“We live in a wonderful world that is full of beauty, charm and adventure. There is no end to the adventures we can have if only we seek them with our eyes open.” – Jawaharial Nehru
“It’s never too late to have a life you love. Don’t ever feel like you’ve missed the boat, don’t have what it takes or can’t achieve your dreams. Instead of removing your dreams, remove the doubts and fears keeping you from them. It’s never, ever too late.”
Everyone is telling you to quit your day job, live the dream, escape your office cubicle and travel the world, right? You’re sitting at your desk reading this, dreaming of open roads and stunning sights, but probably wondering ‘how the hell can anyone afford that?’
The answer, my friends, is to earn while you’re travelling.
There’s a number of different paths to earning as you travel; teaching English overseas, working remotely for your company, becoming a virtual assistant or even travel blogging – but only one option that will enrich your travel experience. Becoming a tour guide is one of the most rewarding and exhilarating ways to see the world, learn about a country’s culture and history while sharing your love of travel with people just like you. Knowing a destination inside out means you’ll know all the best restaurants, bars, cafes and insider tips to maximize the fun you’ll have while also getting the best possible price on meals and drinks.
Forget trying to make friends with Steve from HR who just doesn’t understand your wanderlust obsession. When you work in the travel industry, all your colleagues are as crazy about travel as you are! You will finally be surrounded by people who understand and encourage your need to see the world and experience new cultures. It will be a relief and inspiration all at once.
Just like anyone who takes a tour, at the end of a trip you are best friends with the other people who shared the experience with you. That means, as a tour guide, you will have hundreds of best friends who were on your tours scattered across the world.
How to get a tour guide license in Taiwan
You will need to attend a tour guide license exam before getting your very own license. They have a website here where you can apply. Professional tour guides lead interpretive tours within cities across Taiwan and abroad. They provide tourists with information, as well as some entertainment. They may give tours of historic areas, museums, landmarks and more. They generally have extensive backgrounds and knowledge of the subjects they are talking about. Professional tour guides usually give multiple tours a day to different groups of people, but some may conduct longer tours that take days or weeks usually spread out over a trip. These tour guides typically work with travel companies.
The tour guide license exam takes place once every year, mostly at the end of the year. The exam is held by the Ministry of Examination R.O.C, they do exams for both Chinese and foregin language tour guides. Here are a few easy steps for you to sign-up for the exam:
- Prepare sign-up information. Including your Identification documents, your diploma, and a clear head shot photo.
- Fill in your information for the online application, which can be done here at this tour guide exam application link: https://event.myproguide.com/tourguidecenter/myproguide-tour-guide-EN-sign-up-7321
- After you have filled in the online application for the exam. It will lead you to a payment link. Where you can print the exam fee out and process it to pay. The exam fee should be roughly around $1000 NTD.
- Next thing to do is to download the paper application form. Fill it in, stick on your photo, and you are good to go.
- The final step of applying for the tour guide exam is to mail it out to the exam ministry. Please do note that if you are applying for different kinds of tour guides, you must send them out in separate envelopes.
- The very last step is to actually take the exam but don’t worry, we know you got this!
“Take the first step, the rest will follow. Book the ticket, apply for the job, send the email, jump into the water. The rest gets easier from there.”
Is a tour guide able to get customers without a travel agency license
The answer is yes. You will definitely need an agency license to be a tour guide in Taiwan. It is illegal to get customers without a travel agency license in Taiwan. The other thing that people should be aware of is even if you do have a license, there are so many different types of licenses based on the language you are using. So do make sure that you have the right license and you are tour-guiding in the correct language according to your tour guide license.
“To my mind, the greatest reward and luxury of travel is to be able to experience everyday things as if for the first time, to be in a position in which almost nothing is so familiar it is taken for granted.” – Bill Bryson
What is the purpose of Tour guide organizations in Taiwan
There are all sorts and types of tourist organizations, tour guide organizations in Taiwan. They promote different goals and purposes. And one of them tour guide organizations is the Tourist Guide Association, R.O.C. Like any other organizations, their purpose is to lead tourism in Taiwan to a better place, to set and upgrade tourism values within the country. Here are some of their goals as written on their website:
- Academic research on tourism and promote tourism business
- Make sure tour guides follow the government’s policy against tourism
- Collect, edit, and publish tourism magazines and books
- Guide line to tour guides and promote the professions of tour guides
- Assist tour guides in getting jobs and assign where needed
“The biggest addiction a person can have is discovering the unknown. Once it takes hold, there is no getting out and the only way to get your fix is by pushing yourself out of your comfort zone and exploring new horizons, culture, and places.” – Stephen from A Backpackers Tale
Tour guide trainings and programs
In terms of developing skills specific to the field of tour directing, newcomers will benefit themselves and their hiring prospects by taking a Tour Director/Tour Guide training program. Those who make the extra effort to learn the mechanics of this career field stand out from those who seek entry without the credential. Taking on the expense and effort to receive specialized training demonstrates to prospective employers that the newly-minted tour director is serious about this job and career choice, and no further training in how-to-do-this-job is needed. Many tour operators will only hire tour directors with proof of having completed this training. These programs often provide job placement services indefinitely for graduates.
There are loads of programs and tour guide training you can find in Taiwan. There is one that every tour guide should attend right after you pass your tour guide exam. In fact, all tour guides must attend this course to be able to receive their license. Few of the topics the course will cover are related to traveling safety, traveling policies, and cultural experience exchange. They also educate tour guides on Taiwan tour spots and history.
Some interesting topics also include the ability to identify plants that you may often see around Taiwan, Taiwan cultural buildings, authentic cuisines. All the mentioned above are training programs you should take in order to receive your tour guide license.
Tour guide experience: special requests
As a tour guide, you will be meeting all sorts of different people. There are people from all over the world with different cultures, different family, and different points of view. And as a tour guide, you get to meet these people. As people have different mind sets and thoughts, there are times when we come across some requests that seem unusual.
People are weird. They do and say crazy things. Some of these people turn to travel agents to help with their vacation plans, which ultimately leads to great stories. Some of us have only humble hotel requests: fresh towels, a shower with hot water, maybe a restaurant reservation or two … and please, no bugs in the bed. But then there are the travelers who are just a little bit more demanding.
We think people are just trying to do things they don’t usually do. They are on vacation, they are willing to do crazy things. So wanting to swim with fishes, wanting to go to a local funeral isn’t weird at all. What they really want to do is to experience what we know as daily life.
“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” ― Mark Twain