Some questions to ask before booking a guide
- How experienced is the guide? Years of experience are required before becoming an expert, and a very experienced guide will have knowledge and expertise that a novice does not.
- How long has the guide worked/lived in this destination? Just because a guide is well-versed in one part of the country, does not necessarily make him/her an expert in the destination you are interested in. Choosing a guide that preferably lives in (or at least spends a lot of time in) your chosen destination can greatly enhance your experience.
- What languages does the guide speak (and at what level)? Having a guide that speaks your language is extremely important for comprehension and enjoyment.
- What is included in the price and what will cost extra? Check if meals, transfers, and any entrance fees will be provided.
- What is the cancellation and rescheduling policy? Many excursions are subject to weather and other unpredictable conditions; make sure you will be refunded or rescheduled in case of cancellation.
- What type of people usually work with the guide? Choosing a guide who caters to your demographic means the guide is more likely to understand and anticipate your desires. The goals of a gap-year working with a guide will be quite different than a retiree.
Sign Up on GuideAdvisor
By signing up for a GuideAdvisor Traveler Account, you receive access to VIP trip prices, are automatically entered to win prizes every month, and much more. Signing up is good for you and good for the world, as GuideAdvisor makes a contribution for every new traveler sign up to support micro loans in the developing world through their program with Kiva.
To start searching for a guide, simply go to the search box and type in your destination or type of activities you’re looking for (e.g. hiking) — a list of local tour guides who work in the area will appear. Each guide has a detailed bio with his/her number of years experience, languages spoken and awards or certifications listed.
You’ll also be able to read reviews from previous clients on their profile as well as a list of tours the guide runs. Many listed guide profiles and trips listings include direct links to the guides’ website or email address and a “book now” button that leads to their own booking engine. To connect directly with a guide you are interested in, you can use any of the contact options offered.
For me, this is undoubtedly the best way to connect directly with local guides — the money goes straight to the guide, without any middle man in between, and you’ll get to see and experience a country through the eyes of a local expert. Travel doesn’t get more authentic than that.
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