Well, today was extremely frustrating, to say the least. It all started out well: I slept off my jetlag and planned the rest of my trip.
Because the weeks before my departure had been so hectic, I hadn’t found the time to do any planning. So, today I sat down for a few hours and put together an itinerary.
The main problem with spontaneous travel decisions in India is that train tickets have to be reserved days, if not weeks, in advance. This problem is compounded by the fact that foreigners have a to go through a very convoluted procedure to be able to buy tickets online. All in all, you might be better of to get a travel agent to book the tickets for you.
And that’s where things went wrong. I went over to an agency recommend to me by a few locals and they took a look at my proposed itinerary. On the upside, they improved it, on the downside, they insisted that budget hotels in this region of India are untrustworthy and that I should take a private driver for most of the trip. Unfortunately, they were very convincing and kind of “sucked me in”.
So, that is how I ended up with a 10-day trip for something I don’t really want, for a price about 2-3 times too high. And since I’m a dumbass, I already paid them the 1300€. That’s right. They certainly know about high pressure sales techniques, and I didn’t…
In the evening, I called a lot with Akanksha, trying to resolve the “problem”. However, it seems the agent has her convinced that the price I’ve paid is actually OK. Every page on the Internet disagrees with this, so me, I’ve been convinced otherwise in the meantime. The hotel owner also appears to be super helpful, but I’m 99.9% certain he’s in on it.
The plan for tomorrow is to go over to the agency with the hotel owner to get their commission back (10%). I’ll then go back with Akanksha to cancel the trip and demand a refund. Of course they say that refunds are not possible, so it remains to be seen how successful this will be. I guess I’m going to have to think things through before I enter the travel agency, because in the worst case I lose a lot of money and end up with no trip at all…
On a “positive” note: I now perfectly understand why people can feel extremely frustrated in India.
No pictures today, since I spend my time either indoor planning, indoor getting scammed, or indoor being frustrated about getting scammed and trying to fix things. So here’s my hotel room’s toilet.