Last updated on April 8th, 2020
Though I love the freedom of solo travel, I always consider it an absolute bonus to have someone show me around a foreign destination on my first day there. Sometimes it’s another Journeywoman welcoming me to her city, pointing out the female-friendly cafés or shops that gals will be sure to love. Other times it’s a representative from a tourist bureau who will be introducing me to the major sightseeing highlights of the region. And, when language is a barrier (as it was in China), I was delighted to have somebody to explain what I didn’t understand and to speak on my behalf.
This article is a compilation of recommended guides and drivers that other JourneyWomen readers worldwide have tried and now generously recommend to others. Perhaps these suggestions will come in handy for other females looking for assistance at their destinations of choice.
If anybody else has a favorite guide they’d like to share with our JW Network, please send your recommendations to: email@example.com. Please put the words, ‘great guide’ in the subject line.
However, a small word of caution before we begin. Journeywoman has not tried all of these guides herself and therefore cannot personally vouch for those she hasn’t met. To avoid the smallest possibility of safety issues, we ask that female travellers always use common sense when connecting with potential guides on the Internet. Be careful about revealing personal info, like your home address, to anybody you are networking with. If you plan to meet a guide, make sure that it is done in a busy place like a café, hotel or a museum. Cyberspace is imperfect; treat it accordingly, stay safe and have loads of fun!
Laurent, a guide in Paris…
I just returned from a few days on my own in Paris. I had the most fabulous guide while I was there — Laurent Guariglia. He was extremely knowledgeable about all the areas we visited and he spoke wonderful English. At the end of our times together Laurent always made sure to put me in a cab and give the driver complete directions to my hotel so I wouldn’t have a problem. I will definitely contact this nice man on my next visit to Paris. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Mobile: (33) 6 77 49 27 37.
Paula, California, USA
Karen, a great guide in Paris…
My friend and I recently hired Karen Henrich of Nuit Blanche Tours for her one day Paris orientation. Karen first told us lots of things by email even before we arrived, including the best way to get from the airport and how to choose a hotel which saved us a lot of hassle and money. Also before we arrived she determined our likes/wishes and then picked us up at our hotel and escorted us all around the city, made us comfortable using the public transportation, showed us her bargain shopping places and wrote down many things which helped us plan the remaining days of our stay in Paris. I would highly recommend using this guide; we felt instantly comfortable with a fellow English speaker who, because she lives there, knows the ropes of Paris intimately. We had lots of laughs and heaps of fun too! Her email is email@example.com
A great guide in Rome…
I’d like to recommend a lovely female guide in Rome. Theresa Potenza, is an American, a historian and art history graduate who has been giving private tours in Rome for several years. My travelling pal and I were so pleased with the information this young woman gave us, and she was so delightful, that we arranged another tour the following day. Theresa can be reached via email: firstname.lastname@example.org or via mobile phone: 011-39-347-086-7517. We felt her rates were reasonable and she was very accommodating.
Marilyn, Manhattan, USA
Nan, a great guide in Venice, Italy…
I know a fabulous guide: Nan McElroy. Why is she terrific? How shall I count the ways? She lives in Venice, for a start, comes from the US so there’s no language issue but of course, she speaks Italian; she’s written an incredible little guidebook called Italy: Instructions for Use which is a treasure trove of practical information; she’s smart and sassy and knows her stuff. You can contact her via her site: http://italyinstructions.com/ I know you’re going to like her!
Linda, Venice, Italy
Svetlana, a guide in Prague…
In Prague, contact Svetlana Radova at email@example.com. Her English is perfect and she is licensed to guide in Prague and has the additional license to guide in the Jewish Quarter. Svetlana’s partner, Ondrej is available to drive you in Prague, (they are driving us to Krakow and back) and available for airport pickups as well. I met Svetlana three years ago and we have stayed friends ever since we first met!
Rosalyn, Chicago, Illinois, USA
Dana Chaloupka, a guide in Prague…
My husband and I recently visited Prague. Since neither of us knew one word of Czech, we were concerned about the language barrier. We learned of a guide called Dana Chaloupka from an online message board and emailed her about our pending visit. She responded with a broad range of itineraries and prices. Dana spent time in the United States and speaks English very well. She knows her history and all the sights of Prague and patiently showed and taught us about her city. We also traveled by train to a small town outside Prague (Uvaly), where she grew up. We visited her family home and her neighbor, and we went into several shops, getting a glimpse of normal life in a small Czech village. She was a wonderful guide and a very pleasant person. Dana does not work for tour companies — she hires drivers when needed. We feel her services made all the difference in the world in enjoying this beautiful historic city. We heartily recommend her. Dana can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org / or email@example.com
Sherri, Iowa, USA
Michael, a great guide in Prague…
I’d like to recommend a guide and driver, Michael Jakubuv. I just got back from our choir tour in Prague and we found Michael to take us on a castle tour and also to take us to the airport. His prices are very reasonable and he is very informative. His English is great. I would recommend him to anyone looking for an airport pickup or a tour of the countryside. You can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org
Cathy, Newfoundland, Canada
Ab, a great guide in Amsterdam…
Last year we found a guide in the Netherlands who was recommended by Rick Steves. Ab Walet (email@example.com) is a retired history teacher and he’s just great. Ab took four of us on a wonderful four-hour walking tour of Amsterdam. He showed us sights never mentioned in guide books as well as giving us history and background information about the usual places. My favorite was the Theater Kadinsky which looks as if Judy Garland should appear at any minute to introduce the premiere of ‘The Wizard of Oz.’
Pinkie, Brevard, USA