A Guide to Working as a Tour Guide

As a tour guide you will lead a group of people and act as a knowledable leader educating people about the places they visit. You will usually need to be very friendly, sociable, outgoing and be able to handle groups of people. If you know any foreign languages this will be of benefit.

One of the best things about being a tour guide is meeting people from all over the world, getting to see new places and also getting paid. When employers look to recruit new tour guides you will need to demonstrate good leadership qualities and be able to handle lots of different situations e.g. home sickness, emergencies and problematic travelers.

If you like to travel, are people friendly and are confident speaking in-front of groups then being a tour guide will appeal to you.


What to Expect

Some tour operators use coaches whilst others use overland trucks, group sizes can vary dramatically from a few people to 25+ depending on the company and options e.g. adventure tours, school holiday tours etc. You will usually not be working alone but with a driver and sometimes another guide and mechanic. Most companies offer fixed term contracts but some city tour providers do not pay a salary, instead you will make money via tips - this is usually the case with free walking city tours.



Each tour company has different application criteria, usually you will need to be:

  • confident
  • enthusiastic
  • have good leadership and organisation skills
  • friendly
  • have been on a tour before
  • be able to work under pressure

You will usually need to apply with a good CV then go to an interview. If you are successful you will usually go through a training program giving you will the skills and information required and also join a tour with an experienced guide to show you how to work to the best of your ability. 


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