Travel Review: Going Local in Rome

This post will be review of site called LocalGuddy and story of my tour with their local guide.

This Wednesday Thursday I am going to do something a little different. If you follow me in Twitter, you may already know that I spent my last day in Rome going to ready paid tour by LocalGuddy website. This is going to be my story and review of that tour, LocalGuddy and everything that led to it. I would like to start by saying that LocalGuddy paid the tour for me but they asked my honest review so everything I say here is totally from my own will and experiences.

So, how this all started?

After my blog’s reader count has started rising I have gotten a lot of companies contacting me about sponsored posts. Some have offered me a small sum of money while other want to send me free stuff. My answer is no to almost every email like that. Why? Well, I only want to share things I WANT in MY BLOG. This is why I only accepted this offer because after getting message from LocalGuddy I checked out their website and totally fell in love.

Meeting locals while traveling is one of the best sides of traveling if you ask from me. So, what would be better way to meet locals than go on tour guided by them? I decided to answer yes to LocalGuddy’s offer when they promised to give me free tour if I write honest review of their site.

Different side of Rome

Hunting for the right tour guide

After sending back and forth a few messages with LocalGuddy it was time for me to find a tour guide. Their site is easy to use and I only had to write the name of destination and all locals offering their services appeared in for me to look through. I wanted to go for tour made by local rather than pick out one of the food options LocalGuddy also has (local taking you to the best restaurants/bars or making local food for you). Because my Rome-Venice trip was close I checked tours for those two cities.

I send message to one local in Rome and one in Venice. Guide from Venice wasn’t available but guide from Rome was excited to show me the not so popular side of Italy’s capital. We sent about five messages after I first contacted her so arranging the tour wasn’t big bother (this is important for me because I am lazy traveler…) I told time that was okay for me and she agreed. Next time she contacted me was a few days before the tour reminding me to have full water bottle for the tour. So, everything went smoothly and seemed maybe even too easy.

What my tour included? Walk around contemporary art and Testaccio district
How long was the tour? About three hours. (But we decided to be only for two hours because it was too hot to do anything for me…)
How much did it cost? If I had paid for the tour, it would have cost $25 per person.

Street art Rome

Thoughts before the tour

I am often skeptic of everything but I still go for everything with caring too much of these feelings. This tour wasn’t exception. Someone online contacted me and offered free tour. I know it’s because I am now “travel blogger” and LocalGuddy seemed trustworthy site but things like this still make me feel weird. So, like any proper traveler I was a little suspicious but didn’t let it bother me. Fortunately, I had amazing experience but let me say that I was super nervous for days before the tour.

Why was I nervous expect the too good to be true deal? Basically my English sucks. You might think that it is okay if you just read my blog but believe me, I can’t pronounce anything. Walking around with someone while speaking English seemed like my nightmare at the time but fortunately my tour guide was understanding and I always get slightly better at speaking after the panic fades. 

Rome Pyramid

Meeting my AMAZING local guide

We had arranged meeting point in front of metro station. My guide said that she would be standing on the stairs but when I came outside there was several people waiting for someone. Fortunately she spotted me quickly and asked if I was meeting her for the tour. It took only a few minutes from me to define her as good person and not some online murderer. After that I was able to enjoy the tour with my full heart.

We started from contemporary museum but unfortunately there wasn’t any exhibitions. That didn’t matter a much because the area itself (old slaughterhouse) was cool and had even a few street art pieces like the one you can see in me post’s cover photo. After the museum we continued our walk around the area while she told me about the place and Italian culture. We also talked about everything else and the atmosphere was really friendly.

After that we continued walking along the river while she kept telling me about the local life and a little bit about herself. I also saw Roma’s pyramid and I have no idea why it is not one of the main sights. I mean, it’s real pyramid! I didn’t even see it in any guidebooks. One of the highlights of the tour was going around this road full of colorful bars (that were of course closet during day).

It was her first tour so at first it was a little awkward and some thing didn’t go as planned (we tried to find one mural for long time but in the end never found it). I think this will be the case with quite many guides from LocalGuddy because the site is quite new and there is many first time guides. Necessarily not bad thing because that just means they will have different view to the things than someone who has taken people around the attractions for years.

Here is link to her tour if you want to check it out or if you are planning trip to Rome. I recommend trying out her tour (and other tours in LocalGuddy) but if you are not friend of seeing the local side of destination you are visiting, don’t bother. Tours like this only fit for those who are ready to get to know more of the culture and local lifestyle.

Side street of Rome

Thoughts after the tour

Would I recommend using LocalGuddy? Yes, definitely. Before this tour I had been going to the most popular touristy places in Rome and the city seemed kind of boring from my point of view. After I saw a little different side of this popular holiday destination my image of Rome changed. Before I didn’t think I would return there anytime soon. But after the tour going back to Rome didn’t seem like that bad idea anymore. Locals will show you places you would never find by yourself.

I tried to use the site again now during my east Europe trip but realized that they don’t have any tours in the destinations I am visiting. So, if you aren’t visiting popular tourist destination, finding a guide may be a little harder.

Because locals always know the best places to visit and especially if you are like me the selection of street art and abandoned building tours will win you over quickly. First it may sound expensive because the prices of the tours range from 25 to 40 euros. But when compared to “professional” tours there is many positive points to remember.

  • The group size will be just you and your friends.
  • You can ask anything from the guide and they will try to change the tour to fit more of your wants and needs.
  • Local guide probably knows a lot of things normal tour guide wouldn’t tell and show you.

streetart_rome

So to sum this review up I would recommend checking out LocalGuddy.com but use your own common sense when contacting the locals and going for the tour. This doesn’t mean you have to be scared of the guides who don’t yet have reviews (mine didn’t have and she was lovely person) but remember to act like you normally would when meeting someone from online for the first time. Firstly pick out public and busy place to meet and secondly tell someone where you are going. I would give this same tip for those people who want to work as guide through this website.

Finally, I want to thank LocalGuddy for giving me this opportunity and thanks for everyone who read this far. Have you used this website? Or do you have any amazing experiences with locals or guides you want to share? Like always all comments are more than welcome. 🙂

Don’t forget to follow my InstagramFacebook and Twitter!
And check out LocalGuddy for amazing tours by locals.
With love,

Lost Viivi

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Photo Diary: Rome

Welcome to yet another photo travel diary! This time we will visit Rome and I will share some photos from this trip I made with my mom a few weeks ago. This time I won’t add any text or explanations but just let the images tell you the story of our trip. Be prepared for too many photos of old buildings but also some sides of Rome you won’t see as often in travel diaries. Enjoy!

airplane

rome

tourists_rome

summer_rome

rooftops_rome

Rome Pyramid

rome_breakfast

rome_metro

rome_history

ancient_rome

rome_colosseum

colosseum_rome

sidestreet_rome

church_rome

spanish_steps

rome_spanishsteps

Different side of Rome

streetart_rome

Street art Rome

Side street of Rome

Different side of Rome

And there was some photos from my Rome trip. If you look at the closely, you can clearly see in what part of the trip my mum left back home and I was left behind alone to Rome. (I will give you tip: street art is my passion!) Have you ever visited Rome or do you maybe recognize any of the places seen in my photos? Like always all comments are more than welcome!

Don’t forget to follow my InstagramFacebook and Twitter!

With love,

Lost Viivi

Road Trip Hacks: Ideas In A Bucket!

Hello everyone! Because I suck at things related to cars (and planning) it’s good to have someone else to do it for me. After a long time I have guest post here my blog and Jonathan has written interesting article about road trip hacks and things everyone should remember when going for road trip. Enjoy his article and tell your own tips for road trips in the comments!

Road Trip Hacks

It’s a perfect season for planning a road trip with your friends and family. Being the adult in your family, a road trip allows you to go back to your childhood and refresh some memories spent with your siblings so you want the same for your children to make some beautiful and fun memories that they can relate to when they grow up. A road trip can be one of the most fun experience of your life only if you make it worthwhile.

You can make the road trip more joyous and lovable by being organized, efficient and less stressful if you get the hang of some clever road hacks to be used along with your journey. The road trip hacks can serve as the best tool to help you come out of the minor troubles and worries that you face during your journey and make it a memorable experience. This article will enlist some road trip hacks that will help you to enjoy your dream road trip with your friends and family.

  • Long road trips can be boring if you do not prepare for them beforehand. The best and easy way to kill the boredom is by watching your favorite movies or seasons on your tablet. Never watch movies, seasons or use your tablet while driving! If you don’t have navigator tablet or smartphone will be good replacement. However instead of holding the tablet in your hands you can hang it on your windscreen for easy viewing.
  • Investing in a travel size refrigerator will enable you to keep your food and beverages chilled, and you won’t have to waste your money and time into buying them. What else could be better than your favorite home food and chilled drinks that can keep your hunger and cravings for unhealthy food at bay?
  • Finding cheap and clean restrooms can be a daunting task because most of the public restrooms are in a very pathetic condition. You can find clean restrooms by installing different apps for your phone that would notify you when the next budget friendly clean restroom appears on the map. All thanks to the technology that has made things much easier than they were before.
  • There are also apps that help you to find the nearest stations offering fuel at a cheaper cost. This could prove to be a great tool when you are planning your trip on a budget.
  • Don’t forget to bring a multi-port charger as it will keep the batteries of all the travelers charged. Long road trips mean you are going to spend more time with your cell phone or tablet. You may use it for availing google maps service, using the camera to capture memories, listening to your favorite music or watching videos, all of this can drain your battery in the first phase of the journey. So if you are not prepared, you will have to spend rest of the journey without a mobile until you find a restroom/hotel to charge your device.
  • Bring your own blanket and soft pillow along with you. With so many people you can’t have the freedom to adjust the cooling to your comfort level, so if you feel cold, you can use your own blanket and pillow to rest your head on which would otherwise keep hitting the window and give you a headache.
  • Equip your car with an emergency tool kit to deal with any car related problem that you may face during a road trip. Also, it is recommended that you equip your car with the best alarm system to protect it from theft when you leave it in the parking lot or on the road side to discover new places.

 

About the Author:

Jonathan is an IT expert and a researcher. He is obsessed with cars and all the digital accessories. He regularly posts at www.sakerracing.com

Great Plans & Lost Motivation

I am here again. Maybe I am back, maybe I am not. At least I am trying and that’s the most important thing, right? I wanted to start blogging again by sharing my future travel and blogging plans with you. I just returned from Italy and I am leaving again next week so that alone should tell you that the rest of my year is going to be full of adventures.

Budapest and Something More

So, next week I am flying to Budapest. I will stay there a few days before continuing to Bratislava and Prague by bus. I still haven’t planned the last week of my two weeks adventure in east Europe so if anyone has any recommendations of cities to visit I would be more than happy to hear them. Budapest has been on my “visit as soon as possible” list for some time now so when I got good flight deal there was no way for me to skip this possibility. The other places I am going to visit are just extra thing to make this adventure perfect.

Iceland and NEW YORK

I have wanted to visit Iceland for the longest time but combining it with my first USA trip is like a dream come true. I am going to New York. NEW YORK!! Can you believe that? I surely don’t. My trip happens in November and December. I will be staying almost week in Iceland and after that a few weeks in New York. Once again if you have any recommendations or travel tips for these destinations I would appreciate any help. The trip is going to be even better because I will meet one of my travel blogger friends in Iceland. It’s always so amazing to see someone else who is as passionate as I am about traveling and writing about it.

Copenhagen and Malmö, maybe?

Because I have long free period between this east Europe adventure and my trip to Iceland and USA there is enough space for one more bigger trip. I have been thinking about going to Copenhagen and Malmö. It’s not that expensive from Finland and both of these cities seem interesting. Has anyone visited them? Are they worth of going? Or then if I can get cheap deal I will literally go anywhere. We will see…

Remote Open University

And for those who don’t know yet… I think that I have finally found the right university path for myself! This autumn I will start studying towards creative writing degree in Finnish remote open university. After I have used about three years (if I don’t run out of money first…) to studying I will transfer to “real university” and graduate from there. Then I just have to start looking for interesting master’s degree. For the first time I think that this will be the thing I can study for the next three years or even longer.

Working, working, working…

To live this life style I have decided (paying for open university tuition and traveling too much for my own good…) I have to earn money. Currently I am working on Fiverr and have my main income coming from there. I have also been thinking about finding other freelancer sites like Fiverr to get even more customers. I haven’t yet found way to make money with my blog but I am not even sure if I want.

Plans for my blog

And finally we can talk about some plans for my blog. I am currently trying to make proper time for blogging in my not very busy schedule but I have lost my motivation. I think it must be because so many people are reading what I have to say and it’s stressing me out too much. I will try to return to my two times a week schedule. I have already planned a posts for the next few weeks and I have at least one guest post coming up here in my blog next Wednesday. There is also many travel stories I haven’t yet shared with you so hopefully I will find my motivation and write about them.

Also don’t forget to follow my InstagramFacebook and Twitter!

Like always all comments are welcome and I would appreciate all travel tips for the destinations I have mentioned. What do people do when they have lost blogging motivation? I truly want to write more but it is just so hard to start…

I hope you are having an amazing day!
With love,

Lost Viivi

Travel Rant: Dear Mom & Dad…

Warning! Very personal rant ahead…

 

Dear mom & dad,

(and all other family members, friends and curious strangers),

you can’t stop me so please let me do my own thing. Sorry.

I didn’t know how to tell this for you face to face so here I am writing my blog. You know me and that’s why this may not be so huge surprise. I have booked a trip. Or well several trips to be exact. Adventures around the world. I have done some planning and that’s never a good thing from your point of view.

This coming autumn I will do a few week trips around Europe. I will go to Iceland because it has been my dream to visit that cold country as long as I can remember. I will finally visit America for the first time in my life. And if I get a good last minute deal to anywhere, I will take it.

But don’t worry. My autumn won’t be just all fun and games. Or well it kind of will be but in the good way. You already know that I will start studying creative writing in remote open university. During this autumn I’m planning to write a lot. And when I say that I mean A LOT. The last week I have been planning my autumn’s time management. I want to give even more time for blogging. Because I need money to do all this I will take even more jobs from internet. I have everything planned out.

I know you hope that I would just “get a job” or “go to real school” but it’s not that simple.

Why do you think I have been changing my plans so much lately? Veterinary, translation, literature, business, media studies. The universities I have been applied to have been all over the place. And then for some reason I have never found the strength to study enough to get in. I am not stupid, I just don’t have any motivation to get in any of those schools.

After reading about this creative writing course I felt like everything just made so much more sense. Can you even understand how excited and happy I am right now? I don’t think I have been waiting anything this enthusiastically since the time I started in high school. And even then it didn’t feel as right choice as this one does.

I know that creative writing isn’t exactly the most paying job. And I know that using all my savings to travel sounds immature and just plainly stupid. This won’t be the easiest route and there would probably be a lot better choices I could have made. BUT I will regret the rest of my life if I don’t try living the way I want right now.

The point of this small post was to tell you that this next year and probably during the rest of my life I will be doing a lot of decisions that may seem idiotic to you. The way I spend money traveling may seem reckless. And the things I decide to study will probably sound as useless as possible. But I hope you remember that this is MY LIFE and that I have to do this because if I just accept the normal path everyone else is taking I will never know if taking the crazy path would have worked out just fine.

So please, just accept the things I do. Because even if you aren’t here for me during this crazy adventure, I will keep going towards the future I want.

With love,

Your oldest child
Viivi