Getting a ticket VS getting a reservation:
- Unreserved second class: The tickets are bought even in the last moments and the tickets usually exceed the number of seats. This leads to a much crowded compartment. Many a times people travel even without tickets.
- Sleeper class: This section is for over-night journeys and has no AC. The ones with the reserved seats get the bunk. There are people who in spite of buying tickets don’t get the bunks (because of no reservation) and still travel, but that’s fussy.
- AC executive chair: These are AC compartment for short distance travel usually. You cannot travel in this compartment if you don't have reservation.
- Air conditioned sleeper: For over-night journeys, there are again AC sleeper classes where you cannot travel without reservation. These compartments again are divided into three more sections; first class, Second class and Third class. And needless to say this section is usually selected by the richer classes of the society.
Sites for online reservation:
- This is the official site of Indian Railways: Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation Limited https://www.irctc.co.in/eticketing/loginHome.jsf
- These are the second-party sites which charge a nominal fees of Rs 20 or something and promise a fuss free bookings: Yatra (http://www.yatra.com/trains.html) and makemytrip (http://www.makemytrip.com/railways/)
- Never ever take the risk of procrastinating with the booking. Especially when there is peak season in India like in summers.
- Stay away from unauthorized agents.
- Even if you are traveling in first class compartments, don’t get reckless about your money, ornaments or gadgets.
- There are first class compartments and waiting area but the bustle in whole of the railway station remains the same.
- Keep yourself updated with your train’s reservation charts.
- There are many trains which run on precise timings and some don’t. You be safe from your side and reach a little while ago from the departure timings, lest you get stuck up in traffic or crowd.
- If someone is trying to get over-friendly, don’t pay them heeds.
- If you are a solo female traveler, look out for some women-only trains which are new but have limited services.
- Pay special attention to your goods when you are travelling in sleeper class.
- Some special trains have foreign quota for foreign travelers and to make sure that they can proceed with their journey in spite of booking in short notice. But don’t put full reliance on this aspect, because there are only a few trains.
- Just like foreign quota, there is Tatkal quota. The bookings (which are closed when a certain number of tickets are sold) again gets opened for the last time only a day prior until early morning of the day of train’s actual departure from starting point. So this is a good option for emergencies or sudden travel plans. And the tickets are a bit costlier.
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