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Here are some travel tips about hiring a driver and or car for use in Jaipur or for a Rajasthan trip.
Firstly, decide how long you plan to be with your driver. and how many days you plan to hire the car for
Secondly, decide the type of car you want to hire - the common choices are compacts (Tata Indigo, Maruti Dezire, Toyota Etios), vans (Toyota Innova), SUVs (Mahindra Xylo). Sub compact cars such as Tata Indica are good for city sightseeing but should be avoided for longer drives. The price of the tour will depend on the type of car you select with the sedans being the most cost effective.
Thirdly, do not wait until you get to India, Rajasthan or Jaipur to meet your supplier and negotiate the costs. You are spending time and money to come to India to enjoy your tour and not to waste time haggling after you get to India. While there are no shortage of cars, drivers and companies offering this service in Delhi or Jaipur, it is important to be sure you are dealing with a reliable and trustworthy supplier well in advance. Leaving things to the last minute leaves you open to being conned.
If your just spending several days in India for the trip, then booking in advance with a reputable company before your arrival is the most sensible option as this will save you time. Even if you end up paying the premium of booking with an established reputable tour operator is highly recommended for peace of mind in this situation.
Fourthly, search for car/driver or tour operator recommendations on the Trip Advisor Forums. Use both searchterms car/driver and tour operator recommendations to get maximum options. See this thread to make sureyou follow only genuine recommendations -
Fifthly, remember it is always safer to deal with tour operators than individual drivers. Say you have found recommendations for a certain Mukesh driver. There is no guarantee that it will be the same Mukesh who will turn up to do deliver the service. There have been cases where the bookings have been passed on to others claiming to be the same Mukesh or to be a brother etc. Then there is the risk of there being no back up if anything goes wrong. With a tour operator, there is a guarantee that they will replace a car and driver if anything goes wrong. With a tour operator, if a client is not satisfied at the end of the tour, there are industry bodies and government agencies that will hold the tour operator accountable.
Hiring from an individual driver can be risky as cases of rape/molestation have risen sharply in Rajasthan. Try to hire car/coach from Govt of India approved Tour operator/Travel agent, they are responsible, experienced and can be held accountable for any complaints.
Sixthly, if you do decide to work with a driver please take these precautions -
1 - PM the poster (the person recommending the driver on the forums) to email you the photo of the driver he/she has recommended
2 – Email the driver to scan and email you his license and it should be a valid taxi driver license
3 – Ask for the make, model and registration number of the vehicle to be sent to you
4 – Do not pay more than 5% of the quoted price as advance before you arrive into India. Pay another amount when you meet the driver and are satisfied with the driver and car. Pay balance at the end of the tour or whatever is mutually convenient
5 – Do not ask drivers for recommendations of hotels, restaurants, guides. Book and research these these yourself. Manipulative drivers can worm their way into your good books and take you for a ride. They can mislead you and say some hotels/shops etc are closed where they do not want to take you.
Shopping - Each city had touristy showrooms where drivers and guides will take you. These showrooms have a good selection of items tourists like but are much more expensive than local market. It is a fact that drivers and guides get commissions from such showrooms. You need to bargain very hard at these showrooms. You can opt to shop in local bazaars and refuse to go to these showrooms but the smart thing to do is to have a look and not be pressuried into shopping unless you get a good bargain. Local markets such as Johari Bazaar, Bapu Bazzar, M I Road have a good variety of shops and you should explore these indepeendently on your own.