People decide to become a tour guide for many reasons. Some like the idea of sharing their knowledge about a place with others. Other may choose this line of work because it is something that they can do part time to supplement other income. A few choose it because it brings them in contact with new people. You may have these reasons or other ones for wanting to get into this line of work.
Decide how to work
There are many tour companies in many areas that hire locals. These companies give the guides varying levels of information. Most want the guides to take people to specific areas of interest but how this is provided can vary. Some companies want guides to work from a script that they provide while others allow more flexibility relying instead on the guide to fill in the blanks as to information.
Some people work independently. This gives them the flexibility to offer whatever kind of tour they like. It also gives them all the money that is earned. One problem with this is getting the tours promoted – it can be expensive in some cases.
Another alternative is to work as a subcontractor for a tour company. There are a few companies that bring together the best of both worlds. These companies provide a method of advertising and promotion but allow the person to work more or less independently.
Know your area
Whether you work in the United States or abroad, have as much knowledge about the area you will be working in as possible. People can always get information about a place from Wikipedia – they don’t necessarily need someone to give them the basics. They are usually looking for an insider’s viewpoint when seeking a tour guide. They want someone that can share information they might not find elsewhere. They may also need a person that knows the best ways to get around town, which can be especially important in some areas such as Los Angeles.
Have a backup plan just in case
Almost all tours will have a set itinerary of things to see and do. There can be times in which following the protocol is not possible for one reason or another. This can be due to problems at the site people want to visit or weather problems. It can be important to have a backup plan of some kind to fall back on incase something goes awry.
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