Frequently Asked Questions

There are many questions and considerations you might have when planning to expand your horizons, challenge yourself, develop new and valuable skills that will serve you well in all areas of your life. During your training, you will be challenged to step outside your comfort zone, face your fears, and take risks to become an international tour director, tour guide or travel entrepreneur. 

With our expert mentoring instructor team you will learn to trust yourself, believe in your abilities and push yourself to new heights. 

Contact us if you don’t find your answer here.

We have students from all over the world taking the ITMI Certification Courses. From teachers to executives. Event planners to science guys. People looking for a side hustle to those looking for full time employment.

Many people wonder if a tour director and a tour guide are the same thing. The answer is No.

A tour director is responsible for leading a group 2 – 14 days or longer with the same guests.

The Tour Guide usually spends a few hours a day with a group delivering more detailed local storytelling commentary. The tour guides normally live in or near the city they are guiding. You could also be referred to as a step-on-guide.

The Tour Director can be called several different names depending on the tour company. They may be called a Tour Manager, Tour Leader, Travel Director, Course Leader, Adventure Guide, CEO (Chief Experience Officer), and a few companies still use the term Tour Escort. The job is the same whatever the title.

The Tour Operator employs the tour director or guide.

ITMI has been teaching courses for over 6 decades. We’ve learned a thing or two along the way and have structured our courses to ensure your success.

The Tour Guide course provides the foundation for many of your future travel career choices beyond being a Tour Guide. However, if your dream is to stay local, and still feel the joy of working with people from all over the world. This is your path to leading food tours, adventures tours, walking tours, and work with event companies in your local area.

It’s up to you…to fast track it can take less than a month. Or, at your own pace, the beauty of the way the course has been designed is that you can…

Train Anywhere – Anytime
  • No Travel Costs (Flights/Hotels/Meals/Transportation)
  • No Time off of work – lost wages or vacation time
  • No Time away from family, friends, pets or personal obligations
  • ITMI Global Campus is open 24×7 – even after you are certified.

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ITMI not only trains you how to be a tour director or tour guide, we train you how to get a job.

You will join the largest network of tour directors and guides in the world.

You will be able join an annual conference that we have hosted for over 3 decades.

We will help you craft your best foot forward with your resume, cover letter and introduction video.

ITMI sends out dozens of jobs leads each week for jobs all over the world.

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Here are some things to consider.

As an independent contractor, you have control over how many companies you decide to work for, and how often you work. You are paid a fee in the United States and receive a 1099 Form at the end of the year.

The choice you make will be anywhere from full time (250+ days per year), part time (75-100 days per year) or seasonal (2weeks, 1 month or summer vacation). Companies will ask for your availability and try to provide tour offers that fit within your timeframe and expertise. You can work for as many companies as you wish, the choice is yours!


As an employee you usually cannot work for the other tour companies except during the off-season.

You will receive a salary and employee benefits that may include sick time, workers’ compensation, and other extras such as an Employee Assistance Plan (EAP) for well-being, yearly meetings and training or shadow tours. All based on performance.

You have the flexibility to work different peak seasons. Fill your schedule leading student tours in the spring, multi-generational family tours in the summer and be cruising on the international waterways in the fall or winter.

If you want more time at home with friends and family, or have another job, you could do local city tours, walking food tours, a couple of multi-day tours…the possibilities are endless.

Great question!

Compensation statistics are gathered via our annual ITMI Survey with tour operators and directors.

As a tour guide or tour director you will be paid a fee or salary by your tour company. Gratuities are a major part of your compensation depending on a number of considerations. Many people choose to work as a local guide for part of the year and then spend a few months traveling over the road. You can do both.

Local guides normally receive a daily or hourly rate plus gratuities from guests. The average day rate for a full or half-day tours can be from $30 – $100 per hour plus gratuities.

Tour Directors, normally receive a daily rate plus gratuities and sometimes commissions.

Generally speaking, the overall compensation for a 2-week tour conservatively ranges from $4,000 – 6,000+.

Expenses Covered

The majority of companies will cover the cost of airfare to the starting point of the tour, your own private room, and food while you are on a multi-day tour as a tour director. For example, a company may give a credit card to pay for your meals, while others will provide you with a daily cash per diem allowance.

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Tour guides are able to balance their careers and their personal lives in a manner that few jobs afford.

One of the attractive features about tour guiding and tour directing, is that it may actually compliment your existing profession and become an integrated career. At ITMI, we have found that over the years, many of our graduates have actually preferred to work on a part-time basis.

Which means you can work with a tour when your schedule permits, such as weekends or summer vacations. There are part-time, full-time, seasonal – you name it.

Don’t forget you can choose your assignments based on your interests: If you are a history buff, love architecture, walking tours, wine and food, motorcycles, sports, agricultural, the list is literally endless. Many travelers today are desiring many different types of smaller niche and specialized tours as well. Add link to apply … Are you ready to begin your adventure?

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The short answer is you don’t. A large percentage of our students have already been tour directors or guides.

If you decide to become an ITMI graduate, we would help you to increase your job opportunities, learn some new tips and tricks, learn to be an even better storyteller, work on confidence and leadership skills, and more importantly join the largest international community of travel professionals in the world.

You would be investing in yourself, in order to be professionally trained, mentored and supported in your future growth and success. We are proud to say that many companies hire exclusively ITMI graduates. Join the ITMI Community today! Apply Now

The question you need to ask is really “Can this course help me get a job more easily so I can earn money faster than trying to go it alone?” The answer – a resounding “YES”.

Most tour directors and tour guides earn back the cost of the course in two weeks of touring.

I’m ready( Apply Now )

Cancellation of Tour Guide Certification

We know life happens…if you need to request a date change to your live Tour Guide Training, we can only allow 1 date change 2 – 4 weeks prior to the chosen start date. If you need to cancel within 1 week prior to your start date there will be a $500 cancellation penalty assessed.

To ensure you have personalized instruction, our live weekend class training size is limited. There is a minimum of 6 with a maximum of 12 students per class. When you register, we reserve a spot for you and your cancellation could affect students who were turned away due to reaching maximum size on that specific date. In addition, your cancellation could also affect our minimum number for class. ITMI is committed to give you the best of the best instructor team that can give you the most up-to-date information possible. Our instructors are all active tour directors and guides. As such, we must schedule them months in advance, we must therefore assess a penalty.

Cancellation of Tour Director Certification
The good news is you can complete this course ANYTIME, ANYWHERE. While it takes approximately 50 hours to complete, you work at your pace. Your ITMI Instructor is your tutor every step of the way. After you begin the Tour Director Training and decide this path is not right for you, there will be a fee charged based on how far along within the training you progressed. (Minimum course drop fee is $1,000).

*Please note: ITMI reserves the right to cancel / postpone any class due to insufficient enrollment or other circumstances beyond control. Options for scheduling will be advised.


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