Latest posts by Sara Tilly (see all)
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If you are a tour guide, there are certain gadgets you might want to take on your next trip to make your job easier. Travel gadgets and technology makes travel more comfortable. Whether you’re taking a long tour or just a quick sightseeing tour around the city, it might be a good idea to have some of these travel gadgets for tour guides in your backpack.
A tour guide doesn’t necessarily have to carry more travel gadgets than an average traveler. Pack lightly but wisely. You come across so many tour guides unprepared to lead a group because they are lacking proper tour guide travel gear. You don’t want to be one of those, now do you?
Many people believe that technology is replacing the need for tour guides. But that couldn’t be further from the truth. What’s important is that travel businesses should use technology to their advantage. You would be probably lost if you didn’t use your mobile devices on the road to fill out paperwork, receive emails, and keep track of your schedule.
Essential Travel Gadgets for Tour Guides
You might be one of those tour guides that likes to pack light and that’s perfectly fine.
Keep in mind where you are going and what kind of tour you’re organizing. To best showcase your tour guide talent, you’re going to need a few tour guide gadgets and accessories to help you on your way. Here’s a list of some of the essential travel gadgets for tour guides.
1. Every tour guide should pack a power bank charger
Today’s phones are not like your old Nokia 3310. The battery doesn’t last an entire week; a day, at best. If your battery dies, how are you going to make phone calls? Go online? Arrange and coordinate group discounts for museums?
It’s always a good idea to switch the settings on your phone to the power saving mode option. But when you drain your battery entirely? Well, that’s where portable power chargers come in handy.
Have in mind that there are different kinds of power banks out there on the market. If you’re on a budget, you can always go with the 5,000mAh or you can step up your game with a 50,000mAh. That’s going to cost you anywhere from $15 and up to $150+.
2. Never get lost with offline maps
So here’s the thing:
I know you believe in your keen sense of direction, however… that can sometimes backfire.
If you’re not a local tour guide, it might be wise to download offline maps to your smartphone or tablet.
I know, I know, you know the city like your back pocket.
But even if you’ve been a dozen times in huge cities like New York, London or Paris, something always changes, especially in new neighborhoods.
Download the maps on your mobile device while on wi-fi and they will be ready for use the next time you need them. The advantage of having an offline map is that you don’t need to use your mobile data. Which is especially important if you are in roaming for example, or traveling through multiple countries.
Google Offline maps are the most popular and widely used. For instance, you can download maps of certain neighborhoods if not the entire city map. If you’re not a fan of Google Maps, you can use other applications like Map Factor, Sygic, Here WeGo, or Backcountry Navigator.
Maps like these are really useful because they don’t drain your battery as online maps do.
3. Enhance your storytelling skills with a voice amplifier
You have a larger group and not all of them fit in the circle around you. You have to take into consideration that people at the back won’t be able to hear you clearly.
That’s a real bummer because that’s what they paid for and you tell such a great story they wouldn’t want to miss.
And no, I’m not saying you should yell or sound like Darth Vader over a megaphone.As a tour guide, you should communicate as clearly as possible and always work on your public speaking skills. Now, if you have the best speaking skills but half of the group can’t hear you, then what’s the point?Everyone should be able hear and understand the words that are coming from your mouth.
For that purpose, there are different voice amplifiers. I found a list of top five speech assistance devices that might help you get a better overview which one to choose.
Gadgets like these will save you from losing your voice and they come at a price of around $30.
4. Translation app to help you speak any language
Wherever you go, most locals speak at least a bit of English. But what if that’s not the case? For example, in China.
Language barriers can be intimidating, however modern-day technology takes care of this headache as well. By downloading one of the many translation apps, you can get around with a few local phrases.
Of course, it goes without saying that it would be best if you speak fluently the language of the country you’re leading a tour in. For example, if you’re taking a group from let’s say, Zagreb, Croatia on a two-day trip to Venice, Italy, it’s always better that you know at least a little bit of Italian to get your tour group around easier. In case you are unfamiliar with the language, translation apps become extremely useful.
You can use Google Translate for some basic translating which is free. For better and more precise results, pick a voice-based translation app such as iTranslate Voice. You can find some free translation apps however, I’d say that anything that’s worth your while costs.
I’ve mentioned China a few paragraphs up. China is very special when it comes to finding someone who speaks English in Beijing. A vast majority of people don’t know a single word of English. The menus in a restaurant are in Chinese characters—logograms. You see the problem?
The same goes for languages which use the Cyrillic script, such as Russian, Serbian, Macedonian, Bulgarian, and other. You can use the Google Quest Visual Word Lens.
Now, if you really want to enhance your tour guide skills with some awesome tour guide gadgets, there are various AI devices that translate from more than 80 languages when online.
5. Use a tablet instead of a notebook and stay organized
Having a mobile device is a must-have for every tour guide. And okay, you have a mobile phone, but you might be reluctant to use it since the screen is too small.
With a mobile device such as a tablet, you’ll be able to better manage your travel itinerary, take notes as well as use it a topic reminder while talking about the sites you’re visiting.
The tablet is here to replace your notebook and a backpack full of notes and scribbles.
Additionally, you can use it as an entertainment and communication device. Especially when they are so thin and light. Plus, they are much cheaper nowadays. You can find a decent tablet under $200.
Bottom line, tablets are much more practical than laptop computers. The best thing about tablets is that they help you enhance your tour guide skills. Download all the useful applications we’ve talked about in the previous bullet points and see for yourself.
An additional benefit is that if you are using an online booking software to manage your tours and itinerary on the spot. You can login in at any time.
Let’s say you’re a tour and activity provider who also organizes and leads tours abroad.
Do you really want to carry an entire backpack full of paperwork?
Use the Orioly app to access all itineraries, invoices, taxes, terms and loyalty programs from a single interface while on the road. And the best part is, you can use Orioly to store customer information you can access at any time as well as manage bookings as you travel.
6. Smartwatch that helps you out with more than just timekeeping
Having an activity wristband or a smartwatch might be a cool add-on to your collection of gadgets for tour guides.
You do a lot of walking, so it might be useful that you keep track of your steps and heart rate. I’m sure you’ve heard of Fitbit, right? It’s a bit pricey and if you want the same functions, you pick a budget choice that’s Xiaomi Mi Band 2 for $20.
What about a smartwatch? Well, you are a tour guide that spends a lot of time outdoors, walking, touring, so it comes in handy to receive notifications.
This just might be among the coolest gadgets for tour guides out there. Most notifications don’t require any action and it’s a hassle if each time you get a notification you have to reach into your pocket or bag to grab a phone just to see what’s up. With a smartwatch, you can only glance at your wrist.
Apart from that, it makes mundane tasks like setting up an alarm a piece of cake.
Are there any other awesome travel gadgets you use in your tour guide job? I’d love to hear what’s your opinion how to enhance tour guide skills.