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tour companies: GAP, Eldertreks, others?

Judy

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We're looking for a tour company for a trip within India. Does anyone have any experiences or recommendations they'd like to share?

Both GAP Adventures and Eldertreks sound appealing. What do you all think about them?
 

Strong1

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India tour company

We were recently in Tobago and spoke to a couple that had done an India tour with a company called "OAT" - I think it stands for Overseas Adventure Tours. They said it was the best trip they had done, and they had travelled the world.

Good luck!
 

JoAnn

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We were recently in Tobago and spoke to a couple that had done an India tour with a company called "OAT" - I think it stands for Overseas Adventure Tours. They said it was the best trip they had done, and they had traveled the world.

Good luck!
'OAT' is a small tour (12-15 per tour) that is part of Grand Circle Tours. Check them out at www.gct.com and you can check out the tours of OAT there.
We have done 4 tours with GCT and highly recommend GCT. Their guides, buses, lodging, optional tours are all high quality and
 

Judy

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I signed up with OAT for their enewsletter. Too bad they don't have their 2010 tours online yet because I'm trying to find a tour I can match with a timeshare exchange request.
 

oldXsTatiC

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ElderTreks

Hi Judy,

Oh, this is a great discussion. I've traveled with all three companies mentioned in this thread.

My personal preference is with ElderTreks. I've been on three of their tours and can't say enough about their professionalism, knowledge and their tour leaders!

I was on their Grand Southeast Asia adventure in the fall and it was another spectacular adventure.

The first time I did "adventure travel" was with GAP adventures. Although their product sounded good and we got to see what was on the itinerary the group dynamics wasn't what I expected. They seem to target a much younger age group ( I'm 53 ). So at nights there was a lot of drinking and partying which, although I'm not against it, really wasn't what I traveled halfway across the world for.

When I went to Asia with OAT I chose them specifically because of their price. What I didn't realize is that there was so much that wasn't included. Meals and internal flights were all extra and ended up to be a LOT more than what I had initially set out to pay.

With my experiences with ElderTreks travel everything has been inclusive. Their sales staff are very friendly and knowledgeable as it seems most of them have been to the destinations themselves. So they have first hand knowledge and recommendations. The small groups of people in my own age group means a lot as well. We all tend to get along ( though there's always one in a crowd that will "stand-out" ). I always come home with more friends than when I left. I keep in touch with fellow travelers and we exchange photos and plans of future travel.

And their leaders are what makes the trips. I simply can't relate how much better a trip can be when you have the benefit of knowledgeable, friendly tour leaders. The ElderTreks guides take the time to get to know you. They're both attentive to the group and everyone's individual needs. They don't seemed to get phased no matter what situation might present itself during the trip. And on these types of trips you have to expect the unexpected. It's part of what turns a scheduled tour into a real adventure.

And that doesn't even touch on the destinations themselves. Though I'm sure no matter which company you choose they'll have an India tour that fits what you would like to see.

I hope that helps.

Happy travels!
 

CatLovers

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Explore Worldwide

www.exploreworldwide.com

Have not used them for India, but went with them on a 3-1/2 week trip in Egypt (north, south, and the Western Sahara) and a 2-1/2 week trip following the ancient Indian civilizations (Mayan and Aztec) through Mexico, Guatemala and Belize.

Unequivocally, hands-down, the best company we have EVER travelled with. And we pride ourselves on being world-travelers :) .

They operate under several philosophies that really resonate well with us:
  • Leave no footprints - small groups, no more than 20, very ecologically-minded
  • Contribute to the local economies - they use locally-owned hotels, transportation companies, etc. You won't find any Marriotts, Westins, Hiltons or Hyatts on their itineraries, nor any other international chains. So if you want those, then disregard my recommendation. You will stay at locally-owned establishments and work with local businesses.
  • They say "We Do More" and they are not kidding - you will explore more non-touristy stuff (in addition to the tourist stuff) than any other company we have ever experienced, and will also get amazing insights into the real life of the citizens of that area.
I don't know anything specifically about their Indian trips, but check out their very detailed and well written website.
 

Judy

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XsTatiC, Very helpful comparison. Thank you.
I'm leaning toward Elderhostel. There are only three things keeping me from booking right now:

1. All meals are included. I'm concerned that either we won't like what they choose to serve, or (even in India) they won't accommodate my lacto-vegetarian diet. They've assured me that they will, but I've heard that before (from others) and it hasn't been done.

2. The price is way more than the other tour companies I'm considering. Wondering if they're worth it.

3. The $500 non-refundable deposit. We're looking at a November 2010 trip and a lot could happen in 22 months.

Can you give me any more information?
 

MULTIZ321

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Judy,

I'm sure you thought of this - if you go with the $500 non-refundable deposit, don't forget to look into trip insurance. I think you could get a policy that would cover the deposit. Also compare coverages of the medical evacuation portion of the policy. Different policies have different price caps and different rules for what would trigger a medical evacuation.

If you haven't already check out the Tug Sticky on Travel Insurance Advice


Sound like you're going to have a great trip.


Richard
 

oldXsTatiC

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XsTatiC, Very helpful comparison. Thank you.
I'm leaning toward Elderhostel. There are only three things keeping me from booking right now:

1. All meals are included. I'm concerned that either we won't like what they choose to serve, or (even in India) they won't accommodate my lacto-vegetarian diet. They've assured me that they will, but I've heard that before (from others) and it hasn't been done.

2. The price is way more than the other tour companies I'm considering. Wondering if they're worth it.

3. The $500 non-refundable deposit. We're looking at a November 2010 trip and a lot could happen in 22 months.

Can you give me any more information?
1. We've had people on our trips with all three companies I mentioned who have had strict dietary restrictions. Whether it's been allergy related or dietary preference (vegetarian) they've all been accommodated. So, I'm not sure I can help you out on that. It's unfortunate you were promised somethign in the past regarding food requirments and it was not followed through on.

2. Price is of course a factor. You may have a brilliant time on the cheapest option available to you or vice-versa. I will say that the type of accommodation has tended to be better on the ElderTreks trips (and as I noted earlier their leaders seem to be much better). However the sleeping part is the least adventurous part of the trip anyway, so that is never a concern of mine. Two quotes come to mind. 1 "you get what you pay for." 2. "you never know until you try". So I'm not sure I can help make this decision for you.

3. I've had to cancel a trip with ElderTreks before. I did have insurance though and was able to get it back from the insurance company. That said, ElderTreks also held an amount of my deposit in escrow so I was able to use all but a small administration fee ( I think it was everything but a $150 for the work they had put into my booking already ) towards a future booking. Which I did use without a problem.

Anyway, a lot can be said about your gut-feeling about a company. So choose the one that you feel most suits your needs and that you feel most comfortable with.

I was just looking at the ElderTreks website. Until March 15th they're offering 15% off all 2010 departure dates. That may help you with your decision.

Let us know what you decide. It's very exciting to be in the planning stages of a big adventure.

Cheers.
 
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