Find the Insider Scoop of a Destination with Local Experts at GoAskaLocal and Toursbylocals
By Kaelie Piscitello
Ever plan a trip on your own but want recommendations from someone local to your destination? Today only 44% of travelers still consult travel agencies for help planning trips; however, many wish they had some suggestions for what they should do during their trip.
The solution? Travelers can consult and take tours from local experts offering specialized information about their country or city visitors would not find anywhere else. Local experts help travelers have unique experiences far off the beaten path.
Go Ask a Local bridges the gap between planning a trip on your own and having a travel agent by connecting its customers with local experts trained to give great suggestions via Zoom.
Meanwhile, ToursbyLocals provides their customers with in-person tour guides who give unique tours away from frequented tourist areas.
How Go Ask a Local Works
Before each consultation, customers fill out a 30-question survey where they answer questions about their habits and interests, helping their local expert curate a set of interesting activities.
The survey helps local experts personalize the consultation and provides them with insight into the activities and experiences their customers would appreciate the most.
According to Go Ask a Local’s founder, Manny Salorio, travelers can get anything they want out o a consultation session, including restaurant recommendations, tips for avoiding tourist traps, and someone to sit down and plan their itinerary.
Salorio said during a session customers “get to talk with a genuine local expert, someone who has done all of the things that you’re presumably planning on doing and who has also done a whole ton of things that you aren’t planning on doing and things that you’re not going to find out about online because they are not.”
Customers will not feel pressured to purchase anything during travel consultation sessions Go Ask a Local guarantees no sales pitches or hidden fees. The company also offers customers their money back if they feel unsatisfied.
Where are the Local Experts Located?
Go Ask a Local experts live in 43 countries across Europe, South America, North and Central America, Asia, Africa, and Oceania.
Salorio explained the number of local experts per country or region depends on the destination.
He said, “For example, in Mongolia or Peru, we have country-wide experts. Same for Argentina, and this is in part because most people who are going to those countries are going on a single trip.”
Repeat Customers for Italy
In Italy, however, Salorio said the company has more regionalized experts because “people going to Italy, many of them are repeat travelers. They’re going for their fifth, sixth, seventh trip, and they’re just going to a single region so that we can get really specific there.”
Right now, Go Ask a Local wants to find experts in Southeast and East Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa. Salorio said they do not have local experts there yet because “it’s harder to find local experts in those destinations, frankly, so and we have less personal experience in them, so we don’t have contacts we can reach out to.” However, the company urges people from these regions to apply.
Adventuring with ToursbyLocals
After consulting with Go Ask a Local to find some unique activities specialized to your interests, consider finding a tour guide with whom you can experience some of these activities.
According to their website, ToursbyLocals was inspired by a trip to China where the founders, Paul Melhus and Dave Vincent, encountered two women who provided them with a fantastic tour of The Great Wall of China. However, the women were not affiliated with a tour agency and struggled to find people willing to receive a tour from them.
Melhus and Vincent created ToursbyLocals as an avenue for local tour guides to share the place they love with travelers from all over the world.
Finding Your Guide
To find your guide with ToursbyLocals, type in your destination and trip dates, click find a tour, and then scroll through a range of tour guides offering specialized excursions there.
Each tour has a rating out of five stars, an estimated tour length, and access to reviews.
In addition to specific land tours, ToursbyLocals offers shore excursions for people traveling on a cruise.
The company offers a “no one left behind” guarantee, ensuring all participants return to their dock on time for their departure.