Europe

Grand European Travel | Be My Guest

Celebrating 10 Years of Connecting You with the Heart of Your Destination

10 years ago visiting a foreign place and being invited into a local’s home for a lovingly-prepared meal – an exchange of conversation and a first-hand look into the local life – was a revolutionary concept. Enter Be My Guest, the original local travel experience, born from the concept of enabling human connections between locals of the destinations we visit and our guests.

The very first Be My Guest experience, Sorrento, Italy

Be My Guest began in 2009, at the Esposito family lemon farm in Sorrento, Italy.  The Esposito sisters welcomed guests into their home for an evening of talking and learning, over a home-cooked meal and taste of the homegrown limoncello. With the scent of lemons hanging heavy in the air, they ate, drank, laughed, and both hosts and guests loved it.

The Esposito sisters very quickly became the highlight of the entire trip, with guests raving about the experience and buying bottles of the homegrown limoncello to take home with them.

Speaking of her experience as a Be My Guest host, Mamma Esposito said, “It was the finest achievement of my life.”

Sadly, the Esposito sisters have passed on, but they leave us with traditions and moments we’ll remember forever.

Bringing the human touch to guided travel

After the success of the first Be My Guest in Italy, the search began for more memorable hosts and exclusive local experiences, across Europe and beyond. Similar to the first experience at the Esposito family farm, many Be My Guest experiences have been created from personal relationships and local connections in each country.

Beatrice

It is the hosts that make Be My Guest experiences so special and memorable. No matter where you are in the world, every host has a unique story to tell, whether it’s the noble keeper of a rural French farm or the friendly Scotsman who shares his legendary tales of ancient Scotland.

More than a local dining experience

Over the years Be My Guest has become much more than local dining experiences. Not only are you viewing a destination from a local’s lens, but you learn about their craft, their way of life, and their family heritage. After a Be My Guest experience, you’re guaranteed to take home powerful memories of the sights, scents, tastes, and stories you heard while sharing laughs with your host and fellow guests.

Sustaining local communities through Be My Guest

three women building a wall

Over the last 10 years, Be My Guest experiences have been as much about enriching the lives of the hosts, as they are about entertaining the guests. With 81% of Be My Guest experiences being family-run and multi-generational, guests will directly make a difference to these people by providing a source of income and preserving the local customs and heritage. 

Additionally, the majority of Be My Guest experiences take place outside the major cities in small, regional communities – therefore spreading the tourism out of the hubs and combatting over-tourism.

Experience Be My Guest around the world

On our Scenic Scandinavia & its Fjords vacation, enjoy dinner with the Øvre-Eide family on their livestock farm in Norway dating back to the 1500s. In Ireland, join Catherine Fulvio, a local Irish cooking icon, and discover her three-generation historic family home. Catherine has written four cookbooks, won Cookbook of the Year in Ireland, and created three cooking series. In Japan, learn about and meet the Ama— translated to “women of the sea”, who’ve free-dived into the icy waters off the coast of Japan in search of oysters, pearls, abalone, sea cucumbers, and seaweed for thousands of years.

So what’s next for Be My Guest? Born in Europe, but now spread widely across the world, there are Be My Guest experiences available on almost every Trafalgar trip. Be My Guest experiences are constantly evolving, with unique and inspiring hosts, each one completely different from the next.

“When we launched Be My Guest 10 years ago, we were the first to tap into the desire to find new ways of understanding the world by exposing travellers to the day-to-day lives of locals – and we’re proud to have pioneered this movement,” says Gavin Tollman, Trafalgar CEO.

Courtesy of Trafalgar

Have you been on a Be My Guest experience? Share your special memories with us below.

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