My family and I will be basing ourselves in Kuala Lumpur (at my wife's parents house) and plan to tour around SE Asia, India and China over a period of seven months.
I'm looking for advice on the best method of arranging travel tours and excursions.
I've looked at lots of glossy brochures here in the UK but they're way overpriced. They're nice in that they offer the least hassle and are covered by insurance schemes if anything goes wrong. They tend to stick to the beaten track but some specialists do offer pretty unique tours.
Another option is to book tours from travel agents in Malaysia when I'm there since I know the price of a package varies depending on the country you originate from.
Alternatively I can try to book ahead of time directly with a tour operator based in the country I want to visit. For example there's lots of tour operators in New Delhi that you can find using the 'net. But you really don't have any idea of the quality of the organisation you pick.
Or I can fly to a starting city (New Delhi, Hanoi, Shanghai) and walk into a local operator. I expect that might be the cheapest but I expect they will often be very mainstream. It's hard to assess the quality of the operator too.
And of course there's always just hitting the open road but it's not so easy when you're bringing a family along - kids are 8 & 12.
The regions I'm particularly looking at are Rajasthan, North Vietnam and China.