So you want to be a tour guide... in Charleston... for the summer.
March 12, 2008 4:06 PM   Subscribe

I would like to be a tour guide this summer before starting law school, ideally in Charleston. How difficult will it be to find a job, and how should I go about it? Is it at least break-even, financially speaking?

So I've been to Charleston a few times and really enjoyed the city. I've been on a few tours -- historical, ghost, carriage, the usual -- and thought, "Hey I could do that! (And would like to.)" Well, it just so happens that I'm about to graduate college and head to law school in the fall, with a couple months in between to kill ... so how 'bout it?

I tried Googling for [Charleston tour guide jobs] and the like, but only found one job (driving a carriage; not really my thing). I'd be more interested in doing a ghost (or pirate) type of tour, but wouldn't be averse to doing another kind of walking tour. Is there some kind of job site out there that I haven't been able to find? Are these the kinds of jobs that I can just seek out and get, or would I need some specialized experience or credential? I thought about just cold-calling some places but I figured if there was some easier, more efficient way, I'd like to do that. Should I just wait until closer to tourist season and see if a ton of jobs pop up that don't exist now? (And, more importantly, will they?)

My thinking, as far as living goes, was that I would find a sublease (hopefully in a not-terrible but not expensive intown area?) and very basic furniture through Craigslist, which seems to be pretty active there. I might try to convince a friend to go with me so I have someone to hang out with and maybe split some living expenses with.

It's not crucial that I make/save a ton of cash -- my law school budget right now is based wholly on scholarships and loans, so I see this as more of a way to live in a cool place for a little while. But that only works if I make at least enough to sustain me. I think I know how to live cheaply (and have for four years), but it's a fairly expensive city due to the tourists. Does anyone know how much I can expect to make doing this, taking into account wages, taxes, and (maybe) tips? I'm curious how poor I'd be, to see if it's even worth it.

So... that's my plan. Is this realistic? Has anyone ever done anything similar? And while I'm interested in Charleston, I'd be willing to go somewhere similarly cool if it was a better fit. I just want to go somewhere and do something this summer without breaking the bank to do it.
posted by SuperNova to Work & Money (2 answers total)
My thought, not based on anything, is that the best place to look for a job is to find the tour companies and start calling. You're probably going to have to go through a lot of numbers because it's a huge tourist town and anyone can hang a "tour" shingle. But it's a good place to start and since the companies are small they're probably not all that likely to do newspaper or Monster advertising.

From the job probably comes the rest, but I've never done what you're attempting...
posted by tcv at 5:37 PM on March 12, 2008

You would also enjoy Savannah for the same reasons. I live in Charleston, look me up if you come.
posted by toastchee at 6:39 AM on March 13, 2008

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