Get out and vote

Over the past ten years, most of us have expressed disappointment with where our country is going — GDP growth rate is in steady decline, corruption is all-encompassing, inflation shows no signs of abating, law and order are a joke, crimes against women are excused by politicians — the list of complaints goes on. The media have dubbed it “India’s Lost Decade”.

We’ve been a free and democratic country for almost 67 years now, but we’ve forgotten that freedom isn’t free. We all want change, but change doesn’t come just by wishing for it. This is what the democratic process is for, so that all of us can be the agents of the change we want.

There’s lots of reasons not to vote, but if you want change, you need to make it happen yourself.

Get out and vote.

What's your excuse?

Collections is now even better

Since we launched Collections a few months ago, we’ve been hard at work to make it more useful for travel inspiration and planning. Today we’re happy to announce a bunch of enhancements to make Collections even better.

Collections now has new stories

We launched Collections with the promise of adding more inspiration over the coming months. Today we have added the next set of 5 new stories and, going forward, will add new ones every week. Just so you don’t have to wait very long for newer stories. This week we give you Kerala’s best experiences and the best hotels in Kerala to live those experiences. There’s also something on planning your honeymoon in Thailand and the most romantic hotels in Thailand that you must consider for your honeymoon. Finally we also give you India’s best emerging beach destinations so next time you have more options than you are aware of now.

Cleartrip Collections - new collections

Search for your interests

We now have 50 Collections. And with more to come every week, it becomes difficult to discover new Collections or find the old ones you want to get back to. Today we’re solving that problem by adding the ability to search Collections. You can search for destinations (e.g. Goa, Maldives) or for travel themes (e.g. Beach, Romantic), activities (e.g. Snorkelling, Shopping) or just any word you want. You can even combine destinations, themes and activities to narrow your search — try India adventure or India food.

Cleartrip Collections - collections search

Get new Collections delivered to your inbox

With new Collections being added weekly, how do you keep up with what’s new? No need to visit the site every week to check for new Collections. Just subscribe with your email id and we will deliver the new Collections straight to your inbox. And, in keeping with Cleartrip’s stance against spamming, we will send no more than one email per week. If there are no significant updates in a week, there will be no mail. Also, if you subscribe to Collections, that’s the only e-mails we’ll send you. No marketing e-mails will come your way by doing this.

Cleartrip Collections - newsletter

More relevant information, when you need it

Collections now intelligently give you only information that is valuable, in the context of the unit in question. Looking at a hotel? You get the star rating and the starting room rates. For weekend getaways you get the drive time to get there. You get hotel prices around an attraction. For cities you get hotel rates in the city and the airfare to get there. You’ll even get insights into the current weather in cities or the nearest airport. You get all these without having to leave the page and wander off elsewhere. For more information and planning you can click through to get all hotel and air options to make your travel come true.

Cleartrip Collections - metadata

Because there’s always a way

For Collections that are associated with a specific destination we are also adding travel information that will help you make the trip happen. You can easily check the return airfare along with hotel stay for 4 nights and the estimated total for the trip (the airfare is for a single passenger for now). You can also easily open up our Flight + Hotel product to research other options and play around with dates for a better estimate. We will also give you additional routes and transportation options from Waytogo that you can explore.

Cleartrip Collections - make it happen

Related Collections

Many of the Collections are related to each other — like Srinagar’s top tourist attractions and Srinagar’s most charming hotels. Even the two Kerala and two Thailand collections we published today are related. Now when you are seeing one collection, you can easily click through to other related Collections. The idea of having related Collections was to help you plan a better and more complete trip.

Cleartrip Collections - related collections

We’re really excited to push out these new changes to Collections and can’t wait to hear your thoughts. We’d love to hear what you want us to do to make Collections even more awesome. Tell us what Collections you want to see or share your experiences and tips on our current collections. Drop a line to

A video for Cleartrip Mobile

One of the harder challenges in app marketing is conveying the experience of using an app to people who’ve never used it. You can show the interactions, but how do you convey the feeling of joy that comes with using a well-designed app?

It was with this objective in mind that we embarked on a project a couple of months ago to create a video for our apps. At Cleartrip, we take great pride in our product design, especially of our apps. The challenge was to make a video that lives up to that design.

So we took inspiration from the smart folks over at Wunderlist, and decided to let our products do the talking. After countless iterations, here’s the result of our efforts. We recommend watching it in HD to really see the screens pop.

Trains and Hotels come to Cleartrip for iPhone

Earlier this month, we released two upgrades to Cleartrip for Android — first, with the addition of hotels; followed by the return of Indian Railways bookings. Obviously, we didn’t want to keep our iOS users waiting too long before they could share in all the fun…

So, today we’re thrilled to announce that the ability to book trains for over 4,000 stations in India and over 300,000 hotels across the world, comes to Cleartrip for iPhone in a single power-packed release.

We’d like to present a quick walk-through for Trains and Hotels in Cleartrip for iPhone.


The best of iOS 7′s radical new design combines with Cleartrip’s own spit and polish in version 4.0 of Cleartrip for iPhone. Cleartrip for iPhone is the first fully native app to offer IRCTC train bookings on iOS devices. Needless to say, it is also the smoothest iOS app for booking train tickets with your iPhone. What’s more, as of this moment, there are ZERO additional Cleartrip fees for booking train tickets from our apps (iOS and Android).

Syncing Cleartrip and IRCTC accounts

In compliance with guidelines issued by IRCTC, a one-time sync is required to connect your Cleartrip and IRCTC accounts before you can make train bookings with us. If you haven’t synced your accounts already, you can sync them from within the app (as a fair warning, we’d like to add that this step can sometimes take a while or fail due to communication problems with IRCTC’s servers).

Availability of service: Due to restrictions imposed by IRCTC, train availability check and booking facilities are not available between 0800—1200 hrs IST and again between 2330–0030 hrs IST everyday. Tatkal tickets are available from within the app, but only after 12 noon.


Taking advantage of iOS’ amazing geo-location capabilities, a “Show hotels near me” button atop the hotel search form brings up a list of hotels nearest to your current location, sorted by distance and available for immediate check-in. Same-day and next-day check-ins are eligible for amazing last-minute deals with Cleartrip’s exclusive Quickeys rate hotels.

The hotel search supports search by specific cities, landmarks, locations and even hotel names. Check-in and check-out dates are optional as Cleartrip for iPhone supports dateless hotel searches because just taking a quick look at hotels in a destination shouldn’t be so cumbersome.

Search results

Search results for hotels can be viewed as a list or on a map-view with controls to switch between the two views available at the bottom-left of the display. Hotels in the results can be easily sorted and filtered by a variety of parameters, so you can fine-tune the results to show only what suits you best.

Hotel Details

Tapping a hotel name will bring you to an overview screen for that hotel, designed to give you all the information you need at a glance. Additional tabs are also available from the overview screen for photos, traveler reviews, hotel info and location.

Expressway — Hassle-free bookings with your saved cards

If you’re a frequent traveler, you should use Expressway to make easier and faster bookings with one-touch payments. If you’ve saved your card details with Expressway, your saved cards details are automatically available while making payments hotels, trains and flights.

So give it a whirl and share your feedback with us in the comments or email us at We’ll be looking forward to hearing from you.

Introducing pay@hotel – book here, pay there

Earlier this year, we launched a large-scale revamp of our Hotel search product with the goal of making it dead-simple for you to find that perfect hotel. Today, we’re taking that a big step further with pay@hotel — we’re making the hotel booking process completely effortless by getting rid of the online payment process and letting you pay directly at the hotel during your stay.

Starting today, you can make hotel bookings on Cleartrip without paying a thing at the time of booking. Book your hotels in seconds without having to fuss around with credit cards or net banking. Your booking will be guaranteed and you will make payment directly to the hotel during your stay.

Book here, pay there

Hotels that support the delayed payment feature can be easily identified in our search results — they are all marked with the new pay@hotel tag in the results. Just select the pay@hotel option when you make the booking process and you won’t be charged anything for booking the hotel. Your reservation is guaranteed and payment will be collected directly by the hotel during your stay.

For all pay@hotel bookings, we will call you a few days prior to check-in to reconfirm your travel plans. If your plans have changed and you want to cancel your booking, we immediately inform the hotel so they can release the rooms without charging you a cancellation penalty.

Why you’ll love it

At Cleartrip, we’ve always believed in comprehensiveness and choice, so the pay@hotel option is available for over 200,000 hotels in 40,000 cities around the world.

Our ‘what you see is what you pay’ policy ensures the price you see on Cleartrip is the price you pay at the hotel. No surprises.

In addition, our ‘assured best stay experience’ promise is that if you’re not happy with your room at the hotel, we’ll have it changed right away.

Users are often dissuaded from making bookings online for hotels in India because of the lack of branded chain hotels — they simply don’t know what the actual experience at the hotel will be. We believe that pay@hotel together with our ‘assured best stay experience’ policy will go a long way in reducing their fears and building trust in online bookings.

We’re thrilled to be making the booking experience simple and seamless with pay@hotel. Give it a try and let us know what you think.

Trains comes (back) to Cleartrip for Android

Earlier today, we announced the availability of hotels on Cleartrip for Android.

There is one more thing…

By very popular demand, the ability to book Indian Railways trains comes back to Cleartrip for Android after a brief unplanned hiatus.

As before, there are no Cleartrip service fees for booking train tickets through Cleartrip for Android. You pay the same price that you would pay if you were booking your tickets through IRCTC.

We apologise for the hiatus, and with this relaunch, we hope you enjoy riding the rails again with Cleartrip for Android.

Hotels comes to Cleartrip for Android

When planning and booking travel, the global trend is that travelers tend to make their flight bookings first and then their hotel bookings and booking patterns in India are no different. 65% of our India hotel bookings are made within a week of the check-in or arrival date at the hotel. By some industry estimates, almost 30% of all hotel bookings in India are for check-in on the same day.

Today we’re making things easier for everyone who waits until the eleventh hour to make their hotel bookings by bringing hotel bookings to Cleartrip for Android. For the business traveler who needs a place to stay right now because their meetings have been extended and for the impulsive holiday-maker who wakes up on a Saturday morning and hits the road for a quick weekend getaway.

Cleartrip for Android lets you book your hotel rooms while seated in the middle of a conference room or in the comfort of your car as you drive to your destination. Over 10,000 hotels in India and over 100,000 hotels around the world are available in your pocket with Cleartrip for Android.


For the traveler who books her hotel only after reaching her destination, we have the handiest and easiest hotel search — a single tap of the “Show hotels near me” button will show you a list of hotels nearest to your current location, sorted by distance and available for immediate check-in.

Same-day and next-day check-ins are eligible for amazing last-minute deals with Cleartrip’s exclusive Quickeys rate hotels.

For those of us who are a little less ‘fly by the seat of my pants’ travelers, there is a regular hotel search available with support for search by specific cities, landmarks, locations and even directly for a hotel by name. Check-in and check-out dates are optional as Cleartrip for Android supports dateless hotel searches for everyone who’s ‘just looking’.

Search Results

Hotel search results are available for viewing in a list-view and a map-view with controls to switch between the two views available on the bottom-left of the display. Results can be easily sorted and filtered by a variety of parameters so you can fine-tune the results to only show what suits you best.

Similar to our desktop site, you’ll also find Smart Tabs available on the bottom-right for quick access to popular hotels and hotels with deals.

Hotel Details

Tapping on a hotel name will bring you to an overview screen, which is designed to give you all the information you need for a hotel at a glance. Additional tabs are also available from the overview screen for photos, traveler reviews, hotel info and location.

One-touch payments with Expressway

If you’re a smart traveler, you use Expressway to make easier and faster travel bookings with one-touch payments. If you’ve saved your card details with Expressway, your saved cards details are automatically available in Cleartrip for Android.

So give it a spin and share your feedback with us in the comments or email us at We’ll be looking forward to it.

Introducing Collections: For the wanderer in you

Travel inspiration is not hard to come by – whether you are scrolling down your Facebook newsfeed or watching a movie or flipping through a magazine – images and experiences that you witness are good enough to get the travel bug moving. But how close are you to making a decision on where to go, what to do or where to stay?

You may see a snap of your friend in front of the Colosseum in Rome but you are not quite a historical person. You want an adventure holiday. May be you like frequent short breaks but not long vacations. You need to consider if your kid will enjoy. Or you are just interested in the journey but not so much in the destination.

There are almost as many reasons to travel as there are people wanting to travel. And that is the biggest challenge in building something for travel inspiration – it requires both depth of content and breadth of experiences to be useful to as many as possible.

When we introduced Waytogo a few months back, we gave you the means to reach from anywhere to anywhere. Today, we’re proud to announce Collections, a curated list of destinations, activities, travel themes and hotels that will help you make the decision on where to go, what to do and where to stay. And to help us curate this, we’ve associated with Conde Nast Traveler – one of the biggest names in consumer travel magazines.

Cleartrip Collections

Something for everyone

When we started with building and curating Collections we had two simple goals in mind – it had to have something for everyone right from the word go and it had to be accessible from anywhere. The set of 45 Collections that we are launching with today reflects just that thinking. They are truly comprehensive both in depth and breadth. We’ve also built Collections to be beautifully responsive, so no matter what device you are using, you will never be short of travel inspiration.

Cleartrip collections

There are monsoon break ideas and weekend getaways from Mumbai, Bangalore and Delhi that you can keep coming back to every time you want a quick getaway, every year, till you have done it all.

If you want a long international vacation, we have you covered with suggested itineraries to Turkey, Vietnam and Switzerland. If you want adventure, we have things to do at Rishikesh and India’s best road trips, as also the mother of all adventures – a biking trip to Ladakh.

Greek island getaways

For the foodies out there we have the selection of the best places in Mumbai to treat your palate to the best cuisines from around the world and the best hotel bars in Bangalore. Want to party? Head out to Istanbul. Traveling with kids? There’s Shimla and Singapore. Want to do some celeb spotting in Mumbai? That’s there too.

The right tools at the right place

While you are going through a Collection you are bound to have additional queries – where can you get more information about the place, how do you reach there, what is the nearest city to stay or what is the nearest airport. As far as possible, we have tried to put that information right where you need it – along with each unit in the Collection. There are also little nuggets of relevant information and best times to visit thrown in to help your planning.

Collection tools

This is just the beginning

We kick this off with over 40 Collections, with holiday themes in India and abroad. And the best part is this is just the beginning. More such incredible inspiration will be added over the coming months.

When we launched Waytogo we said:
We aim to make Cleartrip the Swiss Army Knife of travel and Waytogo is another powerful addition to empower the Do It Yourself traveller.

Collections is another inspirational addition to this toolkit. So, go pick your destination, do your thing and enjoy your travel. Explore what is already there. Start planning your vacations. Share with your friends what you think they’ll like.

And don’t forget to tell us what you think. We’d love to hear what you want us to do to make Collections even more awesome. Tell us what Collections you want to see or share your experiences and tips on our current collections. Drop a line in the comments here or send us a mail at

Waytogo is now way better

A few months ago we launched Waytogo as a public beta and we’ve been hard at work to remove the beta label. Today, we’re happy to say that Waytogo is officially out of beta. In this post, we’ll be walking you through all the improvements we’ve made.

Waytogo is now mobile

We designed Waytogo keeping the mobile experience in mind from day one. We didn’t release the mobile version alongside the public beta because we didn’t think it was good enough to go out the door yet. We’ve restricted certain functionality on the mobile, partly because of screen limitations and partly because we expect users to use this primarily as an exploratory tool. Having said that, we just love how well the design translates on mobile.

This is the first time we’ve experimented with a hybrid approach to responsive design — the product is responsive both on the front-end and on the server side. Waytogo is served off a single SHTML page, we’ve effectively managed states and served different versions of the app with some some advanced SSI commands.

On the Waytogo home page, we’ve stripped out the elaborate background, product pitch and masthead and replaced it with a simpler, light-weight masthead for mobile.

On the search results, we’ve stripped out the map and show just the search results.

We’d love to share the implementation details of our responsive design, but that deserves a separate blog post.

Custom designed transportation icons

For our core products we’ve been using icons that are commonly known as DOT pictograms. We’ve tweaked some of these, for the screen which we’ve written about in the past.

While most these icons are front elevations, we needed side elevations for Waytogo especially to fit into the timeline in search results.

Although, the icons in the first version of the product were pretty sharp they just didn’t feel like they belonged to one family. Not only did they not resemble their respective front elevations but they were also quite different from each other in the side elevations.

This always bothered us, so we decided to custom design the side elevations of the DOT pictograms for Waytogo. Here’s how we went about designing these icons

Step 1 – The front elevations were lined up along with the guidelines for reference.

Step 2 – The old icons were tweaked to align with the guidelines that were formed by the front-elevations

Step 3 – Side elevations followed the guidelines formed by the first icon

Here’s what the final result looks like:

These icons were to be used at a much smaller size in the product. After scaling it down, the icons were pixel-fitted for maximum sharpness.

Here’s a look at the icons in different sizes:

And here’s how the new icons compare with the old icons.

Not only are the new icons more visually coherent, the additional weight we’ve given them ensures they are more distinguishable at smaller sizes.

Timeline transition

Back-end services on Waytogo are broken up into multiple services based on how static or dynamic the service’s data is; for example, route information is relatively static, but fare data is highly dynamic, so they are two separate services. The static service includes the route information, approximate fares and trip duration.

Dateless searches on Waytogo will simply use this static service. However, there’s a lot of behind-the-scenes magic required for searches with a date. For date searches, the results page first renders the static data available – you see the basic route information – while we stitch together a valid itinerary with accurate durations and fares. Since the total duration of each route is still unknown we cannot render the timeline just yet. During this time, users can see transportation modes for each route and as soon as the itinerary comes back with the actual fares & durations we render the timeline with a nifty animation. Here’s a clip:

We loved this so much that we added the transition for dateless searches as well.

Better labelling in the timeline

Designing the search result unit was one of our biggest challenges while working on Waytogo. We wanted to display enough information upfront to make comparing routes easy. The timeline has the most significant roles in helping compare routes. Even though the timeline is not an absolute representation, it provides a fair representation of the relative duration of each route. The timeline lets you consume quite a lot information; i.e. relative durations, modes of transport involved and all the waypoints at one glance.

In cases where there were more than three waypoints in the timeline, displaying the labels for each place was a challenge. Our original design simply truncated place names so they didn’t overlap with each other. This approach didn’t work in well in cases where city names were a part of other waypoint names. For example, a route like: “Bangalore [BLR] > Bangalore City Junction” would land up looking something like this “Bangalore [… > Bangalore C…” after truncation. This made it difficult to distinguish between these place names. So, we designed a multi-level labelling system that overcomes this limitation and can easily handle many different waypoint labels in the timeline.

Improved usability of the map

In the first version, the map used to simply show markers for the start and end points along with the route. You could click on a specific leg of the journey and the map would zoom into that leg.

In the above design, the directionality of a route or leg was never clear. We’ve now introduced labels for start and end points for the entire route as well as for specific legs. This little touch makes the map so much more usable.

Sharing made easy

We’ve always believed that travel is an inherently social activity – people travel to push their personal boundaries outwards through exploration.

We’ve made sharing of routes easier, so you can instantly share the routes you’ve found with friends and family – and spread the word at the same time.

There’s more we’ve done behind the scenes to improve the search and make everything faster. Do give the new version a spin and keep the feedback coming — we’d love to make it even better.

Designing Cleartrip for iOS7

Earlier this week we released the newly designed Cleartrip for iOS7. Within just two days of release Cleartrip for iPhone has, again, been handpicked by Apple as an “Editor’s Choice” app. We’re quietly thrilled to see Cleartrip featured front and centre in the App Store.

As expected, many of our customers are missing the old taxicab yellow and black colour scheme that we’ve had since we first launched the app. Today, we’d like to share some of design thinking that has gone into redesign Cleartrip for iOS 7.

The march to a single unified Cleartrip experience

In yesterday’s post, we briefly touched upon the direction we’ve taken:

While the design is optimised for iOS 7, we’ve also managed to design it such that it feels closer to home, closer to the design of our products for desktop and other mobile platforms.

Here’s a look how everything comes together:

Content precedes design

Taking our cues from the design of iOS 7, we bid farewell to textures and gradients; and with those out of the way, the focus lies squarely on the content and the task at hand.

iOS as a touchscreen operating system has come a long way from its roots. Today’s users already understand how touch interfaces work. Most, if not all, the user-education has already taken place and the days of guided aesthetics in touchscreens are at an end.

The whole screen to play with

iOS 7 provides the opportunity to use the entire screen as a canvas for content and we’ve used it wisely. The new Cleartrip app uses every one of the 727,040 available pixels of an iPhone; content flows beautifully above and beneath translucent layers lending the design depth and context.

There is a magical layered hierarchy in the design that manages to be simultaneously strong and invisible at the same time. Achieving this layered hierarchy is a foundational building block for the future of all our products. We created a similar layered hierarchy when we redesigned our desktop products.


With access to dramatically improved font rendering in iOS 7, we’ve made the text crisper and sharper. Information has been made lighter on the eyes and easier to consume by increasing the white space boundaries around the content.

To paraphrase the good book, ‘And let him who wants less white space cast the first stone’…


Cleartrip for iPhone has always evolved side by side with iOS from the very beginning. Here’s quick visual journey of how just the headers in Cleartrip for iPhone have changed with the operating system.

And, of course, we’ve worked on making a few of the little things better…

Immersive start-up screen

We noticed that when launching apps in iOS 7 gets transformed and crossfaded into app splash screen. We took advantage of this particular behavior and made our splash screen as a bigger version of our app icon. This got us a very smooth start-up transition.

Arm’s length PNR viewing

Our customers are great at sending us feedback and we love making the things they point out better and better. A longstanding quibble was that finding the PNR in trip details was too difficult. This is important to us because may customers use trip details as their mobile ticket at the airport where the PNR is a critical piece of information. And now we’ve fixed that…

Improved usability

On mobile phones we always contemplated the form designs. Placeholder versus Labels. We’ve finally implemented the labeled forms throughout. Now there’s less overhead while filling up the forms.

Support for native navigation gestures

In iOS 7, Apple added a subtle gesture to all of their native apps to let users go back one step — swiping from the left edge of the screen takes you back. Once you get used to this, you won’t be using back buttons much. Cleartrip for iPhone happily includes support for this new gesture.

We’ve worked hard to get this into our customers hands at the same time as iOS 7 arrived. We hope you love it as much as we do. And, as always, Cleartrip for iPhone is available from the App Store.