Ask anyone who has ever been to India. They will unanimously say that it truly is a fascinating country. A melting pot of tradition and modernity, and simplicity and complexity, this destination marvels the mind as much as it makes your soul ‘feel’. Simply put, it is absolutely impossible to have an indifferent attitude towards India once you land on its soil. India is a country made up of smaller countries – each state of India has its own language, culture, cuisine, mindset and religion. If you want to maximize your experience in this befuddling country, it is highly recommended to go through a local travel agency that will help you avoid the troubles faced by an independent traveler.
Traveling alone in India vs. with a local agency
I have personally often travelled across India as a backpacker. So my purpose here is not to disparage this type of independent travel (I still strive to catch up on my backpacking stints on some weekends), but it is important to understand the difficulties that may be encountered and can easily be overcome with the help of a locally established agency. Contrary to backpackers who usually have time to deal with these inconveniences, leisure travelers only get one to two weeks so would prefer to enjoy their holiday without many hiccups.
The complexities of travel in India
Although India is growing at an impressive rate, there is scope for improvement when it comes to the country’s infrastructure. Perhaps more than elsewhere, in India you may face unexpected issues and delays, losing valuable time from your itinerary. A delayed train? Shift in flight? An unplanned deviation? A local agent has the capability and resources to find an alternative as soon as possible with a few phone calls, owing to its vast network and knowledge of the destination’s terrain and road, rail and air networks. Moreover, even before you embark upon your journey, booking local transportation in India is a true obstacle course, with many obstacles! For instance, it is extremely difficult to book a train journey in India if you are outside the country. If you are already here and have not booked well in advance, you may not find vacancy (the Indian Railway Network transports over 25 million passengers daily)! A local agent can avoid all uncertainty and properly confirm your booking well in advance, or provide last minute alternatives. The same goes for booking a driver – a local agency will have a network of reliable and trustworthy drivers who are tested and certified.
Video: The Great Indian Railways – The Adventure of Booking a Train Ticket!
Solicitation of tourists by touts – a menace
Unless you are a fan of traveling completely off the beaten track, your itinerary in India will surely include touristic places like the Taj Mahal. At sites such as this, you will be offered many services by local providers like rickshaw rides, photographs, snacks, guides, etc. Unless you have a complete sense of prices in India and have mastered the act of haggling, scams await you at every nook and corner. An independent traveler that has freshly landed and has not yet the grasped the concept of local pricing is often fooled by these sellers to provide highly exaggerated rates. With a local agency, you can have your own guide throughout the tour, selected by the agency based on repute, credibility and professionalism.
Hotel reservations in India
The quality and location of accommodations are always huge criteria of a successful trip. Booking a hotel in India back home is quite feasible as there are many booking websites out there. However, many travelers have been left stranded after reaching the property and finding out that their reservation is not confirmed or the location and quality of the hotel is not as was promised. A local tour operator always has a carefully selected list of hotels based on location, service standards and of course cost, that it first recommends to its guests and then books according to their expectations. So that way you receive expected quality and type of accommodation when you arrive at the destination.
Special permits in India
If you want to go to specific regions of India, you may need a special permit. For instance, this is true in case of far off regions at the borders such as Ladakh, a closely watched military area but so beautiful. Also, the Andaman Islands, a breathtaking archipelago, also require permits. Once again, by using a local agency you will not have to worry about the administrative hassle of obtaining these passes or the authenticity of the cost.
The expertise of a local travel agency in India
The benefits of using a local provider do not stop here. Directly on site, the travel consultants offer optimal responsiveness to unforeseen situations. They know each destination deeply and have usually visited each personally, whether on professional or individual trips. As they share a passion for India, they know of the conventional as well as the off the beaten track destinations that are somewhat hidden and less crowded and that have the capacity to enchant travelers with their authenticity. Despite the popularity of India, there are still many amazing places to discover! A local expert is better able to advise you on a tailor made route created according to your profile and your desires. A travel expert will know the expectations of a traveler, whether European, American, Canadian, English or Australian, and be able to create a successful trip. By using a local tour operator, you will avoid costly intermediaries that directly increase the cost of your trip.
Do you want to discover India at your own pace in a responsible way, in close contact with its inhabitants and breathtaking scenery? Your dedicated travel advisors at Shanti Travel, whether from New Delhi, Pondicherry, Leh or Ladakh promise to meet you on arrival and ensure that your journey is going well every day. Just like many travelers who believe that you will fall in love with this country, we invite you to experience India’s fascinating relics, the incredibly varied landscape and intricate culture. Visit http://www.shantitravel.com/en/travel-india/