CAR RENTAL, DRIVER SERVICE AND GUIDES IN INDIA
There are multiple ways to get from A to B in India. Depending on the distances and infrastructure of the particular region you can take a train, a bus, a domestic flight or do a car rental with personal driver. In the following article we want to explain how car rental in India and driver services work by answering the most common questions we get from our clients.
If you are also interested in a deeper understanding of the Indian culture and the things you experience along the way a guide might be a good option too. Therefore we also want to give details of guided services in India below.
WHY SHOULD YOU USE CAR RENTAL WITH A DRIVER IN INDIA?
- While India does enjoy great train connectivity, getting train tickets and boarding trains on crowded Indian platforms can be a chaotic and stressful experience. Having a car with driver eases the hassle.
- Having a car with driver gives you immense flexibility. Leave a city at the time you like and make as many unscheduled stops enroute as you want.
- If you have a chatty driver it will be a great cultural experience. Drivers usually come from a lower middle class background and learn English while working with travelers. Speaking to them will open new doors to the country that you can’t enter anywhere else
- Car rental in India is relatively affordable. You get the comfort of a nice car and chauffeur. The convenience of leaving when you like plus local knowledge makes touring India with a car with driver a great value for money option.
What does a car rental with driver cost approximately?
A ballpark estimate of car rental in India per day without taxes would be:
- INR 3500 per day for a four seating Sedan Car (can fit up to 3 adults + driver comfortably)
- INR 4500 per day for a six seating SUV segment car. Toyota Innova is the most popularly used car (can fit 4 adults + 1 child + driver very comfortably)
- INR 6000 per day for a minivan (can fit up to 8 adults + driver, has variants that can fit 10/12 adults too)
The prices include:
- A good quality air conditioned car
- Driver services through your trip
- All road tolls or taxes
- Stay and meal allowance for the driver
We highly recommended that you tip your driver at the end of the tour.
- Car rental prices can vary from company to company and region to region, the prices given here are an approximation
- The rates are calculated considering you use the car to drive you from between destinations within a region (longer driving distances). Rates for car hire for internal sightseeing within a city would be cheaper
HOW DOES HIRING A CAR WITH DRIVER WORK IN INDIA?
You can book car rentals and a driver through a ‘transport agency’ that specialises in providing car and drivers or you book directly with individual drivers that own cars or an independent driver. It is preferable to hire an independent driver that drives his own car. His incentive to provide you excellent service is higher as his business depends on recommendations from clients. India Someday works mostly with small providers and independent drivers we know well and have used a lot.
CAN INDIA SOMEDAY HELP YOU WITH A CAR rental IN INDIA?
Yes! Depending on which regions in India you are visiting we can help you find a trusted driver and car hire. Plan your trip with us and give us more details of what you expect and we find the best service for you.
WOULD THE DRIVER SPEAK ENGLISH?
It really depends in different factors and varies from driver to driver. In more touristy regions like Rajasthan and Kerala it is easier to find an English speaking driver while in the North East or in the Himalayas in the north it might be more difficult. The English won’t ever be absolutely fluent and he might not be able to answer all questions but we know that the drivers we book always try their best to be understandable and helpful in the best possible way.
CAN THE DRIVER DOUBLE UP AS A GUIDE?
Unfortunately, no. Guides go through a study program to receive a license to guide in India. With the license they cannot just accompany inside all monuments but also give you a deep understanding and insight for the history and purpose of each place.
The drivers rarely know enough about the cities from a historical perspective. However, they’ll most likely have their own tales surrounding places and monuments. And they often like to talk about their families and own culture. If you meet a chatty driver you’re in for a treat!
For the ones of you who still want to get a deeper and better grasp for Indian culture and history guided service might be the right thing for you.
SHOULD YOU HIRE THE SERVICES OF A GUIDE OR TAKE GUIDED TOURS?
There is no straight forward answer to this question. It really depends on the kind of traveler you are and if you are traveling alone, as a couple, friends, family or in a group. Also in some places there are plenty of guides while in other areas or places you might not find English-speaking and licensed guides so easily. Some destinations have lots of interesting history to dig through (Delhi, Agra, Jaipur…) while other places are more of an experience in itself (Munnar, Backwaters, Goa). So when you plan your trip with us let us know what kind of traveler you are and what interests you the most.
WHO PREFERS GUIDES USUALLY?
- Groups, especially families with varied ages amongst the travelers. This will take the hassle for the main organizer of the group away. Also the driver won’t get distracted while driving.
- Culturally interested travelers with an appeal for history and profounder insights. Often travelers with more life experience.
- Travelers with less experience of travelling in Asia and similar regions. A little help on a daily basis as well as somebody who can minimize the effects of a culture shock might a good idea.
- As a personal preference if you prefer the services of a guide and the conversations through the day.
WHO USUALLY DOESN’T HIRE GUIDES?
- Young people and Backpackers traveling on a lower budget
- Experienced travelers who like exploring places independently
ARE AUDIO GUIDES POPULAR AT MONUMENTS IN INDIA? ARE THEY GOOD?
Yes, audio guides are gaining popularity in India. In fact, they are a great alternative to guided tours. They are fairly priced between INR 100 – INR 300 a tour. Sometimes the instrument can be shared between two people.
From personal experience, we have really enjoyed the audio guides at the Taj Mahal, the Khajuraho Temples, the Amber Fort in Jaipur and the Mehrangarh Fort In Jodhpur.
Audio Compass has 21 excellent audio tours with over 500+ points of interest across the country. We’ve always found their audio tours to be in depth and wonderfully curated.
If there aren’t any audio guides, there will be plenty of other info material. They might not always be excellent but they are doing the job.
WHAT ARE THE RELEVANT ADVANTAGES OF HAVING A GUIDE? WHAT ARE THE DISADVANTAGES?
Having a guide often shields you in cities that are little overwhelming to manage on your own. If you are new to India and similar cultures there will be many things you see that you can’t explain yourself. A guide is a good way to minimize the culture shock.
You can get good restaurant and shopping recommendations. Essentially, you have a local by your side throughout the day.
Something even we can’t prevent entirely are guides leading you to certain shops and markets to earn some extra cash through commission. We work with a well-reviewed and recommended tour guide service based out of Agra and mostly got good feedback but it still happens from time to time. It will require a stern NO and maybe a hint that this behavior will lower the anticipated tip to avoid the waste of time.
However, if you are interested in shopping, a guide might be able to take you to the best shops and help you negotiate. So don’t reject this offer immediately if you are looking for good deals.
A guide will be helpful if you don’t want to research the history, the sights and the restaurant and shopping scene yourself and want to explore a city without stress. However, if you are a very independent traveler, you might find having a guide intruding.
CAN YOU ALSO GET A FULL TIME GUIDE WHO WILL ACCOMPANY YOU DURING THE ENTIRE TRIP?
Of course this can be made possible but it would be very expensive and not necessary. You can easily travel with a driver who can help you with general travel related and organizational issues while we can provide guides in most cities to learn more about the history and culture. Furthermore, the staff of the accommodation we would suggest are very helpful too and can support you anytime.
CAN YOU ALSO HIRE THE SERVICES OF A GUIDE DIRECTLY OUTSIDE MONUMENTS? IS THAT A CHEAPER OPTION?
You will find a number of guides outside each monument. Often they will approach you to sell their services. They are quite reasonably priced and usually have a rate card.
Yes, they are often cheaper than hiring a guide or a guided tour in advance. However, we cannot assure their quality. We certainly do not take a strong stand against them. Often you might find a wonderful guide. However, if you are sure you want a guide then we would recommend spending that extra bit and having a good guide booked well in advance.
HOW MUCH DOES A GUIDED TOUR COST?
The cost of a guide or a guided tour ranges from city to city. They are most expensive in Delhi and Mumbai. Everywhere else expect them to cost between INR 1500 to INR 3000 for a day. Often this will include the expenses of certain activities like a boat ride in Varanasi.
We can book the tours on your behalf and either you can tell us in advance what all you want to see or the guide will introduce you to his individual program when you meet him on the morning of your day tour. Those are personalized tours and the guides adjust the day program according to your wishes and requirements.
In some cities like Mumbai, Delhi, Udaipur or Mysore for example you will find special group tours, sometimes on foot or sometimes on bicycles. If you are interested in such services we can certainly recommend the best operators and book the tours on your behalf.
If you are interested in exploring India with a car and a driver and maybe even with guided services, go ahead and plan your trip with us