Travel Agents India

Old Sep 9th, 2005, 05:57 AM
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Travel Agents India

I know that Craig and others have recommended Compass Tours and I have only heard good reports. We had to go with Cox and Kings(relative worked with my OH!). Surprisingly their prices seem to be excellent, but I am somewhat dissatisfied with their service. We do not leave until the end of December...so will let you know how it works out.

My criticisms would be...

I like to know to whom I am talking...different people email us and even if our original agents name is on the email...the grammar or sentence structure tells me it is someone else. This does not bother OH at all.

Many of our hotels are on a wait list still after many months..they tell us this will be fine and reservations will come through.

Emails are sent to us with many different names..OH has deleted them thinking they were spam.

My biggest concern is that there seems to be no connection between agent and ourselves. We usually plan and book our own vacations..but have used agents in Peru and South Africa and have been so pleased.

If everything goes well, I will certainly report back...but if you are looking for a warm and fuzzy person on the other end...then maybe Cox and Kings is not it.
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Old Sep 9th, 2005, 06:24 AM
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OH = Other Half? Old Husband???

I would also feel uncomfortable being waitlisted my hotels but there is not much you can do about it - worst case scenerio is that you do not end up at your 1st choice.

Although different opinions have been expressed on this forum, it is my belief that most tour companies will subcontract various aspects of your tour to local agencies - that is why you may be getting so many e-mails from different entities. There should be one contact person who is accountable however and that is what exists at Compass Tours (and probably at Cox and Kings as well).

Good luck - I hope everything works out- I think it will - YOU WILL LOVE INDIA. It is a challenging time for touring India as demand for lodging and other services exceeds supply.
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Old Sep 9th, 2005, 06:59 AM
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I know I will love India Craig...it has been a dream of mine for so long and I don't intend for anything to spoil that. Thanks for all your imput!
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Old Sep 9th, 2005, 07:03 AM
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So what does OH stand for?
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Old Sep 9th, 2005, 07:13 AM
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Sorry...Other Half...although Better Half ....or Bert sound better don't they?
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Old Sep 9th, 2005, 09:47 AM
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I'll chime in on this even though I don't have my India trip report done yet.

The one complaint I had about Compass tours was the issue of subcontracting. The guides that we had in India varied quite widely.

We were very pleased with our Agra and Jaipur guides, but the one in Delhi was truly the "guide from Hell". After a few hours we gave up and returned to our hotel without getting to see much of anything but a 'drive by' of Delhi.

In addition, the cars used varied widely..a nice SUV to take us from the airport to our Delhi hotel, then a nice but very small TATA (think toyota corolla) was our car all the way from Agra to Delhi. In Delhi at the end, another SUV, but old with no seatbelts and barely functioning AC.

In additon, Craig mentioned that on his trip Compass provided him with cell phones to contact the drivers. We were on our own, which basically meant we had to arrange everything in person with the drivers.

Another thing I wished I had clarified up front was how many hours we would be entitled to use the car each day.
Although we would have prefered to use the car to tour in the AM yet have transport for dinner, they implied that we were done and disappeared once we did our sightseeing each day.

I would have called to discuss this directly with Durjay, but he was gone from Delhi while we were in India. The office did apologise when I called about the Delhi guide, but made no effort to make it up with a different guide or additional car time. There was also somewhat of a language barrier, so it made it hard to discuss/negotiate sometimes.

As it was, we were new to this style of escorted independent travel. If I do it again, I will ask a lot more questions and be much more specific about the specific conditions before we get there.

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Old Sep 9th, 2005, 10:15 AM
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kcuy---please contact me off board for some quiestions about india---i you don't midn..

bob


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Old Sep 9th, 2005, 10:39 AM
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Lcuy - I guess I was a little more detailed in my negotiations with Compass. In my initial request for a quotation I asked for (and received) a quote on a specific vehicle, a Toyota Qualis (SUV) for the whole trip (available at any time) - it was not cheap but worth it for me. I also had asked Compass to arrange for a cell phone so I could keep in contact with my driver. Compass quoted a price (it was like a dollar a day) but they never charged me for the phone - I was so glad I had it though. At each location I was given a card with the phone number of a local Compass representative. Durjay also had a second-in-command in Delhi who could get things done if needed.

I agree about the guides - our worst guide was in Jaipur, not because he was not knowledgable but because he insisted on tagging along while we were shopping. We had a great guide in Delhi but then I had again made specific arrangements on what we would be doing so Compass had to put in extra effort to come up with a good guide.

I think the key for travel in India is that you can't assume anything. My e-mails back and forth with Durjay probably took up a 1/2" thick wad of paper.

I hope you did have a good time anyway.
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Old Sep 10th, 2005, 12:16 AM
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Oh I did have a great time! I just should have asked more questions. Live and learn; I'll do better next time.

At least I had your trip report... with it, I was able to plan enough to get a good taste of India.
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Old Sep 10th, 2005, 04:07 PM
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Hi, We used Cox and Kings last Jan to travel in Norhtern India for three weeks. We were very dissapointed with the agency.We had used Tauck for a trip to China several years ago and use this as a comparison. Cox and King provided minimal preliminary information for each stop. The local guides were inconsistant....some quite knowledgeable and others used to getting by on "charm". The group was quite small and they were clearly trying to save money on our journey. We had to insist that they take us to additional sights and pay extra for these outings,e.g. the Elephanta Caves in Mombai, folk dance festival in Kasaraha. Time at leisure was usually in an isolated hotel where travel to the town was difficult. I hope you have better luck with your main guide and plan your leisure time before the trip . Tauck planned evening programs very carefully and almost every appropriate night. Cox and Kings did not. India was wonderful and we plan to go to the south using another travel agency.
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Old Sep 10th, 2005, 07:17 PM
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We used President Travels ([email protected]) and could not have been happier with the arrangement. We got hotel room rates lower than websites. We had a great car and driver thru Ranthambore, Jaipur, Agra and very good local guides in each place. I agree with Lcuy that much of it depends on what questions you ask. I also completely agree with Vraig that as India gets busier quality could suffer so going now makes a lot of sense!
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Old Sep 11th, 2005, 10:50 AM
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ttt
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