A day in the life of a tour director or tour guide might sound too good to be true. Visiting exotic locales. Exploring fascinating cultures. Meeting amazing people. That’s not a task list characteristic of a typical day job.
The truth is, these components make up only part of what it means to embark on this exciting career path. With the glamour and prestige come dedication and hard work. Still, those who have devoted their lives to this noble profession concur that the rewards are well worth all the effort.
Don’t let naysayers talk you out of your dream job! Here are five common tour directing and tour guiding myths debunked.
It doesn’t pay well: It must be noted that this is not a career you should pursue if your sole aim is to get rich. Tour directing and tour guiding is for those who are passionate about travel and love to meet new people. That said, there are opportunities to make a very good living. It’s not unheard of for tour directors who work hard and land a job with a top tour operator to make four figures a week. Those tips can really add up.
It’s impossible if you have a family: One of the perks of tour directing and tour guiding is flexibility. There are opportunities to work as little or as much as you want. Looking for a weekends-only or seasonal gig? There are tons of them. If you’re biding your time until the kids leave the house (!), that’s fine. Transitioning from part time to full time and vice-versa is no problem. Talented tour directors and tour guides are always in high demand.
It’s repetitive: Some might be deterred by the idea of riding the same route and narrating the same tour day after day. One great benefit of this career is you’re never stuck. When you work for a major tour operator, there are usually plenty of openings to pursue should your assignment begin to grow stale. Feel free to explore them as you get closer to fulfilling your obligations. Also, remember that there is always more to learn about your subject matter. Keep your presentations fresh and it will feel like a new job every day.
There’s no free time: You’re not a slave to the group! Most of the time they are self-entertaining and don’t need a babysitter. While you must be available for emergencies and immediate needs, your training will help you handle these deftly. If you’re working with a group leader, you have a wonderful ally. Let them manage all of the matters they know best, especially the personalities that make up your group. With effective delegation, you’ll find that you have plenty of time to reflect and recharge each day.
You have to know everything: A common fear among would-be and new tour directors and tour guides is that they’ll encounter group members who know more about certain subjects or who will pepper them with questions to which they don’t know the answers. Well, guess what: it’s true. You will meet people who are like human libraries. Some will probe you and fact-check you. They might be right and you might be wrong. Do not be discouraged! As long as you remain humble, sincere, and entertaining, you will win your group over no matter what.
During ITMI's 15-day Tour Guide / Director Certification Program, we will help you build the foundation you need to pursue your dream career. Contact us today and discover the truth: Tour directing or tour guiding is the best career decision you will ever make.