There can be very different ways, how to explore the new city. You can do it alone with or without previous preparations, trust your friend, who is living there or know the place very well, buy hop-on hop-off bus ticket or book the guided excursions. Previous ones today can be various as well, starting with the theme you choose, or type you want to do that: by bus, by bicycle, by Vespa or simply on foot. Many choices, huh? Usually on my trips I trust or in my prepared plan, what I would love to see and do, or in adventures, when I am not planning at all and letting myself to be surprised by things which are waiting on the next corner. But my new discovery is free guided city tours on foot. Till now I’ve tried them in Amsterdam and Oxford and really got satisfied. Those guides are professional ones who are working on a tip-based system: firstly the tour and only secondly – tipping. You can evaluate the quality of excursion and then have free will to decide how much money you would love to leave for a guide.
What I love about this kind of tours from my little experience? That guides are sincere, funny, telling stories and jokes about the place from real local life and which you could easily not get know by discovering city by yourself. And as well – there are no forced advertising of cafés, bars, restaurants, shops or any other places, which are suggested as “best in town” only due to their collaboration, and not necessarily due to the real quality. Of course, you can reach such information, but guides are subtle about these things. They could not take a risk with not getting good tips while providing too much ads. However if you wish – I am sure that you can always ask for suggestions or take some flyers with discounts.
So to sum up, my Amsterdam was mainly about the stories from Red light district and its inner life as well as the best Coffee shops in town. Must add the free cheese tasting too! My Oxford was related with mysterious and secret things, which are happening under closed Colleges’ doors. Let’s not forget stories about hidden cellars as well! I really enjoyed those experiences and I am sure that I will not hesitate to use them once again in any of my future trips. And such my opinion was formed not by the chance to decide how much you wanna pay, but by my really good time spent and interesting things I got known.
In those free guided tours usually are coming quite many people. I remember that in Amsterdam there was really a huge crowd of tourists, who all were divided in nearly 10 different groups.
Free tours today you can find in almost every city. Just make a small research online and enjoy a bit different type of acquaintance with a new city. I could not say that all of them should be really professional, good and funny. But when is all about tipping – you can simply try and decide if it was worth or not.