private guide and driver

Has anyone hired a private car and guide? We arrive a day early and would like to hire a private guide to take us on an excursion maybe to Arkshardham or other areas Tauck will not be taking us. If so, did you arrange it thru the hotel or on line? What is the average cost for a day?

Comments

  • Suggest getting a car and driver through the hotel. They will typically be safer. Also ask that for a driver that will speak and understand English as not all will speak and understand English.

    We went to Arkshardham and arranged a car/driver from the hotel. They waited for us while we toured Arkshardham. We spent only a few hours there, but you can certainly spend much longer. I don't remember what we paid, but it was not huge. Just ask at the concierge desk at the hotel and they will give you an estimate.
  • Great advice. I have hired a car, driver, and guide in a number of cities and areas in Germany, France, Italy, Sicily, Croatia, Greece, England, Scotland, and Ireland. As suggested, make sure they understand English and, in advance, let them know what sites you want to visit. Ask if they are aware of any places you might not have thought of. Ask about entrance fees to the places you want to go. Sometimes they can get them at a discount, or, at least, in advance so you don't have to wait in the queues. The costs are usually much more reasonable than you expect. Checking with the hotel concierge will help, but you can also search the internet. I haven't been to India or I would give you a name to use.

    Good luck and enjoy your trip.
  • I always seem to be the one who puts the damper on things. We took the Tauck Spotlight on India tour last February. Suggest you wait to see how you feel before booking this tour if you are only arriving a day early. Most flights arrive the middle of the night, so you will get to your room about 3am, pretty exhausted. If you want to hire a driver/guide the hotel will organize it for you on the actual day, this is INDIA, so if you have money to spend they will find someone To take you! If you have not been to India it is an incredible culture shock. Even if you use a hotel driver and guide they will likely want to take you on a detour to buy souvenirs, they tried that with us, you have to be firm and say no if you don't want to spend time doing that. Everyone operates with bribes and backhanders so they will be recommending places they have been paid to take you to. If you do not get time to see this site, the tour of Delhi is pretty comprehensive and you will enjoy being back at the hotel for a break from the crazy but amazing world outside the gates.
  • British is correct....YOU have to be in charge of the itinerary. Do your research to find places you want to see that aren't on the Tauck tour. You can always get help from British and the others in here who have been to India. If the driver or guide want to do something different, you have to explain the kind of things you want to see, but you also have to know they might have an important place to visit. Just remember, it is YOUR trip and YOUR money and YOU are in charge. Sometimes we are afraid of having the providers of the services think we are too "pushy" and are too polite to tell them what we want. You don't need to be nasty, just firm. Oh yes, and be sure to discuss the price before the trip....I would suggest you "negotiate" once you get the price. Be sure to make it clear what services are included in the price. Most of the time entry fees, lunch, etc. are not included, but I have had some driving services that included lunch. I know that is sometimes hard for Americans (I assume you are an American) to do. We are used to paying "sticker price." Negotiating price is the norm for most of the rest of the world.

    If YOU don't want to shop, but would rather see some other particular site(s) then you have to be clear up front. I haven't been to India and don't plan on going, but I am guessing, especially after reading British's post, that there can be a "conspiracy" to get your money. I found that to be the case in Northern Africa but I didn't find that in the places I listed earlier. The drivers were interested in taking me where I, and my family, wanted to go. I already had a list of places to see and had done quit a bit of research on the areas we were driving to/through. Sometimes my list was a bit "aggressive" and the driver had me drop a place or two off of the list due to time constraints.

    As to the time of your arrival, you have to be the judge of whether you typically suffer from jet lag or not. I do not, so I am always ready to spend any extra time seeing what I can. If I got to the hotel at 0300 and fell asleep at 0400, I would be ready to go at 0700 or 0800 without a problem. I can sleep when I die. I don't want to pay extra money to sleep. I'll catchup on it somewhere down the road or when I get home. However, that is an individual decision and will play a part in what you choose to do.

    Enjoy the trip and do due diligence on who you pick to provide this service.

  • We left the hotel in Delhi twice during our stay and took local taxis from the front of the hotel. In both cases, we had drivers who were very anxious to please and who waited for us patiently wherever we went. We always took a map, just in case, but didn't have any problem at all. On one occasion, the driver was uneasy about taking us to Connaught Place and watched over us from across the street! Just know that everyone will try to engage you and become your best friend. Before you know it, you'll be buying something--so don't make eye contact! Rule #1!
  • The hotel concierge will cheerfully arrange a car and driver for you from the Oberoi hotels or the others. Generally this is billed to the hotel bill and you do not have to tip or negotiate. Drivers may suggest some places but the ones booked through a hotel like Oberoi will generally not be too pushy about shopping detours. The car and driver will not be unreasonably expensive at all, but be sure what you're being charged up front. You should also do some research to know what additional places you want to see, the Tour is quite adequate but there is an abundance of things to see in India.
  • We left the hotel in Delhi twice during our stay and took local taxis from the front of the hotel. In both cases, we had drivers who were very anxious to please and who waited for us patiently wherever we went. We always took a map, just in case, but didn't have any problem at all. On one occasion, the driver was uneasy about taking us to Connaught Place and watched over us from across the street! Just know that everyone will try to engage you and become your best friend. Before you know it, you'll be buying something--so don't make eye contact! Rule #1!

    Yeah, I made a couple of "friends" throughout the trip, but it was my own fault! It's hard to not look at something thrust in front of you, or to not respond when someone says, "excuse me,mam"!! But no one ever touches you, and Tauck gives you the chance to buy anything you want once you're back on the coach. So it's not as if you have to worry about pulling out your wallet and making new friends!
    Felicia
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