After four group tours I am happy to say that I have had four amazing guides on my trips. From the guide in Costa Rica that made sure we knew how to stay safe. To our self described benevolent dictator across Europe, and my enthusiastic Greek leader who showed us why everyone should love the country he calls home. All three of these tour directors (guides) were different in their own way. All of them also shared a few commonalities between them though, and the tours were amazing.
All of my tour directors made sure we were safe. This may seem like a no-brainer, but our guides made sure we knew enough about all of the areas we were in so we could navigate safely, or would know which areas we should avoid. While we may not have always listened to them, their advice was something that I believe everyone had in mind when walking around the foreign countries we would be exploring. Warnings were given when needed, and that allowed us to make smart and informed decisions.
The guides all has a passion for where we were exploring. From being excited to show us the country they called home, to being excited to showing us around multiple cities and countries along the way. The passion that the guides had showed, and no one wants a guide that isn't excited to show you a country or a city. Hearing someone be excited to show you all these new places keeps you excited, and that is important. Group travel isn't just about the group, a lot of people pick their tours based on the locations they will be visiting, and having a boring guide can ruin the destination for a person.
Nothing would be worse than having a guide who doesn't like people. Probably the most personable guide I had greeted all of us with a big Greek hug right at the airport, after a 10 hour flight this was both shocking, and showed just how excited the guide was to share his home with us. If your guide is able to make everyone feel like a giant traveling family then they are awesome. When they make you forget you have only known these people for a few days, then they are really doing awesome. Some of my best friends are people I have met on these tours, and without the guide getting all of us to talk fast, who knows what would have happened?
Overall, the tour guides are the most important part of the trip. Tour guides are the ones who can make a great destination bad, or they can make a bad destination amazing. Tour directors are the people that make bad situations into good ones on these trips, and that can make a world of difference. If your guide is really good, they aren't just your guide or tour director, by the end of the trip they are a friend to everyone on that trip.
Find out what I do when preparing for a trip by reading one of my latest blog posts on that exact topic! While some trips like Greece and Thailand (pictured right) are easy to pack for, some are much harder, especially when traveling in the winter!