You hire a guide to learn. Typically you are also on vacation, so you want to have a great time in the process. Good guides are passionate about what they do. It’s not just a job it’s a way of life.
Guides are experts who help you safely navigate, both mentally and physically, toward desired goals; whether it’s summiting Mount Everest or learning how to snorkel in the Virgin Islands. You want to look for experienced, licensed, and insured professionals.
Finding a guide is easier than ever, thanks to online resources. REI Co-Op can assist you in finding outstanding local guides. The Outdoor Project has some excellent tips as well. Prior to travel contact local sport shops in the area you plan to visit. Local knowledge can provide extensive information and names of reputable outfitters, and ones to stay away from. Online reviews can be helpful. Be prudent in reading negative comments. Not all negative comments are a negative in the guiding world. In some cases weather or safety concerns can shorten an adventure, displeasing the client; no fault of the guide and bravo for them for placing safety priority.
Many very skilled and experienced guides share their expertise for the love of the adventure.
Never judge a guide service by pricing. Bad guides can cost the same as great ones! Pricing could be a tool to narrow your options, but don’t let price be your determining factor. Large tour companies are the less expensive option, often times employing a greater percentage of seasonal help. You will also be sharing your vacation with the masses of people booking these tours. Hiring a guide offers you a personalized experience. There is a big difference between an individual leading a tour on a predetermined path and a guide escorting you in the backcountry or through open waters. Experience matters when exploring unfamiliar territories. When your safety is of concern hire the dedicated professional
Guides are psychologists. The best guides have the experience and know-how to encourage clients, deal with fear/panic, and assist in boosting your confidence to accomplish a goal. If you’re fearful of water a good guide will not force you to enter. A good guide will however, share a few of their proven tips and techniques to possibly get you to overcome your hesitation, and enjoy a new experience. Expert guides are many steps ahead of the current situation and creating ways to make the experience easier, safer, and in-tune with the clients level.
GUIDES ARE FAMILIAR WITH AREA WEATHER PATTERNS
Ultimately the guide experience should provide you with advanced knowledge, practical experience, and a thrill experiencing something unique and exciting. If your goal is summiting a mountain or catching that first fish on a fly rod, a little guidance from a professional can fine tune your technique and prepare you to reach your goal a little easier and a lot safer. When hiring a guide, your first interest should be in learning from someone willing to take the time to show you. The experience then will be one you look back on fondly for many years to come.