International Tour Management Institute (ITMI)

The Premier Training Institute for Tour & Travel Professionals Since 1976

Making the World a Better Place Through Travel

Brian Wunderlich

Hometown:  San Francisco, California

ITMI graduation year:  2011

Travel bucket list: Pitcairn Island

Tour essentials: Passport, credit card, and sense of humor

…take a breath and let the experience unfold.
Working with Tauck
retirement travel jobs

What or who inspired you to become a tour director?

3 Tauck directors in Monterey inspired me to be a 'Tour Guide'.  However, it was Ted Bravos in San Francisco that inspired me to be a 'Tour Director'. 

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

My travel career IS my personal life.  I wouldn't have it any other way.

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

A mind for curiosity and adventure for sure.  But never forget that your guests' safety comes before anything else, so you must always have their comfort and security in mind first.

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

Unfamiliar surroundings can be intimidating at first.  But just take a breath, and let the experience unfold.  You'll be familiar enough...soon enough.

What destinations are on your travel bucket list?

I would very much like to see Pitcairn Island.  I believe Fletcher Christian, when he performed the Mutiny on the Bounty, became one of the original Tour Directors of this millennia.  I'm not saying he was a GOOD Tour Director, but a Director nonetheless.

What are three things you must always take with you?

Passport, Credit Card, and Sense of Humor

If you could design your own customized tour to reflect your passions what would it look like?

It would look exactly like a 2-week archaeological tour through the Mayan cities of the Yucatan (I've always been a big Indiana Jones fan).     

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

Definitely Jimmy Buffett in the Caribbean.  Thing is, I'd make HIM do the guiding.  He knows the location a little better than I do.  

How has tour directing impacted your perspective of the world?

I didn't know there was a world outside California before...boy, was I wrong.    

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

Make sure it's something you want to do.  Be very sure of it, because it's not 'easy work' or 'getting paid to vacation'.  Once you're sure, call Joan and Amy at ITMI and schedule an appointment.       

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

Sure, of course I do. Too many reasons to explain 'why'…in a nutshell though, we are the people ensuring that the vacations other people have 'waited all year for' go well…and are fun and educational.  We mediate with the locals and help boost their economies...this usually puts a smile on the faces of our guests AND the locals.  That puts a smile on OUR faces. Hence, ambassadors of goodwill....