Becoming a local tour guide

I’m pretty sure our readers have already noticed that I used to be a tour guide as well. Here is why becoming a local tour guide can contribute to your income.

If you’ve ever traveled, you may have used a tour guide to make things a little easier on yourself. A tour guide is also likely to know those off-the-beaten-path attractions that only a local would know. At any time, there are people visiting your city that are in need of a tour guide. Could you make money by showing visitors around your city? 

It has become common to use peer-to-peer accommodations through websites like Providing tour services through similar platforms is a logical next step. This business model is quite new. You can be one of the few people in your area, so the competition is minimal. 

Traditionally, commercial tour companies have provided this type of service. It’s very possible to provide these services yourself. 

Typical pay rates are around per hour. Just a few hours each week is an effective way to boost your income. 

Two business models to follow

Yes, there are two models two follow. And they are pretty simple. Either you go on your new path alone or you use one of the Peer-to-Peer travel services.

The first model requires marketing for clients and developing the necessary infrastructure to run your business as a tour guide. Marketing, communication, and billing are the primary functions that require addressing. 
On the other hand, several peer-to-peer travel guide platforms have emerged, and that makes the process of finding and servicing clients much easier. 

Recommended Peer-to-Peer services

There are several internet platforms that can make running your business much easier and more effective. You’re able to accomplish many tasks with a few simple clicks. These platforms are a great way to advertise your business, communicate with clients, and even perform billing functions.


Once you are accepted as a ToursByLocals tour guide, there are some obligations to follow. Of course, you need to personally deliver the tours you’ve agreed to do in a friendly, professional manner. Also you need to respond quickly (within 24 hours) and professionally to customer inquiries and booking requests. And your availability and account should be up to date.


With Viator travel guides keep their destination knowledge fresh with insider tips and blog posts about cities and regions around the world. You will also get helpful tips to increase sales and improve your business using their program and training resources.

Of course there are some other platforms that are popular in particular areas. Take a look and determine which of them make sense for you. They’re all free to join and advertise, so it makes sense to utilize them all. Because using a portal can launch your tour guide business almost immediately. 

Create your own tours

The only limits to your tour focus are your imagination, the location, and the seasons.

Also becoming a local tour guide will take the time to develop a few unique ideas. The customers that use your services are looking for something interesting. Avoid competing with the other tour guides in your area. 

What does your area have to offer?

 Do you live in wine country? Near ski resorts? Is your city known for its microbreweries? Surfing? You could offer horse rides or hayrides on your farm. Make a list of the interesting activities in your location.

 What do you like to do?

 Many people have hobbies that can be enjoyed almost anywhere. Would you enjoy taking clients on a motorcycle tour? Bicycle tour? Walking tour of the downtown area? Shopping? Pub crawl? 

 What do your friends like to do?

Your friends and family might have a few good ideas, too. Perhaps your sister is an expert on the local wine tasting scene.

Consider focusing on a specific demographic.

Senior citizens often have different interests than children or young adults. Who can you serve? 

 What can you do at different times of the year in your location?

Depending on the season, your city might have different activities to offer. Christmas light displays in various neighborhoods, cross-country skiing, or snowmobile tours could be good winter activities. Taking visitors to the secret swimming hole could be your focus in the summer. 

There are bound to be local activities that would appeal to your city’s visitors. Take advantage of your city’s offerings and consider your own interests. Become an expert on the most interesting aspects of your area.  

Whether your city is known for being the home of a US president or the producer of the largest watermelons in the world, be sure your knowledge is up to speed. The more tours you’re able to offer, the more interest you’ll receive from travelers. 

Other Ideas to Find Clients 

Finding clients is the lifeblood of any service-based business. Advertising on the peer-to-peer platforms might be enough to keep your business going. But there are other options if you’re willing to do a little work.

 Approach local hotels

Most visitors to your city will stay at hotels. Visit the hotels in your area and offer to partner with them. The hotel can inform guests of your tour guide services, and you can split the profits with the hotel. The guests are happy, and the hotel and you are both making extra money. That’s a true win-win situation. 

Peer-to-peer lodging

There is no doubt that it is very popular now. Also, you can offer a commission for any business they’re able to send your way.

 Become a member of a travel community like

 Of course, you’re going to list your tour guide services as one of the options. Be sure to include the major attractions in your area, as it will help to rank your site in the search engines. 


Becoming a local tour guide is a great way to put a few extra dollars in your pocket. If you live in a popular area, it’s possible to generate a healthy, full-time income. What can you offer visitors to your city that they would never find on their own? What do you like to do? Answer those questions and you’ll be on the fast track to extra income. 

Follow us. Don't be a stranger. Just say Hello.
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments