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Just starting to Plan

Halifax
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Just starting to Plan

Next year I am planning to visit India for the first time. I have traveled extensively but this is the first time to visit this incredible country. There will be 2-4 adults and we want a tailor made tour and are looking for a responsible tour company or guide based in India. If anyone has a recommendation please let me know.

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1. Re: Just starting to Plan

If You Need An Engelinsh Speeking Guied & He Also Maneged Your Tour Is`ll The Must Try To Cont With Narendra Singh He Will Let You Know I Will Give E-Mail Addres Of Him Try If He Is Free narjee@gmail.com Mobile: +919828293456

Mumbai, India
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for Mumbai, New Delhi, Kochi (Cochin), Chennai (Madras), India
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2. Re: Just starting to Plan

There are several recommendations on this website for different tour companies. Try searching for past posts. In general the service levels are good and you will find many posts by happy travellers who have been looked after well by their tour companies. Be aware that different agencies specialise in different parts of the country. It makes sense therefore to select what part of India you wish to visit, and then look for operators whose websites cover those. Another point is that different agencies cater to different types of clientele. Some deal with budget travellers, others are good at meeting the demands of high end clientele. Some offer standard car hire with very little travel advise, others provide offbeat experiences with personalised travel planning. Some offer eco-friendly and responsible travel, others offer adventure tours, wildlife/nature tours, and so on.

- Deepa

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Halifax
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3. Re: Just starting to Plan

Deepa,

Thanks for your information. We are looking for a company that will work with us in planning a tailor made tour with some off the beaten track experiences. Our focus will be on Rajasthan but we don't want to limit ourselves if the company we work with has some suggestions that would take us elsewhere....possibly even Nepal.

We like unique quality accommodation and a variety.......so elegant grand hotels are great for a night here and there but we also like small hotels with character or B&B's.

I see that Caper Travel is mentioned in some of the posts but don't find a great many others but I will do a more thorough search.

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Lincoln, United...
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4. Re: Just starting to Plan

Marcoman,

Some observations since I have just been through the process of finding an Indian based travel company to organise a trip, in my case to Rajasthan, Mumbai, and Agra.

First I suggest you do some of your own research on where you want to go and short list some accomodation. If you don't do this you will find Indian agents will recommend accomodation where they receive a payment from the hotel and when you review the list of hotels they are recommending they are often poorly reviewed on Tripadvisor and don't appear in Lonely Planet, Rough Guide etc. This goes for some of the companies recommended on this site.

I found that when I specified hotels that I wanted to stay in, many tour operators were not prepared to help me book them, presumably because they were not part of their recommended group and they were not receiving a backhander. If you are willing to book your own hotels and just have an agent organise a car and driver then this does not matter.

You will also find an enormous and I mean enormous difference in price between different companies offering exactly the same hotels and itineraries. It appear to me that India is a country where research is important and pays dividends.

For what its worth I have finally settled for TGS Tours and Travels. It is a company based in Jaipur and has received consistently good reviews on this forum and the owner, who posts on here as an exert for Jaipur, has been very helpful, booked the hotels I wanted, with some suggestions of his own and his prices are competitive.

I'm sure there are other companies just as good and I don't know whether TGS Travel can organise things outside Rajasthan, but they can certainly help in Mumbai and Delhi, so I guess so.

I hope this helps. But my suggestion is to research before you start chosing a travel agent in India.

If you want any more information send me a message

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Mumbai
Mumbai
Maharashtra, India
Agra
Agra
Agra District, India
Jaipur
Jaipur
Jaipur District, India
Halifax
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5. Re: Just starting to Plan

Thanks so much for this information. I have already started my research and will narrow things down before starting continuing the hunt for a tour company. I am finding that this may be the most difficult part of the entire planning process.

I did consider doing my own reservations and just looking for an experienced english speaking driver and guide. I wonder if there is much to be saved doing it this way rather than having the tour company make the bookings. On my last trip to Peru the tour company was able to steer me away from some spots that might not have worked out and in one case where I insisted on a particular B&B I learned that I should have listened to my guide. The place was fine but a long way from town.

I am pretty particular about getting interesting accommodation so I am not inclined to just let the travel company make those decisions since they have no idea what my taste is. Quite often I find since I am coming from Canada that there is an assumption that I'm looking for a room that best represents what I might get at home and that is clearly not what I'm after. On the other hand they can be invaluable in giving opinions where one is stuck between two possibilities.

Mumbai, India
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6. Re: Just starting to Plan

I just want to state that there is nothing "backhanded" about hotel commissions to tour operators. It is part of the business model, it is how hotels and agencies work across the world. Similarly, airlines offer commissions too. The tour operator is a sales channel for the hotel and the airline. In many cases, hotels offer significant discounts to agencies. That means you get better prices with an agency than you will get on your own on the internet. So while it is good to select your own hotels, it is also a good thing to check out the hotels your operator is offering. Good operators will not offer lousy hotels. I personally often disagree with Lonely Planet and other guide listings, I think they get many things wrong, and they almost always fail to catch up with the pace of change in India. What you *think* is an unreviewed or unknown property is often a new find.

- Deepa

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Lincoln, United...
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7. Re: Just starting to Plan

Deepa,

Sorry I used the word "backhander", it would be word I would use in Europe for commission which the client is unaware of and drives the agent to recommend somewhere, such as a hotel or a shop for reasons of the commission more than the quality of the shop or hotel. It seems to me that this is what does occur with some, not all agents. Otherwise why would some agents refuse to book hotels for me unless I use their choices. Presumably because they are getting a bigger commission from those hotels than they would do from yours.

I agree with you that Lonely Planet, Rough Guide etc. are not particularly good way of choosing hotels and they certainly get out of date. However, by using Lonely Planet etc. combined with the reviews on this and other sites you can get a pretty good idea on the quality of various hotels.

For a few months Indian based tour companies will be the only ones aware of new or refurbised hotels until they are reviewed elsewhere and once you have chosen a tour company you trust, if they recommend a superb hotel you must try then I would go along with that. TGS for instance have recommended an alternative for me in one place, which I will stay in and in another place they are keeping an eye on a brand new hotel to see what it is like. But that is only because I have done the research and found a tour company I trust.

It is very difficult finding a reliable tour company in India. I was initially recommended on this site to use someone from the Rajasthan Association of Tour Operators. So I wrote to all of them for a suggested itinerary. About half of them recommended a trip to the Ranthambore (spelling) Tiger Reserve, when the dates of my trip meant the reserve was shut!!!

You have to research and be very careful in choosing your tour operator.

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Ranthambore National Park
Ranthambore National Park
Sawai Madhopur District, India
Jodhpur, India
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8. Re: Just starting to Plan

Hi, Marcoman,

travel in india is not 'that' diffecult, even for firt timer, specialy Rajasthan is a quite land lots to discover out of delhi until last city(Jaisalmer)in Rajasthan.

to choose a compay as other post says there are serval good reviewed on TA is "south india based Indian Panorama, Rajasthan based(jaipur)TGS and Delhi based Namaste India Tours" has ggood report on this site.

If you can post your rough itinerary, and duration of travel that might help you more to get detail of help about each place,hotel or place to visit,travel time bitween places.

Rajasthan has lot to offer great forts, palaces(Udaipur,Jodhpur,Jaisalmer)milky marbel Jain temples(Mt. Abu,Ranakpur) painted havelis in Sekhawati region(nawalgarh,Mandawa,Dundlod) there are nature and wild life intrest places(bharatpur,Ranthambore tiger and small village khichan in thar desert), camel safari is popular activity in rajasthan for travelers, one can choose famous place like jaisalmer,Bikaner or less touristy Osian.

there are great horses in Rajasthan to ride in to open desert land or go through hilly rocky trail of Arravali hills of Rajasthan.

staying with local family(paying guest) gives you insight exeprience of Indian social way. there are top end fort and palaces offer royal way of staying, other heritage havelis(mid range hotels) and you can even stay in rural areas simplest home "thached Hut"

and exeprience true desert life for couple of days.

there are good trains in rajasthan,overnights and day too. most roads are good enough to drive comfortably. you can find air travel to udaipur,Jaipur,Jodhpur,Jaisalmer(only few months a year)from and to Delhi/Mumbai.

cheers

Guidedesert

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Jaisalmer
Jaisalmer
Jaisalmer District, India
Panorama Guest House
Panorama Guest House
421 Reviews
Udaipur, India
Udaipur
Udaipur
Udaipur District, India
Jodhpur
Jodhpur
Jodhpur District, India
Mount Abu
Mount Abu
Sirohi District, India
Ranakpur
Ranakpur
Pali District, India
Mandawa
Mandawa
Jhunjhunu District, India
Ranthambore National Park
Ranthambore National Park
Sawai Madhopur District, India
Bikaner
Bikaner
Bikaner District, India
Jaipur
Jaipur
Jaipur District, India
Mumbai
Mumbai
Maharashtra, India
Jaipur, India
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for Rajasthan, Jodhpur, Sawai Madhopur, Ranthambore National Park, Jaipur
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9. Re: Just starting to Plan

In case youre focusing on Rajasthan, also look at Rajasthan Association of Tour Operators website - www.ratorajasthan.org

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10. Re: Just starting to Plan

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