Can someone help me plan flights to India efficiently?

want to go to India for about 3 weeks in December and was having a hard time booking flights. I'd rather pay a little more for convenience, so I don't mind flying, but if it's easier to take a train between cities I'm ok with that too since it seems like some of the cities I want to visit aren't that far apart.

Can someone give me a strategy of how to travel to the following cities, including where to fly in and out of the country from? I'm in San Fran. Wanted to go to

1) Varanasi

2) Darjeeling

3) Rishikesh

4) Kashmir

5) And perhaps end the trip in New Delhi (but I'm ok with not going to New Delhi)

Open to other recommendations as well. I'm a bit intimidated by the travel system in India because I am so unfamiliar. I've traveled to some pretty hardcore places but India seems like it's on another level.

  1. 3 months ago
    Anonymous

    Skyscanner for the flight
    Kayak.com for bus/train/etc between cities

    • 3 months ago
      Anonymous

      doesn't help

      • 3 months ago
        Anonymous

        >WAAAA SPOON FEED ME

        Call a travel agency then, those two sites are easy to use and can provide you with transportation between the cities listed.

  2. 3 months ago
    Anonymous

    >I'm in San Fran
    Then you should know how to use the internet. Holy shit.

  3. 3 months ago
    Anonymous

    Windows Update just caused me to lose the long post I was writing, and I'm not goin to do it all over again.

    Basically, anon, there are airports in every city except Rishikesh and Darjeeling. The nearest airport to Rishikesh is in Dehradun, and the nearest airport to Darjeeling is in Bagdogra. I've been to both cities but regularly visit Darjeeling, since I live in Kolkata. You will have to take a cab from Bagdogra Airport to Darjeeling Mor in Siliguri, then a shared jeep up to Darjeeling. The ride can take anywhere from 3 hours to 6 hours, depending on the weather.

    If you really, really want to fly everywhere, then I'd recommend doing something like:
    >San francisco > Delhi (there should be direct AirIndia flights)
    >Delhi to Srinagar (flight)
    >Srinagar to Dehradun (flight), bus or jeep to Rishikesh
    >back to Dehradun and then flight to Varanasi
    >Varanasi to Bagdogra by flight OR Varanasi to Siliguri Jn by train, then shared jeep to Darjeeling

    Good domestic airlines are IndiGo and Vistara, the rest are all pretty mediocre. AirIndia is pretty shitty by should be getting better now that it has privatized.

    >I'm a bit intimidated by the travel system in India because I am so unfamiliar. I've traveled to some pretty hardcore places but India seems like it's on another level.
    I'm American and live here. There's really nothing that "crazy" about travel in India. If anything, it's much easier to travel around than the U.S., since there's an abundance of transportation options for every conceivable budget. It's just slow and inefficient, and some of its quirks--like booking train tickets online--have a bit of a learning curve.

    you'll probably feel overwhelmed, since it's your first time, but you really shouldn't feel intimidated... it's just another place inhabited by people, most of whom are more or less decent human beings

    • 3 months ago
      Anonymous

      Can you just buy train tickets as you go, at the station? Is there any reason not to do that?

      • 3 months ago
        Anonymous

        >Is there any reason not to do that?
        Have you never seen an indian train meme? It's more than just a meme dude, you want to book ahead. Book your train shit before you book your flight.

        • 3 months ago
          Anonymous

          The Indian train meme is a meme, at least insofar as crowds are concerned. Inter-city trains aren't overly efficient, but they're not jam-packed with people unless you're traveling in Seater. However, it is definitely a good idea to book tickets in advance for certain high-demand destinations, since tickets on some routes sell out weeks ahead of time.

          1AC/2AC/3AC and CC are usually comfy and hassle-free (except for annoying children and obnoxious passengers who decide they want to shout about politics at 5am). Sleeper can be comfy in winter, but there's a good chance you'll get your dick grabbed by a chud begging for money.

          Sleeper is the "real Indian experience" where it'll be easy to meet "real Indians," 1AC is mostly used by traveling bureaucrats and upper-level railway employees, 2AC/3AC is how most middle-class and upper-middle-class Indians travel when they're taking train

          Can you just buy train tickets as you go, at the station? Is there any reason not to do that?

          Buying tickets from the train station is time-consuming and a pain in the ass, especially if it's your first time in India and you can't speak any Hindi. I'd recommend just registering for an IRCTC account and purchasing your tickets online. The website has a learning curve, but it's very easy to use once you're used to it. Do be aware that paying for travel with a foreign card can be difficult. You basically have two options:
          >if you have an AMEX card, you can use the AMEX payment portal, which will let you pay for tickets at any time
          >if you have a non-AMEX card, you need to use the "ATOM payment portal," as the other payment methods won't accept foreign cards. Unless something has changed, the ATOM portal only works with foreign cards if you're booking more than ~48-72 hours ahead of your planned travel

          • 3 months ago
            Anonymous

            note:Some train stations do have "Foreign Tourist Booking Offices." Don't know the whole list, but there are definitely offices in at New Delhi Railway Station (NDLS) and Varanasi. If you have your entire itinerary planned, you can just book all of your tickets at the NDLS office once you arrive.

            FWIW, some high-demand train routes do have "foreign tourist quotas," so it's usually possible to get last-minute train tickets on the FTQ even if the train is otherwise sold out

          • 3 months ago
            Anonymous

            >The Indian train meme is a meme, at least insofar as crowds are concerned.
            Given how bad OP can't even use skyscanner and kayak, it wouldn't be a meme for him and he'd be fucked 2 ways to tuesday attempting to get on a fucked train.

            • 3 months ago
              Anonymous

              kek

              [...]
              Are there any reliable agents that charge some commission, do all the work for you and deliver your tickets to your hotel or email?

              Probably, but I've always just booked them by myself. Hotels that regularly host foreign tourists are also usually willing to help with train tickets

              Many local travel agencies will do this sort of work, too, but some agents might be dishonest and lie about a train being sold out to try to coerce you into booking a package tour or hiring a private driver or whatever. TBQH not sure why you won't just try doing it yourself, it's not that difficult

              • 3 months ago
                Anonymous

                >TBQH not sure why you won't just try doing it yourself, it's not that difficult
                I just saw now that you mentioned that you can book all tickets at once at the foreign tourist counters, that makes things much easier.

          • 3 months ago
            Anonymous

            note:Some train stations do have "Foreign Tourist Booking Offices." Don't know the whole list, but there are definitely offices in at New Delhi Railway Station (NDLS) and Varanasi. If you have your entire itinerary planned, you can just book all of your tickets at the NDLS office once you arrive.

            FWIW, some high-demand train routes do have "foreign tourist quotas," so it's usually possible to get last-minute train tickets on the FTQ even if the train is otherwise sold out

            Are there any reliable agents that charge some commission, do all the work for you and deliver your tickets to your hotel or email?

  4. 3 months ago
    Anonymous

    Don't go city hopping in India, literally the shittiest way to see the country. Indian cities are miserable and boring as fuck, except for Delhi (which is a horrible place to live but actually has a lot to see/do).

    • 3 months ago
      Anonymous

      lmao this bro really fell for the golden triangle/varanasi meme

    • 3 months ago
      Anonymous

      lmao this bro really fell for the golden triangle/varanasi meme

      I refuse to believe you gays have been to india. you sound like basement dwellers

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