*Please see end of post for review of other travellers*
What we were promised: An amazing trek in the forests to Vajrai Falls in the Kaas region, a visit to the Kaas valley of flowers and Thosegarh Falls.
What we saw: Nothing. Except we sat in the bus for 10 hours straight from Mumbai to Satara and then to Panchgani.
Someone needs to put the truth about This Guy out there. So here are my 10 reasons which by the way is not an exhaustive list.
1. He is simply a travel/booking agent.
He becomes one of the travelers instead of being a trip leader/travel guide and loses direction, track of time and doesn’t know routes.
2. He doesn’t do basic checks or research.
Like whether there as an annual event scheduled in the place he has arranged the trip to or when all hotels in the city are booked may be there is a reason to it? Any travel guide worth his money will at least research on the destination for permits, festivals, events, etc.
3. He is least bit interested in people’s safety.
He doesn't bother telling you about the place, making sure everyone is fine and ensuring that the trip takes place properly as planned. Safety is probably the last thing on his mind.
4. He is unapologetic about any inconvenience caused.
Forget refunding your entire hard-earned money even if you did nothing from the original itinerary and ended up spending the whole day (and by extension the weekend) in a mini van, you will barely hear a scant apology from him.
5. Partying at other's expense
His agenda everywhere seems to be about partying. He gets busy having drinking sessions, creating a group bond by playing childish games. I get that you need to create a group bond, but not at the expense of the itinerary. If the next day asks for an early start, partying till 3 a.m. does not make sense. After all, we paid to see the place not just to drink around.
6. He is highly overpriced and even then does not deliver what is promised.
As an avid traveler I can vouch that his trips are unjustly over priced when it does not even include meals or primary travel. Any group travel on a triple sharing basis should not cost you more than a personal trip on a double sharing basis in a comfortable car, right? Please research and do the math before you pay him your hard earned money and yet miss out on some unique locations on the trip.
(I will gladly share my Meghalaya itinerary for free, which he charges a lot more for. It will be a much cheaper trip doing it on your own and will include a lot of places that he skips. Alternatively, I could suggest more professional organisers.)
7. Curated Reviews that don't give the Real Picture
“This Guy” (a) has quite a few exaggerated reviews and posts on his page, not allowing a review/tag option, so no legitimate reviews would ever be seen. (b) Sensationalizes and over-hypes himself to the extent that people question themselves whether it’s only them who had a bad trip or some incidents on their trip, so again no bad reviews. (c) Promises a lot but doesn't fulfill even the basic places promised since people probably did not research the place themselves 'cause they trust him for that.
Point to be noted, his last job was to create social media buzz about tourist places (as he himself said). Guess he really is a pro at creating social media buzz about anything (read: himself)!
8. Doesn't bother taking consensus from people who don't suck-up to him
When the trip is going haywire and you probably need to chat with the group members about how to salvage it, he is busy being a narcissist. Gives a damn about anything as long as everyone in the group says that they wish they could be like him/idolise him. The way people romanticize about him almost makes me want to question my judgments in life. Hence, one review is always more flowery than the other. But be warned that even if you have the best interest in mind to salvage what is left of the trip, he will do what is convenient to him personally, and not to the group as a whole.
Again, since enough (*cough, ignorant, cough*) people now hang to his every word or those of his friends on the trip, he will slyly rip you off the whole itinerary!
9. Excuses! Excuses! Excuses!
Has a bunch of standard lines whenever he screws up. Will literally copy paste the words to every person he inconveniences. This is the experience from other travelers I wish I'd met before my trip.
10. He really is, literally, on his own trip!
If your agenda is to meet new people and party, please go ahead. Else as an authentic traveler, you have been forewarned!