This includes places to go, things to do, museums, local attractions and places to eat. To do this properly you will probably need to learn a little. Most of us live in our communities without ever taking advantage of all the things there are to do. You can gather information about your local area off of the web, from hotels and by visiting the local library and checking out some books about local history and activities. This should be fun so look at learning about your area with curiosity and enthusiasm. You are bound to stumble across things you never even knew existed and places and things to do that you want to do with your own family and friends.
Set up a five-folder system. One folder each for:
Like the calendar it is nice to do this electronically and using traditional files and paper. You will have guests that are comfortable with computers but a lot of the people that hire guides are older and they might not even have a computer. The idea behind the local guide filing system is that it should be an easy and useful resource for you as a guide. Customize the files to fit the needs of your area. For example, in Colorado you would probably want separate files for all the ski resorts while in New York Museums and Shopping would each need their own file. Look at your area and why people come to vacation there and that can help you to create files that you will use again and again. Update your files about every six months adding new things and getting rid of older information.
Make sure to gather crucial information such as when museums and restaurants are open and closed and how much the tickets are for adults, children and seniors. If there is time put together a summary of your tour for your guests ahead of time. It is best to do this in writing so that you and they are clear about what the tour includes and the various costs of the activities. If there are clothing requirements like a hat and sunscreen or a bathing suit for the beach make sure to include this in your summary.
Put together a collection of local attraction brochures and keep them with you either in paper form or on a tablet computer. This is very helpful in case your guests change their mind’s mid-tour about what they want to see or do. Be sensitive to the needs and comfort of your guest and if they look tired or bored do not hesitate to suggest doing something different.
As a local guide it is smart to advertise what your interests and specialties are. If you love to ski you will likely make a great guide for a group on ski holiday. Do you speak a foreign language? Advertise it if you do. Love to eat gourmet food? Put together a food lovers tour of your city. Look at your hobbies with fresh eyes. Tourists interested in the same things will love the opportunity to explore these things with you and as a group you will have a wonderful time together.
As a local guide make sure to take your guests to some of your favorite little local places. Tourists love to have the feeling that they getting a special inside view of the local scenery and culture. If you have a favorite little cafe and your guests want to take a coffee break stop there instead of Starbucks. Especially pay attention to discounts and deals that only a local would know about. Even people with tons of money love to save a little and feel like they aren’t paying tourist prices and getting the tourist experience. This is one of your greatest assets as a guide. Everyone who goes to Paris sees the Eiffel tower but only you can show your guests that cute little cafe across the river that has the best view for taking pictures.