Who knows a city better than those who call it home? No one. The website Shiroube.com provides local guides for frugal prices, so, as a traveler who relies on local friends to show me the spots, of course I’m in love!
Save money on your next trip by finding local tour guides for cheap.
A Budget Traveler’s Dream?
Shiroube means “to be a guide” and was created by Tatsuo Sato to give travelers a unique experience. Instead of simply seeing what is recommended in travel guides, Shiroube connects locals with travelers for a unique tour of the best spots. From their favorite coffee shop to beautiful hidden neighborhoods, the experience promises to be special. I love the idea behind the website and wanted to share these pros and cons.
- Shiroube is based in Japan and France and has guides in over 3,000 cities all over the world. No matter where you’re traveling, you’ll be able to find a local guide.
- The Shiroube blog is a great resource for travelers. A recent post compared the best mobile travel apps and provided tips for traveling with children. Very useful to those who are new to traveling or are preparing for a big trip.
- Shiroube makes its money through advertising only, so it is free for travelers to use. You can connect with guides all over the country for no cost. Guides are also allowed to post up to three ads for free on the site as well.
- Some guides are free! If you’re looking for a FREE guide, Shiroube is the place to check. Occasionally, students who are looking to complete volunteer hours post free guide services. Also, some locals just want to show off their neighborhood or enjoy the company of tourists. For a budget traveler, this is an invaluable resource.
- You can choose a guide based on your interests. Shiroube allows you to check off categories of activities ranging from mountain climbing to wine tasting, so you’re basically customizing your tour guide experience. By checking off the categories you can find guides who are experts (or at least interested) in these areas.
- You can also choose the age of your guide. This is a great way to create new friendships and really delve into the country’s culture. Especially for those traveling alone, this is a great way to create relationships.
- Prices range from free (very rare) to as much as $40 an hour. Most of the prices I saw were around $10-$15 an hour and were said to be negotiable.
- You can talk to your guide prior to being in the country by email and explain what you’d like to see. This is a great way to customize your experience!
- These are not professional guides, so you can’t be sure what you’re getting. If you’re looking for the classic tour experience, Shiroube probably isn’t the best choice.
- No reviews. This is a big con for me. I’m accustomed to reading reviews before making a big decision, so I’m cautious to use a website that doesn’t have them.
- The website is slow. While I was using the website, it took a few minutes for the “find a guide” page to load each time I updated my choices. I found this to be rather annoying, especially since I wanted to look at a wide range of guides.
- The blog layout isn’t very enticing and leaves much to be desired. While the content is definitely worth reading, the design could be more appealing.
As you can see, I found many more pros with Shiroube than cons. The main issue I have with the website is the lack of reviews, but talking to a prospective guide prior to your trip would help you make an informed decision. When I traveled to Costa Rica we used a local guide that knew the area, but was also a trained travel guide. I’m curious to see if an untrained local would be able to deliver an interesting tour….but I’m definitely leaning towards yes. What do you think?