Can we book a private tour at the last minute?
Is a deposit required to book a private tour?
What payment methods do you take?
What is your cancellation policy?
What type of vehicle do you use for your tours?
Can people with physical disabilities enjoy your tour?
Do you provide recommendations for restaurants and attractions based off of some type of referral fee you receive like other tour operators?
Is hiring a private tour guide safe?
What qualifies you to be an expert tour guide for the San Francisco Bay Area?
What experience do you have with the ocean and local wildlife?
Why should I take your photo tour?
Why are your tours cheaper then your competitors?
Is tipping mandatory?
I enjoyed my tour today. How can I help you spread the word about your business?
Do you offer any type of discounts or have coupons?
Do you ever donate free tours to charities?
How do we know what we should see on our private tour?
Where will you pick us up and drop us off at?
Do you have a guarantee for your guide services?
What is the weather like in San Francisco?
What should I plan on wearing?
Are children allowed on your tours?
- Can we book a private tour at the last minute?
Yes, although you might miss out on some of what makes my tours so popular and that is the pre-planning and customized itinerary. I can still make it an amazing experience for you or your group.
- Is a deposit required to book a private tour?
Yes, a $75 non refundable deposit is required for 2 – 4hr tours and a $125 non refundable deposit is required for 5hr – 10hr tours. These will be taken at the time of booking. NOTE: Deposits must be made by Visa.Mastercard or American Express.
- What payment methods do you take?
I take U.S. Currency, Visa/Mastercard and American Express.
- What is your cancellation policy?
Unfortunately there is no cancellation policy. If an emergency arises, I will be happy to reschedule your tour on my next available appointment time. If there is an extreme situation that has occurred then I will discuss that with you personally and we will work something out.
- What type of vehicle do you use for your tours?
I use a 2015 Ford Explorer. This is a mid size SUV with the capability of holding 5 passengers. The vehicle is equipped with air conditioning and comfortable leather seats. You will also be high enough to see over the small cars that are mostly driven in San Francisco.
- Can people with physical disabilities enjoy your tour?
ABSOLUTELY! If you have a fold up wheel chair or walker I can easily accommodate it. I have personal experience with guests with disabilities and even have the ability to park in Handicap spaces when needed. My SUV is easy to get in and out of and I am happy to help if needed. Also, San Francisco and the surrounding cities are ALL very handicap accessible. We pride ourselves in knowing our city is accessible to anyone who wants to experience it. (I can even arrange for beach wheelchairs with advance notice.)
- Do you provide recommendations for restaurants and attractions based off of some type of referral fee you receive like other tour operators?
NO!!! A lot of other tour guides will purposely recommend a certain restaurant so that they can get a free meal or referral fee. I DO NOT DO THIS! I have been an, “Elipe” Yelper for almost 5 years along with being a, “Senior Contributor” for TripAdvisor. If you ask me for food recommendations I will say this to you, “You tell me what type of food you like or want to try and I will give you at least 3-5 options for each.” It’s that simple. I want this experience to be amazing for you and I will only recommend places that I know are worth your time and money. (Btw, some of the best places to eat in SF are really cheap) Your smile at the of the meal is my fee 🙂
- Is hiring a private tour guide safe?
The answer is, “Yes” if you are booking with me. I worked as a Police Officer for almost 20 years before opening up my own guide business. I am proud that my name is well known within the community. I provide a level of professionalism and experience that you will just not get with any other private guide. I even have extensive training in the field of dignitary protection and defensive driving techniques. I know short cuts, traffic patterns and information on tourist sites because of my prior career and experience. I have a clean driving record and also operate as a Lyft driver when I am not guiding tours or traveling. Other companies are larger and thus try to do the best they can with screening their guides but we have all heard stories. You are safe with me!
- What qualifies you to be an expert tour guide for the San Francisco Bay Area?
I was born and raised in Northern California and have lived in the Bay Area for almost 20 years. I have grown up in and around the sites you want to see. I have first hand knowledge on every location I will take you too. In addition to being raised in this amazing area, I have studied San Francisco extensively to prepare for my guide business. If I don’t know the answer to your question, you can bet I will research it and get it to you. I like to call myself a proud ambassador for this fine city and area. I want you to love it as much as I do.
- What experience do you have with the ocean and local wildlife?
I was raised to love and respect the ocean. I am definitely considerate of our Earth and do my best to minimize my carbon footprint. My family had me sailing on the bay and ocean since before I could walk. I know the tide schedules for the area and can even recommend boat and sailing tours in the area. In addition to my prior work in law enforcement, I am also a professional wildlife, nature and travel photographer. I have been lucky enough to travel the world and bring that experience to my clients. I have worked extensively with and studied behaviors of many marine animals including, Humpback whales, Orcas, Dolphins, Sea lions, Elephant seals, Otters, and Sea birds. I have photographed their behaviors and been featured by NatGeo and PBS. I also have a background in photo journalism and have worked with disabled elephants in Thailand and even photographed tiger behaviors inside their living habitat. I know this area and can take you to places where you will get the best views and sometimes interactions with our marine wildlife.
- Why should I take your photo tour?
I am a professional and published wildlife, nature and travel photographer. I have won several awards for my photo projects that have featured San Francisco landmarks and love taking photographers to hidden locations so that they can get those million dollar shots. San Francisco is a tricky city to shoot as we have several micro-climates and the fog/weather can literally change within moments. I can recommend filters and types of gear to bring so that we have a successful shoot together. Also, if you do not want to travel with your tripod, I have extras you can use. My vehicle can go to and fit into areas other tour vehicles cannot. This means more unique shots for you. On photo tours, I will not be happy unless I take you to these hidden spots so that you can wow your friends with your shots!
- Why are your tours cheaper then your competitors?
I get this question a lot. Most other tour companies and private guides are money driven businesses. I am not. I consider myself an ambassador to this great city. I truly enjoy showing people the area and get excited when I see them fall in love with the place I call home. Also, I almost always hire private guides when I travel to new cities. I know first hand how much more I get out of a vacation by hiring them. I charge a fair amount but want people of all means to have the opportunity to experience what a private guide can offer. There are no hidden fees, gas charges or taxes. What I quote you is what you will pay unless you add time to your trip. (Excluding Admittance fees for third party excursions and locations)
- Is tipping mandatory?
No. Tipping is optional but appreciated.
- I enjoyed my tour today. How can I help you spread the word about your business?
I am always grateful to clients who leave positive feedback or reviews for me on TripAdvisor, Yelp and Facebook. In fact these reviews mean so much to me that that I will give you a 15% off coupon that can be used by you or a friend on a future trip that uses my guide services.
- Do you offer any type of discounts or have coupons?
If you like and follow my Facebook page, I routinely put out weekly discounts and discounted rates. If you are a Yelper and check in with my company name when I pick you up, I will give you $10 off a 2-4hr tour and $20 off a 5 – 10hr tour.
- Do you ever donate free tours to charities?
Yes, I believe in giving back to our non profit organizations. If you want to see if your charity qualifies, e-mail me directly with a synopsis of what your charity does and what type of event my donation will be used for. Priority is given to Police/Fire groups, Human Rights organizations, children’s charities, children’s health charities and charities that deal with caring for animals and nature.
- How do we know what we should see on our private tour?
One of the main differences between me and other tour guides is that I include a FREE e-mail or phone consultation regarding your trip. My job is to design or recommend an itinerary that is tailored specifically for you. I can give you recommendations for places to eat at and attractions and locations to visit. I will give you a time estimate for this and even make recommendations for start times based on the the things you want to see. However, you are in charge. If you want to design your own itinerary then that is great too. I am happy to get you to the locations of your choice safely.
- Where will you pick us up and drop us off at?
I will pick you and drop you off at your hotel. If you are on a cruise ship, I am happy to pick you up and drop you off there as well. I do not recommend picking you up at the airport as you never know if a flight will be delayed or even canceled. In fact, you should be cautious about booking any tour within a few hours of your arrival by plane. (This does not apply to cruise ship passengers.) NOTE: The airport is an approximately 30 minute drive from downtown San Francisco with NO traffic. Traffic can easily add on 30-60 additional minutes of travel time. Plan accordingly.
- Do you have a guarantee for your guide services?
Yes. If for some reason you are not happy with my tour, I will do everything possible to make it up to you. I have never had an unhappy customer yet and want to keep it that way. Please understand that I am not able to control things like the weather, traffic or suddenly closed attractions. San Francisco is one of the most beautiful places on Earth but it has some challenges too. FOG being one of them and TRAFFIC being the other. (Locals call the fog Carl) One of the reasons the pre-visit consultation is so important is that it will give me a chance to give you a realistic itinerary and time frame. I always monitor the traffic and have a good working knowledge of daily traffic trends. I will make recommendations for departure times for certain locations based on traffic alone.
- What is the weather like in San Francisco?
It is an urban myth that San Francisco is always foggy. In fact, it can be quite the opposite. We enjoy a tremendous amount of sunshine but are home to several micro-climates. It can literally be foggy and cold at Ocean Beach and sunny and warm along the wharf. Conversely, sunshine here does not always equate to warmth. The sun can be out and it might only be 60 degrees out. We are also prone to heavy winds almost daily in the late afternoon and early evening. Rain in the winter is normal but we are truly lucky to have great weather year round. Especially September and October. These are traditionally our best weather months.
- What should I plan on wearing?
I always tell my clients to dress in layers. I always have a blanket or two in my vehicle but often times a light jacket is all you will need if it starts to get cool on us during the tour. Some clients wear shorts while others wear pants. Again, layers, layers, layers! 🙂 Good, “Broken in” walking shoes are highly recommended. If you plan on doing some light hiking I would also recommend hiking or off terrain shoes as some of the best light walks/hikes can be slippery and wet. (Sutro Baths) Flip Flops should stay in your suit case. Trust me on this one. San Francisco is built upon some of the steepest hills in the country. A two block walk in Flip Flops can give you blisters and ruin your trip.
- Are children allowed on your tours?
Yes. Children who do not need a car seat are welcome on my tours. Parents are responsible for their behavior.