Excursions bought from “street” guides and tour operators in Egypt, in fact, practically do not differ in terms of service level. However, there are also disadvantages for both options: “on the street” – to fall into the clutches of scammers, and for a tour operator – to overpay a lot.
According to a tourist who lives in the “country of pyramids” and knows “street guides” and hotel guides from the inside, the latter like to intimidate tourists with various dangers that supposedly lie in wait for sightseers at every turn. What are the risks for travelers who buy excursions “on the street” in Egypt, she told in her blog?
“Street agencies” – who is this?
“Hotel guides like to represent street agencies as such scary Karabas-Barabas. Sometimes they even hint that this is all illegal. In fact, from the point of view of the law, a registered agent has all the permissions and works quite legally. If something does not suit the client, you can contact the police. But it’s easier and more convenient to resolve all issues with a hotel guide, and not go to the agency to figure it out (especially if it is not located near their hotel),” the author compared.
The main advantage of a street agency is cheap excursions. “Although not everything is so simple here, and it’s better to compare prices for excursions you are interested in, and not take it on faith that “street means cheaper,” the blogger noted. For example, for all kinds of water parks, crocodile shows, and other trips within the city, the price can be the same, up to $1.
At the same time, tour operators distinguished by high prices for excursion services often give discounts or hold promotions. In this case, the prices can even be equal to the “street” prices: “But sometimes the difference is very significant – we once sold (a tour to) Israel for $80, when it cost $220 for Pegasus.”
The street agency does have disadvantages, the author noted. However, there are far fewer real ones than imagined or greatly exaggerated ones.
The first one is unreliability.
“By “unreliability” they mean different things – that they won’t take you anywhere and won’t return the money. That you will be taken to the desert and forgotten there. What will be taken away to the wrong place, the program will be incomplete, etc., etc. When there was a case of a shark attack in Sharm el-Sheikh, it was especially emphasized that tourists bought a boat trip “on the street” … As a result, diving/snorkeling was arranged on a shark reef, where it is strictly forbidden to swim. It all ended tragically, – a compatriot told the real story of safety violations and added that having extensive experience in selling tours, she is not sure that “even on excursions from TO (tour operators) all the rules, norms and safety requirements are always 100% fulfilled”. “The Egyptians are such a people … but, probably, there is still a healthy grain here that the tour operator has more responsibility.”
Then the author gave another instructive example. Her friend, who worked in an office selling excursions in the Old City, said that the management took tourists from hotels on paid trips 50/50: “Well, that is, in half the cases they took them away, in half they simply didn’t come. Every evening, angry tourists returned to the office, shouting, demanding money. What the leadership was counting on is unclear.
However, agencies that are interested in long-term relationships with vacationers value their reputation. It is more profitable for them to bring travelers on tour safely and reliably so that they tell their friends and acquaintances about the agency by word of mouth, or maybe leave positive feedback on social networks or the official website.
What about not having insurance?
This is a popular tale of hotel guides, the tourist said. In reality, the insurance company does not care where and what the tourist bought. The only exceptions are extreme tours, “street” agencies, and hotel guides/tour operators: if an accident occurs, the insurance company “washes its hands”, because. Medical insurance does not apply to such tours.
The second minus is the conditions of transportation
If we are talking about distant excursions, for example, to Israel, then after crossing the border, absolutely all tourists, i.e. who bought excursions from different agencies and at different prices, find themselves in the same bus, sometimes dilapidated – a sort of “hodgepodge”. Whereas tour operators carry on their buses and usually they are always on the go.