Go it alone or succumb to the travel agent ...!

Reply
#1 Oct 17th, 2005, 14:46
Join Date:
Oct 2005
Location:
india
Posts:
165
  • Fresa81 is offline
#1
Please help IMers!

Being a long-time-lurker, newbie-member, I've read everyone's questions about what to do on arrival in India, which hotels to book into, take it easy etc etc. Now I'm having a drama of my own!

Ok, so I gave my list of 6 or so places to my friendly travel agent, to organise a rough list of prices, hotels etc for me. Being my first time to India, a woman, alone, I figured it'd be good to have airport pickups etc ready for me when I get there! Only thing is, he's come back with a day-by-day list, including things and places that I never mentioned, with an astronomical costing to boot! 4 weeks = AU$3500, just for hotels and trains etc! (For all you non-Aussies, I think thats about US$2600).

So, the question is, do I just go along with what he says and have my 4 weeks set in concrete - day tours, boat trips, driver !!?, 1st class everything, 5 star hotels or just book the first hotel and then wing it for 4 weeks??

Any comments from gals who have been in a similar situation would be GREATLY appreciated!
Cheers guys
Fresa

PS My travel agent is Indian and is using his contacts in India, do you think he is getting commissions for my business??
#2 Oct 17th, 2005, 15:13
Join Date:
Oct 2005
Location:
the hague, the netherlands
Posts:
8
  • pennpristine is offline
#2
man, i would so say no and figure things out as i go along, i've never been but am leaving for delhi in a week and staying in india for a year! i havent booked anything and am now busy booking only my first night in delhi and i'm only planning that because i arrive at 11pm! but seriously, from what i've heard from others who have travelled in india you don't want to be committed to anything, what if you love it so much somewhere you want to stay longer? or what if you meet loads of cool peeps and they invite you to come along with them? i reckon, in a country like india you need to have freedom to explore exactly what you want to explore and if it's your first time, how do you know where you want to go yet?
so thats my advice, ditch the travelagent, like you said, he probably gets commission and you'll have much more fun if you go for it and figure things out along the way! goodluck!
x pen
if a problem can be solved, there's no point in worrying about it. if a problem can't be solved, worrying will do no good! - Tenzin Rinpoche, the fourteenth Dalai Lama
#3 Oct 17th, 2005, 15:22
Join Date:
Oct 2005
Location:
india
Posts:
165
  • Fresa81 is offline
#3
Thanks pen, I'm doing some google searches on the hotels he gave me right now and so far they're coming up at Rs 1500 per night and up! Whoa ... ! He's just emailed and he says that the reason for the high prices is that hotels are charging more due to petrol prices and the new Indian budget

If its not too much to ask, I've got a list of hotels that I think I'd like to stay in, off my own research + what I've heard on IM. Any comments on this would be

Delhi - Smyle Inn
Varanasi - Vishnu Rest House or Alka Hotel
Khajuraho - Hotel Surya or Hotel Jain
Agra - Tourists Rest House (I couldn't find many in Agra at all!)
Dharamsala/McLeod Ganj - Snow Lion, Kalsang or Loling Guest Houses

What do you guys think? Any bad experiences with these hotels?
You're all life savers ... the lot of ya! xxx
#4 Oct 17th, 2005, 16:00
Join Date:
Oct 2005
Location:
the hague, the netherlands
Posts:
8
  • pennpristine is offline
#4
well, i'm thinking of going to the smile inn when i get to delhi as well, mainly because yesterday i tried calling a load of telephone numbers of hotels (namaskar, navrang and some others) and it is practically impossible to get through to them on the phone! i sent an email to namaskar to reserve but i havent heard anything! and the smile inn has a website that you can reserve a room online so i thought it might be the easiest... i posted the question to the forum on whether anyone knew about the atmosphere at the place, it looks good but stark and maybe a bit scary... but i think i'll go for it anyway, i can always leave after one night and find something by wandering around paharganj!
so when are you going?
x pen
#5 Oct 17th, 2005, 16:07
Join Date:
Jul 2002
Location:
the Netherlands
Posts:
5,985
  • cyberhippie is offline
#5
My god, I'll be your personal guide for $500

Seriously that is a very padded bill and still leaves you with the cost of airline ticket???
Ok comfort is great as is a taxi but you will miss so much being cocooned in this method of travel!
I suggest you book your first Hotel and then use the train to get to you first destination and decide from there how to get around!!
A combination of train and taxi might be best for you and as far as Hotels are concerned India is oversubscribed with hotels, getting a room is always easy!
#6 Oct 17th, 2005, 17:45
Join Date:
Oct 2005
Location:
india
Posts:
165
  • Fresa81 is offline
#6
Haha cyberhippie that's exactly what I was thinking about the bill!
Thanks for the offer but erm .. I'll think about it!

Anyway, I've decided I'm going to only book the ticket and the first few nights' hotels with him (incl. train from Delhi-Varanasi) and the rest I'm going to do myself, either online or when I get there!
Pen - I'm definitely going to stay at Smyle Inn, online booking = so easy!! Seems really cheap and central too!

I'm a little bit worried about the whole transport debacle - it seems getting from place to place is going to be a hassle to organise, but at least it won't cost me $200 with the train!
PS Penn, I arrive in Mumbai on 8 January and then the next 4 weeks are up in the air at the moment! Ha! Can't wait!!
PPS When are you going? It would be cool to meet up!
#7 Oct 17th, 2005, 20:41
Veda Chanting & Mantra Yoga teacher
Join Date:
Oct 2003
Location:
body in Mumbai, head in Himalaya
Posts:
2,835
  • AvidTrekker is offline
#7

Thumbs up 2600 dollars for 28 days

2600 dollars for 28 days [ X 43] is Rs 111,800 or around Rs 4000 per day.

Quite a bit, but not all that much if you are travelling five star & all.

On your own you will not be able to spend more than Rs 2500 per day, even if you spend like a mad person.

300 to 500 for stay. 400 for food. 300 for taxis etc. Total 1200 rs.
Travelling by train will average 2000 per journey [2 ac] [say Mumbai to Jaipur] and you will not be travelling every single day.

Do it on your own. Ditch the agent.
The Universe is an ellipsoid?... or a Spheroid?? If the sphere smiles... it becomes an ellipse. This IS Creation.
#8 Oct 17th, 2005, 22:54
Join Date:
Mar 2005
Location:
Western US
Posts:
29
  • Valentine of 79 is offline
#8
I'm staying at the Smyle Inn when I arrive very early 11th of Nov. They have very good communication. My emails are answered within 24 hours.
#9 Oct 18th, 2005, 04:57
Join Date:
Sep 2005
Location:
NYC
Posts:
42
  • FirstTimer is offline
#9
Hi Fresa81, I just got back yesterday from my trip (who-who) and I traveled alone and had the same dilemas like you have now.

I booked everything through the email and found it very convenient. Good communication through emails also showed me a lot about the places - how serious they are, reply time etc. I booked everything for the first few days from home and was booking the rest of the trip few days in advance using the local internet services (well, and great advises from IMers). I usually booked trains/buses through the hotels I stayed in (they took about 10-20% commitions) or local travel agents - just to prevent headaches. In every place I found helpful people/staff and they were even nicier to me because I was a woman and traveled alone (at least I think so).

It worked great for me and was much much cheaper than your agent says. I hope you will enjoy your trip as I did - traveling alone is the greatest experience (even for us, women )
#10 Oct 18th, 2005, 05:37
Join Date:
Feb 2005
Location:
I dreamed, I quit, I left..... now finally in India :)
Posts:
318
  • sticky is offline
#10
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fresa81 Haha cyberhippie that's exactly what I was thinking about the bill!
Thanks for the offer but erm .. I'll think about it!

Anyway, I've decided I'm going to only book the ticket and the first few nights' hotels with him (incl. train from Delhi-Varanasi) and the rest I'm going to do myself, either online or when I get there!
Pen - I'm definitely going to stay at Smyle Inn, online booking = so easy!! Seems really cheap and central too!

I'm a little bit worried about the whole transport debacle - it seems getting from place to place is going to be a hassle to organise, but at least it won't cost me $200 with the train!
PS Penn, I arrive in Mumbai on 8 January and then the next 4 weeks are up in the air at the moment! Ha! Can't wait!!
PPS When are you going? It would be cool to meet up!
Hi Fresa

You should check out steven_ber's train information thread (the resident train guru), there are alot of options for travel (break of journey, and circular journey especially) that would make your trip easier (and cheaper) - and after reading it you will feel alot better about tackling the indian railway system.

for the amount of money that agent is quoting you could fly, first class probably!!

There is also a hotel guide on the site which may help - dont forget to post your experiences here too
->->->->->->->->->->->->->->->->->->->->

Flashpackers: Backpackers doing it in style.
#11 Oct 18th, 2005, 05:43
Join Date:
Aug 2003
Location:
Australia
Posts:
1,030
  • guerik is offline
#11
The Pema Thang is a lovely guest house in Dharamsala, I'd really reccomend it. Run by very friendly people and amazing views from most, if not all of the rooms (and there's a great balcony attached to the restaurant too). Their website is http://www.pemathang.com/

For me planning the travel is half of the fun, so I haven't used a travel agent in ages - only flight centre for cheap airfares if that counts
You can save yourself a bunch of money but also have a lot more flexibility.
#12 Oct 18th, 2005, 05:44
Join Date:
Feb 2005
Location:
I dreamed, I quit, I left..... now finally in India :)
Posts:
318
  • sticky is offline
#12
Working hard again gueric
#13 Oct 18th, 2005, 06:54
Join Date:
Oct 2005
Location:
india
Posts:
165
  • Fresa81 is offline
#13
Thanks everyone for your help - I feel a lot better today now that I know it *can* be done
Thanks especially sticky, for the link to those threads, I'm definitely going to have a look!

FYI - I'll be seeing the dreaded travel agent sometime this week to break the news to him that I only want him to book the airfare for me! Argh! He won't be happy .... !

I'll let everyone know how my planning is going, I already have questions coming out of my ears ..... !


F.

La vida es siempre mas linda con una sonrisa!
Whereever you go, there you are.
#14 Oct 18th, 2005, 07:46
Highway Hermit and the Invincible Shutter Speed
Join Date:
Aug 2005
Location:
Hyderabad
Posts:
98
  • InsideTheOutdoors is offline
#14
More than half the fun of backpacking in India lies in the suspense of a new place... Even though I'm from here, even i feel a bit apprehensive sometimes.....!

But it should work out fine Fresa.... May the force be with you..>!
"Live, Love, Shanti, Shiva
#15 Oct 18th, 2005, 08:18
Join Date:
Aug 2003
Location:
Australia
Posts:
1,030
  • guerik is offline
#15
Always, sticky. Perhaps I should cut to the chase and become a travel agent instead
(in which case I take it back, and advise Fresa to use an agent after all :P)
Reply

Similar Threads

Title, Username, & Date Last Post Replies Views Forum
My travel agent told me to go somewhere else! WHY!?! Mar 30th, 2005 15:48 33 3791 Chai and Chat
Great Travel Agent Jul 18th, 2004 09:01 11 2985 Chai and Chat
Travel agent in Ahmedabad? Dec 4th, 2003 12:43 1 1262 Gujarat


Posting Rules

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
Forum Rules»
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off
Thread Tools
Display Modes

Search Engine Optimization by vBSEO 3.3.2
© IndiaMike.com 2014
Page Load Success