Travel guides exist to plan and lead adventures. A major part of their
job is going on holiday!
Travel guides must plan itineraries and make sure that all the arrangements
for transportation, accommodations and activities are made in advance so that
the trip runs smoothly.
Once the trip is planned, the guide accompanies the group on the trip and
is responsible for the group's safety.
A travel guide's responsibilities depend on the location and duration of
the trip, as well as the age range of the group members. A guide planning
a long-distance cruise through the Greek islands for seniors would have many
different tasks than a guide involved in organizing two-day whitewater rafting
expeditions for teens.
Fritz Moriarty is the leader of a tour company in Boulder, Colorado. The
tour programs he organizes focus on community service projects and language
learning in Mexico, Central and South America and Europe.
"I have an additional responsibility to set up and organize projects and
develop language lesson plans," he says. "Beyond safety and logistics, a
guide needs to promote an environment fostering learning, teamwork and fun."
When guides are planning a trip, they work an average 9-to-5 day. While
leading a trip, the position becomes a 24-hour-per-day commitment. A guide
must be able to help clients in a variety of situations that may pop up while
they are away from home.
While on the trip, the guide leads the group to the pre-planned activity
sites and describes points of interest. The guide is often responsible for
driving land or water vehicles to transport clients to these sights.
Many guiding positions are seasonal or part time. Once on a tour, there
is no stopping for the weekend. Guides often have to work through holidays.
Sandra Crooker says fatigue can be the hardest part of the job. She is
a travel guide and co-owner of a tour company in Taos, New Mexico. She organizes
and leads llama treks through forest terrain.
Most travel guides work four or five months in the summer season.
"If you work hard during the season, it can support you during the year,"
says Crooker. She adds that a number of travel guides have second careers
that they must work in addition to guiding.
This job requires a lot of physical activity. Guides are often responsible
for carrying clients' luggage to their rooms and loading it in and out of
There is also a very social element to this job. Guides must be able to
keep up a commentary for the guests who are unfamiliar with the area and make
sure that they are having an enjoyable holiday. Often, the guide is responsible
for planning social events for the travel group.
Those who are physically or socially challenged may not find the career
A high level of job satisfaction is what keeps Crooker in the business.
"It depends on your personal goals. If you want a high quality of life,
then I would recommend this line of work. If you want to pay a mortgage and
build income for the long term, then this is not for you."