car, driver and guide

Oct 3rd, 2009, 01:15 PM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Posts: 67
car, driver and guide

Hi, I will need to hire a car/driver and guides in various areas while on our 3wk trip to India. I was trying to decide if it is better to hire the car/driver separately for each area (such as rajasthan area, golden triangle area, varansai, etc) and find guides once there, or is it better to just hire one service to organize the whole thing? I need to make the right choice as this is probably the most important link (to having a positive experience) in our trip. I have received quotes from Magictours, TGS, and some independent drivers. Prices and method of payment can really vary. Do they expect me to barter, which I hate and am awful at; I just want to know the fair cost? Any suggestions? Thanks for the help!
lisasiegel is offline  
Oct 5th, 2009, 05:02 AM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 446
We're doing India DIY without a driver and guide, mainly because we're doing the usual tourist route. We're flying from Delhi to Varanasi, then overnight train to Agra, Agra to Jaipur by taxi (I googled Agra to Jaipur by taxi and got over 20 quotes, the cheapest 2800, the most expensive 6.800)Jaipur to Jodhpur with day train, Jodhpur to Udaipur by taxi (Got quotes using the same method as before with Jaipur in the end settled for a 3200 rate)Udaipur to Goa Jet airline flight, Goa to Mumbai Spicejet flight.
We wanted to experience the various transport options, we know we'll never be able to sleep on the overnight train to Agra but we didn't want to miss this experience. Hopefully we'll have done enough homework as to get by without guides but we can always get one at the last minute if necessary.
Anyway getting back to agencies Magic tours have just been voted one of the best tour agencies in India from Conde Nast so you can't go wrong with them. The owner is Deepa the Tripadvisr expert for Mumbai.
Clark55 is offline  
Oct 5th, 2009, 05:40 AM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 4,121
That's
http://www.mumbaimagic.com/

the site will lead you to Delhi Magic, Pune Magic and Jaipur Magic
dogster is offline  
Oct 5th, 2009, 07:15 PM
  #4  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Posts: 67
Thanks everyone. Deepa (magic tours, mumbi tours, etc) wants to be paid in full at the start of the trip. I would rather pay half at the beginning and rest as we go or toward the end of the trip. She said I could write a bad review about her on TA if they don't follow through after the upfront payment (so that is why they will provide good service), but that really won't do me any good while on the vacation if the situation goes sour. Most of the other companies have a better payment arrangement. Am I just being jaded after living in the city forever? She seems like a legit business woman but I am very uncomfortable with the payment arrangement. TGS and Four wheel drive have a better arrangement. Has anyone used any of these companies?
lisasiegel is offline  
Oct 5th, 2009, 07:53 PM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 4,121
With respect to all parties involved, I really think you need to compare apples with apples here. I don't think the companies you mention are remotely in the same league as Magic tours.

I'm not saying they aren't fine - but I'm searching for their Conde Nast accreditation.

So let's examine your potential scenario. Things go sour. So what were you thinking of doing? Refusing to pay the second half? Having a huge argument and... well, what? If you are using an independent driver - you're stuffed. If you're using a small company, you're fairly stuffed, if you use a big company, you're not quite so stuffed.

You could, of course, spit the dummy and storm off, thereby stranding yourself and your luggage in a strange city in a strange country.

Do you really imagine that holding an imaginary sword of Damocles over your tour operator's head will solve anything? Trust me - it won't. If you have an argument - you WILL lose.

So, I'd chill on the advance payment. Deepa is a very classy woman. You want to deal with the best, those are her terms. Having observed the exponential growth of her company, her myriad posts in Tripadvisor and her growing profile, topped off with Conde Nast, I'd say you were lucky to get a booking.

Don't walk into India assuming catastrophy. If you do, then it will happen.
dogster is offline  
Oct 6th, 2009, 02:25 PM
  #6  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Posts: 67
Well you might be right dogster about Deepa, but paying in portions keeps people motivated as well as tipping the driver per day. I don't want to be stuck in a bad situation. I have read about a few unhappy driver situations in various trips reports. Being prepared doesn't mean you jinx yourself or that you have a bad attitude. In China, we paid by the day or every 3 days and it worked out great, but I know this isn't China. Paying $1000 upfront and then having no recourse should the driver turn out to be a loser is scary. It could ruin the entire trip. Of course, should that happen I would wait till I got to the hotel, pay everything up to that point, and let the hotel hire a car for me. It's an expensive option that I don't relish, but at that point you just want to save your trip. In regards to Deepa, most of the praise I see is for her Mumbi Magic Tour which sounds wonderful but unfortunately I will not be in Mumbai. I appreciate your opinions and maybe I just need to dive into the cold water. However, I struggle with my street smarts that says no way should you pay the entire fee upfront.
lisasiegel is offline  
Oct 6th, 2009, 04:22 PM
  #7  
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 4,121
Yeah, I understand where you're coming from. Trust me - I'm an afficionado of things going wrong. Click on my name - you'll see a litany of horror in my trip reports. Read this to confirm your wildest fears:

http://www.fodors.com/community/asia/dogster-bhutan.cfm

So I can't pretend I have the answer - but I'm not entirely sure you do, either. lol. I assume you've traveled in India before and know something about the psyche I've missed.

The streets are different in India - your Western street smarts count for nothing. Nothing at all.

So go with whoever you like. This is three weeks in Rajasthan, not a trek to outer space. A smart tourist would arm herself with a mobile phone and a good road map. The word 'no' is a very useful addition to the vocabulary. Most other words don't really work.

Your fears are normal but, actually, probably unnecessary. All that matters is that you think you're in control. You never will be, for an instant, but probably won't know that till the end. All will be revealed. Post a trip report.
dogster is offline  
Oct 7th, 2009, 03:08 PM
  #8  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Posts: 67
Comparing these different driver quotes is a pain, but I should be so lucky to have these problems. Thanks again to everyone for all the useful wisdom. Hopefully, I will survive this trip and I can report back on my experiences. My biggest concern is surviving 3 weeks with my family! I hope we don't end up killing each other! I will bring my ipod/headphone to drown out the "noise".
lisasiegel is offline  

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy -

FODOR'S VIDEO

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 08:53 AM.