Undoubtedly as this year progresses you will be called on to lead one of your tour groups personally. Or perhaps you will need to train one of your helpers to do the job for you. If so, what are some of the tricks of the trade you will want to pass on? Like me, you may be so accustomed to leading group tours that you do not give it a thought anymore; you just jump in and assume a leadership role. Or, if you are new to the position, you may have butterflies in your stomach not actually knowing what is expected of you.

The first time I led a group, it was baptism by fire. I was 23 years old and was sent out with a group of 15- and 16-year-olds on a six-week (!) rail trip across the U.S., then throughout Mexico, and returning up the Eastern Seaboard. I made many mistakes (such as letting one of my teenage tour members drive a truck I rented, never thinking of the legal repercussions that could have followed). Since then I have learned to think legally, not just operationally.

With this in mind, let me pass on a few hints. First of all, that first day is all-important. Your participants are a bit nervous and they are judging you, so look, dress and act professionally. I meet them at the airport carrying a clipboard with the name roster, so I can easily identify them by name to see who is there and who is not. More on tour escorting hints from Group University.com