Global Greeters

By Ellie Hart
This item appears on page 40 of the October 2019 issue.

This is in response to the subscriber’s request for websites that list private guides and drivers, either throughout the world or in specific areas (April ’19, pg. 17).

I successfully used Globalgreeters.com in Milan, Italy, and Marseille, France, in May 2019.

After picking the city you will be arriving in, the website has you fill out a questionnaire indicating your interests for sightseeing. The greeters are usually retired individuals, and the organization tries to match your interests with those of the greeter.

You cannot book a guide more than three months out, and they do not contact you until about six weeks before your scheduled visit to that city. Specific details are on the website when you make your inquiry.

Greeters do not ask for money for their services but do request a contribution to the organization for its back-office support. I was happy to make that contribution of $20-$40.

After finding greeters, my friend and I corresponded with them by email regarding the details of our trip, such as the hotel where we would meet. We were very satisfied with the services of the greeters, who each spent over four hours with us.

In Milan we took our greeter for coffee and a snack, and in Marseille we treated our greeter to lunch. Both were friendly, had lots of local knowledge and took us to places we would never have seen had we been on our own.

I would highly recommend that travelers use this site for cities that furnish greeters, though not every city does. When I was in Geneva in May 2019, my friend and I were unable to get an email response; apparently, that greeter group dissolved for a lack of volunteers.

Another website I have used is Toursbylocals.com. In 2014, I booked a lovely day tour in India with an individual who took me shopping before a group trip commenced. I would never have found these boutique shops on my own, and she spent more than the allotted time with me.

ELLIE HART

Palm Beach, FL