Free and Friendly Tours Offer A New School Twist to Old School Philly Walking Tours
Haddonfield N.J. — Two South Jersey friends, Mike Carwile and Mark Simmons, who share a passion for travel, languages, meeting friendly new people, walking tours and the discovery of untold stories about Philadelphia history, have combined their interests to create Free and Friendly Tours (freeandfriendlytours.com).
Free and Friendly Tours is a free, tip-based company that offers walking tours of Philadelphia, run by people who love to travel and who know the value of meeting friendly, knowledgeable locals when visiting a new place.
“I developed my first interest in free walking tours when I visited Budapest, where I was hired by Free Budapest Tours because of my enthusiasm and mastery of the English language,” said Free and Friendly Tour co-founder Mark Simmons. “I was actually desperate for a job, but my new-found interest as a walking tour guide became a passion when I was able to experience a free tour from the other side,” he says.
While working at a hostel, Simmons often overheard guests’ unfiltered comments and reactions to the tours. Being one who strived to master his skills as a tour guide, he quickly learned that the key to creating a great tour experience was to create an environment that makes tour participants feel comfortable in a new place. Most importantly, Simmons learned that people were more open and responsive and seemed to love the tours more, when they felt comfortable enough with the knowledge of a guide to ask them just about anything.
“It may seem a bit elementary, but the traveling experience is most fun, memorable and worthwhile when you are able to meet friendly people who know a thing or two about their city and are able to point you to all the cool places that cannot be found in a tourist travel book,” says co-founder Mike Carwile.
Free and Friendly Tours guides Philadelphia visitors through a walking tour of the whole Philadelphia experience, which includes its famous historical monuments as well as its vibrant, present-day city life. The tours include stories at Ben Franklin’s home about all the Parisian ladies he cavorted with during his years away from that residency; as well as inside information as to where to find the best Philly cheese steaks without having to wait too long in line.
Free and Friendly Tours offers The Colonial Cheesesteak Tour, described as A Tour of the Birthplace of the United States and the Philadelphia Cheesesteak, and The Billy Penn Tour, described as A Tour Under the Six-Foot Brim of the Hat o’ Philly’s Founder. They also offer group and custom tours, which include something of interest for railroad buffs, music aficionados and connoisseurs of just about anything else, whatever the cultural background or interest of the group.
“Since we are in the hospitality business and work hard for our tips, we happily lend our friendship freely,” says Carwile. “We also let people know what is worth seeing and adhere to a simply policy: If we like something, we recommend it,” adds Simmons.
For more information about Free and Friendly Tours: 877-558-9671, email@example.com, or www.freeandfriendlytours.com
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