Types of Tour Guide Jobs Around the World

People on vacation want to have fun because that’s what vacations are all about. As a land tour guide, you’ll be dealing with people that are giddy to see everything.

Your job is to make sure these tourists have a blast and view all the cool sights.

World Map on Hands Photo

The first step is to decide what type of tour guide employment. Do you want to give walking tours of historic battlefields, bus tours of Chile’s Lake District, adventure tours of the Amazon Basin, shore tours on a Caribbean island, train tours of Alaska, or a combo of those.

Here are a few of the different types of tour guides you might decide to become.

Sightseeing Bus and Train Tours – This is the most popular type of tour. It’ll consist of day tours and overnight travel by bus or train. You’ll be in charge of hotel reservations, transportation, and food – along with countless questions. As you travel, you’ll point out sights to see, narrate about the natural history and geography, and organize stops along the way where you can show people the sights. You’ll take lots of photos and see lots of smiles. And you’ll be smiling too, when you pocket around $10 to 12 an hour for day tours or $150 a day for overnight trips – plus tips. You may go to cool places like Yellowstone, England, Canada, or Alaska.

Walking Tours – Walking tours take place all over the world. You may do walking tours for college campuses, community visitor centers, or nature museums. These tours may take place as part of a bigger land tour or may be a stand-alone tour. You may take people from a land tour on your walking tour and then send them on their way to their next exciting destination. These jobs pay about $8 to $10 an hour. Your goal is to make sure people have a good time, enjoy the sights, and learn from your tour.

Adventure Tours – Taking a boat down the Amazon or up the coast of British Columbia is definitely an adventure. Adventure tours focus on eco-tourism and on the wilderness and natural world. They ensure a safe tourist-friendly environment. Often these trips are based off of small, 100-passenger boats that take people to remote destinations. The guide organizes fun adventures like whitewater rafting or zip lines.

This is only a sampling of the awesome types of jobs you might enjoy as a tour guide. There are other options available that might make you smile, too.

More Land Tour Jobs

There are all sorts of tour guide jobs available.

Safari Tour Guide Worker photoOnce you find your niche, you’ll be set. Different people like different things; so take some time before you decide what type of tours you want to run.

Here are a few more tour jobs that might meet your criteria for the perfect job.

Shore Tours – Whenever a cruise ship docks at a port or a bus stops for a break, shore tours are available for people to go and see the local sights. These tour guides usually live locally. This is a nice perk because you aren’t constantly traveling. As a shore tour guide, you’ll be working in cool places like Alaska’s Denali National Park (see Alaska summer jobs section), Mexico’s Cozumel Island, or the Grand Canyon, plus you’ll be making around $10 to $18 an hour.

Freelancer – Many tour guides get burnt out. It’s unfortunate, but it happens to people that burn the candle at both ends for too long. Often after working on land tours for a while, people will use their connections and expertise to work as a freelance guide. These guides get to settle down in permanent locations and work for whom they want, when they want. It’s hard work and the money isn’t as consistent, but it’s good pay when you’re working. Think about pulling in $100 to $200 a day freelancing. If you’re a newcomer to the tour guide field, don’t start here.

Step On Guide – Land tour guides are busy arranging all the aspects of a good vacation for its clients. And sometimes they need to deal with finding restaurants, addressing unexpected problems, or setting up lodging. Other times they may not be familiar with a place where they have stopped. This is when a step-on guide joins the team. Step-on guides have in-depth local knowledge and take over the tour in certain areas to enhance the experience of the tour participants – and give the other guide a much deserved break. They get paid $11 to $13 an hour.

Hopefully, by now you’ll have a good idea of what type of job you want to work. Now it’s time to start searching for available jobs that meet your needs. Good luck.


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