In this day and age, traveling can be made much easier with the help of technology. Although I still love traditional maps and travel books such as Lonely Planet, downloading applications on your smartphone is not only more convenient, it’ll also save luggage space. I’ve been traveling solo to India since 2008 and have since been five times. It’s become a second home for me. Though I have to admit that at times, India can be one of the more challenging destinations. Don’t let the long travel times get the best of you and stop you from having the best experience this spiritual country has to offer. Here’s a list of the 10 Best Travel Apps for India. It is complete with categories and downloadable links for your convenience:
- Google Translate
- Incredible India Digital Calendar
Google Translate is the best mobile app to make translation easier. You can type in the text you want to translate or record an audio. The app will automatically detect the foreign language and translate it into your language of choice. If you’re worried about internet connection, simply download the language you need on your device so you can use the app even when you’re offline. India’s national language is Hindi which is a good starting point. But it’s also crucial to download native tongues in the regions you’re traveling to as not everyone speaks Hindi, especially in the smaller villages. For example: Gujarati language in the state of Gujarat (west). Punjabi in the region of Punjab (northwest). Telugu for Hyderabad and Telangana (south central). Tamil in Tamil Nadu (deep south).
The best feature of this app is the instant camera translation feature. Simply point your phone’s camera to the text you want to translate. The app will automatically translate the text to your preferred language. Google Translate app supports 37 languages for the instant camera translation and more than a hundred languages in general. Making it not just one of the best translation app, but best travel app for India in general.
Best Rideshare App: Uber
Category: Transport, Maps & Navigation
Traveling from one point to another in India is no easy feat. Taking the train, hiring a taxi or a rickshaw is an option but the long lines or the overpriced taxi rate isn’t always worth it. Especially if your time is limited and you are on a tight budget. I highly suggest trying out Uber while you are in India. Uber drivers can speak English and there is a predetermined price for every trip so you won’t have to worry about overpriced rates and haggling. It’s also the safest option for solo female travelers in India. This is a must-have app whenever you are traveling just in case you don’t feel like taking public transport.
Read my India Solo Female Travel Tips here.
IRCTC Connect: India’s Train Schedules + Tickets
Though externally you cannot control outcomes of train schedules or organization in general in this huge, chaotic country. That’s why it’s best to have your ducks in a row with these best travel apps set up ahead of time. IRCTC Connect is an app for the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC). This mobile app is a railway e-booking system that can help you avoid the long lines, book your tickets in advance in case it sells out.
redBus: India’s Best Travel App for Bus Routes
I highly recommend traveling through India by public transportation, at least a few times. This includes train as well as bus rides. There’s no better way to fully immerse yourself into the culture than traveling this way. You get to experience and witness every day life. Families bringing their kids to school. Merchants traveling across the city to sell their goods. Farmers with their caged chickens going to markets.
redBus is a mobile app featuring over 65,000 bus routes and over a thousand bus operators to help you navigate your way in India by bus. You can book your seats in advance through the app and track your bus in realtime to make sure you are on schedule.
Booking.com: Travel & Hotel Booking App
Category: Hotel, Accommodation
Booking.com is a reputable booking site around the world with travel deals from hotels, cars, flights and more. The mobile app is designed for online accommodation bookings which has a lot of listings throughout India. You can view available dates, ongoing deals, and honest customer reviews through the app. A lot of accommodations offer free cancellation when you book via Booking.com making it headache-free. You also have the option to make a reservation and pay later when you arrive at the property.
Tip: I recommend charging your credit card in the local currency (at hotels, restaurants, anywhere). You will more likely get a better exchange rate via your credit card than with exchanging cash locally.
Airbnb is a personal favorite when it comes to home stays around the world. From luxury accommodations to the most affordable home-stays, the Airbnb app can provide you hundreds of options for your accommodation needs in India. Listings include family homes, apartments, and condominiums so you get to have that home away from home experience even when you are traveling.
Read: 7 Best Airbnbs for Female Travelers, including PushP Guesthouse in Jodhpur, India.
Incredible India Digital Calendar
Incredible India Digital Calendar is a mobile app launched by the Ministry of Tourism of India. The mobile app is for people who want to keep track of the country’s events and festivals — kind of like a digital travel planner. The app also serves as a digital travel guide about the different attractions and destinations throughout India. This app is great for mapping out your route in India if you want to chase festivals and immerse yourself fully into the various sub-cultures.
Confirm Ticket Break Journey By RouteChef
Category: Travel & Route Planner
This RouteChef mobile app will curate routes for you including break journeys, transfers, and the complete schedule. This app is most helpful for impulsive, spontaneous travelers. Or those who missed buying tickets or failed to schedule a tour in advance. RouteChef is great for those planning to visit remote areas that are inaccessible by train or bus. This app can help you figure out the best routes for your trip.
TripAdvisor: Hotel, Travel Guide + Reviews
Category: Hotel, Restaurant, Attractions
The TripAdvisor mobile app is an all-around app for hotel and restaurant reviews with threads about different attractions. Informations such as addresses, entrance fees, and how to get there can be accessed through this app.There is also a search engine to help you find the best deals on hotels. I use TripAdvisor as a starting point and find this app most helpful for tips and guides from other travelers.
Zomato: India’s Best Food App
Zomato mobile app is an app by the famous website Zomato. This mobile app features restaurants and eateries, customer ratings and reviews, and other relevant information about restaurants all over the world. Simply use your current location and the app will provide you all the local restaurants in the area including costs, deals, and discounts. Zomato also delivers to your home or workplace in most locations.
Read my travel guides and other India-related articles here.