Finding local guides and experts through Guidehop

One of the payoffs of the vagabonding lifestyle is that the more time you spend in an area, the more genuine your experience can be. While nothing will ever replace the tried and true method — stay longer and you’ll experience more — a new website aims to help short-term travelers find authentic local experiences. is an online marketplace that connects travelers with informed locals who provide personal activities or tours in their hometown. Whether you want to borrow a mountain bike in Connecticut and ride the best trails around, join a local for some backcountry snowboarding in Colorado, or get a taste of the street food in Austin while accompanied by a local food-trailer entrepreneur, the site offers a whole spectrum of activities, with new tours being posted daily.

Guidehop guides include folks like Aaron Bell, who we featured in a June 2009 post on hitchhiking. He’s one of the guys behind the site, and he exemplifies the type of people you’ll meet on Guidehop. Aaron is your everyday guy — he teaches at a high school in Austin — but when he’s not at work, he’s out exploring Austin’s outdoor scene. Through Guidehop, you can meet up with Aaron and other like-minded locals to get the lowdown on activities you might otherwise miss. Contact Aaron to surf a local river, kayak at sunset while 1.5 million bats fly overhead, spelunk to a 50-year-old clay art gallery deep inside a tiny cave, or cruise his extra scooter and ride with the local moped gang.

If that sounds like fun, or if it gets you thinking of the brilliant tours you could be offering in your own hometown, you can also use the site to post the activities you believe make your city tick. As a local guide, this can also be a great way to deepen your experience of your hometown while making extra money for your next journey. For more information, check out the Guidehop website.

Posted by | Comments (4)  | November 8, 2011
Category: General, Hospitality

4 Responses to “Finding local guides and experts through Guidehop”

  1. Philzinho Says:

    Now even the small and important things in travelling get commercialised 🙁 Until one day you can buy a smile of the locals. I am sorry but I really do not like this idea. Travelling is about recieving and giving back with your own value measures. You should not indroduce money to also control this part of life.

  2. vagacommenter Says:

    Unfortunately we live in a world where it is necessary to make money. Why not make money doing what you love? Seems like a good idea to me,

  3. Etrekker Says:

    I agree, although I have a small biz, you experienced trekkers do not need to pay for my services, however, there are millions of people who hit the trail system, prepared and NOT so prepared. Although there is a price for guides, my prices are fair and not close to many you will find on line. I am experieced and introduce people (ideally newer to the trail & the great outdoors) in a way that informs them on the importance of just how the natural resources (they are enjoying on the trip) are vital to our lives. For without clean water and air, we will not sustain a healthy nor long life. There are MANY other reasons why one would not and would pay for such guide services. Be open minded that there are millions of people with different needs in the world. I would rather inform, educate and motivate people in the outdoors than any other career I can think if. It is my passion to be outdoors. although Im experienced and certified, I’ve hired a guide in Glacier National Park as example here, not because I don’t know how to hikd using a trail map, or was scared to go it alone, but merely because of other factors (fires in the park, displaced and roaming grizzly bears at the time, unfamiliar with the wind patterns and need to be in non smokey areas of the park, etc….) The trip was incredible and smoke free once we hit the trail. It was worth every penny. So, Thank you for taking the time to read this fellow Vagabonders! all my best, Etrekker

  4. Scully Channing Says:

    I see it purely as a matter of choice. It’s not as if travelers are being coerced into hiring guides. And if they do choose to hire a guide on the cheap through a site such as guidehop, best of luck to them. If guides provide the equipment and forfeit their time and expertise I think it’s only fair that they be compensated. But I also see Philzinho’s point. Restraint must come into play in certain areas, or else the raw travel experiences many of us crave could be cheapened and even destroyed.

    For example: I would never pay a guide to take me out drinking or to a restaurant. That’s just stupid because I could figure it out on my own. Some tours on guidehop seemed a bit ridiculous in this sense. Savvy travelers should be able exercise discretion, though. A good number of the tours on the site were legitimate as well. For example, I would not hesitate to pay a guide to loan me a surf board and show me where the waves break best and alert me to hazards such as shallow reefs and rip tides. This I might not figure out on my own and the costs of the guide would be a welcome alternative to negative outcomes resulting from my ignorance.