By now we’ve all been cooped up for months, at home, with the same people, same routines… EVERY. DAY.
If you’re like most of us, you’re MORE THAN READY to get out and shake off the cobwebs. Any opportunity to get out of the house, see something other than your home office and dusty exercise gear, sounds pretty amazing. And heck, sharing a few good laughs might just be the trick to help the family decompress —or even freshen things up with your spouse. Wink, wink.
But how to accomplish this in the era of COVID-19, with all the restrictions, business closures and concerns we’re all facing? That sounds like it might be unsafe- or at the very least a LOT of planning you don’t have energy for…
We recommend you try doing something “crazy”- and BOOK A PRIVATE GUIDED TOUR IN YOUR OWN CITY. Explore the next town over, or that famous local tourist attraction you’ve just never made time for. That way, you enjoy the advantages of expert-led travel, with minimal effort, while sleeping safely in your own bed that night.
Now, before you click away, hear us out! There are many more advantages to hiring a private guide for you next staycation.
Here’s the top 10 reasons you should:
1. Its “COVID-Cautious”
Private tours are definitely the way to go, particularly post-pandemic.
You decide the size of your group and can keep it to your household. Believe me, your guide is VERY concerned about keeping you safe. We care about your well-being, our own health, and its honestly just good business right now to be on top of things. Guides pay close attention to the current government requirements in your area and we make a point to keep you away from crowds of strangers.
If your tour includes private transportation, you should expect it to be thoroughly sanitized between guests. You won’t share germs on a big bus or public transit. You also won’t need to stress about finding parking downtown. The guide handles all that while you sit back and relax.
The hardest part in light of COVID may actually be NOT hugging a guide after you spend the day together. We bond. It happens. 😉
2. We’re there for you
Need to stop to take a picture, make a purchase, or change a diaper? No problem, we adapt. Need to slow down the walking pace for grandma just a bit? No problem! Our pleasure. Its your tour! We are your new best friend in town (and much more patient).
3. We know where to “go”…literally
Your private tour guide is going to know where to take you for the best experience. We’re masters of our destination and its secret gems. Even if we visit places you’ve driven by 100 times, a talented guide can help you see it in with fresh eyes.
We do our homework so you don’t have to. We know what is most interesting to see, what is open right now, and most importantly— where the clean and accessible bathrooms are! I joke that in my professional role, I am a “connoisseur of fine restrooms.” Plus I personally never turn down a bio-break, so its good for everyone if I know where they are.
Logistics are an essential part of the job and so we call ahead! It’s our passion and livelihood to be your competent, professional host. We also generally live off of your cash gratuity (hello mortgage!) so we want everything to run smoothly so you can be confident, relaxed and satisfied customers throughout the experience.
4. We’ve got insider access
Small private tours can go places you may not be able to on your own. We have often have negotiated better access to the best sites, behind the scenes glimpses, chances to meet the most fascinating people.
If your private guided experience includes driving, there are many areas that we can take you that aren’t possible on a conventional tour (off-limits to buses) or when you’re driving your car. Hop out to take a photo, we’ll keep the engine running and watch your belongings.
5. It’s more fun
Any private guide worth their salt (who has stayed in business) is going to be entertaining, have a great sense of humor and know how to keep people engaged. We MIGHT even get your teenager to put down their phone. Maybe. If not we’ll certainly die trying..!
6. We take great pictures
We’ve seen every model camera and smart phone out there. Most tour guides are also decent photographers, so capturing great Instagram shots for your Social Media feed should be no problem. We also can check another task off your list by capturing a proper family portrait in front of the Golden Gate Bridge. Presto- Christmas Cards! No extra charge. 😉
If you want to take it to the NEXT LEVEL, we can arrange private photographers who specialize in travel photography, available to hire a la cart or as an upgrade to your sightseeing experience. This can be really fun and one of my favorite upgrades! We can incorporate a formal photo-shoot into your itinerary at the spot of your choice, or even have the photographer shadow us 007-style to capture secret candid photos of you and yours having a good time and sharing those special moments together. You’ll have your own personal paparazzi! (Except OUR photographers are trying to capture your good-side…!)
7. You’ll see new things
I admit, growing up in the San Francisco Bay Area, I never once visited Alcatraz. Though my family went to LOTS of museums, I was 30 before setting foot on the Rock. Finally, I went there on a date and we had a fabulous time playing tourist! Now I make a point of taking ALL clients to spots in the City people “think” they already know (or are too “local” to ever condescend to visit).
Thus, Fisherman’s Wharf is now one of my favorite neighborhoods. Most of us have been there at least once, and then likely dismissed it as a tourist trap. And IT IS if you do it wrong. BUT— the best iconic siteslike the Wharf are full of amazing little secrets, you just need to know where to look. That’s MY job. To find the priceless gems and uncover them JUST FOR YOU.
8. You’ll learn a TON… especially if you’re local
Tour Guides have heaps of information packed in our heads. Its our jam. We do this job because we love people and books. We keep entire bookstores in business.
But we don’t just spew random facts. A truly great guide will read the audience and tailor the information to your level and area of interest.
Further, TOP NOTCH private guides are knowledgeable historians AND talented at “interpretation.” We contextualize and explain the important stories and significance of the sites. The magic is in making places relatable and exposing the human stories so you not only “see” the place, you “experience” it. We create immersive emotional connections that draw the audience in.
Guides answer questions. Lots of them. All the time. That’s part of what makes the job interesting. We are ALWAYS learning.
Brand new tour guides are usually nervous taking tours with locals in the audience. Not me. I <3 it!
I particularly enjoy taking tours with locals and surprising them with fun things they never knew about their own city. Did YOU know we have sunken cargo ships full of wine under the San Francisco Financial District? Or that poet Maya Angelou was once the City’s first black, female street car operator? Or that the businesses of SF once tried to lynch the poor kid who designed Market Street for daring to build sidewalks that came all the way up to their storefronts??? There are SO MANY great stories and marvelous tidbits that may make you appreciate your home all over again.
8. Spending the day with a Private Guide will make you more scintillating at your next cocktail party
Whenever THOSE come back…
9. You’re supporting the community
Private guides usually live where we work. When you take tours with locals, you have a better sense of that community, and are supporting it directly. We are often solo-entrepreneurs and thus small businesses who care deeply about our local community. We actively support peer small businesses. While we may use Starbucks for restroom stops, more often than not its our personal mission to find the most interesting and deserving proprietors in every neighborhood. Those relationships allow us to get you a cleaner public restroom, and the insider scoop. We’ll take you to the best place to buy a respectable cup of coffee and may even show you a door to the secret Prohibition bootlegger tunnel while we are at it.
10. We make quality time EASIER
For all the reasons already stated, and more, hiring a Private Guide will make your day out with your loved ones more memorable, lower stress and FAR EASIER. Whether its San Francisco, Wine Country, or any other destination, OUR focus is on YOU. We do all the heavy lifting so you don’t have to.
Once you book, you don’t have to be in charge or make any more decisions (-this time). You just relax, follow our lead, and enjoy.
Chances are good that we have some secret “Wow!” moments up our sleeve to make the day extra special.
We take pride in our work and want you to have the BEST possible experience.
Its our profession, our passion… and your next 5-star review directly impacts our next mortgage payment! Enough said. 😉
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