Frequently Asked Questions
For answers to some of the most frequently asked questions, see below.
In some cases, it depends on which city you’re visiting and which tour you’d like to take but the most up to date information can always be found on the cities individual website – from which tours are offered when on the Tour Calendar to our private tour policies.
COVID 19 Policies:
PUBLIC TOUR POLICIES
- When booking, guests will be REQUIRED to certify that neither they nor anyone in their party will join a tour if they display any symptoms or test positive for COVID-19 within 14 days of tour date (not booking date).
- Though we are implementing and enforcing safety policies, tours are taken at our own risk.
- Guides and guests will be required to maintain 6 feet distance between parties. For this reason, we are limiting tours to smaller groups. Non compliance to city regulations will result in being asked to leave and in the case of paid tours, no refund.
- We will be following city regulations wherever we tour. In most places, this will require both guests and guides to wear a mask or face shield.
- There may be limited restrooms opportunity on tours depending on facilities opening.
- We are altering tours and tour times to focus on finding a comfortable way to tour – avoiding hottest part of the day, offering shorter tours, avoiding rush hour.
- No interior tours – almost all of our tours are outdoors anyways!
- Group sizes will adhere to city regulations. In the case of a fully booked tour, we can only accept walk ups in the event of a no-show. Walk up guests will be required to provide contact information in the form of email or phone number. If a tour is full with a wait list, we will add additional tours if possible.
PRIVATE TOUR POLICIES
- Private tours can be arranged on short notice, if possible, but we can never guarantee availability until a tour is booked.
- Payment is required in advance to book a private tour, but we will not charge you until closer to the tour date.
- Refunds are possible with notice – the amount of notice depends on the city and will be confirmed upon booking.
- Private tours will follow same physical distance and safety guidelines above. For locations that require masks and/or 6 feet distancing, non compliance on the part of guests will result in no tour and no refund.
- Group sizes will adhere to city regulations, discounts are offered for booking multiple guides for larger groups.
Free Tours by Foot operates tours or has a close partnership with a tour company in Washington DC, New York City, Boston, Philadelphia, Chicago, Charleston, New Orleans, San Francisco, Los Angeles and London. We do list and recommend tour companies in other cities and they may have different policies for their tours. Wherever possible, we have noted their policies on the relevant booking pages.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Why do you offer free tours?
A: Free Tours by Foot offers tours at no upfront cost. In fact, our tours operate on a pay-what-you-like model.
We believe that everybody should be able to enjoy an educational tour experience and discover and learn about the cities we tour in, regardless of your budget. We also strongly believe that you should not have to pay for a tour in advance, without having experienced it first. We think that you should decide how much you think the tour was worth when the tour is finished. As you can imagine, our tour guides have to work extra hard to earn your appreciation. You name the price.
I am a group of 8 and its not letting me make a reservation?
A: We can only accommodate large groups with prepayment. Groups of 6-9 (or 5-9 in some cities) can prepay at the time of booking. We consider scout, youth, two families traveling together as a group. If one family has 5 people, and one family as 4 people but have chosen to take the same tour at the same time together, that is considered a group of 9. Please do not make separate reservations to avoid this policy. Your reservation will be canceled and you will not be accommodated at the tour start if you just show up.
Verbal harassment of our tour guides because we cannot accommodate you when you ignored our group policy will not be tolerated.
We will make every effort to do what we can to make your trip fun and enjoyable for your whole group. Please contact us first!
No city can accommodate a group of 10 or more on public tours. You must contact the city directly to inquire about a private tour.
Do I have to make a reservation or can I just show up?
A: Yes. Reservations are required for guaranteed spots on all tours. Reservations help us determine the number of guides we need to ensure that our groups remain manageable and enjoyable, and they allow us to notify you of changes to the tour due to weather or anything that could disturb the tours. . Groups MUST follow the specific city’s group policy before reserving.
Some tours require prepayment for groups of 4+ while others can accommodate up to 6 without prepayment. We do consider two families travelling together as a group. Walk-up guests for these tours will be permitted if space is available. However, we strongly suggest contacting us before walking up to a tour.
Why should I submit my phone number when making a reservation?
A: This is optional. You will receive your reservation confirmation and a reminder on the day before your tour via email. We do recommend, however, that you hand in a phone number by which you can be reached on the day of the tour. This way, your tour guide can get in touch with you if there are any short notice changes to the tour.
Do I need to include children/babies in my reservation?
A: Yes. Reservations are required for all persons, regardless of age. Some sites limit the number of people.
Can a minor (under 18 years of age) attend a tour without an adult?
A: While we do love having younger visitors join us, we do require they attend the tour with an adult. We cannot accommodate any guests under 18 who are not attending with an accompanying adult.
Can I bring a stroller on the tour?
A: Some tours cannot accommodate strollers unless they can be folded and carried as there are unavoidable stairs. As many areas we tour are historic, the sidewalks are narrow and bumpy and not recommended. Please refer to the Accessibility Guide for more insight on what tour may not allow strollers.
Are your tours wheelchair/stroller accessible?
A: While we will do all we can to offer accessible tours, not every tour can accommodate wheelchairs or strollers. The website for a specific tour will state whether it has stairs. Please contact us before booking to ensure that we can make the route accessible. Please read our Accessibility Guide for more.
What happens if we arrive late to the tour?
A: Please, please, please try to be on time.
We recommend arriving at the starting location ca. 10 minutes before the tour starts. We also recommend checking with your concierge or online how much time you need to make it to the tour on time and allow some extra buffer time. You don’t want to be the person arriving late and having to call and interrupt the guide in the middle of a tour. Your email reminder that you receive the day before the tour should list the tour guide’s name and phone number. Any late arrivals with reservations who do not contact us may have their reserved spots allotted to walk-up guests. Not contacting us or at a very late notice might affect your future reservations.
I have changed my mind and cannot come to the tour. Do I have to let you know?
A: Yes! Please give us at least a 24-hour notice before your tour starts. The number of available spots on any tour are limited and we often have to send away interested guests, because there is no more space. By letting us know in time (at least 24 hours ahead) that you cannot make it, we can open up the extra spot to other interested guests. If you have prepaid for a tour, we require a certain amount o notice for a refund or to reschedule. All you have to do is click reply on your confirmation email and send us a message.
We do work on the honor system, so please understand that if you make a reservation and don’t show up or bail on us last minute, that this might affect your future reservations.
Can I attend a morning and afternoon tour on the same day?
A: That depends. Very few tours in any city end where another tour begins so please take into account travel time between two tours. You may also want to consider setting aside time for meals between tours.
Please do not book back to back tours that do not allow travel time since you won’t be able to attend the afternoon tour.
Do the tours ever get cancelled for weather?
A: The show must go on! Our tours go out rain or shine. Dress appropriately for the conditions. If the weather is bad, your guide will include as many “bad weather” covered stops as possible. Comfortable walking shoes are recommended.
However, Free Tours by Foot may cancel or postpone the tour due to extreme weather. All reserved guests will be contacted via email and text should this happen. Please contact us or check our website for updates.
Can we bring our pets?
A: We love pets, but unfortunately not all guests do. We ask guests not to bring pets on the public tours where other guests may be attending.
We do offer private tours and many of these can accommodate pets. Registered service and support animals are allowed on tours as long as documentation can be provided.
Where does the tour start and end?
A: Every tour page has a map for the starting and ending location and map listed.
What is an appropriate amount for a name-your-own-price tour?
A: Another good question. People always ask why we offer tours for no upfront cost that our competitors charge good money for? Well, we feel that everyone should have the opportunity to enjoy a tour at a price they can afford, so our tours are “name your own price”. We also think that you should not pay for a tour, if you have not yet experienced it. Loved your tour and tour guide? Let him or her know! We appreciate whatever you feel is fair. You name the price. We are that confident in the quality of our tours. How can you beat that?
Will my kids like these tours?
A: That really depends on your kid. But generally all of our tours are suitable for children. Our tours are designed to be suitable for people of all ages. For any tours that are not suitable for kids, we label them Adult Only. There is no age limit – you can decide who is mature enough to attend.
How long are the walks?
A: Most of our tours are a little over one mile (1.6k) in length. The tours are approximately 2 hours in length. Obviously, longer tours will walk longer distances. If you have problems with walking longer distances, we recommend you booking the private tour, so you can decide how fast the tour moves.
I bought tickets on your website. Now I can’t go. Can I get a refund?
A: Yes, but you must give us 24-48 hour advanced notice from when your tour starts depending on the tour. Your booking confirmation will have exact information.
What do I need to bring to the Food Tours?
A: Some appetite. At the food stops, you will choose what treats you would like to sample (or eat in whole). Try them all or none at all. Unlike other tours that charge around $45 with some excluding food, on this tour, YOU choose what to eat and how much to spend. Suggested amount to bring for snacks is $10-$15, depending on your appetite!
Do you offer private tours?
A: We do offer private tours! Our minimum is 1 and the maximum depends on the tour but we charge per guide rather than per person. Check out specific page the city you’re visiting for more information on our private tours.