Here are 5 Things You Should Know But No One Will Tell You Before You Travel To India
The truth must be said.
There are some dark secrets within every industry that very few are willing to reveal.
Because it’s bad for the business. Also, in the tourism industry in India, there are some things that travel agents prefer not to get into details of.
It’s not about lying or deceiving (at least we hope so), but it’s about providing disinformation or ambiguous information that eventually can turn your trip into a failure.
The following issues have been constantly repeated by many tourists who’ve been traveling in India.
Let’s get into it…
1. Did anyone tell you that the driver probably didn’t sleep before you hopped in his car?
There’s almost no such thing as renting a car in India for a self-drive. Even if you could, you don’t want to. Let me describe the road conditions in India and car maintenance in one word: Chaotic!
So if renting a car is part of the services included in your trip, then you’ll get it with a driver.
But here’s the scary thing.
Most likely while renting a car in India, you’ll get a driver who hasn’t slept for quite a bit. Why? Because in India, there’re no regulations that limit the driving hours per day. As long as your money pops into your travel operator bank account, who gives a damn how many hours the driver had slept before picking you up?
It gets even worse when you think of the huge distances in India it takes to travel from one place to another. It can get pretty scary to travel that far with a driver who has barely slept.
‘It will be okay’ or ‘This is how things are getting managed here’ or, God forbid (though I have heard this too), the ‘It’s all about karma’ kind of attitude will get you nowhere!
Make sure over and over again with your travel agent that you will get a driver who has enough sleeping before you hop in his car. And I’m talking about at least 8 hours before starting the engine up. No discounts, no bargaining.
Be specific and assertive and make sure that your tour operator knows that planning a tour program for you must include 8 hours sleeping for the drivers.
2. Did anyone tell you that your driver might have had a few drinks last night?
Yes, you heard me right. A lot of drivers in India tend to drink quite heavily at nights. “it makes us fall asleep”.There’s nothing wrong with having some drinks, but when your driver is waking up with a hangover and the smell of alcohol, then it’s a getting out of line. It is unsafe. And it won’t make your trip better.
So unless you enjoy having long rides on the roughest roads you can imagine with stoned drivers, make sure to point out to your travel agent that this is unacceptable.
3. Did anyone tell you that chances are that your hotel room will probably not worth the price you paid?
It’s a fact that India is short with mid-range hotels. What happens then is that because of the lack of competition, hotel owners do not feel the urge to provide the best service for their guests. That is a nice way of saying that even the basic maintenance every hotel ought to provide is much less than the standards you know. By ‘basic’ we mean a clean room, clean bedsheets, working air-conditioning, hot water in the showers, somebody to answer the phone when you need him, and that kind of stuff.
The result is that you will pay much more than the actual value of the room.
Why invest money in keeping the hotel clean and comfortable, with all its facilities properly functioning, if you can charge the same price for the rooms without doing so?
Some guesthouses have better rooms than mid-range hotels. Let’s put it in other words: the difference between $10-$12 guesthouse rooms to a $50-$55 mid-range hotel can be annoyingly minor.
In the high range hotels segment, the story is different. You will probably get much more than what you are used to for the same budget.
What we suggest you do is to choose your hotel carefully.TripAdvisor is a great tool to get a general idea of the hotel. Or, you can always search for recommendations about the hotels before booking it.
4. Did anyone tell you that you will have to pay more for most of the services/products you will buy in India only because you are a foreigner?
It’s a tricky one: you may accuse me of being too naïve because overcharging tourists is common all over the world. But trust me, in India it’s different. Why? Because it’s official! It is a policy that is authorized by the government. Do you want to enter a heritage site in India like the Taj Mahal, for example? No problem, but you’ll pay 750 rupees while Indians pay 20 rupees. The same thing is true for all the heritage sites in India, as well as to wildlife sanctuaries, and the list goes on and on. It is irritating because it has no justification whatsoever.
5. Did anyone tell you exactly when will be the best time to visit a certain region in India?
Weather is one of the key elements that determine how successful your trip will be. In India, the weather factor is crucial because it may completely change your entire trip. Some areas in India are super vulnerable to weather effects, and besides the fact that bad weather can cause changes in the original plan, it’s simply not fun to deal with.
There is nothing fun about being a prisoner in your hotel room because of the monsoon showers that never stop.
There is nothing fun about going back on the same road because a landslide blocked your road. And there is no fun in getting stuck in a place where the temperature is over 40 degrees Celsius.
Starching up the season a bit as part of a tour promotion just to get more tourists coming (and more revenues) is something that you should be aware of.
Be sure to check and double-check what the weather will be like at the time you plan to travel to a certain region in India. When it comes to the Indian climate, even2-3 weeks difference can have serious consequences for your trip.
Now we’ve told you some of the things that some people in the industry would be happy to leave in the fog.
Now it’s your turn.
Did you have any experiences while traveling in India that sound similar to what we have mentioned here?
Have you found any other information that might help others to plan their trip better? If you have, we’ll be happy to share!