Skip the group tour and experience a foreign destination with some local flavour by booking a volunteer tour guide.
A number of tourism boards and local organizations offer free guides -- people who ultimately become your BFF for the day. These volunteers will tailor an introduction to their city, or country, with your preferences in mind. (Plus, they’ll show you hidden gems that group tours often overlook or are places truly frequented by locals.)
Our Destination of the Week, South Korea, is among the more exotic destinations to offer such a service, free of charge. Travellers just need to book ahead of time, and they’ll get matched with an enthusiastic local eager to show off exciting cities like Seoul or Busan.
Before departing for a new destination, check the Tourism Board’s website to see if this service is offered. Tokyo, The Bahamas -- even Chicago and Toronto -- have volunteer guides on standby, for instance.