Sherpa Tours is bringing travel to the comfort of our own homes. A new approach for travelers around the world who cannot wait to explore. When the timing is right, and we can get back to in-person travel, Sherpa Tours allows you to discover a city on your own terms in a very affordable way. GPS directed tours using your phone, with expert guides, on your time, without the crowds – this is a great value.
I had the opportunity to ask Michael Suskind, the founder of Sherpa Tours, some questions. Enjoy learning more about this new and upcoming travel company.
Sherpa Tours is taking a new approach to touring a city. Can you please tell us what Sherpa Tours is and what you offer?
Sherpa Tours is the first walking tour app with an augmented reality avatar guide. When you buy a tour, you receive both the GPS-directed tour you can do in the city and the remote version you can do anywhere.
Who are the people behind Sherpa tours? How did Sherpa Tours get started? What made you think of the idea?
I (Michael Suskind) am the founder of Sherpa Tours. Here are some more information about us.
Sherpa Tours from Home
When a traveler wants to do a Sherpa Tour, of say Stockholm Sweden, from the comfort of their home. How does that work?
After you download the app on your phone, you simply click the “Start remote tour!” button, and the tour starts. It has the same content as the GPS tours except you can do it from home. And unless you do it on a treadmill, no walking is necessary.
What features and what kind of information can be expected, on these tours?
On the remote tours, you watch Carli, our avatar guide, talk about each of the tour points. Each of the tours is created either by a long-time local guide or an expert, many with Masters and PhDs. At Sherpa Tours, we believe that tours can be works of art filled with detailed, engaging history and stories that engage the listener on the highest-level.
How long are the virtual home tours?
They average around 40 minutes, some are a bit longer, some are a little bit shorter.
What are the benefits of doing a city tour from the comfort of your home?
Well, it allows people to “travel” from their couch. This is great for folks (like me!) who want to get back out there on the road but can’t during the pandemic. Plus, it helps you with pre-travel planning.
GPS Sherpa Tours
Unfortunately, due to COVID-19, traveling is on hold. But, when we are back at traveling, and somebody wants to do say a Copenhagen Denmark tour with Sherpa, how does that work?
After you select the Essential Copenhagen tour, the Sherpa app gives you GPS walking directions to the first tour point. When you arrive, Carli, our augmented reality guide, tells you all about the first tour point, the Little Mermaid statue. When the narration is complete, the app gives you GPS directions to the 2nd tour point, the Copenhagen Harborfront. This process continues to the end of the tour, Copenhagen’s famous Botanical Garden.
If somebody needs to take a break in the middle of the tour, can the program be paused for lunch, for example?
Yes, absolutely. In fact, that’s one of the best features of Sherpa – you set your own pace. If you want to grab a bite to eat or spend more time sightseeing at a certain location, all you have to do is swipe out of the app or put your phone to sleep. It will remember where you are so you can continue where you let off when you’re ready.
How long are these destination tours?
With walking, depending on the tour, they can take from one hour to 3+ hours.
What’s the benefit of doing a Sherpa Tour at the destination compared to joining a walking tour with a guide?
When you hire a tour guide, you never know for sure how good or knowledgeable that guide will be. With Sherpa tours, you know you’re getting the best version of that tour. Most Sherpa Tours are around $5, so the value is tremendous. Plus, you can start the on-demand Sherpa tour whenever you want or take a break whenever you want. Additionally, the Sherpa Tours app allows you to ‘avoid the crowds’ which is not possible when you’re part of a group tour.
Are the virtual tours from home and the city travel tours done at the actual destination the same?
They’re almost exactly the same. The only difference is that the tours in the actual destination are GPS-directed and have an augmented reality tour guide.
What to Expect of Sherpa Tours
In general, on these city tours, what kind of information can be expected? Is it the main highlights of the city, or do you go more in-depth?
For our ‘Essential’ tours, you can expect to have the best ‘introduction’ to a new city right at your fingertips. Our Essential tours are designed to give you a sweeping intro to that city. You’re going to go to the well-known tourist spots in a city and also some off-the-beaten spots.
Plus, many of our Sherpa cities have additional niche tours. For instance, Prague and Budapest have Jewish tours. We have multiple architecture-focused tours in Chicago, Barcelona (Gaudi), and Miami (Art Deco). Also, we have Wonders of the World tours: Angkor Wat, Acropolis, Forbidden City, Machu Picchu, and Pyramids of Giza.
What makes Sherpa Tours different from other tour companies?
We believe we’ve figured out what travelers want. In the age of Uber, people expect things fast, on-demand, affordable, and great. Sherpa Tours delivers on this. Having an augmented reality tour guide gives users the feeling that they’re being led by a real-life tour guide.
Who is Sherpa Tours for?
Sherpa Tours is for anyone and everyone who loves to travel! The tours are world-class, easy to access, and a terrific value.
The Tour Guides
Sherpa Tours offers guided tours in many cities around the world. Who creates the city-tours? Please tell us about the tour guides that work with you.
Right now, we have over 150 tours in over 80 cities, spanning six continents (no plans for Antarctica as of now…). We plan to add cities continuously so that we have tours in every major city in the world. We also have Sherpa Premium, a subscription plan that gives you access to all our tours (remote and GPS), that’s an incredible deal.
As mentioned earlier, tours are created either by a long-time local guide or an expert, many with Masters and PhDs. We have over 50 tour creators. Here are some examples:
- Creator of the Essential Copenhagen and Royal Copenhagen tours
- Buenos Aires tour Creator
- Creator of the Boston Freedom Trail tour
We are all about Scandinavia. What tours do you offer in Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Finland, and Iceland?
Yes, of course! We have tours in:
- Stockholm (Essential Stockholm)
- Copenhagen (Historical Copenhagen)
- Oslo (Essential Oslo, Grünerløkka)
- Helsinki (Essential Helsinki)
- Reykjavik (Essential Reykjavik)
If a traveler has a specific request, will you customize a tour for them?
As of now, we don’t. However, we love to hear suggestions from Sherpa users. We’re always looking for the next great tour!
Popular and Unique Sherpa Tours
What would you say is your most popular Sherpa tour?
We have many very popular tours, including the London: Power, Politics and Royalty, Essential Bruges, Hidden Treasure of New York City’s 42nd Street, Chicago: Public Art in the Loop, Essential French Quarter, and Essential Hanoi.
What’s your most unique tour?
One of our most unique tours is our Belfast: The Troubles tour. It was created by Sean Campbell, a journalist from Belfast. Here’s a little intro:
Walking through the culturally and historically rich West Belfast, through strongholds of both sides of the political divide lying just meters apart from one another, you’ll learn the story “The Troubles”, the euphemistic name given to a 30-year civil war.
When it comes to the technical, does Sherpa use up a lot of your cell phone battery? Does the app support all phones?
Depending on the battery’s condition, a GPS walking tour, will use up around 30% of the battery. We recommend the user starts the tour with a full battery. We also suggest using the non-AR mode (e.g. audio-only mode) during most of the tour narrations.
For iPhones, you need an iPhone 6S or later. For Androids, you need an ARCore supported device (which most phones released in the last 3 or 4 years should be). The list of ARCore supported devices can be found here: https://developers.google.com/ar/discover/supported-devices.
Feel free to share a review or story from a happy customer.
One of my favorites reviews from the App Store is this one:
This is one of the best touring experiences I’ve ever had. The best part was going at my own pace, and clearly understanding our guide, whom I now call Ms. Sherpa. But just as great was learning really interesting details of London’s history while I was being guided around the incredible architecture of Westminster Abbey and fascinating history of Blackfriars. For example, who knew that London was first founded by the Romans?! Or that Henry the VIII became head of the church in England because the Pope refused to grant him permission to….well, I don’t want to give it all away! Really enjoyed it. Thank you, Ms. Sherpa! – Thedrumman84
What’s your personal favorite travel destination?
There are so many! My family and I have had wonderful experiences in Vietnam, the UK, Ireland, Sweden, Ecuador, and Peru.
The Future of Sherpa
What does the future hold for Sherpa Tours?
The foundational guiding principle of Sherpa Tours is to offer AR avatar-led walking tours that are world-class, on-demand, and affordable. And in the not-too-distant future, Sherpa Tours will take this experience to the next level by harnessing cutting-edge technology of augmented reality glasses. Imagine exploring the Great Wall of China alongside your Sherpa AR guide as workers construct the ancient wonder stone by stone. Or seeing the sights of Washington, DC with President Barack Obama as your personal tour guide. This is the world that Sherpa Tours is building towards.
For the travelers out there ready to do a Sherpa Tour right now, what tips and advice can you give them for the best experience?
Have a fully-charged battery. If you have any issues with the tour (not common but happens every once in a while), just swipe out of the app and click the “To the GPS tours!” and it’ll fix the issue and you can continue the tour exactly where you left off.
If there is anything else you would like to share about your company or your tours, please do so.
Sherpa Tours is a small company, but we plan to revolutionize the tour industry. We hope intrepid travelers will find our tours what they’ve been looking for. Also, we offer a 1-year subscription called Sherpa Premium, which gives access to all 150+ tours (both remote and GPS) for a very reasonable price.
Thank you so much. I appreciate you taking the time to share more about yourself and your company!
Thank you! I really enjoyed answering these questions!
What city would you want to explore from the comfort of your own home, with a Sherpa Guide?
If you have any questions about the Sherpa tours, please leave a comment below and I will get back with you as soon as possible.
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