How to Make Money as a Tour Guide: Discover the Best Ways to Earn More Money

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With the overcrowding of the world’s major cities, learning how to become a tour guide to make money has become a necessity for many people. This article outlines how to earn a living by doing what you love most by working part-time or doing it for a living.

This field has been growing rapidly for several years now. Even with the economic downturn, there has been no decline in tourism. There is, therefore, a need for guides who can take tourists around the country and give them information about what they see and do.

Are you a tour guide interested in learning more ways to make more money? This article highlights top ideas to implement to make more money.

Quick Review

In this section, you can go through the effective ways to make money as a tour guide if you are here for quick points.

  • Offer pre-tour courses
  • Join a tour company or be your own boss
  • Target foreign visitors
  • Become an activity partner
  • Create a travel blog for extra money
  • Offer special tours customized for each group of customers
  • Offer private tours for larger groups

Websites that pay you to become a tour guide

SEE: Tourism business ideas to make money for travel enthusiasts

Detailed Review 

In this section, I will provide an overview of what you can do to make more money as a tour guide. At the end of this section, you will be able to easily choose one or more of the proving methods suitable for you.

1. Offer Pre-Tour Courses

Most people who visit your city do not know the details of the places they’re visiting, and as a local, you can take advantage of this with private “pre-tour” courses. Pre-tour courses can help you to ensure that your clients know what to expect and how to prepare for the tour. 

In these courses, you educate tourists on the history of your city or preferred destinations or present tips about where it’s best to shop or eat. As a tour guide, you can offer a number of pre-tour courses depending on the unique needs of the client.

If you can offer this one month before the tour, it will boost the confidence of your visitors who will arrive more prepared. This also helps build your reputation. You can earn from $100 to $300 for a one-day course.

SEE: Best membership site platforms to host your online courses 

2. Join a Tour Company or Be Your Own Boss

This is the easiest way to make money as a tour guide. If you love traveling with a passion and you want to share with others and make some extra money, then this is for you. You can find a job as a tour guide or even start your tour company

Tour guides nowadays do not only point out the famous spots but also sport, cuisine, history, culture and more. All you need is to have a pleasant personality, some guide skills, and of course, a passion for the job. 

I would suggest starting by teaching tour guides in a local language school first before joining a tour company. 

The reason why I say this is because if you are offered a job at a tour company, you wouldn’t know if the salary they offer is fair for someone with no prior experience than you. However, taking up tour guides jobs in schools lets you learn how to be one first.

3. Target Foreign Visitors

Despite the lack of freedom and benefits, if you’re seeking a stable income, then perhaps the best option is to focus on foreign tourists. As a result of their busy schedules, they lack time and need a true guide.

Tourists do not need a lot of things for their travel, but they do need a proper tour guide to help them travel around a foreign country. The more you know about your country’s history and geography, the better you can provide good service for foreign visitors.

4. Become an Activity Partner

Making money as a tour guide is possible with the right planning. A tour guide can be any person who takes others on guided tours or trips. A tour guide can also be an activity leader, like the leaders at national parks or zoos.

It is possible to become an activity partner with the major attractions in your area, such as Zoos, Aquariums, Libraries, Universities, landmarks, etc. They will add your profile to their site as a guide who works at their location and will pay you for your services.

If you live in an area where many tourist activities are available, become an activity partner and provide fun things to do during vacation. Be sure to bring your camera and take pictures of the tourists and their families after the tour. They will surely be willing to pay you a token for those pictures.

5. Create a Travel Blog for Extra Money

If you are a tour guide or work for a tour company, you are probably very familiar with your local attractions. A great way to make some extra money is to write articles on travel blogs about what to do in your city. 

Tour guides are often experts in their cities and the surrounding areas, so they make great candidates for travel bloggers. The travel industry would gain from a blog that provides detailed information about a location. You can submit them on some of the famous sites like TripAdvisor etc.

Besides, you can create your blog with the use of various blogging platforms, it’s very easy to do these days. Then you can sell advertising packages for corporations who wish to promote their products to your target audience.

If you’re a tour guide, then here is a unique way to make money from your tours. I once had a friend who was working as a tour guide in Asia. He made a blog that had a lot of information on Asia tours and Asia travel. It became a huge success, and it also helped him to earn from his tours.   

6. Offer Special Tours Customized for Each Group of Customers

If you are a tour or guide, you can offer special escapades, unforgettable experiences, and conversations that aren’t boring for your customers. Listen carefully to your clients’ needs and wants and find a bridge between their needs and their wants.

Even if you already have a standing tour package, consider adding in some special, customized tours just to spice things up. This will not only give your customers a greater experience, but it will also give them a sense of ownership and appreciation for your efforts. 

No matter the language, every traveler wants the same thing: to enjoy their trip without wasting time or money. As a tour guide, you can help people make the most of their visit by bringing them on a personalized self-guided tour of your area. 

7. Sell Items People Purchase on the Tour

Sell unique items that can be incorporated into a tourist’s tour. The demand for unique souvenirs grows with tourism. Many people buy souvenirs in tourist attractions when you take them on tours. 

You’re already making money by guiding them, but imagine how much more you could make by selling the items they buy. Here are some suggestions on what you can sell.

  • Cologne
  • Lipsticks
  • Locally made items
  • Hats
  • Tshirts
  • Masks
  • Pictures of landmarks or attractions
  • Souvenir magnets for fridges
  • Books about the area or attraction
  • Craft products

When people book a tour, they’re usually looking for a specific destination, but also want options about what to do or buy while they’re there. You can make extra money by offering to sell individual souvenirs or activities to the people on your tour.

SEE: How to sell online – A complete guide

Websites That Pay You to Become a Tour Guide

8. Shiroube

Its main purpose is to create a bridge between locals and travelers who are looking for unique experiences. It originated from a Japanese word – “Shirube” which means “to be a guide”.

Guide fees are not charged by Shiroube, and travelers do not pay Shiroube for their services. To collect money from clients, you must negotiate your rates yourself. It saves the traveler from the guide fee, which is as high as 30% on other peer-to-peer websites

9. Rent a Local Friend

People who love to explore new cultures and travel are invited to join the site. After you’ve applied, you will be recognized as a “local friend.” Keep your profile as complete as you can. Many users of this site use this service to hire friends, and some use it to connect with local guides.

Working with this company gives you the freedom to work with whomever you want without being tied to anyone. You are free to accept clients or reject them.

To join, you simply register as a “Local friend”. After that, you will be able to arrange customized tours for interested people. The prices are always up to you.

When it comes to payment on this site, there is no percentage fee on the tours; it’s a flat rate of $100 a year.

10. ToursByLocals

A background check, two phone interviews, and local legal requirements are all required to become a member of ToursByLocals. Your services page will be ready once you have been accepted.

Despite offering free training, marketing, payment processing, and liability insurance of $3 million, this company does not require any upfront fees for membership. However, they will take 20% of your fee after every successful job.

How Much Money Can You Make as a Tour Guide?

In tourist-heavy areas, guides can earn between $50 and $150 per day. The average entry-level tour guide earns between $8 and $15 per hour. Experienced tour guides can earn upwards of $60,000. Most of these people are managers at tour companies.

All tour guides have the potential to earn a good income. The amount you earn will depend on your area of expertise or niche, how much research you put into your job, the services you offer, and your ability to market yourself effectively.


When do tour guides work the most? 

Tour guides work during the most popular seasons, which are usually Summer and Spring. This is because of the number of tourists that travel to places during these seasons. Also, most tours happen in the daytime. If you enjoy sunrises or nighttime city explorations, tour guiding could be an option for you.

Do you need a university degree to make money as a tour guide?

No, you don’t need a university degree to make money as a tour guide. However, if you have a University degree in addition to the knowledge of the chosen destination and languages then you will further provide value to your customers and increase your chances of getting more customers and, consequently, making more money.

However, in some cases, training and certification programs are available from a variety of travel guide associations, such as the World Federation of Tourist Guide Associations. This will establish you as an expert in your field. 

SEE: Practical tips on how to make money without a college degree 

What other requirements do you need to become a tour guide?

There are other requirements that you need to fulfill to become a tour guide. The first thing is that you need to know at least basic English. It enables you to communicate with your tour guests while on the field. You also need to be detail-oriented so you can give your tours to tourists properly.

Other requirements may include the following:

  • Being flexible
  • Customer service skills
  • Have excellent communication skills
  • Have a great attitude
  • Love your job
  • Desire to make money as a tour guide
  • Have quality promotional material
  • Always dress for the part
  • Have a reliable vehicle

Final Thoughts 

Discovering the world is something that most people dream of doing, yet most people, never get around to it. If you are someone who enjoys exploring new places, meeting new people, and telling the stories of your experiences, why not become a tour guide?  

Nonetheless, it’s not just about becoming a tour guide, you need to learn how to make money with this gig. If you’re reading this article because you love moving around and learning about places, there is an article on the blog that you’ll fancy. See the best jobs for those who love to travel

While in college, it seems that many students become tour guides to earn money. I applaud you if you fall into this category. Because I want you to have other options to make money, I have written an article on business ideas for college students. There will be something for everyone.

For more information on how to make money online, as well as guides and software to use, feel free to explore the blog. Thanks for reading.