The global value of the travel/tourism industry is hovering at over 8 trillion dollars today. That massive number arrives on the back of a burgeoning middle class in China which now accounts for a staggering number of international tourists.
Whether you're interested in world exploration or want to make a living locally, if you're planning on cashing in on people's curiosity as a professional tour guide, the market is absolutely ripe for that ambition.
Before you open up your doors and start herding that masses, you're going to want to make sure that you're equipped with essential tour guide equipment.
Not sure what equipment you should prioritize? This blog post will happily enlighten you!
1. An Outstanding Phone/Phone Provider
A big part of being a tour guide is being able to stay in constant communication with your clients and with your professional contacts.
Imagine giving a tour of the Roman Colosseum and not having enough reception to call a private group that booked your services to let them know where to meet you. That would be a sure-fire way to earn some bad reviews.
Your phone should be fast and well-serviced in whichever area that you work out of. Having anything less could end up costing you money in the way of lost clients.
2. Stellar Apps
Another reason why a good phone is on our tour guide equipment short-list is that a good phone allows you to download the best apps.
Today's app store features millions of useful apps, many of which can make your tour business run smoothly.
For example, the Google Translate app allows you to quickly communicate with people that don't speak your language. It also enables you to translate signs and directions.
So, step through what you do on a typical tour and then search the app store to see which apps might help you do your job more effectively.
3. A Large Tablet
We just suggested that you buy a phone and now we're telling you to buy a tablet?!
Here's the rub... Tablets are tour guide favorites because they allow you to do things like write out names, directions, pull out maps and a number of other things all on a giant screen. When you're leading a massive group of people around, that giant screen is going to be a lot handier than a small cellphone screen.
There are a number of affordable Android tablets that you can pick up which will serve your needs well.
4. A Power Bank
There's nothing worse than showing your tour group an interactive presentation on your tablet only to have it die in the middle of the show.
The best way to avoid that fate is to invest in a power bank.
Power banks are external batteries that you can carry around in your bag. When any one of your devices looks like they might kick the bucket, just plug them into your bank and you'll be able to get them refueled in the field.
As an added benefit of your tours, you might even offer your clients the ability to plug into your power bank if their phones are starting to die out because of all of the pictures that they're taking.
5. A Voice Amplification Device
Do not make the mistake of trying to vocally project to your tour group without the help of one of those nifty microphones that they sell on plant-tours.com or some other amplification device. If you do this, you will lose your voice and you're going to have to cancel your future appointments until it recovers.
The human voice wasn't built to direct large groups of people through noisy areas 5 times a day, 7 days per week.
A good voice amplifier will keep your vocal cords from getting fried and your tour company moving.
6. Mobile Payment Processors
Most tour companies will collect payment prior to tours. Some will also add a mobile payment processor to their tour guide equipment to accommodate walk-ups.
Accepting payments just as you're getting ready to run a tour can be a little bit of an overwhelming experience. Still, it doesn't hurt to have a payment processor on hand just in case you'd like to make a few extra dollars.
7. Offline Maps/ A Compass
Depending on where you conduct your tours, you're not going to want to rely solely on your smartphone to navigate around.
For example, there are many trekking tours that take place in the dense jungles of Vietnam and Cambodia. Many tour guides use applications like Google Maps to stay oriented as they make their way through wooded areas.
If you're one of those tour guides and your phone dies, will you be able to get your group to safety?
To ensure that you can, always travel with a map and a compass, no matter how confident you feel in certain situations.
You never know when you're going to get caught off guard and gambling with your client's safety is always a bad idea.
Our Final Thoughts on Essential Tour Guide Equipment
From vocal amplifiers to a great phone, our tour guide equipment suggestions will make you appear more professional and will enable you to provide your customers with a better overall experience.
That, in turn, will lead to you finding more clients and earning more money.
We wish you the best as you embark on your tour guide journey and welcome you to browse more of our content if you're in the market for more inspiration!