Travel careers come with perks

Published 11:00 pm Saturday, January 24, 2009

A.J. from South Point recently asked: “I’ve always loved to travel and was thinking about working in the travel business. What are my career options that would allow me to travel frequently?”

Ah, getting paid to travel. What a pleasant thought. And a real possibility too! The ability for free or reduced rates are one of the perks of this industry. It can also be part of your job responsibilities if you work as a tour manager for a tour operator.

The tour operator basically assembles the various tour elements thus creating the package tour. They market their trips, sell space, handle the flow of money and paper, then conduct the tours. These firms can be local, national or international and offer a variety of employment opportunities.

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Conducting the tour is the travel phase and many companies employ tour managers. These travel professionals accompany the travelers, manage the day to day operations of the journey and really bring the tour to life. It can mean long hours, plenty of problem solving and personal interactions. However working as a tour manager can really take you places and can be a rewarding career.

As a tour manager you will need excellent interpersonal skills as you’ll need to communicate with travelers and suppliers. For foreign travel a second or third language is a must. You must like working with people and see opportunity where others may not. Tact and diplomacy are additional important skills. A thirst for further knowledge-being a lifelong learning-is another must. Knowledge of psychology and sociology along with general business practices are more must haves. I also suggest obtaining additional training and plenty of destination knowledge. Ohio University Southern Campus in Ironton offers on-line classes in group tour leadership and design and there are many educational options.

Local companies like AAA, National Travel and Fellowship Tours conduct group tours so these may be places to start gaining experience. Regional operators in Columbus and Cincinnati are also employment opportunities.

I’m changing gears and answering another e-mail question from Michael concerning Ohio University’s trips and traveling with family members and children.

Michael, most if not all of our educational journeys are age appropriate for everyone. So yes, multi-generational travel is possible and encouraged. I think this is an excellent way to learn and spend quality time with family members.

For example on February 20th Ohio history trip listen and enjoy Bob Leith as he tells tales of early Ohioans and our states early history and heritage. If you’ve never had a class with Bob he brings history alive and converts many people that have hated history into history buffs.

AJ and Michael hopefully I answered your questions. If not ask away at or call me at 740.533.4559/ toll free 800.626.0513 ext. 4559.

Happy travels!