How to plan a good walking tour

This is my approach to planning a guided two-hour walking tour by making a map, creating a schedule, and writing notes.

I met with a colleague over coffee at the new Greenmount Coffee Lab to share advice on organizing a two hour walking tour program later this spring. When I got back to my desk, I thought the advice might be worth writing up into a quick tutorial.

In my experience, it takes about five hours to plan a two-hour-long walking tour program. It may take you more or less time depending on your background and how you approach the tour. The process I use works best for guided walking tours where you already have information about most or all of the tour sites. If you are planning a guided bike tours or bus tours or any self-guided tour, you may need to tweak this approach. If you are just getting started and do not know what tour sites might be appropriate to visit, you may need to do more research before you plan your walking tour.

Planning your walking tour with a map, schedule, and notes

1. Make a map of your tour route

2. Make a schedule for your tour stops

3. Write your tour notes

4. Try out the tour in advance

5. Revise the map, schedule, and notes as needed

If you have enough time between when you try out your tour and the day you lead the tour, you may want to incorporate revisions into your map, schedule, or notes. Try to be realistic about how much time you need to lead participants through the narrative and travel between each stop. Good tours always end on time.

Additional considerations when planning walking tours

I’m hoping to update this post with links and more information when I have more time. Here are a few more important topics to consider:

If you have any suggestions for existing resources on these topics or ideas for other topics a walking tour guide should address, please let me know @elipousson or share them on Twitter with the #localpast hashtag.


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