Dave and I really can be idiot travelers sometimes.
We like to think that we are savvy and know what is going on, but sometimes we can just fall for things way too easily.
Here’s the scoop…
We like independent travel. We like our own schedule and we don’t like to rush through anything. If we like a place, we may stay for five or six days. If we don’t we will move on.
So why did we let a guy talk us into hiring him as a driver for 15 days!!??
Worse yet, we didn’t even hire him, we hired one of his cars and another guy that we have never met is driving us around.
It seemed like a good idea at the time.
We had been chatting with Jamil for 6 days at our guesthouse. He was a nice guy and we felt like we could trust him. He gave us a price and talked us into it. It actually seemed like it would be the best way to see Rajasthan and save us a lot of hassle.
We had been terrible with booking trains and always had to wait a couple of extra days in each place to get on one or had to buy expensive last minute bus tickets. The money he would save us on days would make up for the cost of the car.
One big problem…
We are now on a fixed schedule and have to stick to our plans. Our driver drives through the day making us get into places at night. We sleep and then have to leave the next day if we want to get onto the next town to stick to our schedule. We thought it would be 2 – 3 hour drives daily, but it ends up taking 5-7 hours to get anywhere.
We don’t get to stay at the places that we want to stay at because he has his set hotels. You see, he gets a commission for taking us there and he gets the added bonus of staying for free. Not a bad deal for him! Jamil told us that we would have a say on where we would like to stay, but we don’t.
It is always an argument.
So now, we are rushing through Rajasthan, stressing about our budget that we just blew and we are completely on the tourist route. We stop where all the tourists stop for lunch paying 600 Rs for a meal! That is more than we pay for an entire day of meals normally!
We were told that our driver would be able to find us 200-300 Rs hotels to stay at. It would offset the price of the car and help us out a lot because we had been staying for 500 or 600 Rs.
Well, it is all lies, we are staying at 600 Rs places. Ugh.
We are really kicking ourselves.
We were also assured that our driver spoke English. He doesn’t. Or he pretends not to so that he can take us wherever he wants to take us.
We have not taken control of the situation at all and it is frustrating.
As we sit in our overpriced hotel in Jodpur we wonder if we will last the 15 days.
We have only paid half of our cost to ensure good service. The service is lacking and we may just eat that money and cut our losses.
To make matters worse, we were talked into buying overpriced tea from the overpriced guest house that we are staying at. The guy seemed so sincere after we checked in.
He said that he was heading to the clock tower to buy some vegetables and he would show us a great tea shop.
We thought, super, I could go for a nice tea in the cool air.
It turns out that the tea shop was a place that sold “genuine” Indian tea in packages. We had just been driving all day and we were now stuck in a high-pressure sales pitch.
As one lady said to us later, sometimes it is just easier to buy, to get them to shut up.
I would like to think that that is what we did.
Car and Driver for 15 days – $480 USD
We Paid $240 up front.
Cost of hotels that he brings us to 500-600 Rs – $11-$13
Number of cities hit in the 15 days – 6
Savings of 6 trains and busses for 2 people – Approx. $200
Saving on Cost of tours and taxis around towns – Approx. $40
Cost of having a driver over and above our budget $160
Cost of kicking ourselves daily for hiring a driver…priceless