I’ve been hearing a lot lately about the rise of free tours in Europe and beyond. Just last week, Frommers wrote about them last week in the form of a Q&A with Stephanie Taylor-Carillo, the chief communications officer for Sandemans New Europe Tours, which Frommers says guided two million guests in 2018. In Hamburg, my Taste Tours guide told me he also works as a Sandemans guide. So what’s Sandemans all about? In short, straight from the website:
“In 2003, Yale graduate Chris Sandeman realized that when he gave tours of Berlin, his guests appreciated the presentation of the history as much as they appreciated the history itself. This gave him the idea of offering free, tips-based tours, allowing guests to tell him how much they thought his tour was worth, not the other way around. From those days on the streets of Berlin in 2003, Sandemans now operates in 20 cities across Europe, the Middle East and the USA, with over 600 amazing guides who also believe in Chris’s philosophy.”
So, many of the tours that Sandemans offers in all those places—from walking tours to pub crawls—are free (there are separately tours and day trips that you can pay for). With these free tours, the deal is, simply enough, that you tip your guide at the end based on how much you enjoyed your experience. When I asked my Taste Tours guide if everyone that he guides tips, he told me that they do, which I was happy to hear. In his experience, tips range from €6 to €40.
Next time you travel abroad, it can’t hurt to pull up the Sandemans website and pop the city you’re visiting into the search bar.
For more on Sandemans New Europe Tours
For more on Sandemans, read Pauline Frommer’s interview with Stephanie Taylor-Carillo, the chief communications officer. To browse the current offering of tours and free tours in Europe and around the world, see the company’s website.