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  • Travel tips for train travel in India

    India is a huge country, and unless you plan on sticking to one destination, you will have no choice but spend quite a bit of time on a means of transport. You can travel by plane between major cities, but while a plane ride is arguable more comfortable than a bus or train ride, and much shorter, it is expensive and it would cause you to miss out on much of the fun of traveling through India.

    The Indian countryside is beautiful and full of magnificent sights, and there is hardly a better way to admire it than from behind a train window. Trains in India might not have the best reputation in the world, but when you’re an open minded traveler who likes adventure, you will find yourself enjoying yourself, so here are some travel tips for train travel in India.

    Trains, crowds, tickets

    The stereotypical image of an Indian train is not the most alluring in the world, because usually they are depicted as crowded and sometimes even dirty. But like in any other country, there are several types of  train cars, tickets types and levels of comfort.

    While there are some trains that don’t require seat reservations (and these are the trains that are usually very crowded), you will have to book a ticket for most long distance trains, and it’s better to book your seat as soon as you can because trains can be fully booked weeks in advance.

    The perks

    Although regular Indian trains don’t usually have a restaurant carriage, long distance trains can offer you a meal if you want. Train staff will go round the carriages and ask passengers whether they prefer the vegetarian/non-veg option, and you will be given a portion of curry soon afterwards – the food is decent and it costs only a couple of dollars. Plus, train attendants will regularly pass through each car, selling refreshments and delicious sweet Indian tea. Sanitary facilities depend on the class of the carriage, but in any case you should bring your own toilet paper.

    Stay safe

    Tourists rarely run into trouble on trains, but luggage theft is not unheard of, regardless of whether you’re a local or a visitor. Sleeper cars have wire hoops where you can tie your luggage with a padlock or a bike lock, and even in regular cars you can find a place to tie down your luggage. Large stations like Mumbai have their pickpockets, like in any major city anyway in the world, so just use your common sense and you will have no problems.

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