If you are struck by wanderlust and are known as the adventurer among your friends, consider being a travel guide. An exciting profession for those who love to be on the move, tour guides literally live out of suitcases. Being a travel guide is not just a profession, it’s a lifestyle. In addition to getting to explore and see the world, travel guides also have important responsibilities:
- Plan travel itineraries, drawing on knowledge of different routes and destinations.
- Arrange transportation, accommodation, meals, and any equipment needed for expeditions.
- Lead groups of tourists to various destinations, explaining the significance of locations.
- Cater to the needs of travellers, including making accommodations for medical conditions or disabilities.
- Sell travel packages and provide tourists information about sightseeing and shopping.
- Settle any discrepancies related to itineraries, accommodations, or other services.
If these roles and responsibilities appeal to you, you could be a great travel guide.
How to become a travel guide?
While there are academic programs that can help kickstart your career as a travel guide, some people with a natural penchant for travel and people can turn their interest into a career without formal training. Trust your instincts, gather experiences, and think about what unique things you can bring to the job.
1. Love travel? Study it!
Though training isn’t necessary to become a professional tour guide, a formal qualification goes a long way in establishing your credibility as a professional. Many colleges and educational institutions offer courses in hospitality, travel, and tourism. You could consider any of the following programs as a step towards building a career in this field:
- BA (Tourism Studies)
- BSc (Airlines, Tourism and Hospitality Management)
- BCom (Travel and Tourism Management)
- BBA (Travel and Tourism Management)
- MA (Travel and Tourism)
- Diploma in Travel and Tourism Management
2. Walk the extra mile
To become a successful travel guide, make friends with maps. If you plan to lead hiking expeditions you need to know the terrain like the back of your hand so you can help others through it. In addition, consider studying travel shows and work on your communication skills. Prior experience of organizing tours and expeditions comes in handy when applying to travel agencies. Undertake mini expeditions with groups to observe and learn from experienced travel guides. Take note of minute details, talk to travellers to understand their concerns, and find unique to problems that arise. Put in the work to ensure a fulfilling experience for your clients.
3. Get thorough training before leading your first group
Once you join a travel agency or a group of professional travel guides, you will get to work as a trainee. The first few years of on-the-job training are crucial in providing first-hand experience in organizing and managing teams successfully. You may not earn much during the training period, but the experience will be worth the time and effort. Once you earn your employer’s trust you will get the opportunity to lead a group. The joy of leading your first expedition is unparalleled, and that first success is a huge confidence boost.
4. Be ready for challenges
It’s easy to focus on the adrenaline rush that accompanies adventure and spontaneity, but you should be aware of the challenges as well. As a tour guide, you will meet different kinds of people. Some clients can get impatient and rude, but as a group leader, it is important for you to remain calm and professional. Travel guides also need to ensure the group’s safety and security, and take care of their belongings. Basic knowledge of first-aid is also a must. Furthermore, along with the physical demands of leading tours and expeditions, a travel guide needs to be emotionally strong. As part of your professional commitments, you may need to stay away from your family and loved ones for long stretches of time. Travel guides learn to connect with the people they travel with, and many times end up making friends for life.
5. What more can you do in travel and tourism management?
As your career progresses, you will realize how much there is to explore in this field. If at some point you feel that you’re ready for a slower pace, you can switch your position without having to completely change careers. You can become a travel consultant, marketing coordinator, or even start your own travel company. Becoming a world travel guide is a thrilling and challenging career. You get to travel the world, enjoy diverse cuisines, and get the opportunity to make lasting bonds with people from across the globe. If you are a travel enthusiast who is driven by new experiences, this career could be an opportunity to follow your passion.
For guidance and to ensure that you get the right opportunity, get in touch with the career advisors of LaunchMyCareer. Our experienced education counsellors will help you in navigating your career. Be it confusion about a course or college or wanting to explore a new interest, an education counsellor can be a guiding light in your professional journey.