Everyone is telling you to quit your day job, live the dream, escape your office cubicle and travel the world, right? You’re sitting at your desk reading this, dreaming of open roads and stunning sights, but probably wondering ‘how the hell can anyone afford that?’
The answer, my friends, is to earn while you’re travelling.
There’s a number of different paths to earning as you travel; teaching English overseas, working remote for your company, becoming a virtual assistant or even travel blogging – but only one option that will enrich your travel experience. Becoming a tour guide is one of the most rewarding and exhilarating ways to see the world, learn about a country’s culture and history while sharing your love of travel with people just like you.
Here’s 8 reasons why being a tour guide is the best way to travel the world and still earn a living.
1. You’ll learn a valuable skill set for a future career
Tour Guides wear multiple ‘hats’ while running a trip. It may look like your guide is having a relaxed holiday alongside the group, but the reality is that a tour guide is a travel agent, therapist, accountant, event manager, historian, conflict resolution manager, tax and currency expert and professional public speaker. All skills which carry across impressively to any future career.
2. You will see more countries & cities than you ever thought possible
In most cases, a tour guide does not just do the same tour on loop for an entire season. A fully trained tour guide will have the opportunity to guide many different itineraries for their tour company – meaning you will visit, study and experience new destinations multiple times! Start racking up that country count, you’re about to become a professional full-time traveller.
3. You will be living the dream
You will be paid to travel. Your job, everyday, will be to show first time travellers their way around a new destination. As a tour guide, ‘work’ means being a part of someone’s happiest holiday memories. You are actually required to have fun for a living while travelling! Be warned – most of your friends back at their desk jobs will be insanely jealous of your daily updates from Monaco, Barcelona and Bali.
4. You’ll become an expert on history, art and architecture
To be a truly excellent tour guide, you need to know your stuff, which means studying up on architectural styles, historical fun facts and the best places to eat, drink and party. This isn’t your boring old history teacher studying – think researching the funniest stories of a royal family or the perfect recipe for goulash to share with your groups. Pretty soon you will be an expert in Corinthian columns, traditional eating habits in multiple countries and the hilarious history of inter-country grudges. Your pub quiz score is going to go through the roof once you’ve become a tour guide!
5. Your colleagues will be just like you!
Forget trying to make friends with Steve from HR who just doesn’t understand your wanderlust obsession. When you work in the travel industry, all your colleagues are as crazy about travel as you are! You will finally be surrounded by people who understand and encourage your need to see the world and experience new cultures. It will be a relief and inspiration all at once. (Sorry Steve)
6. You can save while travelling
When you are guiding, your transport expenses, accommodation and some meals are all covered – meaning half of what you earn can be saved. With no rent, car payments or gas bills, you can accrue a decent amount in savings while you travel. This means that at the end of a season of guiding you will have some cash stashed for your own travel adventures!
7. You will become a destination expert
Knowing a destination inside out means you’ll know all the best restaurants, bars, cafes and insider tips to maximize the fun you’ll have while also getting the best possible price on meals and drinks.
8. You’ll have friends all over the world
Just like anyone who takes a tour, at the end of a trip you are best friends with the other people who shared the experience with you. That means, as a tour guide, you will have hundreds of best friends who were on your tours scattered across the world. Next time you go backpacking in Australia, Mexico, South Africa or Canada you’ll have local friends from your tours ready to show you their home towns, and maybe even a free couch to crash on. What an excellent excuse to do even more travelling!
Becoming a tour guide isn’t easy, there are some intensive training and a long interview process, but if you manage to score the job, it is undoubtedly the best way to travel the world and still earn the cash you need to enjoy it!
So, are you ready to abandon the 9 to 5?