My first visit to India was extremely confusing. We flew from the Bahamas (over 24 hours of travel) and we’re feeling “out of it” for the first half of the trip:) jet-lagged and overly excited.
My husband (Indian National) was in charge of my friend and me, and we trusted his arrangements. Transportation was very confusing and it seemed it was impossible to get around Delhi if you didn’t speak the local language.
Now, a few years later, I am very grateful for the digital progress. Traveling in Delhi had become very easy and user-friendly.
First thing first, make sure you download Uber or Ola application. It’s great that it always has an option for cash payment so you don’t have to worry attaching your credit card to your phone. All you will need is Wifi which is easily available in hotels, restaurants or stores.
Great thing is that you don’t have to communicate with the driver and he/she should be able to arrive at your location by following the map. However, nothing is perfect and the digital world can fail you at times. The driver might call you to find out your whereabouts. That is where Hindi would have come in handy. Don’t worry, shop keepers or even people passing by are often willing to assist and speak on your behalf.
Remember! Have a small change when you take taxis (Uber/Ola) in the city. They are NOT obliged to give you the exact change. It is mentioned on the app or in some cars (as a print out of rules for the passengers) that it is your responsibility to pay the exact amount.
Is it safe to take Uber for a woman? My answer is yes. However, be cautious about the timing, try to avoid the late-night trips. It also depends on the areas and how far you need to travel. Make sure you share your trip (the option is on the application) with someone and preferably speak on the phone or monitor the map as you go. That way the driver would also be informed that you know where you are and won’t take you some suspicious route.
Uber is a relatively cheap way to travel in the city. However, don’t be surprised if you see the price twice the usual fare for your route. At times, due to traffic and limited availability of cars the rates can change.
For those who prefer open-air travel and hates bargaining, you can now also call Auto Rickshaw through the same application. It works best when you have to travel short distances or have a rowdy pet with you (like in my case….my dog loves to stick her head out of an auto and enjoy the breeze. Plus auto-rickshaw drivers are more likely to accept transporting the pet).
In case you want to make multiple stops, do a bit of sightseeing or stop at specific places Uber application allows you to do so now! You can set the route in advance, download google maps so it can work in offline mode and get going. However, if you are not 100% sure of your digital skills, you can contact us and we will assist you in renting a car while in the city!
What to do if you can’t connect to the application? Well, the metro is always there for you. The rest of the public transport is not recommended as I haven’t explored it much. However, autos, rickshaws or regular taxis are always on the roads!
Enjoy your travel!