How to Pay for Private Tour

Old Oct 7th, 2022, 11:41 PM
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How to Pay for Private Tour

Hello, our three-person family will be visiting Morocco for 14 days and with help of the tour provider/agent we found through Trip Advisor has been able to create a trip suited to our interests. We have been asked to pay a $200 deposit through PayPal and then pay the remaining amount in cash when we are picked up at the airport. Is this customary? Also, we have an itinerary that is basically on a Google doc and we don't have a contract or invoice or any such paperwork. Is this normal for Morocco tour providers/agents? We have never been to Morocco and usually do not take private tours or really any arranged tours but we have traveled extensively throughout Europe and Central America and are comfortable with the hiccups that come with travel but this is a bit outside our experience. Any insights into how others have paid for private tours and what paperwork and assurances to expect before we pay for the entire trip? Thanks in advance for any insights.
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Old Oct 8th, 2022, 04:25 AM
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Why did you choose this "agent"? Do they have a website you can post? The whole set-up sounds suspicious.

Are they a member of IATA?

If you have traveled extensively on your own you should be able to handle Morocco on your own. I used a small group tour for much of my time in Morocco, but it was a well-known outfit based in Australia. Most of the bigger tour companies will arrange a private tour for you, you don't need to go with someone that some stranger on the internet recommended (possibly the person themselves, or a friend).
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Old Oct 8th, 2022, 08:52 AM
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I believe if you have zero balance in your Paypal account it can be taken from a linked credit card.

In my experience (not Morocco) more overseas companies want a wire transfer to avoid costs to them. The fact that you have only a small deposit and the balance in cash sounds better than average.

I generally try to have more than one recommendation, and not just Tripadvisor which after all is really just an advertising platform (despite what some would like to believe).

I would ask them for an invoice as well. That is common among small providers (ie day trips). Longer trips a contract is nice, but an invoice would work if a dispute was needed with the CC.

Last edited by mlgb; Oct 8th, 2022 at 08:55 AM.
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Old Oct 8th, 2022, 11:00 AM
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I've traveled independently in Morocco a number of times & have no qualms about recommending you do the same. However, If you aren't comfortable giving it a try then read some trip reports here where there have been recommendations of private tour operators that more than one member have recommended highly. I'd feel more confident with one of those than from a Trip Advisor review.

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Old Oct 9th, 2022, 06:04 AM
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Unless you have spent a lot of time on individual country travel forums it's hard to know if the advice is trustworthy. In many instances a forum can be dominated by a few people who front for their relatives, friends and even their own businesses (Costa Rica, Puerto Vallarta, Peru were notoriously bad). Even with TA cleaning up the most egregious posters and even banning a few, unless "regular" tourists participate posters with conflicts of interest sneak back in. I can't speak to Morocco specifically but I am always wary of TA Forum recommendations for travel agents. Same for TA reviews as I am not sure that people are reviewing the actual agent or just the activity. At least with the hotel reviews it is just one resource of many and usually they stick them on the right hotel, but not always. I'd much rather use someone that a Fodorite has included in a trip report, especially if I "know" the poster.

Last edited by mlgb; Oct 9th, 2022 at 06:13 AM.
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Old Oct 13th, 2022, 12:34 PM
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The OP only posted twice on Tripadvisor. The first on 2 August was to say they had chosen a tour company and asking whether Paypal deposit with the balance in cash was usual. Apart from pointing out that some form of deposit would be required and the final sum has to be paid one way or another, there wasn't much that TA contributors could add.

At no time did the OP ask for any advice on tour companies in general or this one in particular.

In the second post on 12 October the OP wrote, "We think we are using a reputable company ( ) " and stated the cash balance would be over $3,500. There was a stunned silence from the normal contributors, see

I thought of posting but it would be to point out that the company is based in Casablanca and it talks about being an organisation that appoints local agents to perform the tour. But then it seems the manager, Ismael, acts as a driver for some tours, so the company could even be a one-man band. The OP didn't ask for feedback on the suggested itinerary, so we have no way of assessing the number of days the tour company will be involved.

You can't tell anything from websites. Nor, it seems, from Tripadvisor reviews/ratings. The company has 127 reviews and ALL OF THEM are excellent. This should sound alarm bells immediately, especially when so many are from 'one trick ponies' who have never posted before.

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Old Oct 14th, 2022, 01:57 AM
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Coming back on some of the comments above...

@mlgb: Calling Tripadvisor forums an advertising platform is akin to calling Fodors forums an advertising platform. I access all Internet websites with a browser that blocks any adverts.

@mlgb: I am only active on the Morocco and Andalucia Tripadvisor forums so can't speak for the ones you mention, however the eight or so DEs (TA destination experts) for Moroccan destinations do a great job at reporting spam and self promotion, and can generally smell fake from a mile off.

If the OP had asked for advice on reliable tour companies we would have tried to help. It might well turn out that does a great job and the OP is well pleased with their services. I hope this will be the case.

Last edited by Moderator3; Oct 14th, 2022 at 06:59 PM. Reason: Remove link
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Old Oct 14th, 2022, 04:49 AM
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"@mlgb: Calling Tripadvisor forums an advertising platform is akin to calling Fodors forums an advertising platform. I access all Internet websites with a browser that blocks any adverts."

Yes I also use an ad blocker. That is not what I was speaking about.
I was speaking of the "DE's" recommending on the forums companies (such as hotels or drivers) owned directly by themselves or their relatives, or an activity or booking agencey where they get a kickback or a commission.

As I said, I'm not speaking of Morocco, and it's lovely that you have a helpful forum.

Last edited by mlgb; Oct 14th, 2022 at 05:08 AM.
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