Whether you are new to giving tours or you have been a local guide for a long time, it never hurts to practice your tours and try to improve them.
Start by writing a brief outline of the various tours in your city. For each tour, list the highlights. Then sit down with a map and plan out the route in detail. You will want to then write out detailed descriptions of the things you are seeing including, history, dates and interesting little facts that only local people would know. If you have a tablet computer you can prepare all this information within a slide show format. After you have finished your tour run through it with a good friend. Actually tour you friend around in the exact way you would a guest. Time the various sections of the tour and make notations of the costs for food, snacks and transportation. Have your friend critique the tour and use their advice to make your tour better.
After you have completed one tour you are ready to make two alternate tours and two extensions to the tour. You will want to prepare these alternate tours with the same care that you did the first one. You will be using these tours as primary tours too. Practice these two tours with a friend again and then improve them. The extensions to the tour should be fun little extras that take about an hour. It’s important to create these extensions in case your guests run through the tour too quickly.
After you have prepared your tours and practiced them it is time to memorize them almost perfectly. This will help you concentrate on the needs of your guests while you are on tour and it will prevent you from having to rummage in your backpack for materials.
Consider using props in your tour. These can be visual props such as a tablet computer or other types of physical props. For example, if you are giving a tour in San Francisco arrange with a local chef to see a cooking demonstration in which your guests are taught how to smell the difference between a good melon and one that is unripe. Little extras make the difference between a good tour and fabulous one.