Few things in life are more fun and exciting than travel. Regardless of where you go, venturing to new destinations and exploring beautiful cities and learning about unfamiliar cultures is extremely fulfilling.
When you visit someplace you’ve never been, hiring a tour guide can add color and texture to the experience.
If you’ve never hired a good guide, keep in mind that not every guide is the same. There are certain qualities you should look for. This article takes a look at the essential qualities someone should possess before you hire them to give you a tour of the city.
Keep reading to see the details.
Passionate About Their City
When considering a tour guide, the first quality they should have is a genuine passion for the city where they live. Many guides are a native of the area where they work, thus they will have a long history there, with many friends and family.
Their passion and enthusiasm for the place should be very evident. This enthusiasm should be natural and undeniable so that they are excited to share all of the amazing things they’ve come to appreciate about their home.
Passion is intoxicating, and they more passion and enthusiasm they are about sharing, the more enthusiastic you will be joining them on a journey around the city.
A Sense of Humor
Your guide should also have a sense of humor. Why? Because a good sense of humor will make the tour of the city extra enjoyable and will enable them to share humorous insights into the community that will add an extra layer of appreciation.
Also, you will be much more likely to enjoy spending time with someone who’s able to find humor in life than someone who remains serious every minute of the day.
A personable guide will be easy to talk to. This is important because you’ll likely be spending most of the day together. Clashing personalities can easily make a day feel intolerable.
So if possible, take the time to chat with potential guides before hiring one. It shouldn’t take long to get a pretty good sense of them as a person, even if it’s only a brief conversation over the phone.
Ask for a brief overview of their style, the places you’d visit, and what to expect from a day with them. This is a great tip for deciding if you’d be comfortable interacting with them over a period of hours rather than being stuck with them.
Great Communication Skills
One of the most important qualities of a good guide is the ability to communicate effectively. After all, touring someone around a city is all about communication.
Does your potential guide seem to be informative? Do they listen? Do they answer questions in a way that feels engaging and interested? All of these things are important.
A guide who doesn’t communicate well won’t likely provide the type of quality experience that you’re hoping for. This is another reason why it’s a good idea to have a conversation with them ahead of time in order to determine if they’ll be a good fit for you and your companions.
Here is an example of some of the best tours you could find anywhere.
A Great Memory
When it comes to offering a quality and informative tour of a fascinating city, there are a million details to remember. Thus a guide with a less than stellar memory will provide a less than stellar experience.
A guide should have a memory like a steel trap. They should know the city like the back of their hand, with perfect recall that can offer historical minutia and random tidbits that will help bring the nuances of the city to life for their clients.
Imagine hiring a guide, asking questions, and have them say that they don’t know or can’t remember. In a situation like that, you’d be better off saving your money.
You also want your guide to be outgoing and fun. No reason to hire a wallflower to explore the city with.
A person with a great personality will be a delight to spend time with, rather than an introvert who’d prefer to walk around in silence the whole time.
Keep in mind that not everyone is cut out for this job. So make sure you pick someone who’d be a good fit for long conversations, and who will work hard to make your visit to the city as delightful as possible.
Be Able to Improvise
There’s no guarantee that everything on a tour will go exactly as planned. That’s why a skilled guide should be able to improvise, making spontaneous adjusted to the plans of the day in order to maintain the spirit of the day.
Improvisation can come in any number of forms. Such as a sudden change in the weather. They should have a backup plan and should react quickly and calmly.
Not everyone reacts well on their feet, so try to pick a guide who seems confident, regardless of what the day happens to throw at you.
Next, your guide should always be on time. After all, you are visiting from out of town and every minute is important. When a guide is late, it throws the day behind schedule, thus you might be playing catchup or miss out on something altogether.
Very Knowledgable About the City
They should also have a thorough knowledge of their city. You are hiring them for their expertise, so they should be familiar with every street, and be able to offer colorful insight into a wide range of topics.
Able to Navigate the City Effortlessly