Our unprecedented access to information means we can virtually experience a place before we go: a few clicks on Google and we’ve got a 360 degree street-view of Paris’ Champs Elysées, or St. Mark’s Place in New York City. These screenshots may prepare us for many of the sights we see on our travels, but they don’t help us anticipate the taste of the flaky pain au chocolat made in a tiny boulangerie in the Marais, or the nuances of a lively chat with a New Yorker over a deli counter sandwich. Technology has certainly made travel more convenient, but nothing beats the human experience of making a new friend in an unfamiliar town and learning firsthand about a culture different from our own.
ToursByLocals was founded on the belief that no one knows a city better than the people who live there, and there’s no better way to experience a new place than with a local by your side. We call this philosophy “travelling locally” and it’s a two way street that benefits both the traveler and the local guide. Travelers get a richer experience of a new place in the company of a local expert, while their travel dollars go straight to the local guide, ensuring tourism is directly benefiting the local economy.
Our passion for thoughtful, engaged travel can be summed up in the following tenets of the Local Travel Movement:
• If you are mindful of the local people, you put yourself in the locals’ shoes and discover what they really think.
• If you are mindful of the local environment, you put yourself in the heart of it, feel its beauty and power, and do what you can to preserve it for the future.
• If you are mindful of the local culture, you put yourself in the local mindset and share in activities and experiences as locals do.
• If you are mindful of the local economy, you put your money into local businesses and ensure that your tourism benefits the right people.
Whether it’s through sharing a simple home-cooked meal, or strolling the backstreets of a new neighbourhood, ToursByLocals aims to enable travelers to not only see a new place, but to truly experience it and leave with a better understanding of local life in a different part of the world.