At Vacation India Shopping Is Not Obligatory
When you travel with us, shopping is not compulsory. Any opportunities that you are offered by our guides and drivers are done as a matter of courtesy. We respect your wishes and will not push you to shop if you are not interested.
It is quite possible at times for tour guides to become overly eager and zealous and they may suggest that you do some shopping, thinking that it’s something that you may really want to do. But, if you are not up to it, simply let them know right away that you do not want to go shopping; don’t be ashamed or intimidated to say no. Also if you do decide to go into the shops, expect that there will be several attendants eagerly approaching you to buy something. Remember it’s your choice, you do not have to buy anything unless you want to; there is no obligation. You may just feel like browsing around and looking at the items; that’s OK.
Window Shopping is a part of Indian Culture!
We don’t force our clients
Our customers are free to make their shopping choices: we never force them. The decision is always yours to shop or not to shop and we honor that.
Unlike other companies, we pay full wages to our guides, so in case you opt for a “No Shopping India Tour” we can easily request our guides to avoid any shop visits during the sightseeing tour. Many companies don’t pay full wages to their guides and hence tour guides have to depend on commissions that they get from client’s shopping at various emporiums.
However, we recommend that you visit the the local handicraft shops and emporiums to see the demonstrations; how the local handicrafts are made (e.g. marble inlay work in Agra and a miniature painting school in Udaipur)!
Our guides and drivers also receive small commissions on the shopping done by you! Please keep in mind that receiving commissions from shopping is universal all over the world. It’s a part of a good business practice!
It is quite possible that you may be attracted to some of the Indian specialties, in which case we can offer you some suggestions. We will always recommend the best shops and souvenirs to you and you will certainly not be dissatisfied. These items can be bought for yourself or as gifts to family and friends back home.
Points to Remember
- It’s always our policy to ensure that our customers are allowed to choose freely, without any coercion from our guides or drivers. Therefore, if our customers express that they have no interest in shopping then that wish must be respected. In the event that it is not you should call your personal travel advisor immediately to report a violation of our shopping policy.
- Vacation India only recommends shops and items that are legal, which is quite unlike the “tourist traps” that are illegal and very often seek to defraud tourists. You will find that all the shops that we suggest that you visit are lawful and licensed.
- The majority of our recommended shops have Indian features, such as marble inlay work with semi-precious stones (Agra), paschmina shawls (Agra and Jaipur), precious and sem-precious stone jewellery (Agra and Jaipur), textiles (Jaipur and Jodhpur), tea (Darjeeling, Thekkady, Kochi and Munnar), miniature paintings (Jaipur and Udaipur), sandalwood and incense sticks (Mysore) and carpets and rugs (Agra and Jaipur). The quality of these items are of the highest standard which you are unlikely to find back home. If you are lucky enough to find them in your country then the price will definitely be much higher than if you bought them in India.
- When you are shopping it doesn’t have to take long; as a matter of fact it can take as little as 40 minutes to do. But it’s always your choice. You also have the option to request no shopping. Just let your personal travel advisor know what you desire and we will not include shopping in your itinerary.
- You will experience shopping with a difference in India and though making deals while shopping back home may be a no-no for you, it’s what you should get accustomed to when in the tourist shops and markets in India. A good tip for you is to start by offering to pay 50% less than what the seller is asking you for. However, if you agree to a price then it’s a good idea to go ahead with the purchase. Although Indian sellers are normally courteous and polite, they are usually not happy if they agree to a price and then you do not purchase the item. If you are shopping where ethnic groups live in small villages such as Banni villages in Gujarat and tribal villages in Orissa, then we suggest that as long as you agree to a price that you buy the product. Let your tour guide help you to bargain if you need to.
- Knowledge of the exit prohibitions on cultural products like antiques is a must if you want to purchase them. There are certain items once they were made before 1911 that are restricted. For example : copperwares, metal wares, potteries and porcelains made in India or overseas, glass wares, jades, lacquers, sculptures and carvings, furniture, calligraphic works, books, paintings, stamps, artistic works, currencies, documents, handiworks and ancient tools. Note also that any creations from ethnic groups that were made before 1966 and deemed as representative works are restricted from exportation.
- Perhaps you may have some interest in cultural remnants, if so you can visit one of the shops appointed for such. In accordance with the rules and regulations of India with regard to cultural remnants, visitors are allowed to take home such relics as long as they were bought with foreign currency from the shops designated to sell them. If this procedure is followed then there is no need for the visitor to make an application to have these goods inspected by the cultural administration locally. However, when leaving, you are required to declare these relics to customs, showing the invoice and stamp from the shop at which the purchase was made.
- It is important that you keep your invoices for any items that you purchase in India. In the event that there is an issue with an item that you purchased you can make contact with the particular store and ask for an exchange (e.g. If the carpet is too small)
- To enhance your shopping experience we organize visits to a wide variety of shops. Keep in mind however, that we maintain a policy of no obligatory shopping, that is that shopping is voluntary and you do not have to do it.
Special Note: If you do not want to visit any shop or any craft demonstration, do let us know in advance so that we can inform our guides and drivers about the no shop visit. If we do not receive such information from your side, we may assume that you are interested in being a part of all the the arrangements for shopping that we have made for you. You make the decision whether to go into the shops or not. Also note that we cannot guarantee 100% authenticity of the products in the shops that we recommend, therefore we cannot be held liable or legally accountable in this matter.
Also some handicrafts like marble table tops with inlay work, wooden furniture and carpets can be easily exported to your home country. Such exports are subject to customs duties in your country. Please check with the emporium or shop you are buying from and also check out the customs regulations in your country. Vacation India is not liable for any information on customs duties applicable on arts and crafts that you are importing to your country.
We would be happy to assist when dealing with the proprietors of the stores about their shopping policies. In the event that you require a refund we will also help you with the application!