Need your adice on a trip in Rajasthan

Old Dec 1st, 2010, 02:39 AM
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Need your adice on a trip in Rajasthan

Hello all!

I booked a trip in Rajasthan with Castle and King next month . We are 2 middle aged women travellers. We were supposed to have a driver for the tour and local english speaking guides in the cities.

The company asked me now if I prefered to have an escort guide for the whole tour, he would be with us all the time. And that's where I want your help, please. I don't like to have someone around me all the time, but I don't know if it is better during the trip, if we want to stop in some village, or go shopping.

I would appreciate very much your input. Should we do well without aan escort for the whole tour?

Thanks in advance
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Old Dec 1st, 2010, 08:43 AM
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I am not sure that you would require an escort guide and a driver for the entire trip. If your driver speaks English and you are getting guides when you visit forts etc., that is all that I would want personally but everyone is different

Our Driver would let us out where we wanted and wait for us at the car or nearby at a cafe or with other drivers. If we wanted to have his help or were done we would just come back and find him. I would not have wanted someone with us the entire time either...

I would ask and make sure that the driver has a good command of the english language and in that case IMHO you will be fine.
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Old Dec 1st, 2010, 11:45 AM
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Thank you very much for your reply live42day . I thought the same too but after the company asked me if I wanted that option I had my doubts...You are absolutely right
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Old Dec 1st, 2010, 11:58 AM
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I would go crazy having a guide the whole time. Just insist that your driver speak decent English. He won't do any guiding, but you want to be able to communicate your needs & plans. If not, ask C&K to give you a cell phone so you can call them-any time- to translate.
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Old Dec 1st, 2010, 12:57 PM
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Yup, you really, really don't want a full-time guide...
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Old Dec 1st, 2010, 02:36 PM
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Make sure that not only does your driver speaks English but that he also knows the area he will be driving you. Sometimes companies get "drivers" from other towns or districts who don't know their assigned area well.

Don't drive after dark (unless it's a short distance such as getting back to your hotel from something nearby).
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Old Dec 1st, 2010, 05:17 PM
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While India is a very safe place to travel either alone or in a group, I find that there is a certain element of paternalism toward women. There are women-only rail cars and waiting areas in some train stations. In many hotels, if you are a single woman guest, the front desk will screen your incoming phone calls and identify the caller to you before connecting them through. (I find this a little annoying.) I do think this is changing, but would say it is still present. I believe this may be why Castle & King asked if you, as two woman traveling alone, wanted an escort.

You will do very well without an escort. Your driver most likely would know shopping areas; and in any event, I am not entirely sure I would rely on drivers or an escort guide for those types of reccos. They may tend to take you to shops where they get a fee for bringing in customers. These are not necessarily the best shops in terms of either quality or price. Some drivers/guides of course will not to this, but I believe the practice is more the rule than the exception. I would consult guidebooks, the web and this board for recommendations. If you can tell us where you are going, we can probably provide recommendations. Also look at posts like http://www.fodors.com/community/asia...s-in-india.cfm and http://www.fodors.com/community/asia...-new-delhi.cfm

What a driver can be very good for is finding local religious or other festivals and events. Do ask about this. These would tend to be things which are not on a Castle & King itin. The annual celebration of a local idol, a special feast day celebrated only in that village, a local temple or idol which is not in any guidebook. These can be some of the more interesting parts of your trip. You don't need an escourt for this either.

Could not agre more with Jaya on not driving after dark on anything but inner city roads. It's not crime that is the issue, it's a road safety issue. Bullock carts and wandering cows don't come equipped with headlights, and neither do the large number of people walking along the roads. Also, to the extent you can, I would keep drives down to 5 hours a day. Personally I don't like to spend more time than that on any road in India. It's tiring, even just as a passenger.
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Old Dec 1st, 2010, 08:10 PM
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Yes, another very strong vote for not driving after dark. We did it, even though I didnt want to and was very firm on that, ended up on the road for an hour and a half in the dark from Udaipur to Jodphur. Worst experience the entire trip!
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Old Dec 2nd, 2010, 01:10 AM
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YOu won't need a guide with you for the entire trip. I agre with all the otehrs--make sure you are getting a driver who speaks and understands English--not just a little, but WELL.
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Old Dec 3rd, 2010, 12:16 AM
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You won't need a guide, it seems so intrusive !! I agree with all the others - insist on a driver who speaks good English. My tips :
1. Ask to meet the driver the day before your road trip starts so that you can try out his English. Many understand better than they speak.
2. Travel with a mobile phone - you can get local Sim cards but they ask for photos and passport photocopies etc so pack a few extra passport size photographs.
3. Make sure you have the phone number of someone at the head office. We had problems with our driver which got sorted out by the head office very promptly (another tour company) but my contact and his phone number came in very handy.
4. Get a guidebook which gives details of places to shop so that you are not forced to shop only where the driver gets a commission
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Old Dec 3rd, 2010, 06:10 AM
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Thank you all for your help! Your advices are very helpful.I already told Castle and King we don't need an escort for the whole tour. Have a nice weekend

Teresa
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