A DAY IN THE LIFE OF A WOMEN’S TRAVEL NETWORK TOUR HOST
by Carolyn WhitakerWhat is a Tour Host?
My job is to provide you with a remarkable travel experience. Nothing delights me more than seeing you laugh, enjoying a tour, and making new friends.
Travel companies talk about tour guides, tour leaders and tour hosts. They are all different roles. I am a tour host. I make sure everything runs smoothly, manage all logistics and ensure that everybody is where they should be. We have country experts at each destination who tell us specifics about that location. For example, I am not an expert on the Sistine Chapel, but I am the person who makes sure you get there on time, well rested, well fed and with everything you need for the day. The expert meets us there and gives us an informative and delightful tour.
Click here to learn more about the WTN Tour Hosts.
Before we depart on our adventure
My job starts long before we even get to the airport. The experts at Women’s Travel Network plan the tour itineraries, accommodations and restaurants. That is their expertise. My job is to know the itinerary in detail and make sure that everything runs smoothly. I am there to help you. This is your trip and I want to exceed your expectations. Because we are usually small groups, I can get to know each of you individually, understand your needs, arbitrate the rare squabbles, and delight in your enjoyment.
A few weeks before we even depart, I host a Meet and Greet Party, so all our travellers are introduced to each other. We provide a helpful trip preparation package and answer any questions you may have. Don’t worry, if you can’t make it to the meet and greet, I will call you to introduce myself and answer any of your questions.
We have arrived!
Each day is an adventure! I am up early. Logistics for today and tomorrow are already running through my head. Being well organized and proactive are the most important attributes of a tour host. My job is to make sure that everything happens as it should. Is everyone up and ready to go? Is breakfast served as planned? Is the coach or taxi outside waiting? Does everyone have their luggage, their passports, their money from the safe? What is the weather going to be? Does everyone know how they should dress for the day? Do they have the correct currency and amount of money required for the day? Will we have breaks on the way? What is going to happen tomorrow that must be addressed today?
And then I count. I count heads again and again and again. People get on the bus then get off the back of the bus to take that last photo opportunity. Each time we go to another restaurant or tour site or get on another train/bus/plane, I count. Sometimes the ladies even start counting for me!
If a change in itinerary is required due to weather or other unforeseen circumstances, I work with the local tour operators to ensure an appropriate fix is in place. Glitches happen but our travellers rarely know about them unless our itinerary must change. As an example, in Rome our bus was to leave at 9 am. But there was an unplanned strike and the city streets closed at 8 am. I had to renegotiate with the bus to come earlier, get everyone up, packed and on the bus or we would have spent another day in Rome without accommodation. Whew!
Helping to make your dreams come true.
If a traveller has a special request, I am happy to help them fulfill their dreams when time and logistics allow. On one occasion while we were in Australia, a few of the ladies enjoyed an unplanned half day of golf. On another occasion in Ireland, we went off the beaten track to experience ‘the best fish and chips in the land’.
While we are travelling on our plane/train/automobile/coach/sled (just kidding), I am reviewing tomorrow’s itinerary with our local tour guides to tweak as necessary and to make sure that all tickets are ready, restaurants are prepared, hotel rooms are reconfirmed, and all other logistics are reviewed. Travellers want to know what is happening over the next few days so I must be ready with the answers.
Dinner time is always fun. It’s time to relax with the gang, laugh about anecdotal stories, reminisce about another delightful day and make new life-long friends. I take that opportunity to review tomorrow’s itinerary with everyone and answer any questions. Sometimes we review these questions a few times…just to make sure everyone has heard everything they need to know. In my mind I am going through logistics for tomorrow and the day after but that doesn’t stop me from enjoying the company of our travellers. And there are always a few women who just want to have that one more glass of wine and talk late into the evening.
The last guest has gone to bed and I am both mentally and physically exhausted. While it is fresh in my mind, it’s time to update the Blog. It is important to record our trip and to allow our loved ones at home to enjoy our tour. Now, finally, it’s time for bed. This is a 24 hour a day job, but the rewards are worth every minute.
Tomorrow is another day.
I can’t wait to see what excitement is in store for us tomorrow. Life as a tour host is fun, busy, exciting and rewarding. If you are enjoying your experience, I am happy.
I hope you will join me on a trip of a lifetime to South Africa in October 2019.
Carolyn Whitaker is a seasoned tour leader with Women’s Travel Network. She uses her corporate leadership and organizational skills to ensure that each tour experience is worry free. Her sense of humour and passion for travel will make your tour fun and eventful. Carolyn believes that the exciting sites we visit and the new friends we make are equally important. We will remember the beautiful, historical sites and reminisce about the funny shared moment with new friends and travel companions. Carolyn’s energy, positive attitude and attention to detail will help to make your trip carefree and memorable.