Tour guide traits to avoid

We were inspired by Austin-Lehman Adventures’ list of 20 traits to look for in a tour guide (pretty obvious: able to deal with the unexpected; a positive attitude that brings folks out of their shells; passionate and knowledgeable). But what about the things NOT to look for in a tour guide – the traits that might drive you to the brink and have you vowing never to leave your quiet, pristine condo again? Here are a few we came up with:

  • Substance abuse problems: While your first night might seem fun, what with your tour guide all over the karaoke and buying rounds for everyone, by the eighth night it’s a little old. You can count on bleary eyes and Bloody Marys at breakfast, if he or she makes it.
  • Poor bathing habits: Do you really want to follow along in a cloud of body odor and last night’s booze seeping from your guide’s pores?
  • Someone who carries a map and/or a guidebook.
  • A know-it-all who knows nothing (see above) – who wants to listen to a condescending jerk make stuff up?
  • The cheerfulness and smarmy-ness of a cruise director: you’re on a cycling tour of Vietnam, for goodness’ sake – who wants to be woken early in the morning by the type of person who is likely to croon, ‘All-righty, folks! It’s gonna be a great one!”
  • A guide who offers that you “work out the fee later.” Um, no. Work out the fee now.

What other traits should we avoid when selecting a tour guide?