The best thing about paying in advance is it’s convenient. Travelers don’t need to worry about having large amounts of cash on hand for their tour. In addition, we’ve found that when the exchange of money isn’t a part of the guide/traveler interaction, it makes the experience feel more like visiting a friend.
As well, once a tour is booked, the price is fixed in whatever currency the traveler chooses to pay in. Paying in advance allows ToursByLocals to hedge the currency risk.
Paying in advance also protects guides in the event a traveler changes their mind at the last minute and doesn’t show up for their tour. During their busy season, a day of lost work makes a big dent in a guide’s income, so we make sure they are never subjected to this. In the rare event that a guide does not fulfill their contractual obligation, travelers need not worry that their money is lost; ToursByLocals holds the payment in trust until the tour is completed, so it can always be returned in the unlikely event of a no-show.
So feel safe knowing that you and your guide have nothing to lose by paying in advance.