There are a staggering array of tours available now that can cater for all kinds of travel niches all around the world. Whether you’re interested in street art, local cuisine or history, there’s sure to be a tour that is perfect for you. For this article, however, we’re concentrating on tours that will give you a truly local experience, allowing you to delve deep inside the heart of your destination to discover a side of the city that tourists don’t often get to see. If this sounds like your kind of travel experience, read on to discover five amazing tours that let you live like a local.
Tribe Tours, Singapore
If you’d like to see Singapore from an insider’s perspective, Tribe Tours offer an eclectic collection of tours organised by locals. Sharing their expertise of Singapore, the tour guides encourage their guests to interact with other locals and to delve into the nitty gritty of Singapore, enriching their travel experience. The diverse range of tours includes cookery workshops where guests learn to cook local delicacies, walking tours based around disappearing trades and an invigorating experience discovering the city first thing in the morning, including watching the sun rise and tasting the best local coffee,
Tours by Locals, World Wide
Tours by Locals caters for travellers all around the world who wish to connect with local people to experience their chosen destination in a way that traditional tours and guide books skim over. Most of the advertised tours offer a broad experience of being shown around a particular city or region by an enthusiastic local, although once you have selected your tour, you can speak to your guide to narrow down your particular interests. There are also options for more niche tours focused around walking, wildlife, cuisine and more. With almost 2,000 tour guides in over 150 countries, you’re sure to find something catering towards your specific needs and may even make a new friend.
Airbnb Trips, World Wide
Airbnb’s new app takes local tours to a completely new dimension, allowing travellers to book experiences led by local experts after watching short videos demonstrating what to expect. Simply search by your chosen city and refine by your interests (choose from sports, nature, social impact, environment, food and the arts) to see a variety of experiences offered by locals. Once you’ve found a ‘trip’ that you’re interested in, you can click through to learn more about what to expect, what is included and how long the experience lasts. Participants can then purchase the experience and meet up with the tour guide for a fully interactive travel experience. ‘Trips’ are as diverse as landscape photography workshops, karate lessons or sampling a city’s street food scene.
Putting you in touch with specialists who know and love their city like the back of their hand, Cariboo aims to connect travellers with like-minded guides who can share the hidden side of their neighbourhoods. Based in France, but now available in a variety of other countries, Cariboo offers affordable tours that tap into niches such as abandoned spaces, beautiful green spaces and the very best local cafes in your chosen city. From as little as 10 Euros per hour, your guide will show you around their neighbourhood stepping far away from the usual tourist track. Browse by tour guide or by upcoming events to find the perfect match for whatever you wish to discover.
We Hate Tourism, Lisbon
Conceived as a way to shun traditional tourism and employ a collection of unemployed friends, We Hate Tourism is changing the way that visitors experience Lisbon. A group of locals who all live in and love the city, the collective aims to share their favourite parts of Lisbon with visitors. Tours include ‘Dinner with us or starve’ (where a local will take you out for dinner in one of their favourite restaurants before sharing one of the best places to try traditional Portuguese custard tarts and their favourite parts of the city’s nightlife), the ‘City introduction’ (sharing the heart and soul of Lisbon including their favourite streets and the best views) and DIY tours that can be arranged upon request. Based around the concept of conscious travel, the collective promote walking tours, electric bikes and cleaning up local neighbourhoods, as well as offering free tours to local children and elderly people.
Emma Lavelle is a UK based writer and photographer and has her own blog Field and Nest.