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I am the founder of the first Free Walking Tour in Salzburg, Austria. These days Free Tours are available in all major cities in Europe and all over the world. I founded my tour in my hometown as the first free tour in Salzburg in 2018.
What are free walking tours?
Free Walking Tours are not free. They are tip based, or pay what you want based. Participants should, at the end of the tour, tip the amount the tour was worth to them. A tip is usually expected and sometimes a sum is even suggested. That’s why the word free is not always precise.
Why join a free Tour on your journey?
Many travelers first search and join a free walking tour before they explore the city on their own. That’s how they get an overview and the right recommendations for the rest of their stay. Let me explain to you how these tip based tours work, what brought me to leading them and why give free tours a try on your next journey.
Why I founded a Free Tour Company?
I have my philosophy when it comes to Tours and Tourism. In my opinion free walking tours are more of a “pay what you can” basis than “pay what you want”. What I mean by that? Let me explain.
As many of you know, I walked thousands of kilometers through spain and hosted hundreds of Couchsurfers for free. The most touching stop on the way to Santiago was the albergue in Grañón. The albergue is donation based. People cook together, eat together and are supposed to leave a donation when they go. There is a box at the entrance that says “give what you can and take what you need”. The donation box is open. No one would take money.
That’s the kindness I experienced. I experienced a lot more along the way but Grañón is an example of the concept of kindness. An example of the kindness that changed my life. Many years later I began to receive people through Couchsurfing. Even if people stayed at my place for free, the relationship was mutual giving and taking. After six weeks of hosting strangers, I traveled to Taiwan to visit some of my surfers and got more from them than I could have ever given in six consecutive weeks of hosting strangers at my place before.
Why I try to not expect too much?
It’s healthy to not have expectations. I am lucky enough to make a living from conducting tours. People are lucky to have me as their guide. Most of them tip but they don’t have to. No one forces me to offer these tours. If there would be an obligation to tip, I shouldn’t call the tour free. If a person doesn’t tip I assume he or she has a reason. I shouldn’t treat people differently if they don’t tip me. Same as the albergue in Grañón everyone gives what they can. Some give a lot, some give a little and some don’t.
I conduct tours that’s how I support some travelers. Some travelers tip me that’s how they support me. There is always something coming back. Not only money. I also live from their positive attitude and from the experiences we have together. I live from their smiles and their stories.
How I worked in Tourism in Salzburg?
I worked in hostels and as a Rikscha driver for years and not because I couldn’t find a different job. These activities were not making me rich and didn’t offer perspective. I found a purpose and i wanted to serve people. The purpose I found was important for developing myself and a love for my hometown. It gave me joy to give the visitors of the city joy. It gave me joy to meet them as if we were travel buddies for a moment. I got to love the streets of my city, Salzburg, and still love the freedom travelers bring to my hometown.
Where Can We Find the Free Walking Tour Salzburg?
Please visit the website freewalkingtoursalzburg.com and get in touch with me if you will visit Salzburg. It would be my pleasure to guide you and help you make the most out of your stay in my hometown, Salzburg.