Ching Kearns, ITMI Alumni 2015
For many people, traveling around the world or even around the United States is a passion. But traveling can be expensive and for many, it’s simply not in the budget. So, why not find a career where you can get paid to travel.
Many people are unaware that there are jobs that not only pay you to travel or lead local tours in the city or National park you love, they even let you determine where you want to go and how often you’d like to be on the road. If you are looking for a way to get paid to travel and have the freedom to chart your own course, consider becoming a professional tour guide.
What does a tour guide do? Tour guides work for tour companies who organize and book the tours. Tour guides are either leading local tours or are on the road with the tour guests. They are responsible for the guests, making sure that all of the guests are safe and accounted for and that the tour proceeds on schedule.
You might say that tour guides are also performers who inform and entertain their guests with commentaries about the places they visit. Most importantly, tour guides really like people and relate well to them. They set the tone for the group and ensure that the participants enjoy themselves. An outgoing personality, a spirit of adventure and a good sense of humor are definitely part of the job description.
How can you become a professional tour guide? One way is by enrolling in a tour guide / tour director certification program. Look for a school that has an excellent reputation and a great working relationship with tour companies. You can call tour companies such as Globus Family of Brands, Tauck and Worldstrides…they can give you the inside scoop on where to get your certification.
The International Tour Management Institute (ITMI) has been training professional tour guides / directors for 40 years and has the highest reputation in the industry. Tour companies contact ITMI daily to meet the growing need for tour guides to lead tours locally and worldwide. In addition, each year they come from all over the world to attend ITMI’s annual Symposium to meet certified tour guides and interview them in person.