FAQs

So, how does it work?

Step 1 – Select your Local friend

Browse through our verified community of Locals to see which one interests you the most. Our locals have a wide variety of interests, backgrounds, occupations, language skills and price points.

Step 2 – Submit your booking

After you have picked one of our knowledgable Locals, submit your booking by selecting the desired duration of your Outing, size of your party, date and time of your request and payment through Paypal. The Outing fee will be authorized on your credit card, but we won’t actually charge your credit card until the Local has confirmed their availability.

Step 3 – Confirmation of availability and connection

Within 24 hours, we will let you know if the Local you selected is available during your chosen date and time. If they are, we will confirm your booking, charge your credit card and connect you to your Local via email. If they aren’t available, we will let you know and you can either request a different date and time with the same Local or try a different Local.

Step 3.5 – Confirm your Outing details

The Local will work with you via email to customize and confirm the details of your Outing so you only see and experience the things you want to.

Step 4 – Go explore!

On the big day, meet your Local friend at the designated location and discover the wonders of Hong Kong together.

Who are the Locals?

Locals aren’t necessarily people who were born and raised in Hong Kong, but people who have a passion for what the city has to offer.

They could be a mother of three who has had to explore different areas to find things for her kids, a college student who is looking to practice English, or a Hong Kong native who has lived in the same district their whole life and can tell you exactly where to get the most flavorful milk tea.

In short, Locals are like those friends that you would contact to get insider tips.

What are the Outings like?

Here is a sample itinerary:

Traveler profile:

  • Family of three
  • Age range: 15-45
  • Interests: Adventurous sports, boutique shopping, and hole-in-the-wall eats.

 

Itinerary:

Meet at the A2 exit of the Sheung Wan MTR (subway) station to go eat congee, a traditional Chinese rice porridge that consists of your option of ingredients, such as beef, chicken, pork, or fish. With a full stomach, we will then head to the boutique shops of Sheung Wan to find hand crafted treasures by Local designers. When you’ve shopped ‘til you dropped, we’ll go bouldering at one of Hong Kong’s few indoor bouldering gyms.

How much does this cost?

All Locals start at HKD$200 / hour for 2 people, and an additional HKD$50 / hour for each additional person. This does not include the cost of food or other miscellaneous costs. After the Locals receive 3 reviews, the cost is as-listed by the Local. In addition to the Local’s listed price, there is a 10% service fee for each Outing.

Will you eat with me and who pays for the food, equipment, supplies, and transportation?

Each Local has a different style and specifies whether or not the food and/or other miscellaneous costs are included in their listed price.

If food is involved in your Outing, the Local will generally eat with you but you can request that they don’t if you wish. We encourage you to eat with our Locals as an opportunity for you to learn more about the local culture and customs.

Why do I need this service?

  • Outings as unique as you
    Our Locals customize your outing so you only see and experience the things you want. There are no cookie-cutter experiences with us.
  • Save time and effort
    Your time is valuable. Don’t waste it. Let our Locals do the heavy lifting of planning your Outing so you can focus on just enjoying your experience.
  • Identity verification
    Because your safety is our top priority, all of our Locals have been hand-selected and their identities have been verified.
  • Only people you know
    Your customized, private Outing with our Local is only for your group and no one else.

How do you ensure my safety?

Safety is our top priority. All of our Locals have been hand-selected through a 2-step interview process, which includes a 15-minute phone interview followed by a 1-hour trial Outing. Their identities have also been verified.

Will there be a wider selection of locals later on?

Yes, we are continuously introducing new locals to the website so check back frequently!

Is Sam the Local available in my city?

Sam the Local is currently only available in Hong Kong, but subscribe to our newsletter to be the first to know when we expand to other cities.


Want to see Sam the Local in your city? Email us at explore@samthelocal.com to request your city.

If I am in Hong Kong for 5 days, when should I use this service?

We recommend you book a local friend with Sam the Local near the beginning of the trip so that you can get some tips from your local friend and ask questions in order to be more prepared for the rest of your trip.

What is the minimum/maximum number of people we could have on the Outing?

The minimum/maximum number of people on your Outing would be determined by the Local and what they’re comfortable with.

Can children go on the Outings?

Yes, just let the Local know when you are arranging the details of the Outing so that they can build an Outing that suits your needs.

Is there an additional charge if more than one people is on the Outing?

The displayed Outing Fee is for up to 2 people and each additional person after that will be an additional cost that varies between Locals. The complete details of the Local’s Outing Fee can be seen in their full profile.

What if I am interested in becoming a local?

Contact us at explore@samthelocal.com, and let us know that you are interested.

What are the benefits of becoming a Local?

There are many different reasons why you could consider becoming a Local. Here are some reasons:

  • Turn your interests into income
    Earn money by simply showing people the things you already know and love
  • Set your own schedule
    You are in complete control of your availability, no minimum time commitments
  • Learn about different culture
    Travel without traveling by connecting with people from all over the world
  • Share your knowledge
    You can introduce people to what you know about Hong Kong. Do you know about hidden shops? Do you have a favorite place in your neighborhood where you get your lunch? Do you have some insider knowledge about the different attractions?

What if I would like to add on hours to the Outing when I am already out with the Local?

In the event that the Explorer would like to extend the Outing (and the Local is available) while the Outing is already taking place, the Local should send an email as soon as possible (no later than 12 hours after the end of the extended Outing) to explore@samthelocal.com indicating the following:

  • Name of the Explorer
  • Date of the Outing
  • Original time and duration of the Outing
  • Additional time requested.

Sam the Local will then send an additional invoice to the Explorer, which is payable immediately.

What is your cancellation policy?

In the event that an Explorer needs to cancel the Outing, a partial or full refund may be issued in the following situations:

  1. The itinerary for the Outing has been confirmed between the Local and Explorer, and it is 24 hours or more before the start of the Outing – The Explorer will receive a 70% refund of the Outing Fee, not including the Sam the Local Service Charge. The Local will receive 30% of the Outing Fee, minus 10% of that amount for the Sam the Local Service Charge.
  2. The itinerary for the Outing has been confirmed between the Local and Explorer, and it is less than 24 hours before the start of the Outing – The Explorer will lose the complete amount of the Total Fee. The Local will still receive 100% of the Outing Fee, minus the Sam the Local Service Charge of 10%.
  3. The itinerary for the Outing has not been confirmed between the Local and Explorer, and it is 24 hours or more before the start of the Outing – The Explorer will receive a full refund of the Outing fee, not including the Sam the Local Service Charge. The Local will not receive any payment from this transaction.
  4. The itinerary for the Outing has not been confirmed between the Local and Explorer, and it is less than 24 hours before the start of the Outing – The Explorer will lose the complete amount of the Total Fee. The Local will still receive 100% of the Outing Fee, minus the Sam the Local Service Charge of 10%.

In the event that a Local needs to cancel the Outing, a Cancellation Fee will be charged at the following rates –

  1. 24 hours or more before the start of the Outing – $500HKD Cancellation Fee
  2. Less than 24 hours before the start of the Outing – $750HKD Cancellation Fee
    1. All Cancellation Fees charged to a Local for the cancellation of an Outing is due to Sam the Local within 7 business days.
    2. A Local may request a waiver to this Cancellation Fee for extenuating circumstances. A request to waive the Cancellation Fee must be submitted in writing and sent with supporting documents to helpme@samthelocal.com within 48 hours of the cancellation. We will review each waiver, but we reserve the right, at our sole discretion, to accept or reject each waiver.In the event that a Local needs to cancel an Outing, the Explorer will have the option of booking an alternative Outing with another Local or receiving a full refund of the Outing Fee, not including the Sam the Local Service Charge. Please note that if the alternative Outing is of a higher price than the former, the Explorer will be responsible for any difference in price. If the alternative Outing is of a lower price, the Explorer may be entitled to a partial refund for the difference. Please note that there may be an additional Service Charge for rebooking. All determinations from Sam the Local with respect to the Cancellation Policy, including without limitation the size of any refund, shall be final and binding on the Explorers and Locals.

Cancellation Due to Outside Factors

Certain Outings may depend on factors outside either party’s control, such as weather. For the safety of our users, if a Typhoon Signal No. 8 or Black Rain Signal is in full effect during the start time of the Outing or is expected to be issued any time during the Outing by the Hong Kong Observatory, the Outing should be cancelled and the Local should notify the Explorer and Sam the Local immediately. In the instance of a cancellation of the scheduled Outing due to weather, the Local and Explorer should make their best effort to reschedule the Outing. If the Outing cannot be rescheduled, a full refund will be issued to the Explorer, not including the Sam the Local Service Charge, and the Local will not receive payment of the Outing Fee.If there are any other outside factors that may cause a cancellation, the Local or Explorer should notify the Explorer or Local and Sam the Local immediately. The Local and Explorer should make their best effort to reschedule the Outing or exhaust all alternative means to carry out the Outing. If the Outing cannot be rescheduled or an alternative means cannot be agreed upon between the Local and Explorer, a partial or full refund may be issued at the sole discretion of Sam the Local, not including the Sam the Local Service Charge, and the Local will not receive payment of the Outing Fee.

Last updated: February 3, 2016