Posted: 11/13/23 | November 13th, 2023
I love walking tours. The first thing I do when I arrive somewhere is take a walking tour. It’s a great way to get the feel of a new place, see the main sights, and adjust to the local culture. You also get to meet a local expert guide who can answer your questions and give you tips on other spots to check out (I always ask for recommendations for places to eat, for example).
But sometimes the dates and times that walking tours are offered don’t line up with my schedule, especially if I’m only in a place for a few days or if I’m visiting when there is a local holiday. I also like to be spontaneous, and often tours are already filled up for the day or don’t allow last-minute registrations. Plus, I really like going at my own pace when exploring a city, and I don’t always feel like being tied to a tour for three hours.
In the past, this meant I was just out of luck. But today, there’s another option available: self-guided audio tours.
With the prevalence of smartphones, it’s now possible to access guided walking tours from your mobile device, giving you tons of freedom when it comes to taking a walking tour.
I’ve taken audio tours around the world, and they can really run the gamut in terms of quality. Around aims to take the guesswork out of finding quality audio tours by vetting local guides and compiling tours from cities around the world in one place.
In this review of Around, I’ll share everything you need to know about using this new tour marketplace!
What is Around?
Around is a platform where travelers can find and take self-guided audio walking tours in major cities around the world. Around vets local experts who create and list tours on the website, so you always know that you’re getting a quality tour guide. (Around does not run tours themselves; they rely on local experts.)
Tours generally last 60-90 minutes, though there are longer ones (such as Full Immersion Verona) lasting upwards of 180 minutes. Keep in mind that the estimated times do not take into account how many times you stop and start (and they certainly don’t account for that delicious pastry break!).
Since tours on Around are created by local experts, there’s a mixture of detailed tours on a particular topic (such as the 19th Century Skyscrapers Tour of Chicago, led by a professional Chicago tour guide who specializes in architecture and design) as well as general overview tours geared towards first-time…