How many weeks in advance is sufficient to book tickets?

#1 May 7th, 2011, 09:17
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  • LookingForAdventure is offline
#1
I was thinking of booking my tickets one month prior. Is this far enough in advance to avoid waiting lists? Should I buy now?
#2 May 7th, 2011, 09:27
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  • edwardseco is offline
#2
I suppose you mean rail tickets. A lot depends on which route. The Mumbaii-Goa route is often quite impacted where other routes may not be. Sometimes tickets sell out in a short time after opening. There are different such periods as well..
#3 May 7th, 2011, 09:57
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#3
Yeah I meant rail tickets. Hm... so it appears maybe it is better if I purchase my tickets before leaving for India? I am going to be in Mumbai for a month before I embark on my rail journeys, and I had thought of buying them there. I don't leave for Mumbai until mid June, so maybe I should purchase now? My main worry was saying buying everything in sleeper class then realizing i want AC once I'm there, or buying everything in AC and then realizing its not necessary and having wished I'd gone for sleeper
#4 May 7th, 2011, 10:34
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#4
What time of year could make that decision..
#5 May 7th, 2011, 11:47
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#5
It is better to book one month in advance. For longer journeys, I would recommend choosing AC, as it is a monsoon season with tropical climate.
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#6 May 7th, 2011, 21:33
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  • fbdaz is offline
#6

You Can Check

As Ed indicates, tickets on some trains sell out a few days after reservations open; tickets on other trains (in general quota) can be bought a day or two in advance in all classes. The vast majority are somewhere in-between.

But, you can get an idea right now.

Assuming you have roughed out your travel, go to the IR website http://www.indianrail.gov.in/inet_Srcdest.html. For each city-pair you wish to travel between,
- enter the source city (and select it), the destination city (and select it), select "All Class", and click on "Get Details" (from/to Mumbai, either of the two stations presented can be selected, but CST is preferable for trains south and east - including Kolkata, and BCT for trains north, like Delhi)
- you will be presented with a list of trains between the two cities, and the days-of-week they run
- select the train you want, the class you want (if in doubt, do the higher/leftmost class first), and (for daily trains) a date 24 days in advance of today, and click on "Get Availability"
- (after clicking OK on a "popup") you will get a table showing availability in your selected class and one lower class for the day you entered, and the following 5 days
- click on "Get Next 6 Days Availability", and you will get another such table for the next 6 days
- repeat as desired to check other classes or other trains

If the train you select is not daily, make sure the date you select is a date on a day of the week the train runs.

For daily trains, this should give you an idea of availability 25-35 days out. If everything around 30-days is booked solid, try dates farther into the future until you get to a period when there is reasonable availability (the advance reservation period for most trains is about 90 days). This should give you an idea how far in advance you need to reserve that specific train.

Of course, if you will be traveling on a holiday weekend, festival time, etc., trains will book up faster than the above scheme would indicate. Otherwise, this should give you good insight into when a given train books up.

Note: In the availability table, "AVAILABLE 23" means that there are currently 23 seats available for reservation in that class on that date. "WL37/WL29" means that you would be the 37th position on the waitlist if you reserved now, but, due to cancellations, there would be 28 people on the waitlist ahead of you (i.e., 8 people on the list have either canceled or moved into a confirmed or RAC status). "WL7/RAC3" has an analogous meaning, except that, if you reserved now, you would be the third person in RAC status. RAC means that you can board the train, but would be sharing a lower berth with another passenger (meaning, in effect, that you both would be sitting, not reclining, all night). In reality, there are almost always a few no-shows on a train, so RAC passengers almost always end up with their own berths.

Another option is the Foreign Tourist Quota (FTQ). This exists only in some classes on some trains. To see if it exists on your train in your class, select "Foreign Tourist Quota" in place of "General Quota" on the webpage with the list of trains. If the resulting availability screen shows "NOT AVAILABLE", the FTQ does not exist in that class on that train. As you will be in Mumbai a month early, you should be able to avail yourself of the FTQ when it exists (again, it often does not exist), as FTQ tickets can only be obtained in-person and by foreigners (so they generally don't sell out far in advance). You may need to pay in foreign currency (or Rupees backed by foreign currency exchange certificates). In Mumbai, I believe you can get FTQ reservations at CST and at Churchgate stations.

While, in the summer, a/c is a very major discriminator between classes, there are others as well. Check other threads on IndiaMike or http://www.seat61.com/India.htm for more information on the various classes.
#7 May 7th, 2011, 22:43
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  • steven_ber is offline
#7
Great info FB.

Some members consider www.erail.in to be an easier site to understand.

LFA, as you'll be in Mumbai for a month, don't worry about getting train tickets before you get to India, instead, look for the trains you plan to use and see if they have a foreign tourist quota, if so, you just go to the foreign tourist window (53) in the reservation centre outside Mumbai CST station, go about a week in advance of your first journey.

As you'll already be in India, you'll have a better idea of what class you want to use.
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#8 May 8th, 2011, 03:19
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  • LookingForAdventure is offline
#8
thanks thanks thanks everyone Amazing advice in here!!

I appreciate it very much! Also thank you for pointing out where to go in Mumbai to get tickets, I feel much more relaxed about the whole ordeal now
#9 May 8th, 2011, 17:56
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  • dipyamanbasu is offline
#9
Quote:
Originally Posted by fbdaz View Post "WL7/RAC3" has an analogous meaning, except that, if you reserved now, you would be the third person in RAC status. RAC means that you can board the train, but would be sharing a lower berth with another passenger

http://www.seat61.com/India.htm for more information on the various classes.
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#10 May 8th, 2011, 18:20
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  • Dhrubatara is offline
#10
Quote:
Originally Posted by LookingForAdventure View Post I was thinking of booking my tickets one month prior. Is this far enough in advance to avoid waiting lists? Should I buy now?
Hi friend,

the question you asked really difficult to answer. The demand of tickets vary from route to route and also from train to train.
Another factor that should also be kept in mind is the peak season factor.
Sometimes there are some important festivals or some fairs like the famous Kumbh Mela...also increases the demand of rail tickets.
So, in my opinion...when you have fixed your plan don't waste time to purchase tickets...just go for it...
Or you'll have to post again...to know whether your ticket will get confirmed or not...
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