4 Myths about Free Tours by a Former Free Tour Guide


Well, it depends on who you count for a local. If any person living in the place, then you’re right. If a person born and raised in the country, then you’re wrong.

In the free tour company I worked for, 95% of my colleagues were foreigners (mostly from the USA, then from Spain) and they often started to do this job within weeks after they came to the Czech Republic. How is it possible? Easily. Free tour companies provide scripts where there is everything, suggested jokes included. All you need to do is to learn the route and the talk. podvod1


Yes, this is technically possible on free tours, nobody can stop you from doing it but let me tell you this: the guide whose tour you’ll leave will curse you incredibly.



I really felt pangs of anxiety while reading on blogs of leading travel bloggers words like “It’s free” and “You can leave just a small amount of money” etc. Come on, free tours are companies. You probably meet a day manager or someone to sign you in. Maybe you learnt about a tour from a flyer which had to be printed by someone and is placed somewhere for a fee; – or have you been told about a tour by a street promoter? And do you think this company has no manager, no owner? Where do you think they get their money? From you. And it’s the tour guide who has to get it out of you because only what is left from your tips, after they’ve paid an agreed fee to the company, is their only salary. Considering that the fee is based on the number of people in the group, you can imagine how happy the tour guide is to see you leave without paying them anything. They see the money they’ll have to pay from their own pocket. Turning up in the middle is of course much better.



So you’re on a free tour having fun (of course, in general they are more entertaining and cordial than tours purchased at agencies) feeling so free and happy about the deal. You won’t even notice the moment when you’re offered another tour which you must pay here and now or book it. And you do it. The guide is great and you have no plans anyway. Maybe you even enjoy lunch in an absolutely local pub with the guide. Your tip + lunch + a ticket… It was a free tour, right? The free tour, you know, is not important. It’s the sales that matter.

3 thoughts on “4 Myths about Free Tours by a Former Free Tour Guide

  1. I completely agree with you Martina. There are free tours in Québec City too but I simply don’y get it… and how could the customers believe that it is REALLY gonna me free? Who would be willing to be a tour guide and be OK with the fact that they will get no salary at all?? Is my tour guide license free? Gosh no!
    Anyway, I’m happy you wrote an article about that, good job!

    • Dear Marie-Pierre, thank you for getting back to me! Im glad to read your opinion. I hope the article is clear in that respect that the “free tours” are only a tool how to attract and then trap customers. I didnt know free tours are in Canada too! Spread the article if you think people in your country (or coming to your country) might be interested. And good luck with your enterprise!!

  2. “Free” tours are the biggest falacy in the travel industry. They are a complete rip off and detrimental to the legitimate players in the travel sector. While in principle they are good for the traveler who gets to decide how much to “pay” for the tour and anyone is welcome no matter their budget, it only takes business away from real companies that invest in training, premises and advertising to attract customers. Plus, as you clearly said, these tours are not “free” and they should be banned since they are basically misleading people by advertising themselves as free. If a tourist goes on one of these tours as you clearly pointed out, the guides will curse anyone who does not leave a tip which defeats the whole purpose of joining a supposedly free tour. I am glad they have been banned in my home town of La Paz in Bolivia, but they should be everywhere, plus as you pointed out, any kid who can read a script can be a “guide” which is an even bigger rip off of tourists’ time and detrimental to genuine guides

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