Location: Grays, Essex
Wanted: A middle-aged couple want to visit the classic sites of Egypt on a limited budget on a 14-night trip. They also have questions over safety.
Budget: £2,000

Lakeside Shopping Centre
Everything was tidy, and the staff were smartly dressed. I was acknowledged immediately and offered a drink. The agent gave plenty of options, made it convenient to book at the time or later and asked about board basis, places of interest and duration. She had detailed knowledge of Egypt, and mentioned I should look at the Foreign Office travel advice. I was quoted £1,918 for a 10-night Tui package staying all-inclusive at the Hilton Hotel, and as a second option, 10 days’ all-inclusive at Premier Le Reve for £2,536. Two tours, to Cairo and Luxor, were offered for £289pp. The staff, two of whom had been to Egypt, were enthusiastic, friendly and put me at ease.

Thomas Cook
Lakeside Shopping Centre
The store was bright and the employees wore colourful uniforms. I was given two quotes. Both were from a brochure, so not much extra thought was given. One was Thomas Cook’s 12-day Treasures of Egypt tour, with four separate hotels and a five-night cruise for £3,278. The other was Titan’s 12-day Cairo, Alexandria and a Nile Cruise tour, for £2,798. The agent was not very enthusiastic and it was over budget.

Lakeside Shopping Centre
This store was immaculately presented and the staff looked smart. The agent stood to greet me, but didn’t seem to know much about Egypt. They said Kuoni only offers Hurghada. I was quoted £3,590 for an eight-night Jules Verne tour with Egypt Air flights on February 23, two nights at the Cairo Pyramids Hotel, a four-night Nile cruise and two nights at the Kempinski Nile Hotel. The quote was well over budget.

Winning agent

Jodie Dowd, travel consultant

“We talked about multi-centres but the stay and excursions seemed more appropriate for the shopper. It’s important to always be enthusiastic, wherever you’re selling.”


Tui’s agents impressed the shopper with their knowledge of Egypt and customer service and came closest to the budget. Thomas Cook seemed too keen to rattle through the process and Kuoni was short of options, and both were over budget.

Elite resorts caribbean

Top-scoring agent each month will win use of a car for 10 days.

The winning agent must be at least 25, for insurance reasons. Winners under 25 will win a week’s all-inclusive holiday at an Elite Islands Resorts property. The prize is non-transferable and the car must be driven only by the winning agent. The winner must not have any serious driving convictions. Elite Island Resorts will endeavour to supply the car to the agency but reserves the right to request the winning agent to collect and return the car from Essex or a central location