Tours by Locals

edited November 14 in Travel Tips

In the past, for pre and post tour private excursions, we have relied on companies recommended by Tauck travelers, Trip Advisor, and Rick Steves. While that provides no guarantee, I have been very pleased with those we contracted, most recently in Frankfurt, Prague, Florence, Naples and Capri. All companies provided excellent, licensed guides, separate drivers and nice sedans or vans, typically Mercedes.

There have been some recent mention here on the forums about Tours by Locals. It sounded intriguing, so I did some research. It appears Tours by Locals is just a broker like Viator and many tour companies which rely on independent contract guides. While they may be fine, reading a bit farther on the guide info pages revealed that many (most?) are not licensed guides. That is a big deal in EU countries. An unlicensed guide is not permitted to lead you inside any government maintained historical or cultural sites. I find that a real bummer. The other negative, was that a significant number of guides also drove the car or van themselves- I'm not too thrilled with that.

What have been your experiences with Tours by Locals? Next year we will be looking for a guide for Athens and Delphi.

Comments

  • We used a Tours by Locals guide this past May in Milan. I would guess she was licensed and fully accredited. She took us to the roof of the cathedral as well as a fully informative tour of the inside. Then we did a full tour of the opera house. She did have all good reviews online before we booked. I would use this company again but try to vet the guide as best possible (if possible)?

  • Haven't used Tours by Locals, but have used Viator. It appears that they don't vet for local licensing either. Our first tour through them was in Argentina. It was a great tour, but given by an unlicensed college student who was studying tourism. She was a bit nervous about running into anyone from her program who might recognize that she was acting as an unlicensed guide. I think that just like with Airbnb, you can never tell if online booking services are complying with local laws. I suppose if you want to be careful about this, that booking through a hotel concierge is more likely to connect you with a licensed guide.

  • We have used TBL at least five times. We found them to be very professional and had substantial local knowledge. They were also quite flexible in modifying their "Normal" tour to meet our interests. We generally purchase the "no fault cancellation" insurance with them and when we had to cancel, they put the insurance cost back into our account for use later. A good Canadian based company to deal with and great guides.

  • We were on a cruise and used George's Taxi (www.taxigreece.com) for tours of Athens and Delphi- for Delphi we left from Athens.Our cruise overnighted in Athens. They provide a driver - who really acts like a tour guide. They arranged a private guide for us at the Acropolis and and at Delphi. They will arrange the tour to include anything you want. Our driver/guide was wonderful as were the private guides. Very highly rated on Trip Adviser and recommended by Rick Steves.

  • i have used TBL about 10 times and usually in conjunction with a Tauck tour for either day early arrival or stay over. Communication with the actual guide had always been good. I find them to be flexible, with-in reason. They offer a good insurance offer and if you luckly do not need, the premium goes as a credit on your account.

  • Alan, we used TBL twice, once in Budapest and once in Prague. I'm pretty sure on their profile page it indicated if they were licensed guides. Both of ours were and knew other licensed guides that passed by during our touring. They were both excellent.

  • taxare, 8:21PM, Alan, we used TBL twice, once in Budapest and once in Prague. I'm pretty sure on their profile page it indicated if they were licensed guides. Both of ours were and knew other licensed guides that passed by during our touring. They were both excellent.

    I noticed most, if not all TBL guides listed whether they were licensed. It just seemed it was more subtle though not hidden, if they didn't have one.

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