Tour guides are your guiding lights when it comes to touring a new city and learning about the history of the town you're visiting while on vacation. While they're the best at making tours interactive, engaging, fun, and experts on their cities' landmarks and historical destinations, there are a few things they like to keep hidden.
Leading tours in new cities and interacting with vacationers and tourists all day long has both its pros and cons. For those who love spending their vacation taking tours around foreign cities, here are 10 secrets your tour guide doesn't want you to know.
10 They are storytellers
While the history of the Eiffel Tower may be really intriguing, and the story of how America received the Statue of Liberty might qualify as exciting to some, there are certain landmarks and parts of cities and tours that may not hold the most amazing backstories.
When this happens, tour guides use their creativity to build stories around important stops on their tours. From hundred-year-old trees to the city's first established coffee shops, tour guides always find a way to make the information they give out fun and engaging, even if they have to be storytellers to do it.
9 They may have to stretch the truth
Sorry to disappoint, but that might not actually be Brad Pitt's house. While tours around popular cities such as Hollywood, London, or Paris are major tourist attractions, the truth is that tour guides sometimes have to stretch the truth around the site's legendary reputation. On a tour like the Hollywood Stars Bus Tours, for example, tour guides love to point out famous celebrity houses and whereabouts, declaring that Leonardo Di Caprio owns this parking space or Katy Perry vacations in that house in the winter, even if it might not be completely true.
It brings excitement and joy to those from out of town, but keep in mind that tour guides are performers and storytellers too. At the end of the day, they're only stretching the truth to make your trip more fun!
8 A Tour Guide's Favorite
Tour guides are friendly, entertaining, and welcoming people. Many times at the end of their tours, they will say something along the lines of "You've been a great crowd, and you're all lovely people." You might assume that a tour guide has no favorite kind of tourist, but the truth is - they really love people who are tall.
Tall people stand out in a crowd and catch a tour guides attention. They also provide great service when the tallest person is able to stand at the back of the crowd while on the tour. It helps the tour guide see where exactly their crowd ends!
7 Sometimes, they have to break up fights
Traveling comes with both its pros and its cons, but traveling with groups and other random people who are also on the vacation of their lives can be a whole different story. Many times, a tour guide is taking a crowd of people from many diverse backgrounds, different believes, and different upbringings.
Sometimes, this mixture of vacationers and tourists don't blend well together, leading to fights breaking out while on tour. Whether they're arguing about taking photographs or standing in each other's way, it's often the tour guide's responsibility to break up the fights and keep things under control while on the tour.
6 Formal training isn't exactly required
Tour guides are among the most professional people in the tourism business. It doesn't go without saying that being friendly, open, and honest are qualities that great tour guides should possess. While tour guides can become experts on their cities and learn the ins and outs and secret passageways of the streets they are giving tours on, friendliness and being a people person is many times something that comes naturally.
There is not training handbook that tour guides use to make sure you're having a good time on your trip. They just hope they can bring out the best in their city for you!
5 No, A Guide's Job Is Not A 'free vacation'
Many people refer to the tour guiding profession as people on "free vacation," under the assumption that tour guides are getting paid to travel through cities and towns simply talking to people. The truth is, tour guides hate when their jobs are dismissed like this because it's simply incorrect.
Many tour guides rarely have the chance to relax between their travels and spend a lot of time interacting with other tourists and other people all across the cities they give tours on. Being a tour guide is still a job and can be more stressful than they let on.
4 They like questions, to an extent
Nobody likes an unresponsive crowd and that's why tour guides love it when people are curious enough to ask questions. Tour guides are used to sticking to the same script with the same information about the same sites that they know all too well.
It brings excitement and something new to the tour when someone raises their hand to ask a question. It makes tour guides feel as though they are being paid attention to and that you might fall in love with the city just as much as them. That said, don't ask too many questions! You don't want to hold up the tour!
3 They really depend on tips
A secret that many people may not know is that tour guides rely heavily on tips for a large part of the income. Similar to waitressing or bartending, being a tour guide is a customer service position, and they really appreciate when they're left with a tip.
However, tip customs may differ between countries, so make sure you do some research on your destination's customer service and tourist traditions before tipping your tour guide! Either way, they'll be grateful for your thanks! Tour guides appreciate when people take the extra step to show gratitude.
2 They don't appreciate off-topic conversations
It's not very courteous to have a conversation with your travel buddy at the same time your tour guide is explaining hidden secrets about London's historic churches. Remember that city tours are an interactive experience between the traveler and the tour guide.
They want you to be engaged just as much as them, and it's not the most polite thing to speak over them while they're speaking to you. Share in the excitement and express your delight with your tour group, but make sure you also allow your tour guide to give you the information they want to share with you.
1 Their greatest source of joy is seeing the joy in others
While being a tour guide may often be a difficult job, having to walk around all day and endure the task of public speaking, many tour guides find the most joy in their job while seeing other people excited by the sites of their city. Tour guides know that for many of their customers, it is their first time in the country and in the city.
Many times, children have never even seen photos of iconic landmarks and are witnessing them for the first time. Tour guides find pride and happiness in their role of being the person to point out amazing sites to you for the first time. Don't be afraid to express your amazement or take photos! They love seeing that.