Tour Guide – 5 Bad Things About Working as a Tour Guide

Overall being a tour guide is the best job in the world. With a good group on a good trip there is no other job you want to do. But there are some things that can make a leader's lifestyle a terrible journey.


Traveling is exhausting and every two days working as a land tour guide you are in a new city. I often forget where I am, what language I want to speak and what currency I want to pay. I wake up in another bed, in another place, and sometimes have to lie there trying to remember where I am. Sleeping during night transport is completely different. If you manage to sleep on a commuter bus ride without a coma caused by the pill, you will need the intervention of a chiropractor. Travel pillows do not work and your neck / back will always be stiff.


Few people believe they are worth what they are paid for, but your average land tour guide is paid well below any concept of minimum wage. Consider being on the phone 24 hours a day for about a month. Does $ 40 a day sound unrealistic? Its not!


Many guidebooks are not only researched and inaccurate, but always knowable. If you are a freelance traveler they can serve the purposes of a city map with an introduction to sights and highlights. If you've paid to join a tour group, you'll believe in a snap book with bad restaurant suggestions or personal favorite tour guide for your food, who has tried every dish on every menu on every institution! Many passengers start a sentence with "But my guidebook says …"

Holiday mentality

Most passengers are well-educated, well-meaning human beings, but as soon as they board a plane to a foreign land, something strange happens. They regress to being 5 years old. Daily activities become difficult to do and their common sense disappears completely. Typical questions include – "Will I like this food? What should I wear? Do I need to bring a camera?"

They may still be able to tie the shoe lace, but many will find it difficult to walk and look around at the same time. Just like a kindergarten teacher you have to make constant stops for stragglers, those who are hungry / thirsty and those who have to go to the toilet.


Reaction is the way the head office knows what's going on with your groups. Your travelers are required to complete detailed travel reports and your travel guide. Generally if you make the effort and do a good job, you will give a fantastic ride for your group, but sometimes there are those personality conflicts that no matter what you do, you know a bad report will be sent.

Worse are the feedback sent by an individual who said they had the time of their lives and you were doing a fantastic job but their written report says they had a terrible time and you were terrible. The emotional pain of these is worse than please explain by email from the boss, a potential office call, and a shift from fun trips to the deaf that no one really wants to guide.

So cross your fingers for a good group who don't carry guide books and are genuine when you say they are having the best vacation ever!