ToursByLocals is a company that deals with the online organization of tours in 153 countries worldwide. They are based in Canada, with offices in Argentina, Malaysia and the UK.
The company was founded in 2008, as one of the first of its kind and has since improved and evolved according to the needs of its clients. They offer services of over 2,400 local tour guides.
Their targeted client group are the travelers who want to experience and get the true feel of the local culture as well as get information about the best places to visit, eat and spend time at.
The website functions on the basis of verified customer and peer reviews, so the good service and clients’ positive experience are the only parameters taken into consideration when it comes to putting up the offer of locations and guides.
Through providing direct booking of the freelance guides and consequently improving their earnings, this company aids the growth of the local economy by injecting an extra amount of money into its via guides profits. This makes them one of the responsible tourism pioneers.
The basic thing they offer is the service of tour organization and mediation between the clients and guides. There is a wide variety of tours to choose from - from first-time visitors and local food tastings, to adventurous tours and out-of-town excursions.
Any of the tours you pick are negotiable and can be customized according to your wishes. However, they don’t only organize single tours – the company also offers organization of shore tours while you are on a cruise.
Instead of wandering around towns and cities by yourself, you are able to hire local tour guides and experience each of the ports close up.
How Does It Work?
Firstly, you decide where it is that you would like to go. However, if you still don’t have an idea, the website offers a list of the most popular locations around the world. This can serve as an options pool that you are able to pick from.
Additionally, there is a feature that can come in handy for both those who have one destination in mind and those who have yet to choose: the website’s blog.
This is the platform for all the guides to give their tour suggestions, their views of different tours and the feedback they get from the travelers.
After you’ve gone through the posts that you find interesting or relevant to your desired tour, you’ll have a clearer view of what to expect and look for from your guide and destination.
Once you’ve found your tour, message the guide who leads it, check their availability and arrange the tour for yourself. If there are some points you’d like to add, you are able to ask the guide through the website.
They boast a remarkably well-functioning messaging system that you are able to use for communication with the guide until you meet him or her in person. After you’ve arranged everything with your chosen guide, you may then book and pay online.
Don’t worry about your money, since your card will be charged only after the guide has confirmed the availability of your desired date.
Cost and Price Plans
Sometimes, the price depends on the number of people who come. Other times, the price is fixed and it can be divided between the travelers. For such tours, the designated traveler-organizer would usually have to take over some responsibilities.
Also, for some tours, the number of passengers can be limited.
If for some reason your tour gets canceled, you will receive a full refund of your money. On the other hand, if you want to cancel your booked tour, you will be refunded as well.
However, the amount returned to you depends on how much in advance you’ve canceled, the reason you are canceling and how much the guide has spent organizing your visit.
There is an option to pay an additional 10% of the tour price for the “24 Hour any Reason” cancellation option. In other words, you’ll get the full refund in case you use this feature, which seems surprisingly convenient.
One thing to keep in mind is that all cancellations have to be communicated through the phone on the company’s number +1.604.777.4141. There is also a toll-free number for North America, which is 1.866.844.6783.
The other option is to let them know via email at [email protected] Alternatively, they have a contact page too. That being said, you are able to use these contact options to ask about anything else.
The online reviews of ToursByLocals are quite generous and the grades are predominantly excellent. The positive impressions people report about are the communicative guides, their wide knowledge and kindness as well as the inclusiveness of their tour plans, regardless of the visitors’ age.
A few complaints are made regarding miscommunication between the guides and clients, but they seem to be fairly rare.
Competitors and Alternatives
Showaround seems to be quite an alright alternative, but it is a bit more focused on guides than it is on the actual tours. Basically, you click the guide and then see what kind of tour they offer. ToursByLocals is a better option if your priority is the actual itinerary.
Viator functions in the same way as Showaround does, so it compares in the same way to ToursByLocals. However, majority of the guides who you will be connected to are licensed tour guides, so this is one apparent advantage of this site over the others.
Zeeno and Viator are similar since they both offer options of signing up as one of the guides. If you are looking to become a tour guide, these two sites are a good choice for you.
Another site to consider is ShowAround.com.
Where to Buy?
Everything from browsing the tours to booking and paying for it can be done through the ToursByLocals website.
If you want to travel in order to see the actual way of life of different cultures and visit places that are not on the itineraries of big agencies, ToursByLocals is a great website for you.
Guides are highly graded online, so whether they are licensed or not won’t make much difference. If, on the other hand, you want to become a tour guide, some other platforms are a better choice for you.