How it works:
- Unofficial guides will offer to help you skip the queue if you sign up for an expensive private tour with them.
- First, they will overcharge you on entrance tickets.
- Next, tour quality is likely to be low as such guides are not trained and are incentivized to finish the “tour” quickly so they can pick up other tourists.
- After the “tour”, they may also bring you to a carpet shop where they get a cut.
Places to beware:
- Istanbul: Hagia Sophia Museum/Church (Ayasofya), Blue Mosque, Sultanahmet District
What to do:
- There may be good unofficial guides – test them for a minute before committing. In general however, they are not worth it. Get a licensed, reputable guide instead:
- Offline operators: ask – is the operator licensed? Is there a website, office and working phone number? Are there real online reviews? What does the price cover – is it too cheap?
- Online platforms: GetYourGuide (leading day tour platform globally) also has many popular tours (e.g. Cappadocia hot air balloon flight, highlights of Istanbul, Whirling Dervishes Show, etc).