I love tours. Not self-guided walk-throughs, not driving tours, not audio tours, not massive, multi-country group tour. I mean small, unique, fun, interesting tours, given by a real person! If you didn’t already know, I was a tour guide in the D.C. area for several years, and I loved every minute of it!
It was so much fun, but there are a few things that, as a tour guide, I wish people on my tours knew. So here it is. Here are the things that your ghost, house, and walking tour guides want you to know!
I Want You to Quiz Me
No, really! Tour guides often go through hours of training, or even do their own research. They often have so much more information to share than they can get to on their tours, but some of it is never revealed because no one asks. I was always happy to answer questions, give more information, or even speculate about certain things (within reason) while giving my tours.
Your guide wants to give you the best experience possible, but how will they know if you’re interested in more if you don’t ask? Just please don’t interrupt!
Keep reading: How to Savor Your Travels
But Rest Assured, You Don’t Know More than I
While I was always happy to answer questions and engage in conversation during tours, there was almost nothing worse than that one person who thought they’d catch me on a technicality, condescendingly inform me of a lesser-known fact (which I always already knew, if it was in fact true), or flat out tell me and everyone else on the tour that something I said was not correct.
Trust me, unless you’re a post-doctorate-level professor, or actually lived through the time period or experience in question, you don’t know more about what I’m saying than I do, and your tour guide will feel the same. Be nice, y’all!
Texting is Not Okay (but taking notes is)
It’s not polite to be texting someone when your tour guide (or anyone else) is talking to you. So please don’t do it! However, if you’re taking notes, I’m happy to let you! Just let your tour guide know that before they start they tour.
I actually do this often in my travels, since I’m a travel writer, and getting the facts correct is important to me (and my readers!). My tour guides are always glad I told them I’d be taking notes, because we all hate to see people texting while we’re talking!
Read next: How to Plan Travel with a Group
Stop Whispering When I’m Talking
This is almost worse than texting. At least texting is silent. Whispering (or just talking out loud) is disruptive! It’s disrespectful both to your tour guide and to the other people on your tour. Unless you are gasping with delight, laughing at my hilarious one-liners, or having a truly visceral reaction to the story or facts I’m talking about, please keep it quiet!
No, Telling the Same Stories Doesn’t Get Old
It never got old telling the same stories again and again, because the audience was always different. Tour guides learn how to “read the room” well, so that they can tailor their approach, their tone, and their plot point to you. We get a kick out of everyone’s different reactions at the same place in each story, time after time! It never gets old.
Keep reading: The Top 10 Guaranteed Ways to Ruin Any Trip
Tips are Appreciated
While I don’t know any tour guides who truly do it for the money (the most popular and interesting tours usually take place in areas with high cost-of-living expenses), it is nice to get paid to do something you do for the enjoyment of it! Tips are not expected, but they are always appreciated. 10-20% of your tour cost is typical, but there will be no judgement if you can spare more or less than that. No stress, y’all.
More here: The Ultimate Guide to Travel and Your Money
Stay Behind and Chat Me Up!
I always liked it when people would stay behind to ask questions, tell me an anecdote, or ask for recommendations for where to eat, what to see, or maybe a book suggestion for more information on what I talked about! Tour guides are usually “people persons,” and we often put the personal interaction part of our job in the top three things we like most about it. So please, hang back and chat me up!
Insider info: A Day in the Life of a Travel Blogger
Want more? Get all my best travel tips and advice on my dedicated Travel Tips Page!
Love this post? Pin it for later!