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Every popular app in your country may not be that useful when you’re in another nation. For example, Weibo is far larger than Twitter in China. There’s no Uber in Pakistan.

It’s best to download local apps when you’re travelling to another country. Here’s what you need to get if you’re going to India.

Transport

Taxi: Uber / Ola Cabs / Meru Cabs

meru-ola

Uber is now available in India, but not in all cities. That said, it works well in the major metros and if you already have it installed, you can use it like you do in your home country.

However, Uber isn’t the only major taxi service in India. Ola Cabs, a competitor, also lets you hail private cabs, government-run cabs, and government-run auto-rickshaws in certain cities. If you’re relying on public transport in India, it’s worth it to also install the Ola Cabs app.

Another radio cab service you might want to rely on is Meru Cabs, which runs its own fleet of cars with trained professionals, unlike Uber and Ola Cabs. Additionally, it also operates between two cities.

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Download: Uber for Android | Uber for iPhone

Download: Ola Cabs for Android | Ola Cabs for iPhone

Download: Meru Cabs for Android | Meru Cabs for iPhone

Buses: RedBus

Redbus

For intercity travel, buses are often a convenient option, especially in remote areas where a private cab will be too costly, not easily accessible, or perhaps unsafe. Redbus is the country’s premier bus booking service, operating across most tourist-friendly destinations. The app is dead easy to use and several bus operators now support e-tickets shown on your smartphone.

Download: Redbus for Android | Redbus for iPhone

Trains: IRCTC Connect

irctc

Indian cities are best connected to each other by trains, and a train journey in the country is actually an integral part of a travel experience here. The Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation Limited, or IRCTC, has a fantastic app that lets you easily book tickets, check schedules, and even gives you alerts on your journey.

Download: IRCTC Connect for Android | IRCTC Connect for iPhone

Flights: Make My Trip

makemytrip

You can pretty much use any app out there to find the best fares for flights in India, but this app does a better job of tracking localized discounts. Make My Trip is the premium portal for air tickets in India, it works perfectly on mobiles, and you can even use it to check-in at most airports.

While Make My Trip also offers train and bus tickets, we would suggest sticking to the aforementioned apps for those. There are plenty of alternatives too, like ClearTrip, and they all work pretty well. At all times, remember our rules to find cheap airline tickets 5 Rules To Finding Cheap Airline Flight Tickets 5 Rules To Finding Cheap Airline Flight Tickets Who says you can’t fly for cheap? Sometimes it comes down to whether or not you click the right links, search the right terms, or pick the right times to search the web. Read More .

Download: Make My Trip for Android | Make My Trip for iPhone

Accomodation

Hotels: Booking Now

booking-now

Even in India, Booking.com is one of the best apps you can use to book a room. The big reason? They won’t charge your credit card till a day before your booking, so in case your plans change, you’re safe!

Download: Booking Now for Android | Booking Now for iPhone

Budget Hotels: Oyo Rooms

Oyo-rooms

The selling point of Oyo Rooms is a standardized experience anywhere you go to. All rooms have air conditioning, TV, clean linen, complimentary breakfast, free Wi-Fi and hygienic washrooms, complete with a complimentary toiletries kit.

Download: Oyo Rooms for Android | Oyo Rooms for iPhone

Home Stays: Airbnb

Airbnb is a wonderful way to get the feel of a new place by staying in the house of someone who isn’t using it. It’s a popular choice for international travellers and a fantastic way to save expenses on your next trip A Traveler's Tales: How To Save Money On Your Next Trip With AirBnB A Traveler's Tales: How To Save Money On Your Next Trip With AirBnB We are always eager to cut costs while traveling. Hotels are expensive. Ludicrously so. But are there any alternatives? Until recently, the answer to that question was a loud ‘no' till AirBnB came along. Read More .

Download: Airbnb for Android | Airbnb for iPhone

Couchsurfing: Couchsurfing.com

In the major metropolitan cities in India, couchsurfing isn’t anything new, and you’ll find plenty of hosts on the main destination for this activity, Couchsurfing.com. We have some tips to take advantage of couchsurfing 3 Ways To Take Advantage Of The Travel Network CouchSurfing 3 Ways To Take Advantage Of The Travel Network CouchSurfing CouchSurfing is an online network that connects travelers and locals. Originally based on the idea that travelers need a place to sleep and many people have a spare couch, CouchSurfing has long grown beyond just... Read More , but you should know that it isn’t that popular in smaller towns in India. Also, with couchsurfing, you need to be aware of security concerns, so check the video above to get safety advice for the app.

Download: Couchsurfing for Android | Couchsurfing for iPhone

Information, Food, and Events

Local Directory: Justdial

justdial

Any business or service you need locally, whether it’s a doctor, a pharmacy, offices, or anything else, chances are that it’s listed on Justdial — a local directory of businesses that operates across all the major cities in India.

Download: Justdial for Android | Justdial for iPhone

Food: Zomato

zomato

Yelp and Zagat won’t help you here—and well, Yelp can’t be trusted anyway Yelp Can't Be Trusted: Try One Of These Alternatives Now Yelp Can't Be Trusted: Try One Of These Alternatives Now Yelp has lost some ground when it comes to trust. At this point, Yelp's reviews have little redemptive value and users should look to an alternative service when finding local businesses. Read More . If you’re in India, install Zomato, the largest restaurant directory and recommendation service in the country. Zomato has a well-categorized system to find whatever you are in the mood for, and the customer reviews for each joint will help you narrow down what you should have there.

Download: Zomato for Android | Zomato for iPhone

News: Times of India / NDTV

timesofindia

When you’re in a new country, you want to know the news that’s going on around you. The Times of India is the biggest newspaper and NDTV is the largest news channel. Install either app to stay abreast of the happenings in India.

Download: Times of India for Android | Times of India for iPhone

Download: NDTV for Android | NDTV for iPhone

Events: Book My Show

bookmyshow

Need to buy tickets for a show, an event, a game of cricket, a walking tour around a city, or just catch a movie? Book My Show has it all. Again, you will be able to show your Book My Show ticket on your phone at several events, saving you the trouble of finding a place where you can print your ticket.

Download: Book My Show for Android | Book My Show for iPhone

Tourism

Tripigator

tripigator

The Indian government has recently introduced an app that helps tourists make their way around the country, and we think it’s one of the best trip planning and organizing apps Best Trip Planning and Organizing Apps for Android Best Trip Planning and Organizing Apps for Android Are you planning a trip for this summer? These apps makes it super easy to keep everything organized and in one place. Read More . Tripigator is beautiful, easy to use, and is full of handy information that can make your trip better. Its best part is its smart engine. Feed it your destinations, your interests, your budget, and it’ll smartly create an itinerary for you!

Download: Tripigator for Android | Go to Tripigator.com on iPhone

Triposo

Triposo basically makes travel guides using publicly available information, like what you get from Wikipedia, WikiTravel, OpenStreetMaps, and more. All of that is brought together in one app, creating an easy way for you to navigate your trip. Triposo works completely offline as well, which is its biggest boon since you might not want to spend on international data charges. Overall, it’s a useful app to save money on your vacation Save Money on Your Next Vacation with These Android Apps Save Money on Your Next Vacation with These Android Apps Summer is right around the corner, so you these Android apps to get a cheap vacation for you and your family. Read More .

Download: Triposo for Android | Triposo for iPhone

AudioCompass

audiocompass

In partnership with the Ministry of Tourism in India, AudioCompass has built a library of guided audio tours for several of the top tourist hotspots in the country. It has over a 1,000 points of interest, it works offline, and perhaps most importantly, it saves you the hassle of haggling with a local guide and trying to understand their thick accent. That said, most AudioCompass guides are paid.

Download: AudioCompass for Android | AudioCompass for iPhone

Tell Us Your Picks!

I actually compiled this list recently after playing host to several tourists to India, but I’m sure I missed a few good apps along the way.

So tell us, which apps would you tell tourists to install? If you’re a tourist who has been to India, what else did you find useful? Let us know in the comments!

  1. Ann
    November 1, 2016 at 10:53 am

    Tripigator is unavailable for download outside india

  2. Ipshita Sengupta
    September 17, 2016 at 4:27 am

    For out-station, Gozocabs is all you need. Great service. Pocket friendly and of course easy to book.

  3. Galahad
    May 16, 2016 at 1:22 pm

    Try out holidayIQ. Has better content compared to TripAdvisor

  4. Sumeet
    March 27, 2016 at 5:52 am

    Tripigator iOS link is not working. Looks like it has been removed from the AppStore.

  5. nikitad69
    August 31, 2015 at 9:18 am

    nice article Mihir. I would also recommend TripAdvisor as it gives user reviews & recommendations for the destinations and hotels also. I found it very helpful while planning my south India trip.

    • Mihir Patkar
      August 31, 2015 at 9:24 am

      Thanks Nikita!

      Yeah, TripAdvisor is pretty great, but you also need to know how to sort out the rubbish comments from the useful ones there :) Because of its open nature and popularity, a lot of companies/hotels sneakily inject glowing reviews.

  6. Pranav V.G.
    August 12, 2015 at 9:30 am

    If you are planning a trip to Mumbai the "mIndicator" is a must. Has all Local Train timings, BEST Bus Routes and more

  7. Pravin S
    August 11, 2015 at 8:59 am

    Mihir,

    When I read the headline, I knew you would have had Tripigator and Redbus in the list.. :D
    Tripigator is awesome.

    But surprised to find CouchSurfing and JustDial. Is Couchsurfing that popular in India? Google Maps could replace JD, as does a decent job in finding addresses and phone numbers. Not all but a refined list.

    Pravin

    • Mihir Patkar
      August 11, 2015 at 6:07 pm

      Haha yeah, couchsurfing is surprisingly big. I wasn't aware of its reach in the major metro cities either, but you'll easily be able to find someone in Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore, Chennai, Kolkata and the others.

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