All about Single Traveler Match-up service

IdiscoverIndia.com recently launched its service to match up single traveler. So what that means is that if you are traveling in India alone , you can opt to travel with another person ( share your trip including room) with another person of same gender and save upto 40% on trips costs.

Send your Custom Trip Request

Yes thats true. Trip for one person or 2 don’t vary that much in price, infact the difference could be as less as say about USD 25 in a 10 day trip. It is for this reason that couples find independent travel a lot more cheaper in India and single travelers inadvertently choose to travel in groups.

However you can now enjoy the flexibility of independent travel by just sharing with one other person and opting for our Travel Match up Service.

Find out more in FAQs on Single Travel Service

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Too many unwanted shopping stops while on Tour? Let your tour operator know

One thing that does spread like wild fire is bad news. Unwanted Shopping Stops are one of those nuances that have come up as one of the main nuance of private Tour. Before getting into the nitty-gritty of this , I want to tell you 2 things:

1. It is your tour ( all private tours are) and you own it. If you think someone is making un-necessary stops for shopping without your consent , you need to be assertive and say NO. Not rude just letting the other person know.

I know of various reasons where tourists are unable to say anything , either just culturally they are very accepting and private, or just find difficult to refuse  or are plainly sold/fooled into something.  While all these reasons for staying passive may be justified, they do  encourage  such unwanted shopping trips by the ecoystem.

2. You need to report to your Tour Operator about any pressure tactics ensued by your guide or driver.

Everytime you dont report , the operator is unable to take any action and thus there is no scope of improvement or change. It not only affects your own experience but also affects the ecosystem as it encourages the same unwanted behavior in future assignments.

——————-Now that we have clarified what should be done and how , I can perhaps tell you a little story- of what we learnt when we started with travel business in India . Its a little philosophical ,  a little opening a can of worms, but nevertheless for those interested to read can continue.

First thing I would like to state very clearly is that IdiscoverIndia.com does not promote any shop and take commission in return.  Over the years we have been approached by many, and I would be honest  to admit that at one time or two I have considered  aligning with shops to send them customers, but we never did that. It was primarily for 2-3  main reasons :

1. All our tours are private and built exactly as per what our guest wants or what we think is an experience that our guest would like to embrace. So fitting shopping into scheme of things was difficult.

Now I understand this logistic issue is very easy to handle in Group tours, where the large group tour companies invariably make such pre-determined  shopping stops . Interestingly the companies have tie-ups ( although they never claim it and can never be proven to) , but even more interestingly people dont object or raise their voice that much.

2.We  did not have a way of knowing whether we got the correct referral money. We could have possibly agree on commissions from the store but how would we know what the guest bought other than what the shopkeeper tells us.  We dont leave an integral part of our business( in this case earnings) on hearsay. It has to be part of  full-proof and predictable process.

3. Lastly we overestimated our guest’s ability to say NO to any such unwanted shopping stops.

So if you look it , shopping and everything attached to it so much an intrinsic part of this ecosystem, that its only YOU who can undo its ill-effects.

PLEASE SAY  NO TO UNWANTED SHOPPING STOPS AND REPORT TO YOUR TOUR OPERATOR .

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Go to India

Go to India if you have never been before, it will change your perspective and allow you to appreciate and enjoy your life so much more”- If you would believe it these wise words were said by none other but me. While working in Ann Arbor, one of my friends from work once mentioned how hard his life had been and the hardships he and his mother had to endure to see him go to University of Michigan. It was not that he was mentioning something but kind of regretting the fact that he had to do so much more to get to the same point as some of his other peers were. At that point it immediately stuck me and I thought “Wow this is much better than 80% of the people in India. No matter people come back rejuvenated and clear in thought, thus terming their India experience as Spiritual cleansing”.

To substantiate my point , I told him how lucky he was to go to University of Michigan , while I who fluently can read , write and speak in 3 languages, perhaps scored better grades than him and whose mother had to live a much harder life of single parent in India , had no choice like U of M or for that matter any University remotely close to the privileges bestowed by University of Michigan . The competition is so severe and opportunities were so limited, that someone of this guy’s calibre would not have got 1/10th of what he currently had in USA. But then he had no perspective of people who had to struggle everyday to make their ends meet. Or he did not have to see that day in day out, everywhere around him.

This is one thing that changes when you “Go To INDIA”, it gives you perspective of things, where you stand and how lucky or fortunate one is to have what they have. Hence I say “Go To India for Perspective”.There were so many more reasons I could possibly think of that would contrast with the American lifestyle and which would have given him reasons to appreciate his life so much more. I categorically remember him mentioning that he grew up next to a crack house. While I sympathised with him, coz as a kid I would always wish people to grow up in a safe and secured environment, but the fact that he could still go to U of M, amazed me and made me wonder about the evident lack of opportunities for those who grow up on streets and footpaths in India Tours With no access to shelter or even hope of it , and no food to live off and been put under pressure to earn , from as little as aged 4 years , one would never understand despair till you get to India. “Go To India to really understand what Despair is.”

In a country that has existed for years under a rigid caste-system , mocking all forms of equality as an alien notion, where there exists people who still are not allowed to drink water from the same well as an upper caste or where people still insist on marriage of their children within the same caste, where right of respect is drawn from position of strength in money, designation, age or numbers , experiencing the life as equals is the last thing one experiences in India. “Go To India to Understand Inequality”. Coz if you do not know what inequality is you will never be able to appreciate Equality.

By now my friend understood and was also very appreciative and grateful for his life in USA. However our conversation had stepped a notch up and we were more at a macro level where we were talking about the contrasting life in the two countries and what makes going to India so interesting and cleansing for people.

India is such a contrasting land – where abundance and shortage exists at the same time. Travel in India will definitely acquaint you with both sides of the coin. There is abundance of culture and history, wealth, intellect and people, while there is evident lack of infrastructure, modern amenities for masses, healthcare, education, housing and lot more.
While the new found confidence of a growing economy promises to bring a change for the better, the weight of the country’s history and population is so heavy that only time will tell how India deals with the plethora of issues that still balks at an all encompassing development.

In the end I would say Go to India, you don’t know what it might bring to you, for each one has its own experience to live and share. Although one thing that binds each and every traveller is the spirit of goodness and gratitude that one takes back from here. Know more about visit : Tours of India

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A visit to Pataudi Palace outside Delhi

Ok, so I thought I will put a quick review of the Pataudi Palace near Gurgaon. I had some relatives over and so we decided to take the kids away for a day. We narrowed down on Pataudi Palace as it was only about an hour away from Delhi and looked pretty in pictures, was part of Neemrana Hotel. Strangely I had never been to Neemrana Hotel, but being in travel trade and ofcourse my wife has visited a few properties I was confident .
So first the good things:
1. Nice Heritage Property
2. Very Big rooms
3. Nice setting with big gardens, peacocks and some other birds to see around
4. swimming pool with the hotel view in background – is pretty nice
5. The place has some history all over its walls, pictures from Mansur Ali Khan Patuadi’s cricketing days, family pictures of Sharmila tagore and others in family etc
6. Last but not the least – the Buffet Food. It was actually pretty good. Even though I am not a big proponent of buffets but this was good.

Now the things that need improvement:
1. Really there is nothing luxurious inside , except the size of rooms. It could easily have done with better upholstery and all
2. No drinking by the pool is a bummer
3. Its a little expensive – had it not been for the two rooms within a suite where we accomodated our 2 families, I would not pay for a single room here.

Here is the Best India Travel Packages.

Now for the important question- Would I go there again?
Yes if they change theior pricing a bit I will do it. But I am not going to spend over Rs.8000 for just my family. Maybe if there are two families to share its ok… But with a few changes this can be a great place and a lot more occupancy I guess…that is if they want it :)
Here is a link to see the pictures:

http://www.nivalink.com/pataudipalace/index.html

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Case of unmet expectations – Setting the Right Expectation for oneself

So these particular posts I want to discuss why some people would be unsatisfied. One of the main reason is a case of expectations not been met.
Well although there is a possibility that we as a company falter in delivering sometime ( I am admitting to it , while I must also add it rarely happnes – once in last 100 odd instances that I remember and that too did not impact the outcome of the trip) , it is more often a case of us not been able to set realistic expectations. Now unrealisti or uninformed expectations are met in some very obvious instances and these are :

1. Not giving enough time to reviewing the itinerary, or talking tour travel consultant or assuming based of someone else’s trip or purely based of a review on the internet. Well we have had instances where someone once complained after going on our North India Cultural Trip that there was too much of sightseeing of buildings and monuments and there was not enough spirituality while they asked for spirituality. Now after we send out a detailed itinerary , every guest has ample time to review itinerary and ask questions if they do not understand. While we try and put as much online in writing as possible, it is always helpful to have someone ask – there are no two ways about it. So as our itineraries mention a great deal but expecting a NORTH INDIA CULTURAL Tour to be a Spiritual heavy trip would be great mistake. To top it booking at the last minute would never help you to fully understand what one intends to do.

2. The other important reason I found for people not been satisfied is their own attitude . Some people co,me with such negative thoughts and circumspect that I sometimes wonder why did they choose India Tours for vacation. I firmly belive if you are going to wish for negative things will come true for you and you will have a bad trip. One should really visit India with an open mind and try and embrace all that it has to offer.

3. Another set is when people compare themselves with others. To be honest there is a difference between a guest travelling in 5 star hotels or 4 star hotels and the ones in a 2 star hotel. The difference is not so much from lack of service or degree of service provided. It is more so from the hotels and the service at those hotels. It would be a grave mistake when someone on a budget trip would compare its experience with someone else. It is very essential to understand the standard of hotels one has opted for.

4. Choosing your own trip Option. From Basic to Standard to Comfort to Luxury – each of our trip options come with great service and organization. However it is very hard to expect a mountain out of a mole. The rule of thumb for travel in India is the more expensive the Hotel the better it is. So as a general rule try and go with maximum budget you are willing to spend on transportation and hotels.

5. Lastly its important to do homework. Read where you want to go , what you want to experience , what are the offerings , etc but at the end talk to a person on the other hand. It helps . Someone who does not do this and does not take advise will surely fail to experience the trip that they have written down in thier mind.

It comes as no surprise that one needs to talk to someone before setting the trip expectations. At idiscoverIndia we can make sure we provide the best possible experience with your limited resources but its you who also has to contribute to make your trip memorable by sharing your requirements and needs. A one- way communication is a road to disaster for customized trips. Send Your Custom Trip Request.

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Summer Travel in India

While in India it is pretty obvious that summer is not the time to travel and discover India , however we still sometimes take that weekend break to a nice resort in a not so weather-friendly destination- this is where the problem occurs.

A visit to Castle Bijaipur and Shahpura Bagh in Rajasthan in the month of May made it pretty obvious. While the visit to Shahpura Bagh was my secret review visit, the visit to Castle Bijaipur was a weekend break organized by my father -in law.Both places were pretty nice in its own way and a visit there in such scorching heat definitely made me realize that a winter visit could be an entirely different feel here .

Although the tariffs are much lower in summer but so is the experience and the service. During peak summer months like May and June , when it is obvious that the hotel will not get many guests, these hotels tend to do lots of maintenance work. Additionally their staff goes on annual leave and with fewer people to cater to you there is a n obvious dip in service levels. Again if you can deal with all this , yes it is ok to go during such months – but then that decision rests with you. I still think an early April or late July to September might be better to avail these discounts and still meet midway in terms of available service and experience.

Overall – in India weather plays a big role in deciding where to go and when, and the months of MAY and JUNE are definitely meant for the hills. India Tours

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Our India Tours- The difference in various options

So many times what we think as obvious might not seem to be so for the first time traveler to India. We found this after we spoke with few people who actually did not travel with us.
Herer are some findings:

1. People did not understand the difference in our use of terms like Tour vs. Packages Vs. Trips. While for us it all meant the same, for the users of the websites perhaps not.

2. Our website visitors had hard time to understand why one 5night 6 days package costed more than the other 9n and 10 days India travel package. ( we ofcourse thoutght it was easy as the more expensive one was listed under Luxury column and the cheaper one under Budget column, but the title of the trip did not specifically mention Luxury or Budget).

3. It was confusing for people about how our pricing was lower than the other competitors.

It is my endeavor to answer all these apprehensions .
To begin with , when you are doing a private travel – a trip package, tour , travel package or tour package – all mean the same.

In the simplest form all these words mean – HOTELS with Breakfast + a personal car that comes with a driver who takes you around all your destinations. If there is a train travel India involved then there is someone to pick you up at the next station. In its barebones thats what they come with. Now for luxury and Opulent trips the guides are part of the price. For Budget Tours The guides are not part of the price but they are optional.

As for the second point- the difference in hotels is one of the biggest difference between a budget and luxury travel package. You still get the same high level of service , but pretty much the hotels are the ones that are different. So is your car- which is a mid size sedan as opposed to a Van.

Lastly the question about our pricing. Before I address that I want to say that we promote a hotel based of their attributes/value for our traveler rather than just the hotel star. Sometimes we provide a higher quality hotel to even our budget travelers , coz the lower quality does not meet the minimum standards and sometimes a luxury traveler might have to do with a 4 star or 3 star boutique because of non availability of a premium hotel . It happens in small towns where options are limited.

Now we are able to provide low costs because of 2 primary reasons:

1. We will book a hotel from multiple sources to get a good price and value ( its something that happens at the back end- we still own the full responsibility of that booking) . So we need not promote one single hotel on which we have a good rate, if someone can provide uas another hotel that we like at a competitive rate then we have no apprehensions in using that. So Our is a judgement call based on yoru needs. Our interest is to meet and surpass your expectations.

2. We have our own office in USA and India , which allows us to work in a seamless manner. Our call centre in India allows us to provide you the most updated ground details and information which allows you to understand whats involved in India Tours – this definitely also helps in reducing costs.

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Mamallapuram or Mahabalipuram

Mamallapuram or Mahabalipuram

A little 7th century seaside town , an hour away from Chennai is famous for its rock-hewn temples, sculptures and the world’s largest stone bass relief. In addition there is crocodile farm, snake venom extracting centre , school dof art and sculpture and the beach ofcourse that attracts many tourist to this destination.

Nearly every quintessential South India tour that starts from Chennai will include Mamallapuram in its itinerary.

    Best Time to Go?

View Larger Map
November to February

March to May are summers and pretty hot and humid

June onwards are Monsoons till July and August

Why Go Here?

Beach, Rock Sculputures and quintessential part of south India cultural tour

Any Fairs and Festivals in Mamallapuram?

Dance festival held on every Friday , Satuarday and Sunday from December 25 to January 31

Also during Pongal in month of January -  Pongal celebrations are made

South India Tour Packages  :

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zU5d-Df_saA&feature=related

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TRjHc6c2UB0&feature=related

South India Golden Triangle Tour

Kerala Tour – the exotic south india

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Puducherry/Pondicherry

During the 17th century the Europeans had an obsession with this destination in India. France was the first one to get piece of the city. Today the city represents an unusual combination of European culture and Indian traditions. The city has well laid out streets and avenues, which makes it easy to move around. Being a coastal city it is popular for seafood. French heritage is also prominent with large restaurants offering French cuisine.

The city forms an important part of any south India tour that starts from Chennai.

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Best time to go to Pondicherry/Puducherry?

October to February best time.

March to June/July hot and humid.

July to September Monsoons

Why go here?

Beach, Architecture, Auroville Ashram, Seafood.

Any Fairs and Festivals in Pondicherry/Puducherry?

International Yoga Festival – early January (4-7 Jan)

Click here to send Trip Request

Maasi Magam (March): the festival is celebrated just north of the fishing village of Kurichikuppam.  The deities are brought from about 38 temples and taken around the city of Puducherry, accompanied by loud blowing of horns.

Mangani (July): Celebrated specially at Karaikal, the month long festivities include taking out Lord Shiva in a decorated palanquin in a procession through the streets of the town. During this the townsfolk throw mangoes from rooftops, much to the delight of the crowd gathered below.

Bastille Day (14 July): Marked by an Indo-French pageantry.Unifrmed war veterans march thru the streets singing Marseillaise

Fete de Pondicherry (15-17 August): A cultural pageant coinciding with the liberation day and the Independence Day. The park monument is decorated with lights.

Some Important Links

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TRAVEL TIPS FOR TRIP TO INDIA

A tour to India means exploring nature, adventure, custom & tradition and the great love of simple people. As you visit different parts of India, you realize the never-ending beauty and attractive spots that are sure to make you feel relaxed. Tourists mainly step into India to experience the divine culture they share. Many historical places in India are listed as world heritage sites due to their cultural significance. If you go and visit these temples in India, you will feel so holistic & nature impression which is unforgettable.

Each part of India is worth enjoying because of the unique charm and favorable ambiance and is the history of India is reflected in the vibrant mosaic of fairs and festivals. There are lots of tourism opportunities in this country as like: wildlife, hill station, beach, pilgrimage, etc are chief tourism options available in this country.

You can plan a long holiday and discover the ins & outs of India Travel within a well-planned budget.

You can travel efficiently to various destinations in India. There are many ways to make travel cheaper. You can travel conveniently and experience great delight in your low budget.

You can easily plan and travel to your targeted destinations in your budget by reducing the cost on travel and tour. While you are in India, the Taj Mahal, Hawa Mahal, forts of Rajasthan, hill stations, etc are the historical structures and memories you shouldn’t miss.

If you need public transport for commutation, train and bus travelling is economical and comfortable. If you want to save your money in India, do not hire an auto-rickshaw instead of a private car. Some time you may hire, if you need.

Do not spend money in staying in luxurious or five star hotels. Almost all tourist destinations are dotted with many economic hotels. Since you would be roaming outdoor on your trip, it is obvious you would only need to rest at a hotel so choose a cheap place. You can stay comfortably even in low budgeted hotels.

Carry ample water and readymade food items like biscuits, home made chips, etc. You have to travel to many destinations and you will surely need good amount of water in the way. You may spend on lunch or dinner if you wish to try out the Indian cuisines. In this way, you can taste the popular dishes of the place you visit.

Keep in touch with your family and friends living out of India. You can make free international calls using the latest calling services. Your loved ones are surely worried about you so it is important to connect to them through international calling, emails or sms.

Find more on how to Make cheap calls to India!

DISCLAIMER: This article was submitted by a user and does not reflect IdiscoverIndia.com or any of our  companies views.

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How to select your dream India trip : 5 Things to make or break

There are practically 5 things that will make or break your package tour
1. Your Budget
2. Where you go to
3. How you travel , How Much & When
4. The Quality of services offered – Hotel ,Car & Driver
5. The Agency you choose to organize your travel

If you can answer all above you are well covered to ensure a wonderful trip for yourself ahead.

India Travel packages

Here are a few things you could possibly do to ensure that you have all your bases covered.

1. Check on Authenticity of the provider : large companies are much easier to trust than smaller companies, or for that matter established companies with considerable infrastructure and reputation ( could be gauged online via their technology, site, investment, etc, while for brick n mortar its much easier as you already know where to catch hold of someone in case someone falters )

2. Offer Price Difference: A large difference in price, if compared “apples to apples” (considering all things said earlier) should raise a flag. As mentioned earlier your hotel and transportation form the bulk of your package cost and if you are comparing equal products then the difference should not be more than 10 – 15 % percent between the two products or services.

3. Authenticity of what is written: so many times agents or service providers will over promise and under-deliver. Some hotels might be sold as a category higher than what they are; someone may offer to book a hotel even though it might not be available at the time of booking.

4. Payment Options: contrary to belief online payment is still one of the safest modes of payments. to pay internationally. You can also wire money (if paid internationally and only after authenticating the company) or pay part money first and part later on arrival and confirm bookings at the hotel. Overall online payments are still safe as they protect a customer’s interest and limits your liability in case of fraud. It is good to provide your agent with proper documentation as required as that will establish your authenticity thereby protect your interest.

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