Traveling alone is a great and unforgettable experience that every one of us has to experience. It will make you stronger and more fulfilled. However, it has its pros and even cons.
Sightseeing, visiting museums, monasteries, temples, and churches, strolling along the river or sipping a fine wine in a city’s nightlife – it’s all great, but doing it all with someone doubles the pleasure. And if “the someone” is a local person, it gets even better.
You can be able to visit places where you would not go alone, with Tripadvisor or other on-line guides, and see the city from a different angle.
It has not been so long since an app that can be helpful for this purpose was invented. And the app is called Showaround.
Through this application, you can find local people who will show you around their city, or you can simply plan a trip and wait for offers from the locals.
How to Start
Download the Showaround app on the Google Play Store (Android) or App Store (ios), or simply visit Showaround.com. Just like anywhere else, start by creating your account.
The best is to sign up via Facebook; it saves you time and energy. Once you’ve signed up, upload some photos and fill out a short description. Your profile will look more trustworthy and authentic even though you’re a traveler, not a local.
Once you have done so, enter the city where you plan to travel in the “Where next” field. After this, you see several guides, their name, photo, label, and price per hour of guiding.
Free Guide. Scam or Legit?
Wondering why someone wants $7 per an hour and others don’t want even a single buck? You do not have to turn towards science for the answer. Free tours are mostly offered by people who want to get to know other people from all over the world, or just want to show their city to other travelers as someone else has shown them their city in the past for free.
How to Select the Right Guide
Which guide you choose is purely up to you. However, these points are key for me:
- Interesting headline (I know this city like the back of my hand. I’m ready to show you the most beautiful and hidden places.)
- A personal description (Looking for someone who loves traveling, art or partying? Read the “About Me” page carefully so you’ll know who you meet.)
- A photo that looks authentic (I do not look for a model from the front page of ELLE but a guide, no matter what he/she looks like.)
- Response time (The longer response time, the less chance you will meet.)
- Review (The better reviews, the more trustworthy person. However, if he/she is a novice, the review should not be a priority. We all have to start somewhere, right?)
There’s no other way to approach your guide than communication. Contact the person you have chosen to ask if they have time on the specific date. If you get an affirmative answer, request a phone number, so you’ll stay in touch via Whatsapp, Viber, or connect with them on Facebook. Communication is the key.
Time to Meet Up
Is it time to meet up? Discuss the exact time and place. It’ll help you to avoid unnecessary complications. Also, bring with you a little positive energy and humor. We only live once, do not we?
My Showaround Premiere
My very first Showaround meeting in the Ukrainian city of Lviv went smoother than expected. A few days before my arrival, I discussed with a local girl the time and place of the meeting. Once we met at the place we discussed before, we took a long walk and saw many interesting places I would not have visited alone.
I experienced Lviv with all the human senses and saw more than expected. My local guide knew Lviv like the back of her hand and knew something from everything, so the meeting and talking to her was a great experience, too.
My second meeting was in the capital of Ukraine, Kiev. It was more of a night tour as my guide had a lot of unexpected work that day, but she did all her best to meet up later, and I appreciated it. Again, we met at a given time and place we discussed, visited several bars and night clubs, talked about everything from A to Z, I had the opportunity to try out some special drinks I had never had in my life, and we walked a bit in the city at night, too.
I met this local girl with her friends, one from Ukraine, the other from Russia, so I had the opportunity to meet other people.
Keep in mind when using Showaround
- Choose your guide according your intuition and feeling. How do you feel about the guide? What’s your impression?
- Make sure you have internet access in the country you travel to, so you can communicate and discuss the details.
- Do not meet at places that look suspicious or you don’t feel good about.
- If you find that you are not available at that specific date, be so kind and report it to your guide.
- Showaround is not an app for sex travelers. If this is your goal, try to find other app and do not bother others.
Despite the fact that I have only used Showaround for a relatively short time, the app works above my expectation. Thanks to this application, I found two excellent local guides that showed me the city from a completely different perspective, both the day and night lives, and told me about life and the lifestyle in a country that is different from the one I live in.
If you are looking for the local that will show you around, Showaround is the right walnut. You’ll get to meet new people, see interesting places and learn something new. And perhaps even more. Plans and future is in your hands, however, this app can be a great helper.
Ready to crack this nut?