11 Tips for Travelling by Train in India

If you want to travel in India, you should travel by trains. This is not solely my suggestion but many Indians will vouch for it. Whether you have got a vacation planned or traveling back to your roots, travelling by train will give you the best time possible. Besides the worry of what to pack, what to eat, a train journey is an exciting experience every time.

Traveling in India is fun, but there are some things you should keep in mind to avoid getting in trouble especially if you are traveling alone. Solo women travelers should be extra cautious here too.

Tips for Travelling by Train in India

To have a great train travel, follow these simple train travel tips and you will have something to cherish forever.

1. Let your eyes explore the natural beauty

India has magnanimous stretches of picturesque landscapes that will just take your breath away. All you’ve got to do it look out the train window and admire the lush green fields, the sun kissed skies, the gently winding river streams and the rustling sound of tree leaves as you pass by. If train halts at an unscheduled stop never get off the train.

2. Lose yourself in a good book

You can vile away your time perfectly by reading an interesting book when you travel. Reading may leave a constant smile on your face. It can even push your imagination to a new level. If you love reading books then nothing can be better than that but do not depend on Internet. Pre download the things which you are planning to watch.

If you start using the internet, then the battery will get drained out soon, because the train is moving and the network is constantly changing. Try to use your devices in offline mode to save battery and enjoy more. Download songs/movies and keep it handy on your devices. Carrying earplugs helps in avoiding chit chat of the people and you can focus upon your book.

3. Take pictures or watch movies about India

With mobile technology, we can do so much. Though train travel doesn't guarantee internet access all the time, you can definitely take some selfies or pictures, use an app to enhance the beauty and make yourself feel good. You can watch beautiful landscapes from the window and record them.

If you don't like reading book then you can watch some movies or any series. You can also watch documentary movies about India or a sweet rom-com or an adventurous flick to pass your time.

Is there a hobby you don’t get time to pursue in everyday life? Given the long hours of train travel, you can surely explore and enhance your talents. Write a song, sketch or maybe even meditate for some time. These don’t a need a heavy investment and thus are a perfect way to spend the time.

Train journey gives you enough time for activities that can help you relax more. You can just get up and do some light stretches, use a body-loving beauty product or maybe just listen to some tension-relieving music. You can also become more active by walking across the train coaches or catch on some lost sleep.

Before boarding the train, load your PHONE storage with Movies, Series or whatever you like to watch. Don't take out your Laptop frequently. It's uncomfortable and less secure.

4. Do not charge your mobile

There are usually two sockets for 6 people and sometimes they don’t even work. Do not charge your mobile with DC charging point on your train. In emergency just charge your mobile to a point where no charging is required till your reach your station. Keep mobile in power saver mode. In that case power bank plays an important role to charge your devices. A 10000–20000 mah power bank is sufficient for a 40 hours journey.

5. Learn more about your destination

For instance, if you land up in Goa in monsoon, it will ruin your trip, as going on a beach in such weather is not worth it.

Also, research about all the places to visit in India, monuments, restaurants, and so on, you must visit during your trip. India is a big country with so many scenic locations to visit, that without proper research you won’t be able to explore it properly.

6. Strike a conversation with a co-traveller

When young, you may remember your parents telling you to avoid strangers. But talking to a fellow passenger may just be a start to a new friendship or at least a good story time. There’s no denying that it can turn to be a life-changing experience but one should still be careful of belongings and the company even after the most incredible conversation.

If you co-passenger is good and you love talking then you can talk to him/her for some time and can share your knowledge.

7. Dress properly

Contrary to popular belief, the urban folks are quite open-minded and modern about what you wear. But there are situations that require you to dress more conservatively, especially if you are a solo women traveler. Like the rural places requires you to dress modestly. If you are touring through a small city or a village, dress properly, like wear a full skirt and not shorts.

It is all about respecting the culture of the place you are visiting so that you can experience it in full form. Wearing tight clothes will be uncomfortable for you if you are travelling for more than 8–10 hours. Wearing loose clothes will make your journey comfortable. Travel in simple clothes like t-shirt, pyjama and slippers. Avoid being a fashion freak.

8. Keep your luggage safe while commuting

It is very difficult to find luggage space in the chair car or double-decker train. If you can't find the space, go to the end (near the staircase in double-decker case), you will find some space most of the time. Moreover, it is important that while traveling through trains, you take care of your luggage. Chain your journey bag to the seat and make your carry bag your pillow. If you are not cautious about it, you can get robbed.

Keep your money distributed. Some in your wallet, some in pocket, some in your bag. In case of theft you'll still have money to sustain your travel.

9. Enjoy a variety of food

Mostly Indians prefer spicy food, and even less spicy food can be too hot for people from other countries or people who don't eat that much spice. That is why no shame in asking for less spice in your food has. It is better than wasting food or getting diarrhea.

If it is a summer time then make sure you are drinking sufficient water. You can avoid meal but keep drinking water at regular intervals.

The first AC in non premium trains is different from premium trains like Rajdhani Express. The catering services in premium trains of first AC is included in the total fare of the ticket. Breakfast, lunch, Evening snacks and dinner are provided in every day during the journey. The menu and quality of food differ in premium trains like Rajdhani Express as per the class of travel.

As soon as the train starts its journey, you'll receive a welcome drink (mango juice/lemon juice/glucose drink) along with a 1 litre bottle of water. Morning tea is served from around 6 am to 8 am. You'll receive all the ingredients to prepare tea (tea bags, dairy whitener, sugar) and a cup of hot water. Tea is served along with a pack of 2 biscuits.

At around 8–9 am, you'll receive your breakfast. Breakfast may contain bread along with honey, ketchup, butter and tea. At around 11:30 am - 12 pm, you'll be served soup as an appetizer for the lunch. It is generally served with 2 Rusk Sticks and butter. At around 1-1:30 pm, you'll receive your lunch. Lunch consists of Rice, 2 Rotis, Pulses, Paneer curry, pickle along with curd and sweets (son papdi or ice cream).

At around 4 in the evening, you'll be receiving your evening tea along with sandwich, kachori and popcorn (or any namkeen). Again, at around 8 pm, you'll receive a soup as an appetizer for dinner. Dinner will be served at 9 pm. It may consist of Rice, 2 Rotis, a curry, pulses, pickle and sweet/ice cream. IRCTC follows a cyclic routine of food and you might receive slightly different items as food but the timings will mostly be the same. Also, you'll receive 2 bottles of water if your journey is of more than 20 hours.

In case you are traveling in First AC, you are entitled to enjoy much better food items. You'll get 3 choices for breakfast and it also includes fresh fruits. Journey on First AC is much much luxurious than that of a economy flight journey even when both cost nearly the same. There is no catering services in non-premium trains of first AC. If a train is having pantry car, a passenger can order food from pantry car.

In case, if a train is not having pantry car, a passenger can order food online via an IRCTC app in selected stations. Install app and enjoy food from restaurants in major cities along your way.

10. Deboarded your train

Ever stuck in a situation while travelling alone where you deboarded your train on an intermediate station to get some food and drinks and the train left and you weren’t able to board the train. Well here is what you do. Immediately contact the Station Master or if you can find a RPF personnel anywhere and explain him the situation he will radio the next stopping station of your train to get your belongings from the train and keep them safely. You will be allowed to take the next available train to the station to collect your belongings.

11. Want cleanliness in your coach

Just ask the attendants and other officials. Your request will be considered, and after completion of the task suggestion will be taken from you.

Train journeys surely pump your spirits and give you valuable life experiences. To ensure a smooth travel experience, make sure you book your train tickets in advance, have the railway complaint number and follow our tips for train travel.
Kalyan Panja