14 Pros and Cons of Being a Tour Guide

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So many people around the world love to travel and wish they had a job where they could do both simultaneously.

One such way to do so is to become a tour guide, which allows you to travel locally, domestically, or internationally and get paid to do so!

While this may sound like a glamorous dream job, there are some drawbacks as well as it is not just adventure and excitement every day.

To learn more about becoming a tour guide, it is important to consider the pros and cons before deciding. Keep reading to learn about this interesting career!

Pros of Being a Tour Guide

Becoming a tour guide has numerous excellent benefits, with the best being:

1. Can Work in Different Locations

Depending on the tour guide type, you could work in a variety of locations.

Some tour guides offer walking tours around the town or city, others manage tourists going on day trips to sites further away.

Some tour guides are involved with multi-day trips around their country while others travel internationally with groups.

The best tour guides get to embark on international trips with larger tourist groups.

2. Improve People Skills

As a tour guide, you really get to work on your soft skills through various interactions with tourists, other guides, and employees at different attractions.

Throughout your daily routes, you encounter countless individuals, some pleasant, some quiet, some difficult, some loud, and you learn how to deal with distinct types of people.

3. Interesting Work

Since you get the opportunity to gain experience about all types of sites, attractions, and cultures, being a tour guide presents a variety of interesting experiences and interactions that lead to beautiful journeys.

No day will ever be boring or the same and there is a spontaneous aspect to being able to visit various locations.

4. Learn About Different Destinations

As a result of these travels, you get to learn about different destinations.

Given that the tour company will give you specifics on what they want you to cover in the tour, you will likely master all the interesting details about your town or city first.

Next, you may move on to one day or multi-day trips, where you will learn about additional destinations and finally, you can graduate to the international circuit to learn about other countries, all of which make you a more well-rounded tour guide and individual.

5. Learn New Languages

Since you are meeting a variety of people, you pick up bits and pieces of different languages.

Some companies, they will pay for you to learn other languages since it is such a valuable skill that helps with the customer service you provide.

Other companies may not foot the bill, but there are plenty of apps and free online learning opportunities that can help you improve your tour guide service.

6. No Traditional Office

One of the best aspects of being a tour guide in the world is your office.

Many people are not built to sit in cube farms all day for their entire careers.

Some love being outside and looking at beautiful sites.

Best of all, you can work without a boss or colleagues watching over you, which can really take the stress off your back.

7. Work with a Variety of People

The final major benefit of becoming a tour guide is the opportunity to collaborate with people from different locations, countries, and backgrounds, with a variety of experiences.

Although you may only be together for a short time, you develop friendships and relationships with your clients.

This also allows you to gain experience more about different religions, languages, and cultures.

Learning more about your clients is an excellent way to cater the sites to them while providing exceptional customer service!

Cons of Being a Tour Guide

While there are many benefits to becoming a tour guide, it is important to also understand the drawbacks.

1. Deal with Difficult People

Whether you are a tour guide in your local city or a traveling tour guide, you will have to deal with different people with unique needs and personalities every day you work.

Sometimes, there are problematic and difficult individuals who are not well-behaved, complain about everything, or are generally miserable and want everyone to know.

To deal with this individual type, you must have excellent patience, professionalism, and customer service.

2. Immediate Changes in Schedule

In many instances, being a tour guide is spontaneous, meaning there is little to no notice of schedule changes.

This is because clients’ schedules changes, there are cancellations, and often no-shows.

This can be incredibly frustrating when you need to make rent payments or have a major purchase approaching.

3. Low Job Security

Being a tour guide has low job security, which can last for an extended period.

Tour guides can easily be replaced, especially if not great at their job.

There are many others in cities and towns across the world that can replace a tour guide.

If you are laid off or fired, it can be difficult to find another job.

Even in the largest cities, there are only so many tour companies, so word gets around about different employees within the industry.

4. Not Lucrative

One of the greatest issues of becoming a tour guide is it does not pay well.

As a result, you may need a second job to keep up with your payments and necessities.

This is especially the case in high cost of living areas.

That second job could be mundane and really not something that interests you.

Also, due to the low salaries, elderly poverty is an issue for many who can only afford to live, but do not have enough money to save for old age.

That means, you cannot be a tour guide your entire life, you need to have other skills.

5. Reliant on Seasons

The “high” travel season is typically over the summer between the end of May and the middle of September, depending on the location.

This is because children are out of school and teachers are off for the summer.

That means for tour guides, this is the busiest time of the year, and lucrative.

However, the remaining seasons are likely to be slow, so many companies temporarily lay off tour guides to save on costs.

Therefore, it is critical to have a second job as a backup for the offseason.

6. Subjected to Inclement Weather

As a tour guide, you will spend most of your time outside, escorting groups to see beautiful natural landscapes, ancient monuments and architecture, and other local attractions.

That means, during inclement weather, you and your tour group may not get to see specific attractions, and you are subjected to rain and snow.

Aside from the tourist complaints about not being able to see a site, you could fall ill with constant exposure to the elements.

7. Work Holidays and Weekends

The final major drawback of becoming a tour guide is you will likely have to work holidays and weekends.

Your schedule is dependent on when tourists decide to book your services.

Most tourists are going to book in the summer, on weekends, and over holidays.

This could disrupt trips you want to take with your friends or family.

Instead, you must focus on strangers and ensuring they are having a good time.

Pros and Cons of Being a Tour Guide – Summary Table

Pros of Being a Tour GuideCons of Being a Tour Guide
1. Can Work in Different Locations1. Deal with Difficult People
2. Improve People Skills2. Immediate Changes in Schedule
3. Interesting Work3. Low Job Security
4. Learn About Different Destinations4. Not Lucrative
5. Learn New Languages5. Reliant on Seasons
6. No Traditional Office6. Subjected to Inclement Weather
7. Work with a Variety of People7. Work Holidays and Weekends

Should You Become a Tour Guide?

Deciding whether to become a tour guide is a personal decision based on your individual preferences.

As a college student, this seems like a wonderful way to make money to put yourself through college.

However, as an older and more seasoned employee in any field, it may not be the best to make the career change, unless retired and looking for an interesting activity.

In any case, it is critical to weigh the pros and cons of becoming a tour guide before you decide.

Can you deal with a low salary for the rest of your life, or is this just a temporary, fun job?

Do you value knowledge and experience more than money?

While many of these questions relate to earning money.

It is a critical aspect of this job.

While there are many perks, if you cannot pay your bills then you will need to consider getting a second job, which you may hate.

Like with deciding upon any career path, many choices and considerations must be made to ensure you have a fruitful and enjoyable career!

Search Travel Agent Training Programs

Get information on Travel Agent Training programs by entering your zip code and request enrollment information.

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Jamie Willis
Career Specialist at BecomeopediaHi, my name is Jamie Willis, and I have been helping students find their perfect internships and education paths for the last ten years. It is a passion of mine, and there really is nothing better than seeing students of mine succeed with further studies.

4 thoughts on “14 Pros and Cons of Being a Tour Guide

  1. Michaela Carter says:

    The role of a tour guide encourages continuous learning. You’re always researching, staying updated on local history and current events, which deepens your understanding of the destination.

  2. Adrian Rice says:

    Handling difficult situations can be challenging. Dealing with difficult tourists, emergencies, or unexpected situations can be stressful. Tour guides need to stay composed and handle situations with grace and professionalism.

  3. Edward Green says:

    Good read! Tour guides play a significant role in educating people about history, art, and local customs. This intellectual engagement can be personally satisfying.

  4. Devin Mitchell says:

    Many tour guides enjoy the flexibility of their schedules, allowing them to pursue other interests or spend time with family and friends when there are no tours to conduct. It’s like a remote work.

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