Scan the text with your smartphone’s camera and the translated sign will be displayed in your selected language. Sounds so futuristic!

Triposo is another great app which serves as a travel guide. It’s free and works offline too. It guides you about the directions with detailed maps, weather, currency and helps you out with simple phrases for getting around with the locals. So when you are busy backpacking through the wilderness and the connectivity is zero, all you need is your spirit and this app.

Local search engines

Justdial is a great local search engine and is a must have especially if you are in the cities. You can access local restaurants, salons and spas, medical practitioners, malls etc. It guides you with customer reviews and ratings and is great for travellers and locals alike.

An app specifically made for the city of Mumbai is M-Indicator. It helps you with local train timings, bus routes and timings, auto fares and taxi fares. It has a new feature for women’s safety wherein your location alert will be sent to your emergency contact either manually by the woman. In the case of two consecutive missed calls by the concerned relative on the person’s phone, an automatic SMS alert of the location will be sent to the contact. The automatic alert option works from 9pm to 8am which is non-working hours in Mumbai.

Food

For ordering, locating and reviewing food online the go-to apps are Zomato, FoodPanda and TinyOwl. You can access the menu online, book and pay online and have the food delivered to your location. Zomato also gives you references of cafes, karaoke clubs, nightlife and places to brunch. Be sure to have at least one of the apps when travelling in India.

Entertainment

Bookmyshow is a must have if you are travelling within India. It will give you a low down on the movies and performances in your area.

Telecommunication

The best apps for saving money on your international calls would be Skype, Viber and Imo. You can video chat with your loved ones back at home for free. For chats and free calls, WhatsApp is also a great option and a must have.

Choose from the mentioned apps for a comfortable and hassle free travel. Say goodbye to language barriers and tour guides trying to rip you off and enjoy accurate guidance through your adventure in India.