I've traveled all over the world, and the best experiences are always with locals. One of the most memorable was recently, while in Sri Lanka. I was fortunate enough to be invited for tea and a small snack at the home of a local family. It was an impromptu get together, and while brief, it was an honest peek at daily Sri Lankan life, highlighted by their wonderful culture and hospitality.
The thing about exploring a destination with a local is that you usually have friends or family, or at the very least a mutual connection, to make this arrangement. In my case, the family home I visited was owned by the parents of tourism official I was traveling with. Had I been traveling with my family, I probably wouldn’t have had this experience.
Since I don't have too many friends or family abroad, there hasn't been a ton of opportunities to experience life as a local when I travel with my husband and daughter.
That was until I discovered Withlocals.
Earlier this summer my family vacationed in Europe to celebrate my daughter’s 13th birthday. Our final stop was in Paris, and on our last day, I customized a tour Withlocals to show my daughter the Sweet Side of Paris.
This wasn’t an ordinary tour with stops at the most popular patisseries. It was a handcrafted afternoon in Paris with a beautiful local, Christianne, who made sure we didn’t visit a single tourist hot spot. We discovered sweet shops that only those “in the know” would visit — places I would have never found on my own.
This experience was fabulous and made me think about previous vacations with my family, and how some of them would have been much better had I known about Withlocals.
What makes Withlocals unique is that each day out is completely customizable with a local host... while remaining affordable. Before you leave for your vacation, you will be connected with your guide, who learns about you and your family and what you want to see and do. The options are limitless.
In Paris alone, there are private tours and local activities for (just to name a few):
- A Walk in Montmartre with a Local Artist
- Paris with a Photographer: Stroll, Taste, Click
- In-Home French Dinner for Food Lovers
→ Explore Guides in Paris
And while these tours have a specific theme, you will work with your host to craft your ideal day with their added expertise as a local. If you don’t see a tour with the experience you want, you can create one from scratch using food, a tour or activity as your base.
The great thing about this is that tours can adapt to the needs of your family. A good example of this came from my own experience in Paris.
My daughter was exhausted towards the end of our afternoon, and even though we had another stop planned (at the best ice cream shop no less!), Christianne made a quick adjustment and guided us at an excellent cafe to decompress. We ended our day there for lunch instead. Any other guided tour would never have made an on-the-spot adjustment like that.
4 Reasons to Use Withlocals on Your Next Vacation
Vacation Time is Valuable
Vacation time with your family is limited. Don't waste it waiting in line to see a mediocre attraction. When you use Withlocals, you’ll get the inside scoop on the activities and attractions that are worth a detour for. Alternatively, you can plan an excursion with a local guide that’s unique to the destination— creating memories that will last a lifetime.
100% Authentic Experiences
The guides on Withlocals reside in, and are often native to, the area they are covering. They know authenticity because they live it every day. Tours focusing on food will see (and taste!) this firsthand. It's one thing to have an authentic dinner in a restaurant, and another to have a family cook it in front of you in their home. You not only get an amazing meal, but also conversation and customs that immerse you in the culture of the destination.
Easy to Use Platform
It's super easy to get started Withlocals. You can use the website or the app to search, plan, book and communicate with your local host. Like airbnb, there is a rating and review system to scout out potential guides.
One of the most amazing things to me is how affordable Withlocals is. If you scan through the website or app, you will see that most private tours are the same price, if not lower, than group tours with other companies. I know from experience that private is ALWAYS the way to go if there's an option. Each destination commands different rates, but there are some tours as low as $10 per person!