There is a good chance I won’t go for car rental service when the next time I visit India. Of course, this will also greatly depend on the people whom I will travel with, as well as the purpose of my trip, and the places in India I will visit. If I am going with someone like Yik for a backpacking trip, for experiencing the culture and local life, then I would prefer to go by train, domestic plane, bus, rickshaw, and other local transport instead.
Of course, car rental surely has its good.
It’s convenient. There is always someone standing by and waiting for you.
It allows flexibility in your schedule. Unlike going by train or plane, you can freely change your departure time or act on impulse, stopping over at a place that you pass by.
It saves time. Instead of spending time arranging transport for your next destination or bargaining with the drivers all the time, the package has everything set and arranged for you.
But what really turns me off is the driver’s sour attitude when we don’t comply with his suggestion of shopping somewhere or checking in at a crappy hotel.
There is this evil commission system and many drivers will try to bring their customers to shops, restaurants, and hotels where they will get paid commission. And yes, this could happen to one no matter she is on a taxi, or a tuk tuk, or a car of a car rental company. But unlike a one-time taxi or tuk tuk ride, one who rents a car usually has the same driver for at least several days. She would want to build a better and closer relationship with the driver of the car rental service for easier communication and better service. But with this commission system in India, one often finds it difficult to count on the drivers to give them reliable recommendations on hotels, restaurants, or shops. Even if the driver is giving honest suggestions, one may find it suspicious and always give it a second thought. How can one fully enjoy her trip if she keeps guessing and doubting others’ intention?
So, if you are not someone who is totally carefree and don’t mind about getting ripped off every so often, then you might find that car rental service isn’t your cup of tea for it actually doesn’t make your life easier as you might have expected it to be.
But again, everything has its good and bad. The commission system, the pushy drivers, the overpriced tuk tuk fee, the long-way-around taxi ride, etc, etc… all these is a part of the game when you visit and experience India. With a sense of humor, let’s just take it easy and enjoy the ride 😉