We have now entered prime vacation planning season, which means the big question looms: “who’s going to be your travel group tour guide?” Choosing the best tour guide is not unlike picking your prom date, your next significant other or even a new friend. Who knows, if you plan the trip right, you could end up with all the above. But, we digress.
Think about this… you’re going to be spending quality time with this person… in small spaces… and they are responsible for bringing your group tour travel dreams to life. They need to have the ability to herd cats, hold everyone’s attention, manage polite banter, be well versed and know their geographical location inside and out. That’s a really tall order. So what can you do to find the right tour guide for your crew?
Set up a series of conference calls, preferably via Skype, and talk to a number of group tour guides. Get a sense of their style and communication habits.
Share what’s your dream trip, what are you hoping to see, what do you want to get out of it. This is one time where oversharing will work in your favor. Make sure you are both on the same page about the details of your group tour.
Don’t take their word for it. Ask for references from other travelers to gain greater insights into the guide’s offerings and their group tour management style.
One of the positive aspects of social media is we are now able to get insights through peer reviews unlike ever before. Use your search engine of choice and see what you’re able learn from other’s experiences. See who they think the best local tour guides are.
Get a sense of what they enjoy seeing and showing their group tours, so you can have a stronger sense of if they will work with the bachelors or the high school band trip.
You’ll also want to find a way to test their knowledge of the region, so that they can help you navigate when you should go to the more touristy areas or something off the beaten path. Once you have a chance to search around, we recommend that you conduct a follow-up meeting to validate your gut feeling on your tour guide. After that, then the fun begins, and you’ll have a partner for an amazing group trip.