Saturday, 1 June 2019

How to Find a Private Guide in the Loire Valley

The best way to find a private guide or tour operator in the Loire Valley is to do an internet search with the key words 'private guide' and 'loire valley'. You will pick up a few independent guides and a number of aggregator sites with a search similar to this. The aggregators are not tour operators, they are simply providing a platform which brings information about many guides into the same space, for ease of comparison and choice, and they act like an agent booking a service. One of the most well known is Viator (part of TripAdvisor and Expedia).

Photographed by Loire Valley Time Travel. Tour the Loire in a classic car.

Our advice is to check out the aggregator sites (ie the sites which list lots of guides and act as a central booking service) but don't necessarily book with them. They all charge a commission, so you will pay more if you book through these sorts of sites (usually about 25% more). If you see a guide you like on an aggregator, try to find their own website. That way you will be able to contact them directly. Guides and tour operators usually have Facebook pages or write personal blogs, which can give you a lot of information about the themes and geographical area they cover.

Not only will it be cheaper if you contact them directly but you will be able to engage in a real dialogue with the guide, so they know what you are really interested in and you can be sure they are someone you would like to work with to create a tour. Good guides will personalise their tours for private clients. If you are nervous about booking a stranger directly and do want to use one of the booking sites, make sure you choose one which will allow you to have a dialogue prior to booking with your guide. Also choose a booking site that will act as a mediator between you and the guide if something goes wrong. This doesn't happen very often, but when it does you don't want to be dealing with a booking site that is only interested in getting its commission.

At Loire Valley Time Travel we recommend you book us directly, or, if you prefer, book Susan W through Tours by Locals.

To enquire about our private guided tours of chateaux, wineries, markets and more email us or use our contact form. More tour ideas can be found on the Loire Valley Time Travel website.