Would you pay $26 for a personal city tour?

My friend Ginger and I are going to meet up in Chicago in May. We are so excited! One of the reasons we chose Chicago is that we have a friend who lives there – someone to confirm our restaurant picks (is the food delicious and the ambiance convivial?), steer us towards activities that we’re going to love (and away from sketchy neighborhoods), and give us a few insider tips about the city. It really makes such a huge difference to have a local friend, don’t you think?

Ginger and I are just starting to put together a rough plan for what we want to do while we’re in Chicago. We are very self-sufficient, and we definitely aren’t expecting our friend to clear her schedule to hang out with us all weekend – but we don’t want to waste time on experiences that aren’t really worthwhile. We’re trying to figure out where to go and what to do – in the most efficient and fun way possible – mostly by ourselves (although it would be great if our friend wanted to join us for parts of it)!

Does this sound familiar? And if it does, have you heard about Vayable? I just came across this site tonight, and I am super excited about it. The site offers an assortment of “experiences” led by local insiders in more than 600 cities. The way it works is that you type in where you are going…

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…then you can see all of the experiences that are offered by local guides.

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I think this is such a smart idea for times when you don’t know anyone in a new city. There is quite a selection of experiences to choose from. Check out this insider’s tour of a Paris Flea Market, and this seafood-foraging trip in San Francisco.

What do you think about Vayable? Would you use it the next time you’re in a new city?



  1. Christine says:

    I know you will come up with a discount code of some sort! I think its an interesting idea but, as always, I remain skeptical about the fine print. Come to my city and I’ll show it to you for free. As I said in a post just recently, my husband and I spent a couple of days exploring our new home city and we had a blast. Hit both the “tourist” spots and ducked into other interesting places along the way. My vote for you is,after you find the code, you be the guinea pig for the rest of us and try it out.

  2. Denise L says:

    Sounds very interesting….I think I might book a photographic tour for my teenage daughter while we are in Vienna this summer. Thanks for sharing

  3. There is (or used to be) a FREE architecture walking tour of Chicago. We have been on the tour. You might want to Google it to see if it still exists!

  4. Patrick W. says:

    I’d suggest doing your homework before booking a paid tour guide internationally, especially in Asia. There are MANY free tour guide services available. I’ve used them in Tokyo, Saigon, Hanoi and Seoul. All are well and truly “free” – you only pay for the guide’s transit and meals (if any).

  5. Guidehop.com is another option.

  6. I like to ask people on couchsurfing, you don’t really get a tour per se, but it’s nice meeting up with locals and doing whatever they recommend doing in their city. It’s nice because the people you meet up with are genuinely trying to show you why they love their city.

  7. Points Pixie says:

    Christine – Haha! I will definitely report back after I try it out. The Paris Flea market experience definitely caught my eye. By the way, I loved your comment about how you guys explored your home city! I love doing that – it’s so much fun and it really gives you a new appreciation for where you live. That, and you find new places to show out-of-town guests. 🙂

    Denise L – Sure. If you do it, please let me know how it goes!

    Gene – Okay! I will look into it. Thanks!

    Patrick W – Interesting! I had no idea. Thanks.

    Trevor – Also interesting! Thanks for sharing that.

    William Charles – Eek! I’m scared of couchsurfing. Have you tried it (officially)?

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