1. FREE TOURS ARE DONE BY LOCALS
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.
2. YOU CAN JOIN A FREE TOUR ONE DAY, LEAVE IN THE MIDDLE AND FINISH IT THE NEXT DAY
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.
3. FREE TOURS ARE NOT FREE
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.
4. NO STRINGS ATTACHED. ARE YOU SURE?
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.