Excursions in Egypt: how to choose firm? Tour operators VS local companies. Part 2
So, after the story about excursions to Jerusalem and on Moisey`s mountain from Egyptian Taby, let`s talk about that with whom it is better to go - with tour operator or with local firm and if you decided to go with “local“, then how not to get on swindlers.
of Pro and Contra, we will begin with contradictions between tour operators and the local companies. The matter is that practically all excursions at tour operators are twice more expensive and this with the fact that there is no difference in excursions . The difference in the price is explained only by the fact that tour operators have much more costs from - for the bloated staff: transfer guides, guides in hotels, a bus fleet, the drivers meeting - attendants etc.
Unfortunately, from - for such an obvious difference in the price representatives of tour operators use not the best methods to convince tourists to go with them. In particular, the usual thing is barefaced intimidations, is more rare - attempts to hold the passport or just not to let out you from the hotel territory (but it is isolated cases). Such impudent maneuvers meet only because hotel guides draw interest from each sold excursion, that`s all.
So, main “horror stories“ which tell tourists:
1. With local firms you will go only shopping and to the markets and any shrines and even less so will not see … I Will tell honestly, I talked to many tourists who traveled with different local firms, and understood one: excursions absolutely everywhere identical and absolutely comfortable. Especially it concerns excursions to Israel as tour operator or local firm just take you to border with Israel, and further you move to the bus of firm - the partner which works at the Israeli side.
2. With local firms you should pass long border … to the Israeli frontier guards, of course, there is a big business before what firm took you to border … To be engaged in it there is nothing more except how to find out who brought the next crowd of tourists and to pass quicker those who arrived from tour operator. And if it is serious, then I will tell so: transition of border in Tab pedestrian and as soon as you go out of the bus, further you nobody will accompany. Any representatives and any guides. The Egyptian Arabs have no right of entry into Israel at all if they only do not want to lodge there forever. So you will independently cross the border, in the general order and in the general turn irrespective of with what firm you went. And existence and absence of turns - only a question of in what time of day you cross border. But now both tour operators, and local go at the same time, that is at night what I already mentioned.
3. The health insurance works only during excursions with tour operator … Impudent lies! Esteem that is written in your insurance. There it is written that it affects all your time of stay in Egypt in all its territory.
4. If you go with local firm, then on departure from Egypt some mythical 15 dollars … Here a subject very wide therefore I will tell briefly will force to pay you: if at entry into Egypt you bought the Egyptian visa which just and costs 15 dollars (and if you arrived with tour operator, you will precisely force it to buy), at departure nobody and nothing any more from you will demand irrespective of in what excursions you took part. Danger of payment of 15 dollars at a departure arises, only if you at entry into Egypt delivered yourself a free Sinai stamp and at the same time left for the territory of the Sinai zone - for example, to Cairo or Luxor that is very improbable (rather you will not be let out just out of limits of Sinai). But besides, I will repeat if you arrive according to the permit from tour operator, then just will not allow to deliver you a Sinai stamp (to which you have full authority) even if you very much want it. Your desire to stand up for the rights can turn back long scandal and dismantling. The East - business thin … Therefore do not spend the nerves, especially if you go for the first time.
5. Local firms collect to one group of tourists of the different countries, and not the fact that the guide will speak in Russian … lies Again. Perhaps, local roguish firms and do, but personally I yet never saw any tourist who would come across such silly swindlers …
Boundary collecting: to pay or not to pay?
From several tourists I heard stories that tour operators upon transition of border still manage to collect in addition 45 dollars allegedly for passing of border or on obtaining some unclear visa.
What I can tell: in - the first, before excursion surely find out whether are included all boundary collecting in the price of excursion that enterprising guides did not take in head to deceive you. If collecting is not included, then learn their size in advance and do not forget, as here you can be deceived.
In general, there is such collecting:
1. Exit collecting - a payment for departure from the territory of Israel. This fee is paid as you understood, at return to Egypt, and it makes 31 dollars.
2. Entrance collecting - a payment for entrance on the territory of Egypt. It is paid, as well as the first, at return to Egypt, makes 14 dollars.
Total: 45 dollars.
However concerning this collecting one important rule exists: under the law, you can not pay them if your hotel is in the special territory - around Taby, within 2 - x kilometers from border (as a reference point the Tobya hotel usually is called), and you do not plan to leave for this territory. As the proof it is possible to use confirmation of armor in hotel or a room key. But here it is worth making a reservation that this focus takes place only with the Israeli exit collecting. Egyptians all the same will pull out 14 (absolutely illegal) dollars what you neither proved to them and nor showed. East, in a word.
Pay attention! If you plan to go to Luxor or Cairo, then there it is better for to go to Israel, otherwise after Israel there can be problems at departure from the Sinai zone. The reason is that the notorious Egyptian visa for 15 dollars is single, and at departure from Egypt to Israel it will be extinguished, and upon return to Egypt all automatically puts that free Sinai stamp which limits your movements across Egypt.
How to choose local firm
in conclusion of several words about how to choose local travel agency if you decided not to go with tour operator. There are several simple rules:
1. Too low price (for example, it is less than 80 dollars for 1 - day excursion to Israel or the price is 3 times less, than at tour operator) or fast reduction of the price depending on your reaction to it - a bad sign.
2. It is desirable that the firm had a sound website filled with information on excursions. Surely have to be: responses of tourists, contact information, cost and all conditions.
3. When landing in the bus only that person whose name to you was told in advance has to meet you. Some firms resort even to use of “code words“ because there is also it that swindlers give themselves for representatives of the well-known local companies, trying “to intercept“ the client in such a way.
4. Besides, if you very strongly doubt, ask to provide the license.
Finally I want to tell: choose tour operator, only if you do not grudge money at all and it is just psychologically terrible to use services of local firms. In general, a difference only in the price and in insignificant nuances (a route and food).
Gratitude for the help in preparation of article: Ibragim Sayed, Alexander Konyk .