International Tour Management Institute (ITMI)

The Premier Training Institute for Tour & Travel Professionals Since 1976

Making the World a Better Place Through Travel

Andrea Schiemel

Hometown: Desert Hot Springs, California

ITMI graduation year: 2011

Travel bucket list: biking trip in Tuscany, cruise around the world, ski trip around the globe

Tour essentials: hot water bottle, earplugs, pioneering spirit

…stay positive as much as you can in every situation!
National Parks
Stunning Southwest
San Francisco and the Golden Gate Bridge

What or who inspired you to become a tour director?

Selling my jewelry for many years to wonderful customers made me realize that I get a lot of enjoyment out of working with people, telling them stories, making jokes, listening to them and putting a smile on their faces, while not sitting in an office.

How do you balance your personal life with your travel career?

During the season I hardly have a day off and therefore have no time for much of a personal life. What is important even for a workhorse like myself though is to stay in touch with family and friends, and call them from time to time.

What qualities do you feel make for a good tour director?

As a Tour Director you need to make sure the tour runs smoothly and in order to achieve that, you have to be organized and also decisive when necessary. You have to be a good communicator, and know when to switch from talking about facts to a more entertaining format to keep the atmosphere light and easy.  Being a “people person” is good, so is flexibility and being open minded. And stay positive as much as you can in every situation!

What advice would you give to a first-time traveler?

Try to keep an open mind and leave your preconceived ideas about people, places and experiences at home.

What destinations are on your travel bucket list?

I would like to take a biking trip in Tuscany, cruise around the world and be a ski bum for a whole season, traveling from one ski resort to another.

What are three things you must always take with you?

The most important thing for me to bring is my hot water bottle. I can’t live without it!  Frankly, I wonder how anybody can live without one ☺ Next, are my earplugs. Once I have these two things secured, I bring my pioneering spirit and leave my everyday routine at home.

Name someone famous you’d like to travel with and where you’d like to take them.

I would take Elizabeth Gilbert and the late Nora Ephron on a trip to visit the South Styrian Wine Road in Austria.

How has tour directing impacted your perspective of the world?

I don’t think my perspective of the world has changed much, but tour directing has certainly impacted my world a lot by adding lots of fun and happiness to it!      

What advice would you give someone if they wanted to become a tour director or guide?

First, it is not so much about travel as it is about dealing with and managing people.  Make sure you really understand this.

Do you agree that a tour director is actually an ambassador of goodwill? If so, why?

Absolutely! As a Tour Director for my European guests I am responsible for their first impression not only of the United States but also of the company I work for.  It is up to me to make them see both in a positive light.