In the most basic sense, Loci Amica serves two groups. One, is international travelers. The other, is aspiring tour guides. Of course, given the penchant for international travel, the two are not necessarily exclusive of one another, as globetrotters would typically love nothing more than to work within their local travel industry, at least through the days of the year where they are indeed in their homeland. Whatever the case may be, this article is for those of you who are pondering becoming a tour guide. Below, we have detailed key characteristics of people who could become very successful in their local travel industry should the opportunity present itself.
5 Signs You Would Make a Great Local Tour Guide
1. Passion for Travel
This is an obvious one. However, some people feel they be disqualified if thus far they have not had the resources to travel around the world. Can you have a true “passion for travel” if you have not traveled internationally? Absolutely. This is because you may already be a well-seasoned traveler in your very own country, state, or province. In fact, we know so many globetrotters that admit ignorance about the very land they call home, so it really doesn’t matter how often you’ve had your passport stamped, if at all. Instead, if you find that you explore your own land when given every possible opportunity, heading for the hills, beaches, trails, islets, and mountaintops in addition to visiting the culturally diverse communities found in your own proverbial backyard, then you absolutely qualify.
2. Fear is No Factor
We don’t mean that you have no regard for your safety, should your pre-booked party be a known psychopath (we take care of that vetting process). Instead, we’re referencing a strong sense of adventure. You’re not afraid to get dirt under your fingernails to uncover a hidden gem that your clients won’t get to experience with traditional tour services. If you look at a zip line over a lush tropical forest, or a winding off-road trail with no sign indicating where it leads, and think “I really need to do that” then guess what? You might be a tour guide.
3. Means of Transportation (and Great Sense of Direction)
Unless you plan on getting lost in the big brand tour system (more on this below) it’s good to be self-sufficient, which means having a form of transportation. This will be necessary for offering travelers a means to getting around your locale. Plus, in having access to a vehicle over the past year/s, you will have taken that passion for travel (item #1) and sense of adventure (item #2) and explored your surrounding locale enough to know where all roads (charted and uncharted) lead. This will help you develop a superior sense of direction. Nothing instills confidence in a guide than a proven ability to know not only how to get around, but where the shortcuts are too.
4. You Know the Locals
Connecting to the people of the land is just as important as knowing the land, if not more so. Every destination and attraction is connected to an individual or group in some way. It could be the occupants of a village near a “must see” waterfall in the rainforest, the kiosk sellers at a local night market, or the security guard who has worked in the shadows of a world famous temple for the last five years. In getting to know them all, you will gain access and insight into a destination or attraction that no guidebook could ever convey. And this, is knowledge that you will pass on to your clients so that they too experience a locale better than they could with any other tour “service”.
If you love people, and take the time to get to know them, it will shine in your work.
5. A Connoisseur of Cuisine
One truism in travel is food. Every traveler wants to know where the best food is in a given locale. Even if it’s not a “foodie tour” they will get hungry along the way, and your ability to point out (and pull over at) hidden gem cafes, eateries, or roadside spots will impress them as much (if not more) than your navigational skills to and from the attractions they paid to see in the first place. When we say connoisseur, we’re not insisting that you need a distinguished palate per se, but you will need darn near expert knowledge about the best spots to find local food and beverages in your town, city, state, or province (as applicable). If you’re not quite there yet, this is a fun one to gain some experience with. Grab a bib and get going!
Notice how we didn’t provide a list of certification requirements? For far too long the professional tour industry has been plagued by “cash-grabs”, with big brand providers incorrectly advising candidates that they need to pay “x amount” of dollars to take a course and become a guide. But we recognize that a true guide cannot learn what they need from just a course. In fact, reliance on that tactic typically results in the converse, with travelers getting stuck with organized tour company staff that don’t have the passion or intimate (read: non-textbook) knowledge of the location, culture and people of a given destination. While to protect our members we have a strict vetting process for selecting guides, we also don’t turn prospective guides away because they don’t have a piece of paper that some solicitor insisted they have. If the list above holds true in your heart, you’re already a candidate. Learn more about how to become a guide, and feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org with any additional questions you may have.
Thanks for reading.