If You Work so You Can Travel, Why Not Travel for Work?

Provided by ARAcontent / Brandpoint

(ARA) – Do you still dream of exploring the world? Maybe seeing other places excites you or learning about other cultures gives you a better understanding of yourself and your place in the world. If you’ve always wanted to travel more, make 2008 the year it happens by choosing a career that will take you there.

“Tour directing is a great career for people who have a passion for travel and interacting with people,” comments Ted Bravos, cofounder of the International Tour Management Institute (ITMI), a state-certified school that since 1976 has trained individuals to become professional tour directors and guides. Bravos is active in the field that he teaches and just returned from leading a 3-week African Safari for the Smithsonian Institute. “It really is a job that presents endless opportunities for making a difference and creating incredible memories. It’s great for those who are truly young at heart and who want an adventure that lasts a lifetime.”

Tour directors have the option to work as little or as much as they please. Whatever fits your lifestyle, it can be a full, part-time or seasonal job. “You have the opportunity to work in a variety of destinations,” adds Bravos. “This might mean leading tours in a different country or in the city where you live. No matter where you’re located, you are goodwill ambassadors to visitors from around the world.”

Eric Kipp used to lead hiking groups in Hawaii and then entered the corporate world. He found himself always telling stories of his experiences during business meetings and decided that he should rediscover this passion. He now works as a tour director around his other passion, being a corporate life coach. He recently spent the summer leading groups in Alaska.

“There is no way to get to know a location better than leading a group,” says Kipp. “I led 16 groups over four months. I was able to explore national parks and build lasting relationships with other tour directors and my groups.”

Kipp’s dream for the future is to lead small groups on sailing vessels in the Caribbean. “I have the idea and the dream, and they (ITMI) gave me the tools to do it.”

Tour directing can be lucrative as well, paying $200 to $300 per day, plus all expenses. Many popular travel trends include student and youth travel, adventure travel, and intergenerational tours where children, parents and grandparents travel together.

ITMI prepares students in a 15-day intensive training program. Students learn about the tour and travel industry through practical “hands-on” experience in the field, including 5 days training aboard a deluxe motor-coach and an overnight fieldtrip where they actually perform the role of a tour director. The school also offers lifetime job placement assistance.

Chris Brown, an ITMI alumni and professional tour director spent 11 years in the corporate world and decided he didn’t want to spend the next 20 sitting behind a desk.

“What I like most about tour directing is that it really makes me feel alive. Whether it’s getting all fired up about meeting a new group and making sure I deliver a fantastic experience for them or just being able to see new things on every trip — no matter if I’ve been there before. When I bring a group to fly over the Grand Canyon or into Yosemite Valley or to a Broadway show in NYC, the tears and laughter abound! Who wouldn’t like that?”

For information including articles and videos about what it’s like to be a tour director, visit www.ITMItourtraining.com, or to learn more call (800) 442-4864.

Amy Noble