What are the Different Tour Guide Jobs?

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  • Written By: Ken Black
  • Edited By: Andrew Jones
  • Last Modified Date: 11 November 2019
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There are two main types of tour guide jobs - those where the tourists go to the guide, and those where the guide goes with the tourists from their point of origin. This generally means the tour guide is also the travel planner, or at least heavily involved in the planning most of the time. This is the most involved type of tour guide. Other tour guide jobs involve simply showing off attractions in a city or tourist area where the guide already lives. These are known as destination-based tour guide jobs.

The destination-based tour guide jobs are the most common type. As the name would suggest, these guides simply stay at the same location, often work a fairly regular shift, and show things they are familiar with. The benefit of this type of tour guide is that they have a local's knowledge of the area. They may also have the contacts to achieve access to locations that many would otherwise not get to see. The downside is these guides are usually not available all the time for advice and guidance, and they will be going to more of the same places over and over, which might get boring for some people.


Travel tour guide jobs involve going with a group of people. In some cases, such as European and American bus tours, the itinerary is all laid out ahead of time. The guide simply goes along to explain what is coming up next on the trip, and what the travelers can expect. In most cases, the guide will be very familiar with the fixed route, having gone on it multiple times with different groups. This also helps provide a familiarity with the places visited. These types of tour guides may also work on cruise ships, taking passengers on excursions in different ports of call.

Another type of travel tour guide job involves the tour guide actually planning the complete itinerary. This often happens when social groups or organization sponsored tours to different places. In that case, the tour guide is responsible for not only finding places that will interest travelers, but also arranging accommodations and all transportation. In many cases, the guide may work through a third-party vendor to make all these arrangements seamlessly.

Finding jobs as a tour guide can be difficult, because this type of work appeals to many people. Finding seasonal employment with national parks or other tourist attractions is a good way to start. These seasonal tour guide jobs offer the advantage of getting some experience and getting the contacts needed if full-time employment is a goal. Further, seasonal jobs are often easier to get because more guides are needed during peak tourist seasons. These seasonal jobs may be considered another type of tour guide job.


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