Finding a legitimate local guide

How can Colin find a reputable local guide when he travels to Greece in August, and avoid getting scammed?


Q. Colin
I’m travelling to Greece in August, and I have just read your article on whether or not you should hire a travel guide. Can you tell me where I can find a reputable local guide? Is there some sort of guide directory I can access? I don’t want to get scammed, and I don’t know where to start.

A. Good question Colin – it’s not much good knowing you need a guide if you don’t know how to find one! While there’s always the option of asking the concierge at your hotel when you arrive, there are also some online resources to pair you up with the right person.

The Rent-A-Guide website is one of the largest in the world. It operates in over 80 countries, and it offers pre-packaged tours offered by private guides. You can book in with a small group, or find someone offering a one-on-one package. Either way, you’ll know what you’re getting ahead of time.

The Viator website is better known as a third-party reseller for empty spots on bus tours, but it also allows you to search for private guides by destination. You can see descriptions and reviews for each guide, and Viator provides contact details, so you can get in touch directly.

Lesser-known in Australia, but quite popular overseas, the Shiroube website not only offers guides by location, but also sorts them by interests and languages spoken. This is a great resource, as the website focuses more on the local guides than on big group tours.

Finally, you might want to check out the new part of the Airbnb website called ‘Airbnb Experiences’. Some of the experiences on offer are tours, and you can see ratings and reviews, just like with Airbnb accommodation. This is also a great way to find unusual activities in the city you are visiting, or to discover a tour guide with specialist knowledge, such as a well-known graffiti artist offering a tour of the local street art, or a history lecturer offering historical tours of the city in their free time.

No matter which website you use, it’s important to put your safety first. Always ask to see identification or a tour guide licence from your tour guide, and let someone know where you are going.

If you have a Travel SOS question, send it to [email protected] and we’ll do our best to answer it, or find someone who can.

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