Traveler’s Tips, Traps and Taxes

by admin on September 26, 2012

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Hill StationYes, the festive season has started. You want to travel somewhere you can lay back and watch the clouds metamorphose into whatever illusions the mind conjures up, mystical mountains, rivers or a valley of flowers. So you planned, budgeted, booked early and even arrived before time at the airport, ok the travel agent didn’t tell you that excess luggage carried, cost a huge amount. The travel agent had even promised you a chauffeur driven lift to your 3-4 Star rated hotel room with all the works. Suddenly the travel agent appeared and you were bundled into auto rickshaw and sent to dilapidated room with no windows and shared bathroom with the person next door. You called the agent and the phone rang for some time and went unanswered. You called again and the phone was promptly switched off.

You ordered lunch; it came – but the Tandoori chicken looked and tasted like jellied eel!  You thought that you have stay in this Hotel for two days? Plus an additional night for free? Then again were meals free or would you have to pay the taxes as applicable? What about car hire for sightseeing? Will the hotel charge a quarter of a zillion Rupees? Why on earth didn’t you read the blogs about this trip? And where was the guide you were promised? Ah there was a knock on the door and the local guide came in. Decent chap you thought and indeed he was, he took you around the fort, the fountains, and the local zoo while explaining everything you saw, even through the historical perspective. You asked where he gets money from-he said yes from every other tour operator except the one that lured you with so many vivid pictures and tall claims about maximized discounts and uber- luxury places you would be experiencing through SMS on your phone! Next day was the day you supposed to go canoeing. As the weather was good and the lake was ice blue; it was really enjoyable part of the trip. Back at the hotel room everything – disheveled. The saving grace- the TV was working and you got entertained till dinner.Tour Guides, India

Remembering the lunch, you thought of eating outside, you were right, the Chinese restaurant was good. The following day you were supposed to sightseeing up to the snow line in a luxurious Volvo Bus (according to the itinerary). You reached dot on time, but the bus was overflowing with people and your travel agent was nowhere to be seen. Back at the hotel, you got a huge food bill + taxes.  You made your way to back to airport feeling disgusted. In the final invoice if you notice closely, you may have been charged for the phone calls the travel agent made to you. And, if a travel agency claims it was formed during pre- independence era; carry a pinch of salt with you. The moral: If you have received an offer that seems too good to be true; it most probably is.

So friends, this is the sort of experience you could have, if you fall prey to fly by night tour operators. If you really want to experience a great time, it may cost a few thousand more to plan your trip and hire a cab  through a reputed travel agency, and no matter what the small time travel agents offer you, it’s always better to be safe than be sorry later on; or you feel taxed rather than relaxed. And by chance you want to file a court case against deficiency in service, remember the paperwork and time involved– will it be worthwhile?

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