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In survey after survey, when people are asked what they would do if they had more time and additional financial resources, the top answer is “travel.” Unfortunately, for most people, the dream of seeing exotic locales and exploring the sights and sounds of distant places remains just that – a dream. But some people choose to transform their travel dreams into reality by receiving tour guide training and becoming a tour director or getting any one of a number of other travel jobs.

Types of Tour Guide Jobs

Travel and tourism training paves the way for any number of tour guide jobs. Leading tours can mean sightseeing and bus tours, adventure tours, sporting tours, and cruise ship excursions either near your home, within the United States, or internationally. With tour director training, you can find work as varied as being a cruise host to assuming a management position with a tour company. The companies you can work for include tour operators, destination management companies, and event planners.

Who Makes a Good Tour Director?

One of the wonderful things about the travel and hospitality industry is that it encompasses a diverse array of jobs and draws people from a variety of backgrounds. In order to succeed in the field, you simply need to love travel, enjoy working with people, and have the right travel and tourism training. Some tour guides have extensive travel experience prior to starting, while others just have natural curiosity and the desire to travel. Many take tour guide jobs on a part-time basis, either during vacations from school, after retirement, or during the “down time” of seasonal careers. Others work locally as full-time tour directors or travel the world on cruise ships. There isn’t a single career path that leads to becoming a good tour director; indeed, it is tour guide training that makes all the difference.

Finding the Right Tour Guide Training

While some community colleges and universities offer tour guide training, you can also earn a certificate as a tour director through online courses. The best online courses offer the option of getting credit for the course through an accredited college or university in your community.

When looking at travel and tourism training options, look into the background of the instructor. Ideally, you will find someone with over a decade of extensive travel experience throughout the world as a cruise host and international tour director. He or she should also have considerable tour guide training experience.

A reputable tour director training course should last about six weeks. It should cover the expectations, requirements, and procedures involved in tour directing and guiding, as well as techniques for group management, creating and delivering interesting narration, and handling challenges that arise. The course should also go into depth about pre-tour planning, multi-day tours, facing emergencies anywhere in the world, and governmental regulations and procedures. Finally, a good tour guide training course will explore the career opportunities available for a tour director, which opportunities are a good fit for your needs and interests, and how to best write a resume, network, and interview for travel jobs.

Getting paid to travel is a dream job. And, with the right tour guide training, you can make that dream come true!

About the Author

Justin Brandon