Tour Leader

Organize complete travel packages for tourists.

Quick Stats

Salary Range
$17,000 – $56,000

Data from U.S. Department of Labor

What do Tour Leaders do?

Hiking the mountains of Nepal, eating exotic food in Italy, and learning about local cultures deep in the Amazon might all sound like the latest Indiana Jones adventure, but really, it’s part of the job description of a Tour Leader. Tour Leaders work with travel agencies to create one-of-a-kind tours for customers looking to see the world.

Though you do get to travel a lot, most of a Tour Leader’s job is about logistics, not soaking in the sights. Your job starts before the tour does, and you can either work with a Travel Agent to create the tour you’ll be leading, or be hired after the route is decided.

Once the tour is chosen, the Agent gets to work finding travelers, and you get to work planning everything out. You plan things like where everyone will stay, how they’ll get around, when they’ll see various sites, and who will lead them. You contact ticket offices to reserve tickets; hire local Tour Guides; and make reservations for shows, restaurants, and hotels.

When the group makes it abroad, you then lead the travelers and handle any issues that arise. Issues can be small, like a traveler wanting a new hotel room, or they can be big, like a medical emergency in the middle of the jungle. Think of yourself as a Customer Service Representative who travels with the tour to make sure everything runs perfectly and everyone ends up happy.

Though your title is occasionally used interchangeably with “Tour Guide,” you’re different in that you handle the entire trip. Tour Guides are often locals who intimately know the area and the culture, and are hired to handle one small part of the trip, like a monument tour. As a Tour Leader, you’re the one who hires Tour Guides and oversees all parts of the trip.

Should I be a Tour Leader?

You should have a certificate degree or higher and share these traits:
  • Calm Under Pressure: You keep your cool when dealing with highly stressful situations.
  • Reliable: You can always be counted on to do a good job.
  • Trustworthy: You are known for your personal integrity and honesty.

  • Also known as: Tour Operator, Tours Captain, Tours Hostess

    How to become a Tour Leader

    Most Tour Leaders have an Associate's degree or a Certificate. Chart?chd=s:z9rsea&chl=no+college+%2833%25%29|certificate+%2840%25%29|associate%27s+%2811%25%29|bachelor%27s+%2812%25%29|master%27s+%283%25%29|&cht=p3&chs=466x180&chxr=0,33,40
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