For many travelers, hiring a private tour guide is a luxury. But with an informed approach, it’s an expense that’s often worth the cost. “With a good guide, you will learn and see things that you would never find in a book or online,” said Emma Guest-Consales, vice president of the Guides Association of New York City (G.A.N.Y.C.) and a private tour guide.
But once you’ve decided to hire one, how do you find the best one for you? Here are some tips.
Turn to a Local Guide Association
Most major cities around the world have a local guide association, such as G.A.N.Y.C., that have a network of licensed guides to pick from. G.A.N.Y.C.’s guides, for example, are licensed by the New York City Department of Consumer Affairs. These organizations, Ms. Guest-Consales said, are good sources, and their websites often allow you to search for one based on your interests such as food or history. and, should you need one, a guide that speaks multiple languages.
“Anyone can call him or herself a guide,” Ms. Guest-Consales said, “but you want to make sure that the person you are contracting is licensed.” Also, popular guides often have reviews on TripAdvisor, which is another source to verify their reputation.
Use the Guides Already Available at Tourist Attractions
Many major landmarks and museums, including the Guggenheim Museum and One World Observatory in New York City, offer private tours, Ms. Guest-Consales said. These are led by guides who have extensive knowledge of that attraction. Most of these attractions require that their guides go through several months of training before they’re allowed to give tours, and if you’re looking for a customized, in-depth perspective of a particular site, hiring one is the way to go.