4 steps to a new route: route drawing instruction

The topic is chosen, the information is studied, the story plan is ready, so it's time to plot a route. After all, showing on the ground is the most important part of a tour. Without it, your event turns into a lecture. What exactly needs to be done?

Step 1. Create a list of waypoints

According to the chosen topic, tourists can see:

  • historic sites related to some historical events;
  • buildings which are interesting by architecture/history or famous by some celebrities that lived there;
  • unusual structures as bridges, towers, fortresses;
  • exhibits in museums, exhibitions and galleries;
  • works of art as sculptures, panel painting, decorative parks, etc.;
  • archaeological sites as excavations, hillforts, earthworks, sanctuaries, etc.;
  • natural formations from the reserves to the separate relict plants.

Ruins of an ancient theater in Side represent a popular tourist site

Ruins of an ancient theater in Side represent a popular tourist site

Step 2. Evaluate the waypoints

Surely in your area you can find dozens of attractions. You shouldn’t tell tourists about all of those during one tour: 10-15 points are the optimal number for a route, calculated for 2-3 hours. Their selection is carried out according to the following criteria:

  • popularity: everybody knows it and wants to see (for example, the Eiffel Tower, getting acquainted with Paris you cannot do without it);
  • uniqueness: there’s no sense in showing a bridge, like thousands of its fellows; but the Moses Bridge in the Netherlands may well be the "highlight" of your tour;
  • expression: the ability to produce a "wow-effect"; it may be a house with unusual details or a weirdly looking tree, the tourists always are willing to make a photo there;
  • cognitive value: you have a story to tell about the waypoint or a building, as it is linked to significant events, life of famous people, etc.; as a rule, those are historical and architectural monuments.
A very important criterion for the selection is its location. The waypoint can be interesting and unusual, but if for a five minutes glance you have to wander over hill and dale for two hours, such an option is unlikely to attract the customers.

It’s a wonderful example of street art, but it is not easy to get close to

It’s a wonderful example of street art, but it is not easy to get close to

Step 3. Line up a chain

At this stage, you will need a detailed map of the area which helps the guide drawing a line connecting separate points. First of all, you should define the display sequence. It can be carried out in chronological order, if the story is about the life of a famous person or event of a certain epoch. Or, to be based on a topic (for example, studying Art Nouveau buildings), then it is better to move between the nearest waypoints.

In any case, you need to take into account the availability of convenient access to the monuments and structures, as well as the view points for each stopover point. You should avoid "loops" returning to the already visited places, as tourists appreciate fresh impressions, rather than going around in a circle.

Make some effort to consider several options for moving between the waypoints. Cause, on your way you can find unexpected obstacles like a water pipe breakdown, asphalt repairs and so one.

Step 4. Check it on the ground

Before offering a new "way" at the site, check it yourself. Check out the layout of streets and squares: where are the pedestrian zones and parking. Make sure if each point of interest can be seen as well as you imagine it to. Mark the places where tourists can comfortably stay during your story.

And, of course, perform timing, note how long it takes the story and sightseeing, what is the duration of the transfers between the waypoints. Take the help of a friend as alone you will surely shorten the narrative and accelerate your walk, but the presence of a friend will allow to maximally make the test tour seem real.

A tour guide should follow the stated duration of the walk

A tour guide should follow the stated duration of the walk

Following these guide lines, you will easily plot a route, even if you previously had no experience. The main thing is to break the work into steps and pass them gradually.

Comments (1)
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  • John Doe 16:46 06 MAR 2017

    Being a guide for some decades and a local guide in Vienna for more than 10 years I love your compilation, reconfirming for us “old” guides and surely helpful for those new in the business.
    In addition to your compilation in my walking-tours I also pay attention to the time of day. All my stops are “photo-stops” too, I never make my guests to gaze into the sun – I doo (good for my tan)!
    In a busy destination like Vienna it also is helpful to find your stops, apart from other groups and not blocking traffic. Guest don’t like to be seen a nuisance by passersby.
    I will use your article to help some of my novice colleagues!

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