5 Common Myths About Working as a Guide or Trip Leader
The job is easy
THIS is the one preception that can really grind the gears of anyone who works in the industry. While traveling and working outdoors can look glamorous there’s a lot that goes on behind the scenes. It’s 100+ hour weeks, early mornings, late nights, bad weather, sick clients, difficult safety calls, all while providing the experience of a lifetime to your those you are guiding. Don’t get me wrong, guiding and trip leading is one of the best jobs in the world, but it’s anything but easy.
You don’t make any money
Making money in this industry depends on a variety of different factors so making sure you guide with a reputable company is a must! There are many people who have paid off students loans, credit card debt, and saved for their first house all while guiding and leading trips. You’re not making a million dollars a year, but many companies provide free or discounted housing while you’re working and in some cases will pay for your food and transportation and that turns into lots of extras savings.
It’s a job for lazy burnout
Refer to #1. The work is hard and people who are in it for just the free travel never last long. Many people who work in the industry have gone to top colleges, written theses, have graduate degrees and are passionate about what they do. We might be dirtbags and backpackers, but guides take their job very seriously.
Being a good hiker, backpacking, climber, biker, etc, is enough to land a job
This is probably the most common misconception I hear. Being a great athlete is an awesome bonus, but don’t rely on that alone to land a job. When it comes down to it you’re really working a customer service job with an outdoor twist and most companies will hire for personality and will train the necessary technical skills. That’s important to remember when interviewing or going to hiring events, show that you’re willing to go above and beyond to keep clients happy while being able to make tough calls when necessary.
You’re only working with annoying high maintenance clients
I get questions about this all of the time. The idea of leading people on day or multi-day trips can be daunting and I won’t lie and say every client you get is amazing, easy-going, and fun to guide, but most are. Remember, your attitude and energy as a guide can make or break a trip so remember to be positive in those times you are guiding more difficult clients.
About the Author:
Courtney Condy is an Adventure Travel Guide and Founder of Occupation Wild.