I highly recommend our agent Susan for planning a vacation in India. Our itinerary presented numerous challenges since there were 10 of us traveling to 8 different cities in 19 days. Susan was excellent at every stage of the trip—working with us to plan the itinerary, selecting the hotels, arranging the internal transportation (we had 7 internal plane flights and rented a large bus for travel between cities), providing guides, and working with us during the trip as various issues came up. For example, our traveling from Agra to Jaipur was intended to be a combination of bus and train, but, as happens all the time in India, the train was going to be delayed by at least four hours. Susan worked with the ground operator, to arrange at no extra cost for three cars to take us to Jaipur in lieu of the train.
India presents more travel challenges than any other country I’ve vacationed in and I can’t imagine how I would have put this trip together without Susan. We enjoyed India so much that we are planning a return trip to Southern India and I have started working with Susan on this trip.
I should note that one thing we wondered about was whether a U.S.based travel agent would be better than an India based travel agent. Based on our experience I would highly recommend a U.S. based travel agent. Planning our trip was highly complicated and required numerous phone calls with Susan. The logistics would have been very difficult if we had worked with an Indian company because of the 13 1/2 hour time difference. In addition, India is so different that I think it was very important to work with an American travel agent because she understood our cultural perspective and, of course, spoke completely fluent English (our experience was that almost no Indians we met spoke completely fluent English). Once we were in India, Susan and her ground operator provided immediate assistance as problems arose, so we had, in effect, the best of both worlds.
It is difficult to single out any one highlight, but the items we found most memorable were Delhi (definitely see Birla House, the site of Gandhi's assassination, and the jewelry exhibit at the National Museum); Varanasi (the boat ride down the Ganges at night is extraordinary); Udaipur; and the Ajanta and Ellora caves.
Avoid the sound and light show in Kajuraho. I had forgotten how crummy most sound and light shows are and the one at Kajuraho is perhaps the worst ever. The cheesy narration is bad beyond imagination.
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