Q. Are flights included in my India tour price?
A. Our tour prices do not include International airfare. Because many of our tour members prefer to spend some extra time in India before or after our India tours, or use their air miles, we leave the airfare arrangements completely up to you. (We are not a travel agency and cannot book International airfare but we can recommend a travel agent or website if you need one.)
Q. How physically active are your tours?
A. All our tours are active, requiring lots of walking (up to five miles throughout a day), staying on your feet for up to four hours inside museums and outdoors in all types of weather, and even more stair climbing. Carrying luggage: You must be able to carry all of your own luggage, sometimes up a minimum of three flights of stairs or more. On some days, the tour bus may not be able to pull directly in front of a hotel, so be prepared to walk up to 15 minutes with your luggage. In a few cases, we may leave the tour bus and use public transportation to reach our hotel. Before you travel: No matter what your age, get in shape before you leave. Walk at least an hour every day and hike up lots of stairs.
Q. Are there any age restrictions for tour members?
A. Teenagers are welcome on all Travel Genes India tours. Anyone under age 18 must travel and room with at least one parent/guardian. Our tours are educational (heavy on art, history, architecture, etc.) which some teens find boring, so it helps for parents to prep them ahead of time.
Q. It sounds expensive, how much do you charge and is there a price range or a set fee?
A. We work within your budget and price range and we will always try to meet your budget expectations. However, we will advise you if this is not possible. At times, the drop in US$, supplier rates may increase, which will naturally reflect in our quotes. Our minimum hotel experiences are boutique B&B’s, 3 Star and Heritage hotels and we run tours based on themes. Hence, a completely different experience.
Q. What are the visa requirements?
A. India has launched Visa on arrival for most countries. This means you can apply online for a 30 day tourist visa. If you are staying longer, we recommend applying in person for your tourist visa.
Visa on Arrival: https://indianvisaonline.gov.in/visa/tvoa.html
Q. How can you guarantee a unique life-changing experience?
A. We work with you to find out what is important to you and what you want in your India experience. We spend many days planning and crafting a journey that is just for you. India is a special place which will change you forever. Being a traveler ourselves, we take you through the back doors. We take you on the roads less taken keeping your comfort and safety in mind. The truth is that India never leaves you indifferent. Yes, the cows are more important than you on the roads, the Taj Mahal is nothing like you have ever seen before and the cultural shock will blow your mind. But India’s magic lies in contrasts, culture and landscapes. From the temples of Varanasi to the marble fortresses of Delhi and Agra and the carved sandstone palaces of Rajasthan, there is plenty to explore and experience with our “India Through the Back Doors” tours.
Q. May I smoke on tour?
A. All Travel Genes tours are no-smoking tours. Unless you are on fire, you will never be allowed to smoke (including e-cigarettes) on the bus or in your hotel room at any time, or anywhere indoors where other tour members are present. At the same time, keep in mind that we cannot always isolate smoke-sensitive tour members from the many locals who light up.
Q. Does Rituraj / Shreya come with you or are there guides?
A. Not always. Most of the tours are guided private tours created just for you. Our representative will pick you up from the airport, and local guides will explore with you in each city. You will also have your own trusted driver and vehicle. However, at times we offer small group tours escorted by Rituraj & Shreya when you will be travelling with us along with the local guides in each city. Such escorted tours with Rituraj / Shreya are on request and limited to few numbers each year.
Q. Are these group tours?
A. These are all private guided tours and is not a group travel experience. At times, we do run small group fixed departure tours which are escorted by Rituraj/Shreya. Unless mentioned clearly, all tours are private tours with local guides.
Q. What happens if something goes ‘wrong’ while in India on your tour?
A. We provide you with our emergency mobile phone number. Although we will be talking to you everyday about your day spent with us, we also remain in constant touch with your driver and guides throughout the trip. Travel insurance is mandatory on all of our tours.
Q. Why would I choose you over other tour companies?
A. We are genuinely passionate about India and the networks we have allow you to experience an India that is truly unique, crafted just for you. We are known for peeling back the layers of India, going through the back doors so that you are not travelling like a ‘tourist’, but as a traveler. Know more about Why you should choose us?
Q. What will the meals be like on my tour?
A. You’ll eat like a local. Hotel breakfasts vary widely from region to region. In India, every 100 miles the food, language and the culture changes. The included dinners on your tour will be typical of the region, interesting, and of good quality. Local beer and wine will be optional at group meals, and at your own expense.
Q. I’d love to go to India but I don’t like curry.
A. India is a diverse country, especially with respect to food. While there may be a variety of curries, you will learn that there are many different styles of food and you will learn to love the food. Many hotels and the bigger cities have a variety of cuisines available, including Chinese, Italian, and western cuisines. However, we are sure that you will love the India food once you have tasted it. Check out these 52 Indian Food Dishes To Eat in India
Q. How much time do you spend with me to figure out what my needs are?
A. After our initial email conversation, we will either talk on phone or skype to discuss your needs. We will ask you detailed discovery questions to help uncover what’s important to you. We may talk a few more times till we get your itinerary right. We will remain in contact with you, up until your time of departure.
Q. What is your experience in this area and how long have you been in travel taking people to India?
A. Dr. Rituraj & Shreya has personally been visiting, living and travelling extensively in India & abroad since 1999. Being a dentist and a travel blogger, Dr. Rituraj has traveled extensively in India while his charming wife, Shreya has many International trips to boast as well. Moreover, Rituraj’s father (Raj B Pathak) is the senior-most a tour guide in India with over 50 years of experience of handling tourists in India. Our ground partners in India have been operating for over 20 years.
Q. Which part of India do you arrange trips?
A. We have experiences for all parts of India from the north to the South. Our most popular destinations are the Northern Hills, Golden Triangle, Rajasthan, Kerala, Kolkata, South of India.
Q. How do you support me once I am in India and if I need support?
A. We give you emergency contacts and our personal mobile details. We request you to bring an UNLOCKED GSM phone with you as we provide local India sim cards to stay in constant touch with you.
Q. What’s the perfect time frame to spend in India? Is there a certain amount of time I should spend there?
A. India is a large country and there will never be enough time to see it all. We recommend spending minimum 2 weeks to see one or two parts of India. We do have one month packages that allow our clients to get the full taste of India starting from the Golden Temple in North, Taj Mahal, Palaces of Rajasthan to Kolkata on eastern side. Check out: Recap of 4 Weeks Holidays in India From Golden Temple to Kolkata in Luxury
Q. What’s the best time of year to travel to India?
A. The busiest and most popular times to travel to India are from October – March. This time tends to be much cooler. But If you’re planning to trek the Himalayas, Mid – May/June – September is best. Monsoon time for travel in South India from July – September is a totally different experience and pricing is reduced during this off peak season. Safari season at Tiger Reserves are from Mid-October – June.
Q. Can you organize my travel insurance and flights?
A. Sorry. We are not a travel agency and cannot book flights or insurance but we can recommend a travel agent or website if you need one.
Q. What’s included and not included in the cost?
A. We will provide you with your list of inclusions when you receive your itinerary. General inclusions are accommodation, day tours with private guides, daily breakfast and some meals, cab with fuel and all road taxes.
All tour costs are based upon the specified services in your customized itinerary as per the “Inclusions” section. Tour costs generally include accommodations as specified; private sightseeing with local, English-speaking guides; admission fees (unless otherwise specified); meals as indicated in detailed itinerary; accommodation taxes and service charges; regional surface transportation; internal flights (if specified as included); airport, train station and/or port transfers as specified; government fees and local handling charges. Itemized cost breakdowns are not available. Please refer to the “Inclusions” section of your personalized itinerary for detailed information regarding which services are included in your tour cost.
Quoted tour prices include extensive personalized planning and operational charges, and are based on current rates of exchange, domestic airfares, tariffs and taxes as of the date of issuance of your itinerary. Prices are valid for the travel dates specified in your confirmed itinerary. Travel Genes reserves the right to increase tour prices to cover increased costs, airfares, tariffs and taxes, and to reflect fluctuations in foreign exchange markets.
Unless otherwise specified in your detailed itinerary, international flights, private air charters, airport departure taxes, tips/gratuities, laundry, alcoholic beverages, excess baggage charges, visa fees for visas obtained on arrival, travel insurance, tours indicated as optional or not specified in the itinerary, items of a personal nature, tips, video camera fees and any items not specifically listed as included, are not included.
Q. Have you seen the places you are going to book me into?
A. Our team have visited and hand-picked the properties and places on our itineraries.
Q. What kind of references and testimonials do you have from your past clients?
A. Many of our client testimonials are on our website and references can be provided to you on request.
Q. I really want to see tigers; can you guarantee I will see a tiger?
A. As you will be visiting wild animals in their natural setting, we have no control over seeing a tiger. We know which national parks which you may have a better chance of tiger spotting. We highly recommend not focusing on JUST seeing a tiger, as there are many wonderful animals and landscapes that can be seen in the wilderness of India.
Q. Is it OK to bring my children to India?
A. We have clients that have traveled with children as young as 2 years old. Tailored journeys are a safer option for travelling with children.
Q. I have food requirements, will they be catered for?
A. We have clients with dietary requirements and we do our best to inform the hotels about their needs. While we cannot take responsibility for tour members with special dietary needs or allergies, vegetarians and those with dietary restrictions usually manage fine with a little flexibility and willingness to supplement meals at their own expense as needed. Please discuss your dietary restrictions with your guide at the beginning of the tour so he or she can assist you with meals when possible.
Q. What things do I need to bring to India?
A. We suggest visiting your doctor on your vaccination requirements. More information can be found on our website: What to Pack For India Travel?
Q. I don’t want to travel alone. Can you match me up with someone else that wants to go?
A. We have on occasion matched up solo travellers as travel buddies. When it is requested, we will talk to other travellers that have shown similar interest in a tour. If both parties consent, we will release contact details and leave it with you to connect and determine if you are the right travel buddies. Please note, it is extremely important determine if you will be good travel buddies.
Q. Do I have to pay a single supplement?
A. Single supplement occurs when a single person bares the costs of transportation and accommodation as the costs are not shared between 2 persons. All our tour prices are based on MINIMUM 2 Persons travelling together. So if you are traveling SOLO, you have to pay the Single Supplement fees.
Q. So how do I book my tour?
A. To make a booking for any tour (except walking tours) with Travel Genes, you must send a completed booking form with little amount of advance token money so as to reserve your spot. The balance tour amount you can pay in CASH in US$/Euro upon your arrival in India. You can make the payments via PayPal or direct wire bank transfer. In the case of international payments, please ensure that the full amount is received by us after all bank charges or PayPal fees have been levied. For those of you who do not wish to use Paypal, please drop us an e-mail for direct wire bank transfer details.
The remaining balance is required 30 days before departure date or on your arrival in India but definitely before the commencement of our tour services. In case of day tours or food walks you can pay once you arrive in Delhi, or Agra.
Apart from the above in some cases like special train journeys, flight, hotel or resort bookings during the peak season (X-Mas, New Year) full payment is required to be sent in advance.
Q. How can I cancel my booked tour?
A. All cancellations and refund requests must be made through Email ([email protected]). Your cancellation date will be the date we receive your notice. No verbal refund requests will be honored. All deposits, once paid will be fully refundable up to 60 days prior to the departure date. After less than 60 days of tour departure, the deposits become non-refundable as some preparations of the tour will have been confirmed.
If you cancel your tour for any reason, the following cancellation charges will apply:
60 days or more prior to departure – Full refund of the amount paid except the bank or Paypal charges.
59-30 days prior to departure – 50% of the total tour cost is refundable.
Less than 30 days – Non-refundable.
Please note that the refund process may take 2 – 4 weeks due to banking procedures. If the refund is made to the credit card account OR to Bank account, the bank charges would be debited from the refund amount.
Q. Do I have to Sign the papers?
A. All tour participants will be required to sign the waiver releasing us (Rituraj Pathak & Shreya Pathak) and ‘Travel Genes’ from any liability related to any aspect of this “Travel Genes India Tours” since we are not a travel agency but simply someone who is traveling together with other people or assist you in your travels within India. This is a standard formality with any travel booking but we just wanted to let you know before time.
Q. What if things go not as promised?
A. We may need to modify itineraries and/or substitute hotels of a reasonably similar quality, when available, should circumstances beyond its control deem it necessary and therefore reserves the right to do so. Keep in mind that travel itinerary and activities are subject to change sometimes due to un-avoidable circumstances beyond our control such as VIP foreign delegation visits to monuments (because of which monuments are closed for few hours). Travel almost always involves unexpected situations so things might need to be re-arranged at the last-minute. It is important to remember that travel is all about the journey, and so even the unexpected situations we may face should be treated as part of the travel experience.
Q. How will I use ATM/credit cards?
A. To pay for things which are not included with your tour, you’ll need to have access to money — and it’s important to have a second source of cash if one method doesn’t work. We recommend bringing at least one credit card plus a debit card and some cash in the form of US$ or Euro.
Q. Do I need to worry about pickpockets?
A. In India, tourists are rarely mugged but pickpockets are common. Be careful on all public transportation and in crowds. Watch for distraction tactics such as dropped coins, “accidental” spills, overly friendly children, or locals asking you for directions! Thieves thrive on fresh-off-the-plane tourists. Keep your hands on your bags, sling your day bag across the front and wear that moneybelt!
Q. How will free-time activities during the guided tour be handled?
A. Your guide, tour assistant and guidebook are great resources for free-time options. Occasionally your guide may “lead” an optional activity for those who want to tag along.
Q. Why India? Why is India such a good destination to travel to?
A. India is a destination unlike any other. India has something to offer everyone. Beautiful beaches, wilderness, Himalayas, luxury, wellness, cultural diversity and amazing history, local experiences and more. We can customize an experience that is suited to your needs.