Tired of your desk job? Want to go out and travel more often? Love interacting with people? If you answered yes to all three questions, then perhaps it’s the best time for you to switch to a different and more dynamic job! And what better way to combine work and traveling than being a tour guide?
In this article, I will show you how to become a tour guide in three easy steps. That’s right, becoming a tour guide isn’t all that difficult and complicated. So sit back, relax, and read on to find out how to land your dream job.
You don't need equipment to become a tour guide, but there are a couple of things you will need. The following are the items you will need to secure to become a tour guide:
Different localities will have different rules and regulations as regards the tour guide industry. That said, the first step to becoming a tour guide is acquainting yourself with the said regulations.
To get a copy of the said rules and regulations, you can drop by your local tourism agency. Alternatively, you can also try accessing the regulations online, especially if your tourism agency has a website.
If your locality doesn’t require tour guides to secure a license or permit, then this wouldn’t be necessary. However, if a license or permit is required, then you would have to undergo some sort of qualifying exam or training first.
This one would largely depend on your tour agency’s policies. For the most part, the pamphlets and promotional materials would depend on partner hotels and locations. Unless you run your own travel agency, these materials will likely be supplied to you.
Now that you know everything you will need to become a tour guide, let us head straight to the tutorial.
Different places have different rules and regulations pertaining to the tourism industry. In countries where tourism is a primary source of revenues, there are often stringent rules on becoming a tour guide. Certain educational requirements may also be imposed.
In most cases, however, you wouldn’t need anything past secondary education in order to become a full-time tour guide. However, a certain level of training may still be required. The requirements would usually vary depending on 1) tourism regulations and 2) your employer.
In the event that a permit or license is needed before you could be a tour guide, then you also have to find out how you could secure such permit or license. Find out if there are tests you have to take, training you have to undergo, or seminars you have to attend.
This step is particularly important if you have a job and plans on quitting so you could become a tour guide. After all, you wouldn’t want to be jobless as you go around processing your requirements or getting additional academic units.
You can go straight to a travel agency and inquire what requirements they demand of tour guides. This way, they can inform you as to what permits or licenses you will need to be a tour guide. They can also give you tips and tricks for securing them.
If you plan on working with a big and reputable travel agency, chances are you would be required to secure a license or permit first. If the tourism agency in your country or locality demands certain educational requirements for tour guides, then the first step is to get the necessary education.
A lot of colleges and universities offer degrees or diplomas in tourism nowadays, so this should be fairly easy. All you have to do is enroll in the school offering the degree or diploma you need, pay the necessary matriculation fees, and finish the program.
After meeting the educational requirements, you can now proceed to get the necessary license or permit. This will often be offered by schools specializing in tourism or, in certain cases, by the local government or the national agency regulating the tourism industry.
To secure such license or permit, you would often have to take a couple of tests. The tests could range anywhere from language proficiency to interpersonal skills, depending on the kind of license or permit that you are trying to secure.
If you want to earn a higher amount, then it would help to be proficient in a foreign language other than English. Non-English-speaking tourists are often willing to pay higher rates to tour guides who can speak their language. Moreover, they will likely give you higher tips.
If you want to make the most out of your foreign language skills, secure a certification attesting to your fluency and discuss your options with your potential employer. If you’ve always wanted to learn a foreign language, this might be the best time to begin.
Of course, you can always work solo, but landing your first tour job gig without the help of a travel agency can be very difficult. Working with a travel agency means a fairly steady work assignment. The travel agency would take care of finding clients, and all you have to do is remain on standby.
Tour guides are often associated with travel agencies, but those are not your only work opportunities. Hotels which provide tour services often employ tour guides, too, so that is also an option for you. local governments with tourism divisions sometimes employ tour guides, as well.
It would help if you already know someone in the industry, but in case you don’t know where to apply, the Internet is your friend. Look up reputable travel agencies and contact them to inquire about job openings.
Landing your first gig might not come easy, but don’t lose heart. Submit your resume to as many potential employers as possible. This way, you will have more chances of being contacted to do a tour.
In addition, different agencies would have different demands for tour guides. Submitting to multiple agencies can increase your chances of having employment even during the slow seasons.
Being a tour guide is really fun and enjoyable. If you enjoy showing people around and telling stories about particular destinations, it wouldn’t even feel like a job at all. Of course, meeting cranky tourists is inevitable, but it’s a very rewarding career for the most part.
The downside, of course, is that it’s not a regular source of income. Your salary would likely depend on demand for tour guides. That said, expect to be very busy (and pretty rich) during peak seasons! If tourists love you, you’d likely earn more by way of tips!
Did you enjoy this tutorial? If you did, let me know by giving me a shout out in the comments below. Feel free to share your tour guide experiences, too. And if you have further questions, don’t hesitate to ask them! I’m always more than happy to help. Good luck on landing your first tour guide gig!