There is no better way to gain a feel and understanding of a new place than a guided walking tour. It has become a way to view landmarks and hidden treasures of a place, all with the witty narration and insightful storytelling to go along with it.
It can be a chance to explore the town with a knowledgeable local and gain some insights that many locals may not even fully know. All within a few hours!
The advantages of free walking tours
There are always free walking tours in major cities. Here are some of the reasons why getting involved might be a good idea.
You get to learn about the city
Most of us when travelling care about really getting to know the city we’re in. We can do this on our own, but time is of the essence. Walking tours are going to be the most time-effective way of learning about a place. In the space of a few hours you might not necessarily be an expert, but you will have certainly got a feel for the place and learnt many things.
Free walking tours with GuruWalk is a great example of having locals and/or experts that lead the tours. This means invaluable insights and fascinating stories throughout the whole tour.
The best mode of transportThere are many options for tours. The forms of transportation are increasing. Segway tours, bicycle tours, bus tours. They’re all great in their own right, but walking will always prevail.
The entire experience of a bus tour could hinder on getting a window seat, or a lack of air conditioning. The same goes with a bicycle tour. There are many things that can dampen an experience: finding a place to lock the bike, returning back to it, the safety/availability of bicycle lanes, traffic, being competent on a bike.
Walking is by far the most convenient. Not only do you know what you’re getting, but it’s healthy to do some exercise. Walking also means getting full access to everywhere compared to other, often prohibited, means of transportation.
Travelling alone is an extremely popular thing to do. It can be both liberating yet lonely at times. Afree walking tour is the perfect way to meet other travellers. It serves as a greater bonding experience than just meeting at a bar, for example.
Going on a challenging walk where you all are learning is a good chance to make small talk. It is also pretty easy to get to know someone when you have committed to spending a few hours on the same tour. It is also a dose of home in the sense that everyone will know the same language and possibly a similar country.
Let someone else lead!
Travelling is essentially a continuous sequence of decisions you have to make about where to go next, what to see, where to eat next, what hostel is right for you, is this guy trying to scam me. Free walking tours are a nice break from that.
No wrong turnings or walking the long way. The tours will have the most efficient route set out and will lead at the front. This is absolutely the best way to take in your surroundings, get some nice pictures and enjoy yourself.
The tour guides will almost certainly be locals, or at the very least, extremely familiar with the place. This is the best way to ensure your safety. They will keep you located away from the no-go areas that many places have, such as Myanmar.
It may also be a chance to ask questions about local scams and safe places to withdraw money.
It’s a rarity that you can go a few hours without spending money on holiday. This is that chance. The value that is provided for no cost can be astounding, and improve your experience of a place drastically.
What to be careful of
Always ensure that the walking tour is legit. If you don’t have a good gut-feeling about it, leave it. The best way to avoid any scams or danger is to ask the hostel or hotel you are staying at to verify that it is a well known touring company.
It is also worth asking for the route that the tour will take. It may be that you can only attend half of it, and if you aren’t aware of the route, you could end up miles out of the way. Ask if there will be bus routes half way through the tour in case you have to dip out.
It also might not be ideal if you’re more of an introvert. There will likely be a big crowd of you, which can mean lots of socialising. It also means there is a lack of flexibility in that you may get fed up with being taken through busy city centers, for example. On the other hand, it can be perfect for introverts who thrive on the setting’s ease of getting a chance to make friends.