Why a local tour guide?
There are several good reasons you might want to hire a local tour guide while traveling….even if you are in a group tour.
For Independent travelers:
If you are traveling on your own to a new destination, it is often time-wasting finding your way around, buying transportation and site admission tickets, translating languages, and scheduling to avoid crowds at popular tourist sites. A local guide can help with all of that…for a price, of course……but often very well worth it. Another advantage is a local guide can tailor your experience to include sights and attractions you want to see rather than following someone else’s itinerary.
For those traveling in a group:
Even if you are on a group tour, there might be things you really want to do, but are not included in the tour. Perhaps you might want to take a cooking class featuring local cuisine, see a particular site or restaurant not included in the tour’s itinerary. Local guides are experts at this and eager to help make your visit extra special.
Often times tour groups will include an “afternoon at leisure” which gives you the freedom to explore on your own….but you are on your own in an unfamiliar place, so you may find your time is not well spent. And here is where a local guide can really be a great investment.
And the reason most local guides do what they do is because they love the area, its sites and places of interest and enjoy sharing it with others.
Cruise lines offer land tours…and city transfers….but you may prefer to make these arrangements yourself with a private guide and get exactly what you want.
Finding a local tour guide:
Here are two companies with excellent reviews almost across the board:
Most of the tour guides are excellent, but you may not find quite the Catholic perspective you are looking for. So we encourage you to check them out.
We want to point out that we earn a small commission if you book through one of these two companies….it helps cover our expenses. We cannot necessarily endorse them, but do feel their reputations are well-deserved.
Tours by Locals
With almost 4,000 guides in 160 Countries, they offer a great selection of local tours and guides. One of the things we like about Tours by Locals is that you view the guides biography and can actually contact them in advance…something that ought to help in planning your itinerary.
Started by two guys with a love of travel, their headquarters is in Austin, Texas. They were originally known as “Walks of Italy” giving tours of the Roman Colosseum, but have grown to include not only other ciities in Italy but many other countries as well. They have offices in Rome, Dublin and Boston. CEO Stephen Oddo summed them up best by saying: “Our guests don’t take tours, they take walks”.
In Rome, we have found several Catholic tour guides that get great reviews. They are practicing Catholics and you can be sure you will get everything from a Catholic perspective. You can find them here. We don’t get paid a commission if you book with them, but maybe they will buy us a gelato next time we are in Italy!
We would love to hear from you by email or in the comments section below. Help us to help others by sharing your experiences.