The main job of a tour guide is to help travelers explore new places for a few hours, give some insight into what makes these locations unique and introduce visitors to the local cuisine and culture. Guides are also expected to show up on time, be courteous at all times and cater (at least partially if not entirely) to their clients’ needs.
Turns out not all tour guides are created equal!
During our 300 or more day trips taken so far, we’ve met some guides who have acted professionally and were truly excellent in their trade as well as others who were mediocre occasionally bordering on bad.
And then, there is that small minority of guides with such outrageous behavior that have become our yardstick of measuring how bad a guide can be.
Here are our top ten tour guides who made our list that you never want to meet.
- The Spanish guy on our tour of Lanzarote (Canary Islands) who refused to let my son with autism go to the restroom for an entire hour until he completed his talk even though he was begging to go and there were plenty of bathrooms around.
He told him he should pretend to be a girl and hold it in! (?)
- The Israeli guide who shrugged his shoulders as he saw me stumble and fall on our tour of ancient Caesarea never stopped to check on me and proceeded to scold me for not carrying my first aid box!
I do now!
- The Italian female guide who spent 20 (!) minutes arguing with another guide in Italian during our 3 hour Colosseum tour (while all 40 of us watched )and unwittingly introduced our kids to previously unknown profanities.
Our son with autism repeated one of the words he heard for months!
- The German older lady in 2005 who gave us incorrect directions to meet her at Lake Wolfgangsee, frivolously wasting a full two hours of our time.
Not only didn’t she apologize in any way but ended up calling us stupid for not carrying around a GPS!
- Our Peruvian guide at Macchu Picchu who decided that climbing the thousand plus stairs in the rain was a lot more rewarding than explaining any archeological or historical facts.
Of course, he didn’t let us snap any pictures when we finally got to the top since he was in a rush and it was a waste of time.
- The Argentinean guide who took us on a rather pricey New Years Day tour of the Delta outside of Buenos Aires, pointing us towards all the closed stores and restaurants while telling us this was the worst day to book the tour since there was nothing open for miles.
And concluded every other sentence with ” you shouldn’t have bothered coming.’
- The vivacious young guide who accompanied us on the evening tour of Hong Kong, who got noticeably drunk and decided to entertain us with customized karaoke renditions of Whitney Houston’s ‘I will always love you’ for 30 minutes straight.
We were, unfortunately, the last stop on that bus.
- The uber polite Japanese lady who decided to use the tour as her private therapy session and chose shared intimate details of her married life and how she hates her mother-in-law.
Our kids who were barely in their teens then got an early education in marital relations that day.
- The private Romanian guide and car racer wannabe who weaved in and out of traffic at a scary speed bypassing every single car in front of us despite my requests to slow down while driving in the Carpathian Mountains.
We ended up tipping him not for his services but out of gratitude he didn’t manage to kill us all.
- The German guide who ordered our tour group of twelve to walk in a straight line behind him and kept poking my son with autism with his umbrella every time he strayed out of the line.
Luckily it soon started raining, and he had to put his umbrella to better use.
Were you ever faced with a tour guide from hell?
Share your eyebrow raising experience with us.