Last month, a personal finance blogger, Sean from Small Business Billionaire, was planning a trip to India. With the help of other travelers on Twitter, I found ways to make his trip cheaper and more interesting.
Now that Sean is back from his trip, let’s see how he put those tips into action.
Tip #1. Use land transport from New Delhi to Agra and back.
Sean’s first thought was to get a return flight ticket from New Delhi to Agra, but several travelers suggested traveling on land instead.
Here were the options:
- car hire (including driver)
Before the trip, Sean told me by email that he planned on taking the cab.
“After talking to my partner, the cab idea sounds great. Although more expensive, 3000 INR is still just $50 US. And potentially more interesting because the driver may speak English and can act as sort of guide on the way.”
As Sean recounts in his trip review blog post, he changed his mind in India.
“Our intention at that point was to…book a train to go to Agra, and visit the Taj Mahal.”
But then it turned out to be the Holi weekend and they had to change their plan again.
“After talking to a few locals including the hotel manager, we decided against taking the train as last weekend was India’s festival of colors, Holi. The trains would be very busy. Luckily, we ran into a little shop advertising bus tours. For 700 Rupies ($11.50 US) per person, we booked two seats on a bus tour that took us to Agra to visit several famous sites including the Taj Mahal.”
Sean and his partner turned out to be the only foreigners on the bus tour. Thanks to another passenger who spoke a little English, they understood some of the things the tour guide said.
“I don’t know if I’d recommend that way of visiting Agra to anyone but I was really glad we did it that way. It was interesting to travel with Indians…I don’t think we would’ve had the same type of experience if we took the train or a taxi cab.”
Tip #2. Spend just one day in Agra.
Sean and his partner took a day trip to from Delhi to Agra, leaving their hotel at 6 a.m. and spending the next hour and a half waiting for the bus to pick up other passengers.
One day was indeed enough to visit all the Agra attractions other travelers mentioned, including the Agra Fort and of course the Taj Mahal, although it could get overwhelming.
“As we returned to the bus for the final leg home, it must’ve been around midnight. We finally returned to Delhi around 3 am. The whole trip to Agra took about 21 hours, a whirlwind of a day. It was pretty exhausting.”
Tip #3. Stay at Hotel Downtown in Delhi.
The hotel seems to be comfortable enough as I didn’t hear any complaints from Sean. The hotel also helped give them a lot of useful advice on local transportation options, like the appropriate taxi fares to get around.
How good was the advice we got from travelers on social media?
Before the trip, Sean gushed about how relevant the tips were.
“The information was great! So so valuable! Man, the info was so invaluable…a thousand times better than a Lonely Planet guide.”
Now, I don’t know about being better than Lonely Planet, but the great thing about reaching out to real travelers is how personalized the pointers are. Unlike a book, social media is interactive. You can ask really specific questions and get almost instantaneous answers.
Judging from how Sean’s trip unfolded, though, it seems the value of other travelers’ advice lies in the options they provide. Obviously not every tip will be suitable for your travel style, but you’ll have more information that you can use to make better decisions.
Plus, it’s free and so easy.
Want to read the other posts in these series? Here they are: