Why experience and local know-how matters

The Invaluable Role of Local Guides and Drivers

by Lacy Saye

A School Tours of America New York City Tour Guide takes a selfie with a group of students in front of the Wall Street Bull

Embarking on a student tour is an exciting and enriching experience that opens doors to new cultures, broadens horizons, and fosters personal growth all the while having fun. While planning such a trip, it is crucial to recognize the invaluable role played by local guides and drivers. These individuals are not just facilitators; they are the key to unlocking the hidden gems, navigating unfamiliar territories, and providing a safe and immersive journey. School Tours of America partners with the best in the industry, working only with local, experienced guides. In this article, we explore the importance of local guides and drivers for student tours and how they contribute to creating unforgettable educational experiences.

A School Tours of America Washington, DC Tour Guide poses with two happy students.
Parent Quote: "I cannot express how happy and knowledgeable we were with our tour guide, Diane. This lady totally knows her stuff. Knew the ins/outs of DC and before it was all done felt like she was family. She totally made our school trip."


Local guides and drivers possess an in-depth understanding of the destinations they serve. On average, the drivers and guides School Tours of America partners with, have been leading group tours for 15 plus years. Their extensive knowledge about history, culture and landmarks brings the tour to life. They have insights that guidebooks or Wikipedia simply cannot provide, offering invaluable context and anecdotes that enhance the students' learning experience. With their expertise, local guides and drivers not only can make our tours more engaging for students, but they can also make quick adjustments on the fly when needed.

A teacher sits smiling with their local Washington, DC bus driver about to tour.
Group Leader: "Maestro is one in a million. He MAKES the trip special and exciting for everyone on the bus! He is adored by all of us at school and MY BIGGEST request is that we can continue to work with him next year!!"


Every destination has hidden gems that are off the beaten path, waiting to be discovered. Local guides have an intimate knowledge of their surroundings and can lead students to these hidden treasures. Whether it's a lesser-known historical site, a local culinary delight, or the perfect souvenir shop, local guides can provide insider tips and unique perspectives that add depth to the tour. By venturing beyond the usual tourist attractions, students gain a more authentic and enriched travel experience. School Tours of America supports local!


When traveling with a group of students, safety is of paramount importance. Local guides and drivers are familiar with the local landscape, including potential hazards and security concerns. They can navigate seamlessly through terrain that would be difficult for the typical tourist ensuring the group's safety and well-being. Group Leaders who travel to New York City know especially how comforting it is to have a School Tours Guide assist you in the subway, or even crossing the street! Additionally, they are well-versed in local unwritten rules and customs, helping students and teachers navigate any potential cultural sensitivities or challenges. For example: standing on the right side of a New York City escalator for the speedy New Yorkers to pass on the left. The presence of local guides and drivers offers peace of mind to both students and their families, knowing that they are in capable hands.

A School Tours of America New York City Guide is talking to students in Central Park during the Fall.
Group Leader: "High energy and kept the kids engaged with lots of facts besides the usual "spiel" given to tours.” “He is absolutely wonderful! He took such great care of us. He personalized our itinerary each day based on his expertise.”


Student tours are not just about acquiring knowledge from textbooks; they provide an opportunity for experiential learning. Local guides and drivers act as facilitators of this process, bringing the destination to life and enabling students to connect theoretical concepts with real-world experiences. They encourage active engagement, promote critical thinking, and spark curiosity by encouraging questions and discussions. By creating an immersive and interactive environment, local guides and drivers transform the tour into a powerful educational experience.

A School Tours of America New York City Guide is talking to students in Central Park during the Fall.
Group Leader: ”ABSOLUTELY AMAZING! This man was fantastic! The kids loved him. He made the learning VERY fun and brought the history to life. I cannot say enough wonderful things about him!”

The importance of local guides and drivers for student tours cannot be overstated. They are the linchpin that connects students with the local culture, history, and people. By providing in-depth knowledge, cultural immersion, safety, and unique insights, they enhance the educational value and overall experience of the tour. As educators, it is crucial to acknowledge and appreciate the integral role of local guides and drivers in creating unforgettable and transformative student travel experiences. We are very matter of fact in telling you that we partner with the best of the best, and we are so humbly grateful for every one them. THANK YOU!

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