Guides are both wise and social animals, and conversations with engaged, interested, friendly travellers make their job a delightful one. So, without further ado, here’s what you can do while on tour to make your guide your new best friend:
• Be curious. Ask questions and get the conversation flowing! Your guide has lots of knowledge to share, and it’s often more enjoyable and natural to learn through a conversation rather than a lecture. Your guide loves to talk, but loves a two-way dialogue with an engaged and enthusiastic traveller even more.
• Be honest! If the pace is too fast or too slow, or if you’d like to leave somewhere early or stay somewhere longer, always speak up. Your guide wants you to enjoy yourself, and if there’s something they can do differently to make your experience better, make sure you give them a chance to do it.
• Don’t let bad weather get you down. Unfortunately, not every day is going to be a sunny day. But bad weather is actually a great time to be with a private guide, who can alter your itinerary at a moment’s notice, provided you’re flexible. You might end up seeing something fascinating you otherwise would have missed. Keep your spirits up, and whatever you do, don’t give your tour a poor rating because it rained!
• Come prepared. On that note, make sure you come ready to participate in your tour! If walking is involved, stay away from shoes that won't go the distance. A hat helps if it's a hot, sunny day. And of course if rain is threatening, a jacket is an essential layer to have on hand. While your guide will always do the best they can to accommodate for the elements, you can help by being dressed for the weather and the activity level.
• Try something new! Guides are excited to share the unique things that make their culture special, and this is more fun to do with travellers who are enthusiastic participants. Are you willing to eat an unfamiliar food? Try an unusual drink? Step just a bit outside your comfort zone? Have fun with the unexpected!
• Be respectful and open-minded. Your guide is a proud ambassador of their city and country, and hopes you’ll appreciate, rather than judge, any differences you encounter. They are also a great resource to help you understand the nuances of social customs, so you can blend more seamlessly into the culture.
• Tell your friends! Finally, if you enjoyed the time you spent with your guide, tell other travellers about it. Word of mouth is a guide’s best marketing tool, so leave a thoughtful review and spread the word!