India vacation by train

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Vacation type
Small group vacations
Small group travel is not large group travel scaled down. It is modelled on independent travel – but with the advantage of a group leader to take care of the itinerary, accommodation and tickets, and dealing with the language. It’s easy to tick off the big sights independently – but finding those one-off experiences, local festivals, traveling markets and secret viewpoints is almost impossible for someone without the insider knowledge gained from years in the field. If you’re heading off on a gap year your, perhaps – but for those with a two-week vacation, a small group tour will save valuable planning time.

The leaders are not guides – they’re not there to shepherd you around. Instead, they’ll let you know which local restaurant serves great value food – without running the risk of travelers’ tummy. They’ll allow you to avoid hour-long queues at train stations and attractions.

We like to think of small group travel as the Goldilocks option. It is independent travel without the fuss, worry and bunk beds – and organised travel without the coaches. And it’s cheaper than a tailor made tour. It’s sits somewhere in the middle – and we think it’s just about right.
What are the main benefits?
Big experiences
Have big, life-enriching experiences that would be impossible to organise without lots of time and insider knowledge.

Make the most of your vacation time by letting someone else do the hard work and boring logistics!

Peace of mind
Small group tours take care of the security aspects – and provide a safety net should anything unexpected happen.
Who is it ideal for?
Travelers who are short of time
If you don’t have three months to spend exploring, small groups trips let you cover more ground in less time. Your days are not spent queuing for tickets or finding hotels – so you can squeeze more into your vacation.

Solo travelers who’d like company
Likeminded travel companions plus peace of mind for those traveling alone. Single supplements are usually available – providing privacy if you want it.

Less confident travelers
Stray from the tourist trail without worrying about getting lost, and meet local people without dealing with the language barrier.
“I won’t get any privacy!”
Couples and friends have private rooms, and you can choose to eat alone or not. Single supplements give solo travelers their own room.

“There won’t be any free time”
Free mornings or afternoons let you explore on your own, or just relax.

“The accommodation will be basic”
Trips are as high or low end as you like. Though off the beaten track destinations won’t have luxury hotels, this is all part of the adventure.

“I won’t like the other travelers!”
Tour operators try to create groups with a similar demographic – age, families, activity levels... Chances are, you’ll even make new friends.

“Will we be following an umbrella?”
Meet a local guide
No matter how experienced your group leader, they can never make up for the knowledge gained from a lifetime in the destination. That’s why many of our trips work with local guides around the world – who invite you into their homeland with pleasure.

Responsible tourism

As the pioneers of responsible tourism, we screen every trip so you can travel knowing your vacation will help support conservation and local people.

Through all the debate over the relative environmental merits of different forms of transport, it is generally accepted that rail travel is a lower carbon option than flying. Conscious of our impact on the environment, this rail tour eliminates internal flights completely from the itinerary. Furthermore, by opting to travel on public trains for most journeys, we are drastically reducing the reliance on privately chartered transport within our tour. All travel has impacts. We are confident this tour keeps those to a minimum.

The experience of seeing a tiger (or tigers!) in the wild is one of the most incredible wildlife experiences there can be… yet the tiger is critically endangered and time is running out to save it. As an operator who takes people to see tigers, we have a responsibility to work towards their conservation. Given that there are estimated to be less than 1,400 tigers left in the wild in India, we do not think it is sufficient to just give money. For this reason we joined Travel Operators for Tigers (TOFT). This travel industry body works together with suppliers in India's wildlife reserves to ensure the environmental and business practice of all proactively supports conservation and motivates the local community to protect the tiger. TOFT directs a significant proportion of its funding to Global Tiger Patrol to support specific conservation and anti-poaching measures. We joined TOFT specifically because this is a proactive campaign. Since joining we have also enlisted our supplier in India and have been working with the hotels and lodges we use to ensure they too are working to preserve the environment and support local people to protect the tiger.

Whilst on game drives we ensure we abide by park regulations to minimise disruption to the wildlife we have come to see. Train travel is a great way to meet local people at get a more personal experience of travel in their country. Many Indians speak good English so this is an excellent opportunity to get chatting, though we do encourage you to try a few words of the local lingo! We hope to get a good insight into some of the traditional peoples and lifestyles in this part of the world too and your tour leader will be able to facilitate and inform.

In addition to the above, we are continually looking for ways to improve and are proud to be ‘Responsible in everything we do’. Education is key and so all staff, Tour Leaders and partnering suppliers are trained in responsible and sustainable tourism. At our Head Office, we continually strive towards a sustainable and planet-friendly working environment, including having solar panels installed and a company commitment to reducing our plastic usage. As well as this, we have valuable and longstanding partnerships with UK charities Toilet Twinning and Send a Cow, plus many smaller initiatives and projects around the world. We’re members of UK travel industry bodies Tourism Concern and AITO because we believe it’s important to share our knowledge and experience, as well as learn from other operators.

As a company we support Cool Earth. Protecting rainforest is one of the most effective actions to tackle climate breakdown. CoolEarth work with indigenous communities empowering them to conserve their forest; keeping CO2 locked in.

The Impacts of this Trip

Ensuring that local people benefit from tourism is core to our philosophy. We employ local guides at many points, use locally owned transport and hotels and try to spread our custom to a variety of local restaurants, rickshaw drivers and market traders. It’s not just good for the local communities; we believe you get a better experience as a result.


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