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10 Prerequisites For Being A Travel Guide

To many of us Millennials, nothing sounds scarier than working a 9-5 job. Being bored, stuck behind a desk for eight hours a day? Gee, no thanks. However, many of us fall into the trap of the classic desk job because we're scared to get out of our comfort zones. Doing something different and out-of-the-box is enough to make our families judge and worry about us, and yet, it feels so right.

For anyone with an inner travel-bug who is terrified of conforming to normalcy, becoming a travel guide is a wonderful excuse to be on your feet, travel, and learn about new cultures or cities. Depending on the area of interest, there's not too much schooling that needs to be done and it's a one-of-a-kind job that involves human connection and history. So without further ado, here are 10 prerequisites future travel guides will need to have under their belt.

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10 YOU MAY NEED PARTICULAR DRIVING LICENSES

When you decide you're interested in becoming a tour guide, it may be beneficial to get different drivers licenses under your belt.

Let's say you become a tour guide in Philadelphia, you're bound to drive a double-decker bus which requires a special license. The same can be said for touring in Rome, Hollywood, or Paris. You'll even need special training and guidance if you're steering a horse-drawn carriage.

9 ALONG WITH A LICENSE TO TOUR THROUGHOUT THE CITY

According to Study, some cities require their tour guides to have certain licensing requirements. Cities like New York City attract a lot of people who are paying good money to see the sights and learn; having tour guides be knowledgeable about the vast city is crucial. Exams on the city and its history will need to be taken and if a potential tour guide passes, they can move on to applying to jobs in the city.

8 YOU'LL NEED A HIGH SCHOOL DIPLOMA

Most tour guides have mentioned that you'll need at least a high school diploma or an associates degree. If you want to go above and beyond to knock out the competition, you can go to a four-year university, graduating in tourism.

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This can come in real handy if you are looking to create your own business, as well. It also depends on the kind of work you're interested in doing. If you love art history, it may be wise to major in art history to take up being a tour guide for museums across the globe.

7 YOU MUST BE ABLE TO COMMAND A ROOM

While some walking tours are free to join (with the agency paying the tour guide), others can be quite expensive depending on the description. Regardless of the location or the actual city, though, tour guides must be endearing. It's essential they demand a room, answer questions, tell a story, and be an all-around people person. After all, if they get good reviews, they get more business.

6 WORKING ABROAD MEANS A LENGTHY VISA PROCESS

One reason many people want to become tour guides is the opportunity to travel abroad. Just thinking about touring throughout countries like Italy and France is enough to make you pack right now!

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However, traveling and working abroad means getting a work visa. Each country has different rules/laws for visas, so it's important not to compare countries. Typically, larger countries will help with the visa process but they can only do so much. The potential tour guide needs to have all their ducks in a row and the correct paperwork. And yes, it can be quite stressful.

5 YOU'LL NEED TO BE HEALTHY

If you've never been on an actual tour before, we suggest doing a few so that you know what you're getting into. If it's a walking tour, these can last hours. And not only are you walking up and down (and around town), but you'll have to be speaking the entire time while making sure you're not losing anyone on the tour. Being on your feet all day means you have to take care of yourself and be healthy. Tour guides lead the pack and set the pace of the tour, which can be a lot for some.

4 THERE ARE TRAINING PROGRAMS TO SET YOU APART

If you have your high school diploma or associates degree and are looking for more of an edge without going for more years of schooling, there's a training course you can take that's specific to being a tour guide.

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National Geographic explained potential students can apply for the International Tour Management Institute, International Guide Academy, and others. For two weeks, you can learn everything you'll need that's specific to your future endeavors.

3 YOU HAVE TO BE AN ACTIVE LISTENER

Being a tour guide means knowing your audience. Pick up on their cues, get to know them a little more, and answer any questions they have. And if you hear guests chattering amongst themselves, join in and mix up the conversation. A tour guide has to be a champion at multitasking.

2 THE ABILITY TO THINK ON YOUR TOES

Typically, when a tour guide works in one city for a long time, they get better and better with every tour. They come more comfortable and they learn more through trial and error.

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One thing a tour guide should never do is cancel the tour when their plan falls through. Let's say there's a road blocking, blocking the direction for the general tour. Instead of calling it quits—and upsetting everyone who paid for the tour—there should be a Plan B.

1 KNOW WHICH ROLE YOU'RE APPLYING FOR

National Geographic notes there are a few different areas of tourism you can jump into. A tour director is in charge of most of the planning and scheduling, while a guide is the face of the operation. Potential guides can go in both directions depending on the company (or if they own their company), being able to touch all areas of the actual experience.

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