Suppose you are on a travel trip with your friends, and your guide does not know the site and its monuments. Or worse, the guide provides you with the wrong information about the location. It would be a waste of money and a run-of-the-mill experience. A better approach is to look for a professional tour guide.
A professional tour guide would have extensive knowledge about various travel destinations and their histories. They are responsible for leading the group of visitors from the beginning till the end. They will deliver historical and cultural information to the group to make their trip memorable and worthwhile. Does this profession sound exciting to you? Becoming a tour guide is no easy route. One must possess a vast range of skills and the required education to work one legally. Do you wish to pursue a career as a tour guide but don’t know where to start? Here’s what you need:
STEPWISE CAREER GUIDE
The following steps will help you on how to become a tour guide:
- EARN A DEGREE
You wish to excel in your career as a tour guide, but would it be possible without proper education? The answer is no. There might be times when you don’t know the answer to a question as a rookie travel guide. To avoid such situations, now is the right moment to get yourself engrossed in studying.
The very first step is to earn a high school diploma or equivalent education. Without it, no candidate can exceed further. Upon completing high school, a bachelor’s degree is a must in the relevant field. Many colleges offer various programs on tourism, event management, and business. If you are looking forward to the tourism industry, then a travel and tourism degree online will help you better understand the concept of hospitality. But why online? The reason is the new-normal trends brought along by the pandemic. Also, the chance to enroll in your dream institute is now more possible than ever.
It would be best to study different cultures, traditions, languages, current politics, beliefs, norms, and other minor details. Who knows, someone might ask you a question about an ancient building, or better yet, about the nearest automated teller machine on your first trip. Although it is next to impossible to learn about everything all at once, you will find smart ways to dodge questions or make a clean breast about it. However, if you are not fond of studying, you should better back out now.
- GEAR UP FOR INTERVIEWS
According to companies, the type of interviews may differ; either it might be a single interview or a whole assessment process. The travel companies invest a fortune in their tour guide to fully prepare for what’s ahead. Therefore, they look for someone capable of upholding the company’s image and maintaining a reputation. All you need is to show them what you have got and how you can prove to be a valuable asset to the company. To pass this stage, you need to brace yourself up with ostensibly casual questions and prepare yourself for the typical IQ as well as general knowledge questions. Make sure you sleep well the night and carry yourself with a calm aura before the recruiters.
- HANDS-ON TRAINING
Most employers recruit individuals with one or two years of practical field experience completed under an experienced tour guide’s supervision. So your next step is to gain on-job training so you could surpass other applicants for the job position. Travel organizations also offer individuals apprenticeship programs. A positive point is you might make some earnings through these programs along with practical learning and experience. Through these apprenticeship programs, you can develop diverse skill sets, including communication, active listening, organization, and detail-oriented skills.
Moreover, be mindful of the license requirements in which state you wish to decide to guide. Many countries don’t require and license at all, but some may want you to pass a test before working legally.
- LEAD YOUR FIRST GROUP
After completing the above steps, you are now ready to start your journey as a travel guide with your first group. You must ensure your group has an enjoyable and unforgettable trip throughout the tour. You can ask your group to provide online reviews about your services as a travel guide. Who knows, the members of your group may recommend you to their friends and family. In this way, you can attract a broad customer base.
It is to note that a tour guide’s job responsibilities depend on the work setting and location. For instance, if you decide to work under a travel company, chances are you will be offering tours to different countries or attraction points. However, if you are working as a self-employed travel guide, you can provide some public destination tours.
Nevertheless, the three key areas of specialization in the travel guiding industry includes:
- HISTORICAL TOUR GUIDE
The historical tour guides offer a tour of historical locations, museums, monuments, or archeological places. The tour guides in this area have extensive knowledge of the history of sites and buildings. They are responsible for providing visitors with exciting information about the place and stories behind the monuments. Historical tour guides can also answer any visitor’s questions and keep them engaged with their in-depth knowledge of the site.
- CORPORATE TOUR GUIDE
Corporate tour guides usually work with large corporations that are prominent for travel destinations or sometimes with non-profit organizations. These tour guides are mainly in charge of demonstrating the production process and its objectives and value. Corporate tour guides also find employment at theme parks. They are responsible for leading a group of visitors to describe a company’s accomplishments.
- NATURE TOUR
Nature tourist guides are responsible for assisting tourists in attraction points, wildlife parks, and natural beauty spots. These travel guides have extensive knowledge about geography, history, and natural sciences of various scenic areas and hold travelers’ attention by sharing this information.
Irrespective of which field you choose to specialize in, all kinds of travel kinds have the same job responsibilities. One of the critical job roles is to ensure proper arrangements for a safe and secure trip. You will be responsible for guaranteeing that everyone is abiding by the rules and regulations. There are no violations of any restrictions. Occasionally, you might have to provide first-aid or perform emergency medical services in case of an accident.
Before making up your mind to become a travel guide, make sure you are ready to give up on the things you love. Compromising on your sleep, staying alert all day and night, and forsaking plans are some of this job’s demands. Rest assured, apart from the cons; there are some overwhelming perks too. Not to forget, you will visit all the places you have never been to before your entire life.