There are many tools that will make your life much simpler as a local guide. If you are planning on guiding people even part time it will pay to invest in a smart phone or a tablet computer. Depending on whether you already have a smart phone or not a tablet computer may meet most of your computing needs in addition to a small standard cell phone. What device you get should be determined by what phone and computers you already have, what your current service contracts are and what you need a computer to do for you. Many people find that a small tablet computer satisfies all their computing needs. Best of all tablets are small, relatively inexpensive and have amazing battery stamina. They are perfect travel and marketing devices.
Becoming technically connected makes your life as a guide much simpler. A smart phone or tablet computer puts maps, traffic conditions and weather at your fingertips. It also allows you to look up an address quickly and efficiently and keep a calendar with you at all times. Smart phones are great but they are not as easy to share with your guests as a tablet computer. The initial tablet device is more expensive than a cell phone but the plans that connect them to the Internet are much cheaper than a cell phone plan so this may be the right option for you.
There are many tablet computers that come with respectable cameras that will allow you to also use them with digital phone services such as Skype. Digital phones will allow you to stay in contact with foreign tourists for almost nothing so if a good part of your clientele comes from overseas you will want to look into using a digital phone either on your computer at home or on a tablet device.
The main advantage of a tablet computer over a cell phone is that you can arrange little slideshows of local attractions easily and quickly and then show them to guests before or during your tours. If your guests want to change their tour or look at a restaurant menu you can do this quickly and easily with a tablet computer. Tablet computers are super light and portable- 1.5 pounds- making them ideal potable devices for taking with you on your tours. They also have an assortment of games and videos available. These will allow you to entertain bored children or show short videos about the local region to your guests before or during your tour. Lastly, the Apple iPad tablet easily transfers back and forth between languages making this the perfect translation device to have with you should your guests not speak English fluently.
One caution goes with using electronic devices. Make sure that you do not let the electronic device- especially your phone interrupt you when you are with your guests. It is very rude and annoying to have someone looking at a text or taking a phone call while you are waiting for him or her. Many of us do this now without thinking but when you are guiding people the ringer on your phone should be silenced. If you are worried about missing important phone calls you can get a web-based virtual answering service such as Access Direct to handle your calls for you while you are unavailable.