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The FAQ Guide to being a Tour Leader with AmeriCan Adventures

So you’ve read this submit and also you’re still considering turning into a tour chief with AmeriCan Adventures. Now, before emailing me or any member of employees, listed here are what I feel are probably the most incessantly asked questions to provide help to get ready to apply and hopefully start the job.

On the job itself:

What does being a tour leader with American Adventures entail?

Being a tour chief means driving a 15 passenger van and trailer filled with abroad guests on 1-Four week itineraries around america from spring to late-summer. Alongside with driving, we lead, guide, arrange actions, delegate camp set up and take down and make sure everybody has a protected and fulfilling journey. We primarily work excursions for Trek America, Grand American Adventures and Intrepid Travel.

Can I take day off through the season? (Might – September 30)

Brief reply, no. If that is your first season and you’ve received a 2 week vacation to Costa Rica occurring in June, or tickets to Burning Man in August, you will in all probability have to miss out. Whereas in fact we all have essential events each as soon as in a while, you principally need to be out there the size of the season in its entirety.

IMG_4178Tenting in West Virginia

After your first season on the street you’ll be able to request some time off if in case you have an essential wedding ceremony or event, but it isn’t all the time assured. Also, it ought to be one thing worthwhile as it might depart you with a giant hole in your schedule. Additionally, any requests during August once we are the busiest are fairly unlikely granted. In fact, not every little thing is so black and white. When applying, talk about any commitments you’re concerned about to see if one thing might work out.

What number of hours do you’re employed each week?

Legally, as a business driver we’re allowed to work up to 70 hours in 8 days.  Truthfully although, typically the job looks like it requires more. Other occasions, you don’t really feel like you’re really ‘working’ at all. As a tour leader, you’re solely liable for your group all through the period of the journey. Is somebody breaking out in a rash and wishes to get to Urgent Care? That nap you simply laid down for could have to wait.

IMG_3610Exploring the Tetons during some free time.

On the brilliant aspect, about 1-2 occasions per week you’ll have a “free day” from the group. This implies your passengers have your complete day to discover on their very own and you may simply stay and bed and hibernate if you’d like to.

General, anticipate to lead a very busy way of life. Nonetheless, each individual is totally different and requires extra/less down time. We all have strategizes to handle our time, recharge and get enough relaxation. You’ll study the fundamentals of that in training.

How a lot money will I make?

After training in the course of time on payroll, you get paid a weekly salary. This implies every week of work you’ll get paid the identical amount. In case you occur to have a whole 7 days off, you then gained’t be paid for that week. When this happens, (which isn’t typically) you’ll be offered with accommodation.

Weekly salaries begin somewhere round $575. Mine is around $660. (tough estimate, earlier than taxes). At the similar time, you’ll be offered with coated accommodation, a telephone stipend of $10/week and additional day by day stipends for operating particular trips. You may as well earn commission on booking activities like horseback driving to helicopter flights (often between $20-300 per activity).


Additionally, don’t overlook about ideas. For Trek America, it is advised that each passenger offers the tour chief with $5-7/day of the tour. Let’s say you’ve gotten a group of 10 pax on a 14 day trip. Realistically, it is best to make around $700. While these amounts can fluctuate a lot depending on the dimensions of the group (4-13) and different elements, you possibly can anticipate to be depositing a substantial amount of cash straight into your account on the ultimate day of each tour. I in all probability averaged around $500/week in ideas with full groups.

General, while you can also make a good dwelling doing this job (I have a tendency to save hundreds after working full seasons annually), it gained’t occur instantly. It’s also not all the time consistent. Anticipate to invest some money into the place initially. Additionally, at the end of the day, should you’re choosing the job only for the money, it’s not for you.

How a lot driving is involved every day?

The itineraries we run are pretty jam packed so passengers can get probably the most out of their time. That, and the truth that the USA could be very giant and spread out, means driving makes up a huge portion of the job.

General, you possibly can anticipate to be driving on a mean of three – 5  hours per day.


What do the itineraries appear to be?

To view most of the trips you will run, take a look at the Trek America web site. A few of the most popular tours embrace the ‘Southern Sun’, ‘Western Wonder’ and ‘Atlantic Dream’. When you can run a tour anyplace within the U.S., and typically Canada, most involve destinations inside the Southwest.

Here’s an article on my typical day as a tour chief.

What’s probably the most troublesome facet of the job?

For most individuals, probably the most troublesome facet of being a tour leader is exhaustion and the occasional troublesome passenger(s). We do most journeys with little time in between (a few days) and after a few months your body and endurance can really feel the shortage of downtime. On the similar time, we all get the occasional troublesome group or passenger too. All of us find out how to manage group dynamics and keep in charge so issues don’t get uncontrolled.

Some individuals also can’t deal with the stress or strain of operating a successful tour. It may be overwhelming and managing stress is essential. Without that, you would have a troublesome time.

How typically do you see associates or family?

Should you’re speaking about your tour leader family, you’ll see them fairly typically particularly through the busiest months of summer time. As for friends and family at house, that is determined by where you live.

Should you occur to have a tour which fits by means of your hometown, nice! Convey your group to your mother and father’ home or have your mates be a part of your group for a night time in town. As for taking off time (see #1) or having a dependable schedule to plan meet-ups, that’s harder. Luckily, you’ll run into different tour leaders typically at campsites and in resorts so you gained’t feel so remoted.

What if I make a mistake?

Everyone makes mistakes! It’s your job to work out how to take advantage of a state of affairs or play injury control. At the end of the day, things occur and everyone in the workplace understands that. In case you’re actually in a pinch, we now have an emergency line where somebody may help you determine what to do when one thing goes mistaken.


Paying consideration during training and asking co-workers for advice on the street is one of the simplest ways to keep away from unneccasary mishaps.

On your co-workers:

What are most tour leaders like?

Most tour leaders are outgoing, nature-loving, vacationers who don’t like being constrained to the 9-5. In fact, we’re all totally different and there’s not one particular sort. Some like the outdoors more than others. Some are better at historical past than others. All of us have strengths and weaknesses on this position.

17760200_10110194438016314_5011270101791405502_nOur Halloween end of yr work celebration

Extra specifically, but not all the time, most tour leaders are between the ages of 25-35, have lead unique life, love to have a good time and have robust personalities. This positive can lead to nice parties and constant travel buddies. We don’t thoughts shifting round on a regular basis and we tend to be charismatic people-persons. At the similar time, having a lot of robust personalities working collectively can lead to some entertaining conditions, especially throughout coaching.

How typically will I see co-workers?

This was touched on a bit above. Throughout training, you’ll make some nice buddies which you’ll need to see and communicate with for the remainder of the seasons. Some individuals you’ll see typically, others, perhaps never!

In the course of the busiest months of June, July and August, you’ll be able to all the time rely on seeing different tour leaders at campsites and resorts in the preferred places around the U.S. (Grand Canyon, Las Vegas, New Orleans, D.C.). There are a lot of us and in the event you don’t know the leader, don’t fret, go introduce yourself and also you’ll almost definitely have a new pal.

FullSizeRender 7Brewery hopping with co-workers in between trips

Once we are in-between journeys at certainly one of our bases, Santa Rosa, CA or Wharton, NJ, you will keep in the leader house. That is chief lodging with shared rooms and communal spaces.

What’s the common size of time someone works as a tour chief with AmeriCan Adventures?

Unfortunately, there are lots of leaders who only work one season. I personally assume this is a mistake, particularly in case you excelled and enjoyed the job. For one, there’s a lot of effort (and typically cash) put into uprooting your life, going via training and getting on the street. You’re sacrificing a lot of time and effort. Moreover, the training curve is a drastic one. You’ll study a lot in your first season that it virtually looks like a waste to not give your second season a attempt. Merely put, every season will get easier and each season you develop and find out how to run higher tours.


Many successful leaders work a few seasons earlier than finding other sources of non-seasonal revenue. A handful, like my boyfriend, have been on the street for 4-6 years+ and in addition information in Alaska for one summer time– the holy grail of tour leading. There are additionally a handful of “lifers” who say that it’s their last season each season, but all the time appear to be pulled again!

On Coaching:

What are the coaching dates?

There are sometimes Three-4 training teams per yr with 10-20 individuals in each. These numbers differ from yr to yr. This coming yr, the training dates are estimated as follows: 1. early-April, 2. mid-Might, Three. late-Might, 4. mid-June.

Your availability and the date you submit your software will decide which coaching group you’re invited to attend. Once you depart for coaching, it is best to have all of your luggage packed for the summer time and all your lose-ends tied up.

What is training like?

Coaching is an intense, immersive introduction to the job. Anticipate to be tenting with your fellow trainees for lodging. Through the first week you’ll attend class every day to study security, rules, laws and all the things else you may need to know. The second two weeks can be on the street the place each day a totally different trainee will take the position as ‘leader of the day’. The remainder of the group will act as passengers and be anticipated to research material through the drive. This can act as a mock tour where you get to see the logistics of operating a trip first hand.

In the course of the fourth week of coaching you’ll be back within the classroom to study more about business driving, how to be a successful leader and some other information that has been ignored.

11051992_964417683622716_4082096899234315323_oMy coaching group at camp

Whereas it’s onerous and tiring work, training is a enjoyable expertise you’ll never forget. Your fellow trainees may even in all probability grow to be a few of your greatest buddies inside the company.

After training, when would I begin work?

Many occasions, leaders can be advised what their first trip is over the past week of training. Typically, these leaders could have a few days to put together and can get on the street immediately. Other occasions, there may be a hole or break of a handful of days between training and your first trip. This all is dependent upon scheduling and time of yr.

Professional Improvement:

Are there ways for progress as a tour chief with AmeriCan Adventures?

One thing I really like about this job is that I’m always challenged. Every journey teaches me one thing new. Typically this will probably be how to deal with individuals and group dynamics, different occasions will probably be increasing on my information on wildlife, historical past and cities.

After being in a position to efficiently information inside certain brands, chances are you’ll be asked to guide for more demanding clientele. Working with extra mature passengers provides you a chance to actually share your information and expertise across the U.S. Additionally, journeys with older passengers may be very rewarding. Somebody in their 50s appreciates a hard-day’s work far more than someone right out of high school.


When you’ve gotten uninterested in the street, there are sometimes positions obtainable in the office in both Santa Rosa, CA or Wharton, NJ. These can vary from managerial, developmental or in purchasing. Sometimes, tour leaders may also grow to be coaching assistants and/or work in gross sales for a brief stint in the UK.

The off-seasons:

What do most leaders do through the off-season? (winter)

Most everybody embarks on some type of worldwide travel sooner or later throughout their low season. It’s not uncommon to meet up with other leaders wherever you’re on the planet both. Some individuals journey for months, and others for a couple of weeks.

15825935_10102412991737257_5881769044691351822_nMeeting up with co-workers in Mexico

Many leaders produce other seasonal jobs, but not everyone. It is fairly common for leaders to work in ski resorts around the U.S. during the winter.

Once spring roles around everybody ties up what they are doing and heads back to work!

Can I request to work in the course of the low season?

Solely a handful of leaders work by way of winter, due to demand. For those who happened to be a successful chief in your first yr, you’ll be able to request to work in winter however it isn’t extremely possible. If you’d like to work winters after turning into proficient on the job, it is often potential.

Random questions:

What if I’ve by no means camped earlier than?

That’s okay! There are lots of profitable guides who have never camped earlier than this job. Regardless, you need to benefit from the outdoor and be excited about making it a part of your way of life.

IMG_9201Hanging across the hearth after a full day exploring Yellowstone

What if I’m not utterly confident in each facet of the job?

None of us are good at every part. All of us have our strengths and weaknesses. During training you’ll have the opportunity to work on these and throughout the season there will all the time be someone to aid you out so long as you ask. Principally, as long as you’ll be able to lead a protected tour for passengers, the whole lot else might be discovered or labored on.

What do I do with all my possessions?

Every season, we pack a couple luggage and head to both the west or east coast office to begin work. Every thing that I own which I don’t see myself utilizing or needing I depart at my mother and father’ house. In the course of the season I don’t pay lease anyplace. I also don’t have a automotive, which additionally makes things straightforward.

Whereas some individuals continue to pay lease whereas working, it isn’t widespread and will make saving money harder. Other individuals maintain their automobiles at residence, let a good friend borrow it for the months they’re gone or pay for long-term parking.


As for the stuff I’ve introduced on the street, I hold it organized behind the van into a makeshift closet. I even have another field of issues which I maintain within the trailer.

On the appliance course of:

When ought to I apply?

If you realize it’s for you, as quickly as potential! Listed here are the steps:

  1. Fill out an software at after November 1st, 2017. Additionally, you’ll be able to enroll to this mailing record for a special hyperlink to apply one week early.
  2. Mention me, Jessica Wray, in your software. When you do, I additionally don’t thoughts answering any questions you’ll have by way of e-mail throughout the process. (Please title it: Working for American Adventures).
  3. Prepare for a Skype interview someplace down the road, almost definitely in winter.
  4. Attend a hiring occasion to meet workplace employees in individual, get a better feel of the job and if it is best for you, and lift your probabilities of being admitted to coaching. (Dates and places to come).
  5. In case you’ve handed all these steps, you might be requested to attend a 1 month paid training. This consists of within the classroom learning and a two week training journey. This isn’t for the faint of heart and must be taken by critical candidates only. Once admitted, start learning a record of assigned subjects to prepare.
  6. Pack up your belongings, tie up any unfastened ends and head to coaching in Northern California someday in spring.
  7. From then on, put together to be absolutely immersed in the perfect and craziest job of your life until the summer time ends.

How should I put together for the interview?

Be your self, be friendly, be partaking and don’t be shy! AmeriCan Adventures needs assured, enthusiastic individuals so your precedence must be displaying that. Moreover, prepare some questions prematurely to ask the interviewer when you’ve got time. Displaying that you simply’re invested will assist.


Moreover, what are your strengths which might pertain to this job? What may your weaknesses be? What are a few of your largest accomplishments that you possibly can relate to serving to you in this position? Brainstorming on any of these subjects never hurts during an interview.

Should I’m going to a hiring event?

When you have the funds and availability to travel to a hiring occasion, you undoubtedly ought to. These are held in places across the U.S. the place you get to know more concerning the job, meet employees and have interaction in a few activities. While in fact it won’t be potential for you to go, you must do the whole lot you’ll be able to inside cause to get there. It will probably solely be a benefit.

More Questions about being a tour leader with AmeriCan Adventures?

E mail me at [email protected] and make sure to mention my identify on your software.

Good luck!

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