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India is a vast and diverse country. Travelers often get confused while planning their tour to India. There is so much to see that it is actually hard to decide which destinations to select and which ones to skip. International flights are pretty expensive and every traveler wants to make the most of his/her time in India. Well, here are some guidelines to make the planning simpler.
1. Time of travel : You need to decide when would you be willing to travel down to India. Best time to visit India is October to March, considering the climate.
2. Duration Of Travel : Next step would be arriving at the tour duration; as to how many days you can spend on your tour in India. If you are looking at a short duration tour, then best option would be a Golden Triangle for 6 nights & 7 days. You can spend 2 nights each at Delhi, Agra and Jaipur. Delhi being the capital city of India, Agra housing the famous Taj Mahal and Jaipur being the capital of the state of Rajasthan together form the Golden Triangle.
3. Selecting the destinations : It depends a lot on your interests. If the royal forts and palaces interest you and you have 10-12 days, you can combine Golden Triangle with other royal cities of Rajasthan like Jodhpur and Udaipur. If sand dunes would interest you then do not miss the desert cities of Bikaner and Jaisalmer with their colorful traditions and cultural events ! If you have inclination towards spiritualism, then adding Varanasi or Haridwar would be a good idea. Those interested in wildlife can combine the famous Ranthambhore National park with the Golden Triangle. There are several other famous national parks like the Bandhavgarh and Kanha national park. If one wants purely a beach vacation then Goa is the place ! For a person who is visiting India for a cultural and architectural glimpse and loves nature too, can combine the Golden Triangle in the North with the famous Kerala in the south. Kerala is a nature lover’s paradise with the ideal combination of beaches, backwaters, hill stations and wildlife.
4. Deciding the hotel category : You need to select the category of hotels as per your budget. If you would want to experience the most luxurious tour, then undoubtedly you need to go for the luxurious properties of Oberois and Taj hotels. In case you want good hotels without paying a premium, then 5 star hotels would serve your purpose. If you are going for heritage properties, make sure to check online reviews and confirm that the properties are well kept. 3 & 4 star hotels in India are not of similar standards as in U.S. or U.K. or Canada. Hence, for a luxury tour, it is best to avoid 3 & 4 star hotels.
5. Selecting a tour operator : Once you are sure of your travel dates/month, tour duration and few destinations, you may contact a reliable inbound (not domestic) tour operator online and share your preferences. They would give you a suitable itinerary and routing. Go for a company which can customize your tour as per your preferences. Look for their reviews online and discuss with them to understand their capabilities and quality of services. Talking to a few references would also help. An all inclusive package (except meals) with accommodation, breakfast, airport transfers, guide, sightseeing, entrances and extra events would be good to give you an idea of the total expenditure. Contact a few tour operators and zero down on one who seems most reliable and professional. Traveling through the right operator definitely transforms your trip into an experience.