Travel & Adventure – Overseas Jobs

Are you someone who dreams of hiking through the Amazon rainforest, climbing the mountains of Peru or Tibet, trekking across the Sahara desert, or traveling on safari through Africa? Maybe you’re an individual who seeks more excitement and adventure in a career. If this is you, then a job as a tour leader may be just your thing. Of course, if you have a family who depends on you, or a relationship that would suffer from your absence, then traipsing around the world may not be possible. But, if you are young, or young at heart, single and somewhat of a gypsy, the job of adventure tour leader certainly has its appeal.

Tour leaders are responsible for just about everything including arranging meals and accommodations, transportation, native guides and bearers. There will be daily reports to prepare, but you are your own boss, with no supervisor looking over your shoulder, staff meetings to attend, or confined space to work in. Expect to travel light; be eager and ready to go on each new day’s adventure. You should be prepared for any delays, problems, or emergencies that may occur along the way. There will be time, however, to pursue some of your own interests, reading, writing, or studies, while your group is busy taking pictures or you’re spending hours on buses, jeeps, or trains going from one place to another.

The groups on tour are usually small, about 16 people, so everyone gets involved in the activities. A tour leader must be familiar with the language and the culture of the country they visit, and be able to answer questions about the history, religion, and the people, as well. The basic job requirements are straightforward, as companies are primarily looking for people with good communication skills, entertaining and friendly personalities, patience, confidence, and proven leadership ability to ensure the group has a fun-filled, safe adventure.

Tour leaders take groups to fascinating places such as the castles in Scotland, Ireland, France, and Spain, and to the ancient ruins of civilizations in Greece, Italy, Egypt, and Central and South America. Your travel as a tour leader may take you as far as Australia, New Zealand, Asia, or Antarctica, or to the islands of the Mediterranean, the Caribbean, the South Pacific, and the Indian Ocean.

Some tours will be more demanding than others, as you may lead groups of hikers, mountain climbers, or whitewater rafters and kayakers on exciting journeys requiring considerable skill and stamina. Others will be just as interesting, but more leisurely eco-tours or sightseeing adventures to popular tourist attractions and world heritage sites throughout the world. Depending on the destination, your accommodations will vary from camping outdoors to cabins on riverboats, village hostels, and rustic lodges on mountain slopes, or just backpacking through the countryside. The more expensive tours suggest modern hotel rooms, fancier restaurants, and more amenities for you and your group.

You’ll find that the larger companies offer a much wider choice of destinations for travelers and adventure tour leaders. Companies such as Exodus, Explore, and Dragoman may look for tour leaders that meet certain age requirements and have more travel experience. Most large and small companies require standard first aid and CPR certification, and a good health record. You must pass an extensive background check, usually attend a training program within the home country, and arrange for a personal interview before you’re hired. You’ll find that only a few companies provide paid holidays and sick days; however, Intrepid based in Australia is one. Some offer some type of health insurance, but probably no retirement or pension plan. Gap Adventures out of Canada does reimburse you for airfare after completing a contract with them. You can find more information on these and other tour companies online, even applications in some cases.

Adventure tour companies may hire you for an extended contract to a specific country or region, which will require proficiency in the language spoken, especially in Central and South America, and thorough knowledge of the customs to follow while there. Or, you may be called on to travel with groups in different areas for shorter assignments, which some may consider a drawback, but it does add variety to the job. You’ll need a work permit or visa, and a driver’s license is a necessity for overland tours.

Since these are challenging jobs requiring considerable endurance and adaptability to a very transient way of life, tour leaders may choose to complete a two to three year contract, renew or sign another, or decide to settle down closer to home. A few exceptional performers may be offered permanent jobs in the administrative or business end of the company. The average monthly salary, anywhere from $800 to $1500, may not sound like a whole lot, but don’t forget the tips you’ll no doubt receive from each traveler in the tour group. You probably will receive gifts from vendors in some countries, who welcome the money your group is spending in their stores or marketplace. There are not many jobs where your expenses are usually fully covered, however, so the money you earn as a tour leader, for the most part, is free and clear. At the end of your contract, you’ll not be wealthy by any means, but you will have put aside a nice amount to take back with you.

There is a constant demand for tour leaders worldwide, as there will always be something new to discover, somewhere historic to visit, or something unusual to see awaiting travelers everywhere. As a tour leader, you’ll have a great opportunity to learn, work, travel, and play, while you become a part of life’s great adventure.

Sharon L Slayton

Filed Under: Travel & tourism jobs

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