Main navigation:
Main content:

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Group vs. Private Departure: A Personal Decision

The wedding party we attended

My wife and I were signed up for two tours of India with a non-profit travel organization that subcontracts with Above the Clouds, one tour of the North and the other of the South.

I very much wanted to see India; however, my wife does not do well in extreme heat. Consequently we chose to go to India in January. Since the organized tour was not guaranteed to go, I asked Steve Conlon of Above the Clouds to come up with a backup plan of a private tour that would cover most of the places that our scheduled itinerary would have taken us.

Ordinarily I would not consider a private tour, because of the increased cost. As it turned out, our tour was canceled and we ended up with the private tour.

It was a fantastic experience. We had our own car with a driver and an excellent guide in each place. The whole process was wonderful. We started out with a standard tour of North and South India, with an add on to Nepal and Bhutan. I got regular emails from Steve telling me about possibilities for special adventures.

Perhaps the best of these was the ability to meet local people and have a meaningful connection with them that remains after our trip has concluded. We are in regular email contact with four people from these countries.

It was wonderful to be able to go at our own pace. That meant if something that we saw particularly interested us, we could spend an extra hour or two there; and if a place was not of interest we could spend less time there.

We had four different guides in India. Each guide was outstanding and gave us an understanding of the local history, art and culture. They also focused on what we wanted to learn and do, and they did it taking our rhythm into consideration. We got to participate in the wedding preparations of one of our guide's family members in Jodhpur. We had dinner in the home of the guide and his family. We met people with varied backgrounds and had an opportunity to see a segment of India that it would not have been possible to see with a group.

My wife went to India with me, although she had reservations about being subjected to the poverty and overpopulation of India. Within a week we were talking about the next time we would visit India. I developed a love for the country and its people and a depth of knowledge of the country and people that would not have been possible on a tour. Overall, it was really worth the extra cost.


~Richard & Dorothy Dorsay
Above the Clouds Alumni


Street scene
Share |

Post a Comment

No Account Needed! To post a comment without any kind of account, you can type in a name or nickname and an email (which is not displayed) then select “I'd rather post as guest.” We’d love to hear from you!

comments powered by Disqus
Richard & Dorothy Dorsay

Related Posts

It is a country of sensory overload, and no traveler goes home unaffected by India.

2015 Special Departures:

  • Ohdeardrea Dreams Of India

    • Dreamed up in the colorful world of Ohdeardrea and curated by the adventure travel experts. A colorful two week journey through Rajasthan focusing on meeting artisans, learning the secrets of spices, exploring market life and celebrating Holi - the festivals of colors - where it was born.

Check Out Our Sample India Itineraries:

  • Impressions of Kerala: A Dream Trip to India's Best Kept Secret

    • This small state has a long history that is largely unknown! The origin of the spice trade and the home to some of the best educational opportunities in the country - not only is this hidden corner of the subcontinent unique - but absolutely beautiful.

  • Tiger Tiger

    • India has always been known for its majestic tigers. With the preserves growing and offering hope to the cats and their future, there is no time like now to visit, support and see first hand these wonderful creatures.

  • Classic Rajasthan

    • Hope to the most well-known sites in all of India there are still ways to offer travel to this corner of the country that is unique, off-the-beaten path and full of special surprises!

  • Sikkim: Kangchenjunga Base Camp

    • This trek is rarely done due to the level of remoteness and rarity of head guides who know the area. In this case, that is not a problem - led by Everest Sumitteer and Darjeeling native, Jamling Tenzing Norgay - this trek offers superb views and access to a rarely traveled corner of the Himalayas.

Check Out Our Other Destinations Too!