Ghost Stories, Secret Histories, Scandals: 7 Reasons to Become a Tour Guide

Written by
Rebecca Smith

Oct 30, 2018

Oct 30, 2018 • by Rebecca Smith

Bored? Looking for a career change? Have you ever considered becoming a tour guide?

Tour guides get to do some of the most exciting activities in the world on a daily basis. They get to meet people from all over the world, explore the environment, and expand their knowledge.

The job isn't for everyone. But if you're right for the job, you might have a second career waiting for you at the tour guide station in your town.

Here are 7 reasons you should become a tour guide.

1. You Love People

Let's get down to the nitty-gritty: if you don't love people, you probably won't love being a tour guide.

But if you do love people, then being a tour guide allows you to meet all kinds of people from all over the world!

People who take tours are usually visitors. So they don't know much about the area. This gives you the perfect opportunity to give them suggestions and knowledge about your city.

That means you could meet hundreds of people every day. And if your tour is interactive, you'll get to talk and learn more about those people too. It's the ultimate people-person job.

2. You're Good at Making People Laugh

Part of the appeal of a good tour guide is that you keep them interested. You must be an engaging person to keep them interested and to keep those tips rolling in.

People take tours for two reasons: to learn something new and to be entertained. So if you love entertaining, you're the right person for the job!

Of course, you don't have to always make people laugh. Tour guides have many different approaches to keeping their audiences entertained. But humor is one of the easiest and most successful ways to have a successful tour.

3. You Love Your City

If you don't love the area you live in, then you won't be successful at giving tours. But if you do love your city (or national park, or the Colorado River, or the Hill Country of Texas, etc.) then go for it!

All major metropolitan areas in America have tours to show off their history and culture. And tourists need tour guides to show them where to go.

Do you live in San Francisco and love its rich history and beautiful architecture? Why not be a tour guide? Click here to learn more about some of the best private tours available in SF.

4. You're Ready to Get Out of a Desk

If you're ready for a job that doesn't involve a desk, a tour guide is a great career change. One of the best benefits of this profession is that you get to move around every day.

Desk jobs are great for some, but they aren't for everyone. As a guide, you'll get to walk around, get fresh air, and see the sights.

5. You Can Start Small as a Side Job

The great thing about a tour guide's job is that it's customizable to your schedule. If you only want to work a few days a week as a guide, that's okay.

Starting small means you only do a few walking tours a week. Then you can learn more about the downtown area of your city. Or maybe you do some segue tours on the weekend to make some extra money.

If you love it, you may decide to devote more time to giving tours. Then you can move up to giving bus tours of the local wineries. Or wildlife tours at the nearby national forest.

And if you'd prefer to work at night, you can stick to night tours. Most major cities have night tours to showcase the beautiful city nightlife.

The point is that tour companies are flexible with their guides. And if you need to juggle around other commitments, you can usually arrange that.

6. You Love to Travel

This one is a no-brainer. If you love to take long hikes through the state forest outside your home, why not get paid to do it?

Or if you love art, consider relocating to a larger city with a big art museum. There you can learn about art and educate others while earning a living.

Some tour guides travel seasonally to places of high interest. For example, in the summer, you could be a nature guide in a large national park like Yellowstone. Or you could give river rafting tours on the Colorado River.

Then travel to a different location in the winter. Like leading guided snowshoeing trips in Aspen. Or give tours of spring training facilities in Florida.

And of course, you can always consider a job as a guide for a cruise company. They have positions both on the cruise ships and in port as an excursion guide. Cruising is the perfect way to see the world.

7. You're Ready to Rake in the Tips

If you want to make money by earning tips, but don't want to sling spaghetti at the local Italian food place, then becoming a tour guide is the way to go.

The great thing about this job is that you control how much you make. As long as you're willing to take on tours. And as long as you keep the guests entertained, you'll make good money from tips.

Most tour guides are paid a base hourly wage and then receive tips on top of that. You'll have to start slow. Newbies make less money than those that have been doing tours in the area for a long time.

But it isn't out of the cards for an experienced and talented tour guide to make $300 in a day. Put in the work and you'll reap the financial benefits.

Become a Tour Guide and Get Some Great Perks

The reasons to become a tour guide are endless. You get to work on your own terms. As you gain experience, you can make lots of money on tips.

If you love nature, you can travel and do tour guides in several areas of the country throughout the year. And if you love your city, you can teach other people about it and learn about other people in the process.

Are you looking to switch up your career? Check out our career blog for more great ideas about possible career choices.