International Tour Management Institute (ITMI)

The Premier Training Institute for Tour & Travel Professionals Since 1976

You Might Be a Tour Guide or Tour Director If ...

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It takes a special type of person to be a tour guide or tour director. Skilled, detail oriented, caring ... and perhaps a bit quirky.

Family and friends of these dedicated tour professionals can attest to the lovable idiosyncrasies that many seem to share. After all, when your career is so focused on making sure groups of strangers have a good time exploring new places together, you tend to see the world differently than most.

Here are a few signs that you might be a tour guide or tour director.

You give your friends ETAs in one-minute intervals: Your friends call and ask you what time you think you'll arrive at that amazing Mexican-Thai fusion restaurant. You tell them 6:57 p.m. When you spend so much time poring over itineraries, you tend to place a lot of importance on time and all of its precious intervals. 

You narrate every single drive: It doesn't matter if you're driving to Yosemite or to the dry cleaner. If you're familiar with the area and you know an interesting historical tidbit about the location of a new car wash, you won't be able to resist sharing it with your company.

You always insist on carrying everything: When you return from the grocery store with your spouse or significant other, you instinctively scoop up every single bag without a second thought. Your tendency toward serving others tends to carry over in most facets of your domestic life. Most partners won't mind.

You regularly check weather forecasts throughout the day: It's kind of a nervous habit. You might not even have any outdoor plans. Still, there is the possibility that you'll want to go on a late afternoon stroll. If there's a chance of rain, you feel compelled to devise a backup activity.

You constantly ask your friends if they're having a good time: You thrive on the smiles and laughter of others. Shared joy is the only real kind. So, when you're out on the town and you notice your buddy isn't very talkative, there's a good chance you'll try to engage or entertain.

You check menus for vegetarian and gluten-free options even though you're neither: You've come across every kind of dietary restriction imaginable on the job. Peanuts, shellfish - you name it. It's important to you to know if a restaurant has an inclusive menu even though you'll eat anything under the sun. 

You try to find your microphone when you're in loud places: On the motorcoach, the mic is the great talking stick. Whoever holds it commands attention of the floor. When you have important information to share in a party-type atmosphere, don't be surprised if you start feeling around for a mic that isn't there.

You plan trips for your friends and family even when they don’t ask for them: It doesn’t matter if your BFF had a baby three days ago and she wants to chill at home for a while. You know that a trip to Rome is just what they need to bond. Babies love the Colosseum. 

You send away for every tour and cruise brochure you can get your hands on: The struggle is real for your mailman, who must find creative ways to stuff them all into your mailbox. When you get them you’re like a kid at Christmas. You savor them. You dog-ear them. You draw hearts around your favorite excursions like a high school girl with a crush.

You can't sleep on long road trips: Your brain associates extended travel with being "on." You can't help it. How can you even think of taking a nap? What if the driver can't find a good radio station or your friends in the back seat need to make an emergency restroom stop? Your work is never done.