Linda: Hey, this is Linda and Charles with Fun Loving Couples, the premier online destination for committed couples that like to travel, eat well, work out, and have fun.
Charles: Whew. That was a stretch.
Linda: Today we have Sara Cooke by ToursByLocals.com with us.
Charles: Sara Cooke is the Director of Communications at Tours by Locals, which is a Vancouver-based company that connects travelers with local tour guides all over the world. Which is why we just knew we had to talk to her. Sara is an avid traveler, so she’s after our own heart, and married, so she could be a Fun Loving Couple. She travels frequently for work and goes on mini getaways with her husband and her family, she’s got two school-aged children. Sara loves social and educational aspects of meeting up with a local guide whenever she travels, and that’s what we’re all about as well. We believe that is important.
Tours by Locals has been featured in the Washington Post, the New York Times, Chicago Tribune, Yahoo Travel and many, many more. Tours by Locals has 2,029 guides right now in 158 countries. That, to me, is amazing and something that I think we need to dig into. So, Sara, tell us all about Tours by Locals.
Sara Cooke: You’ve done a really great job, actually.
Charles: Oh, then we’re done. No, I’m just joking.
Sara Cooke: Thank you for the intro. In a nutshell, we make it easy for travelers like yourselves to find these local guides anywhere in the world that you happen to be heading. Whether that’s Paris or Bangkok or Vancouver or L.A. or Rio, wherever you’re going, you know that with Tours by Locals you’re going to be able to find someone who’s interesting, fun, adventurous, knowledgeable, and a real local expert at the destination that you’re traveling to. That’s us.
Linda: That’s awesome. We actually met at the Travel and Adventure Show in Los Angeles, and I remember stopping by and just seeing, I was like, “Oh, my gosh. Fun Loving Couples needs this.” We plan on going to Belize this year, at the end of the year, so we’ll definitely need to pull up and see what you have available.
Charles: Oh, I’ve already done that.
Linda: Well, good.
Charles: There’s a cave that we’re going to go explore and maybe some other things. Who knows?
Linda: Yeah, but even like you’re saying, Los Angeles, even though it’s in our backyard, there’s still things that we don’t know. I mean, it’s amazing. I’m so glad that our paths crossed.
Charles: To me, what’s attractive and appealing … I mean, we’ve all done the routine where you get your airfare, you select a hotel, you get your rental car, but then what do you do when you get there, right? You’re left to kind of your own devices and whatever little bit of homework or research that you’ve done. To me, the idea of connecting with someone who actually lives there, knows the crowd, knows where to go, knows the off the beaten path stuff, that to me is super attractive and appealing. That’s what I want to really explore.
Linda: Yes. What sort of travelers use Tours by Locals?
Charles: In terms of demographics, we get everybody from newlyweds who are on their honeymoon to empty nesters, multi-generational families. There might be a five year old traveling with a great-grandma and everybody in between. The common element they all share is they really like this idea of meeting somebody in the place that they’re visiting. Not just going to Paris and seeing the Eiffel Tower but meeting someone who lives there, having that person show them around the back streets, take them to the place where they’re going to find the best croissant, the best café au lait. People who just like this idea of going a little bit deeper into the culture of the place that they’re visiting. We get all sorts, but they share that common curiosity, I guess I would say.
Linda: Very cool. We’re foodies, so we were actually just talking to someone yesterday who is a home chef and she was saying that her thing, when she travels, is to make sure she hits the local spots to eat. I’m sure that with Tours by Locals we can do that as well.
Sara Cooke: Definitely. What I always recommend people do is book their tour, whether that’s a two-hour walking tour or a full day tour, at the start of their visit. Because you’re going to get so many recommendations from your guide, and you can pepper those restaurants and cafes into the rest of your time in whatever city is that you’re visiting. Go, take that tour at the start, and it’ll just … Yeah, it’ll improve the rest of the experience, no doubt.
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