Are you the kind of person who loves to travel and share your experiences of your trips? If so, chances are you have what it takes to develop and lead tours for others.
And you know what that means…
Your travel costs are covered. You get to take trips to places you love or have always wanted to go, and you get paid to share the experience with others.
I’ve enjoyed the art of traveling for a long time and a few years ago I organized a tour to France. I’ve been in love with France since I was a teenager, so leading tours there allowed me to indulge my passion, share it with others, have my expenses paid, and still return home with a profit.
Once I had a system in place to lead tours, I was able to do it every year, increasing my profits. And I’ve piggy backed other trips onto my tours, treating myself to vacations in Italy and other parts of France.
Not only does this offer me an additional income stream, it has increased my travel confidence, allowed me to enjoy more locations, and given me a deep sense of satisfaction knowing I have created experiences of a lifetime for others.
If, like me, you’re the kind of person who loves to travel and share your experiences, chances are you have what it takes to develop and lead tours for others, getting paid to take trips to places you love or have always wanted to go.
A passion for travel is essential, but you also need to have these three skills:
** Organization — you’ll need to manage the many details involved in designing and managing tours for others. You’ll be juggling numbers, handling reservations, and paying attention to minutiae like opening hours, entry fees, etc. If you’ve been managing your own travel, you’re probably already good at this.
** You should be a people person. This means you set your agenda aside and focus on creating a great experience for your customers. If you like planning parties or gatherings, this is similar, but more fun, and longer.
** Marketing Enthusiasm — you need to promote yourself. Designing the tour and envisioning all the fun you’ll have is the easy part. You also need to be able to get the word out so people know about your great trip. It can be a lot of work, but it’s not as difficult as it sounds. Your enthusiasm is your best marketing tool, and the Internet makes it incredibly easy to spread the word.
Now that you know what kind of personality it takes to lead tours and enjoy free travel, here are the five steps to getting started:
STEP ONE: Generate ideas for a tour. What kind of tour do you want to lead? A textiles tour through Belgium? A Renaissance tour in Tuscany? A tour with a specific focus will be easier to promote than a generic tour. You probably already share interests with other people who would like to join you. Take a look at your hobbies and passions and see how you can develop a tour idea around those.
STEP TWO: Identify your participants. You’ll lead, but who will follow? Who are you creating this wonderful experience for? Develop a profile of your ideal participant. Where does she shop, what are her interests, what publications does she read, what would she get from joining your group?
STEP THREE: Write down some initial ideas on pricing. What’s the maximum you want to charge for your trip? That number will help you plan the activities you want to include. Having a sense of your participants will make it easier to craft a tour and a price point that fits their desires and budgets.
STEP FOUR: Develop your marketing plan. Get a clear sense of what you will do to promote your offering. Your ability to promote your tour is the key to its success. You want to have strategies for online, in person, and public relations approaches to getting the word out. There are dozens of online directories that allow you to list your tour for free.
STEP FIVE: Design the content of your tour. Now you can dig into the fun stuff. Go back to your original vision. What do you want people to take away from this experience? What is most important to you? And what elements do you need to have in place for that to happen?
Think: Do you want to include meals? Are visits to museums or cultural sites included? Consider your own trips and recall the things you learned from your travels. Details like transportation times, opening hours, and costs are all vital to keeping your plan within budget.
Use these steps to get started. Once you’ve brainstormed your tour idea, your ideal participant, your marketing plan and your tour outline, you will have a good idea of whether you want to proceed or move in a different direction. If you like to travel, you can get paid for doing so by hosting and leading tour groups to your favorite corners of the world. Good travel leaders are in demand and there’s money to be made.
[Editor’s Note: Learn more about opportunities to profit from your travels (and even from your own home) in our free online newsletter The Right Way to Travel.]