Car and Driver Travel

It's not cheap, but having a car and driver to yourself is highly efficient if you're short on time, as distances between points of interest are usually long, and direct trains can sometimes be hard to come by. It is also the best option if you plan to visit more than one city in Rajasthan. Plan to start early, when traffic on highways (and through toll plazas) are reduced and so you are not traveling after dark. You can hire a car and driver through your hotel or a recognized travel agent—hiring through your hotel is usually more expensive, depending on the class of the hotel, because the hotel will tack on a finder's fee. Car rates are extremely variable so do shop around. An a/c sedan car and driver should cost about Rs. 15 to Rs. 17 per km (½ mile), not including tolls for a minimum of 250 km per day. An extra Rs. 200 to Rs. 300 per day is usually tacked on for overnight trips and you should offer to pay for your driver’s meal if you stop for one. A small tip at the end of the trip is customary if you are satisfied with the service provided. If you organize a car directly through the driver, it will be cheaper, but check the vehicle and driver out properly the day before you start. Expect to spend about Rs. 5,000 for a tour of the region from Delhi to Jaipur in a sedan air-conditioned car with room for three passengers or about Rs. 6,500 in an air-conditioned larger vehicle that can carry five passengers. Because the driver has to return to his point of origin, you pay the round-trip fare even if you're going one-way. To hire a car for a day of city driving expect to pay Rs. 2,000 for eight hours or 80 km, whichever comes first for an a/c sedan plus tips and money for the driver’s lunch.

Road Conditions

Aside from major national highways crossing through Rajasthan, the state highways are not in very good shape, and the going is slow: The Delhi–Jaipur Highway (NH–8) is well paved, but once you're off the highway the roads are full of potholes, and it takes a long time to travel even short distances. When calculating driving time, plan to cover 40 kph–50 kph (25 mph–31 mph) at best. That said, driving is an excellent way to see the Indian countryside and glimpse village life.

Jaipur is a five- to six-hour drive from Delhi on National Highway (NH) 8. This is a congested industrial road with a high accident rate, so prepare for a trying experience.

Road surfaces are rough in and out of Jodhpur, and the going is slow. Don't expect to average more than 40 km (25 miles) per hour—Jodhpur-Jaipur is a seven-hour drive, Jodhpur-Jaisalmer is a five-hour drive, and Jodhpur-Udaipur is a six-hour drive. Udaipur is on National Highway 8, one of the better roads, which links Mumbai and Delhi, but in sections is rough. Again, expect your road speed to top out at 40 kph (25 mph). Journeys between Udaipur and Jaipur take seven hours or more. The Jodhpur-Jaisalmer road is in very good condition and it is possible to do 50 km–60 km per hour.

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