Walking Tour Etiquette 101: Tips For Tourists

Back in 2015, an estimated 58.5 million people visited New York City to experience everything this bustling metropolis has to offer. One of the very best ways to see the sights of NYC and learn about its colorful history is to take a walking tour of Manhattan. But if you’ve never been on one of these New York City tours before, you might not be familiar with basic tour etiquette. While minding your manners is always important, there are some other tips to keep in mind that will help you get the most out of your tour time. We’ve included just a few suggestions that will make your walking tours in New York City a true success.

  • Be prompt: When you go sight-seeing on your own as a tourist, you can create your own timetable or walk around as leisurely as you want. But when you book a private walking tour, you do need to be on time (or even a little early). Don’t assume that tours will start a few minutes late or that it’s fine to hold up the tour for one straggler in your group. Even if your tour group consists of just your family, it’s important to stay on schedule and be respectful to your guide by arriving with time to spare.
  • Dress appropriately: When you’re on vacation, it’s understandable that you’d want to wear a special outfit or fancy footwear. But you should save those items for when you go to dinner or hit the town. When you go on tours in New York City, you should dress for the weather and for the physical activity involved. After all, “walking” is in the name, so you should expect to move your feet quite a bit. Wear comfortable shoes and clothing (layers are typically a good idea!). You may also want to consider forgoing a heavy bag or purse for your own comfort throughout the tour. If you’re uncertain whether your outfit choice is appropriate, we’d be happy to answer your questions in more detail.
  • Come prepared: Although you’ll probably want to travel light on your tour, you should come to your tour prepared with a few things. A bottle of water, cash, an external phone battery charger (in case you want to snap some photos but are low on juice), and a couple of bandages for blisters are all good to bring. You may also want to bring along some sunscreen and a pair of sunglasses (even in winter!) and a hat. Don’t assume that you can just buy these items when you arrive; although the Big Apple has a lot to offer, you may not have time to stop and purchase them. These items won’t take up a lot of room in your bag but will ensure you’re comfortable and better able to enjoy your tours in New York City.
  • Interact with your guide: When you take one of these fascinating tours in New York City, remember that they’re meant to be a bit interactive. Unlike when you go to the theatre or see a film, it’s okay to ask your guide questions and respond to theirs. In fact, it’s encouraged! Although guides do have an itinerary and an idea of what they’ll say, it’s always better when participants actually participate! Don’t be afraid to get involved in the conversation and take advantage of the opportunity to learn. Your guide will be more than happy to tell you all there is to know about a specific location or notable figure in history.
  • Stay safe: Although your tour will never take you to an unsafe part of the city, remember to exercise caution wherever you are in NYC. Always observe crosswalk signs and yield to your guide’s expertise when traveling from stop to stop. If you’re traveling with children, watch them closely and do not allow them to walk outside of the group. You should keep moving, stay aware, and follow instructions from your guide.

As long as you follow these tips, your NYC walking tour should be fun and informative for everyone involved. To get started on booking your tour, contact us today!