Duties of a professional local tour guide

How do I become a guide?

Do you long for a sabbatical, or do you dream of experiencing the world? Then a job as a local tour guide might be something for you! In this article, we will answer a number of key questions in connection with the tour guide job and what it typically requires before you can become a successful tour guide. Let's start by looking at what a tour guide does on a daily basis. 

The mode of transport must be discussed before tourists' arrival

What does a local tour guide do?

A tour guide has various functions, but the primary work task is to provide a good service to the tourists. The activities below are a small sample of the tasks you may encounter: 

  • Assist guests at the airport on both arrival and departure
  • Present the hotel to the guests
  • Stand for activities and excursions
  • Guide in relation to facilities and excursions
  • Office work and helping customers via SMS, e-mail, and phone

What does it take to become a tour guide?

The most common way you can become a tour guide is to take a course at the tour guide school, courses, or online tutorials. The majority of the educational institutions' students end up getting a job after the guide training. 

What subjects can I be taught at the tour guide school?

You will, among other things, be taught the following subjects:

  • Personality profile analysis
  • Presentation technique
  • Body language and rhetoric
  • The first impression
  • Personal branding
  • Crisis conflict management
  • First aid course
  • Travel insurances
  • Legislation Regulations

Tourists pay the most attention to those profiles of local private tour guides that:

In addition, you will be trained in the various types of jobs within the travel industry, e.g. charter guide, excursion tour guide, animation tour guide, children's tour guide, ski guide, and fitness and sports guide. The education course consists of some exams for oral and a final written exam.

A real guide would tell you a whole story about each stone

What is local tour guide training?

The tourist guide training gives you the prerequisites to work as a guide in any country of the world with local and foreign tourists. The education has a duration from several months to several years depending on the school program or depending on whether you study full-time or part-time. On the tourist guide training, you learn to create experiences and convey your knowledge of your country's history and social conditions. A tourist guide course is aimed at people who are already involved in culture and tourism, and thus want to strengthen their skills to organize experiences for tourists. It is worth mentioning that the course requires a participant payment, which is why the total course costs could vary in any particular country. 

Before exploring an abandoned subway, training is certainly needed!

How much does a local tour guide earn?

A guide trained at the tour guide school can earn from 1000 euros to 2500 euros per month. The salary depends on which country you work in and what is your professional level. Newly trained guides typically earn 800-1000 euros monthly, after which the income increases as you gain more responsibility and experience. You can typically expect the tour guide's income to be about the same as a local office worker's. Thus, the earnings must primarily cover food costs, transport, communications, and living. In addition, the work as a guide can give you advantages, e.g. you get a lot of memorable experiences. In addition, you usually build a close bond with your fellow tour guides, which is why you can make friends for life. The work as a guide is also work experience that you can later write on your CV.

Can I become a guide during my sabbatical?

A job as a tour guide can be obvious during your sabbatical, as you will be introduced to a new culture, meet new people and acquire new knowledge. This experience can, among other things, benefit you when you later apply for education or work. 

What is included in the professional duties of a local private tour guide? Here we put  them in one of three categories:

  • preparation for the tour;
  • its realization;
  • responsibility for the lives and health of travelers.


  1. Preparation

A professional local tour guide must be perfectly familiar with the subject, and for this, he should examine in detail a lot of historical and regional literature. He must develop a route and check it out directly in place, controlling whether all the destinations are available if the viewpoint is comfortable, and if there are any long walks between destinations. It is he who chooses the tour’s realization: official narration, image, role performance, quest, and others.

It is important to document your experiences: fix the route on the map, and write the narration plan. In such a way you create a portfolio that allows you to easily explain your proposal to tourists. It reduces many customer complaints that they did not get what they expected. This approach is especially important for a sightseeing tour. Because everybody expects to see all existing sites at one time.

  1. Realization

A tour guide has to:

  • organize a meeting with the client: fix a time and place, explain how to get there; if a car or coach trip is scheduled, rent vehicles;
  • select an optimum accommodation for each destination, 
  • when narrating put the client where he can have the best view, 
  • ensure access to all mentioned exhibits;
  • tell facts, legends, and stories according to a previously made plan; 
  • show the sights, 
  • provide explanations of museum exhibitions;
  • answer the tourists' questions.

Learning, learning, and learning throughout your life - such is the fate of any professional tour guide, as well as any civilized person!

Take note: tourists regularly ask off-topic questions. They may suddenly be interested in a different historical period or field of expertise, in this case, a tour guide can recommend them to visit other tours from the list. In this way, you'll get another opportunity to earn. When questioned about life in the country and a particular locality, advise where they can learn more. This will earn you a reputation as an attentive and friendly person, and people would contact you again.

Be ready because sometimes you will get claims for things out of your control. For example, a complaint that there was a queue at the museum ticket counter, and in a cafe that the tourist liked there were no places available. Take a philosophical approach and do not allow complaints to kill your mood.

  1. Responsibility for the life and health

Before starting a tour, the guide is required to give appropriate training on the rules of conduct. It may concern safety procedures if:

  • a visit to existing places is to be made (even at a confectionery there are places where a stranger shouldn’t go);
  • you plan a trip to some ruins where there is a risk of falling or structures collapsing.

Still, an expert must warn about the differences in cultural traditions. This information is particularly relevant when getting acquainted with places of worship, as strangers may offend out of ignorance the feelings of believers. A city tour guide is expected to give information on prohibitions too: where you cannot take photos, talk loudly, and so forth.

If its ward is injured, the tour guide is obliged to provide first aid. Therefore, an indispensable part of a tour guide’s education is to complete relevant courses.

As a rule, the client and the expert sign a contract that defines the responsibilities of each party. So the customer has not any right to demand from the local tour guide something in addition to specified terms. He could request it only at an extra cost, right?

"Lovers, travelers, and poets will give money to be heard"

Benjamin Franklin 

As a local tour guide, you deal with the whole world when expectant customers need to have their dream trip tailored. You have to be good at listening and uncovering what it is that the customers want. Therefore, it is essential to have empathy and human knowledge to understand and design trips for all types of travel needs. The local tour guide's job thus consists of guiding the customers based on his own travel experiences - and precisely for this reason, his own travels and "knowledge of the world" are an essential part of his daily work.


The work as a local tour guide also consists of managing several different computer systems when reservations and bookings for trips and activities are to be made. The job, therefore, requires a good structure, where you can both manage complicated cases and at the same time have an eye for detail. 

As a local tour guide, you must have solid travel experience from the wider world, be service-minded, have a knack for merchandising/sales, possess a good sense of order, and be passionate about other people's travels.

"The traveler sees what he sees; tourists see what they came to see.” 
Gilbert Keith Chesterton
English writer, philosopher, Christian apologist, a literary and art critic


Read our previous article How to behave in conflict situations with tourists
Read our next article Top 10 things you will need in your trip, but you’ve never thought about

Comments (1)
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  • Gyongyi - Perla Bernath 22:34 09 APR 2017

    First dutie of a guide is to smile 😊😉-even he/she dosn't know all the answers for everything about the subject 😊😎!

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