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What Is an Adventure Guide and How to Become One

What Is an Adventure Guide?

An adventure guide is a type of tour guide who takes a group of people out to do recreational and adrenaline-filled activities. In this career, an excursion you lead is usually one that is more exciting and interactive than a typical tour. You may go out on ATV's into the mountains of a foreign country, whitewater raft through the Grand Canyon, or canoe down the Amazon River, leading the way. Creating an exciting recreation environment is only one of the duties of an adventure guide. You must also keep groups safe, keep the trip educational and interactive, and sometimes even cook for your groups.

How to Become an Adventure Guide

Adventure travel guides work for many companies, and in a variety of areas, so the specifics of how to get a job as an adventure guide varies. The Adventure Travel Trade Association is helping to alleviate the confusion by offering field-training courses for future guides, or for current guide assistants looking to move into the full-on guide role. A complete understanding of CPR and first aid is necessary for this role, as is a basic understanding of survival techniques in the wild. Some companies may require you to earn a Wilderness First Responder certification and take water rescue or lifeguard training.

What Are Different Types of Adventure Guides?

There are many different types of adventure guides you can choose to become. A few types of guides are tour adventure guides, wilderness, outdoor, camp, hiking/backpacking, study abroad, and sports, but the list could go on. Adventure guides work non-traditional hours and can be seasonal or year-round positions. Tour adventure guides may work for tour companies and take groups out to areas where they can see sights without the traditional bus or walking tour. Hiking and backpacking adventure guides may take groups up a mountain, to see waterfalls, down into canyons and caverns, and to a variety of other places only accessible by foot.

What Is the Difference Between an Adventure Guide and a Tour Guide?

Typically, an adventure guide is a specialized type of tour guide position that is often employed as a guide for more organized excursions and outings as a part of a tour package. Adventure guides can be employed in industries and for companies that offer one-off trips and events. Some adventure guides travel for work, staying in different places depending on the season, while others work year-round in the same location and for the same company running a variety of excursions that are offered regularly by that organization. Qualifications for both types of adventure guides are similar since safety and a desire to work with people is important industry-wide.

What Are Characteristics of Successful Adventure Guides?

Adventure guides are thrill seekers just like the folks they take out on excursions. They love working with people and teaching them new things about an area or a type of adventure. It is essential that adventure guides be able to handle stress well and have advanced problem-solving skills in case of an emergency. Generally, adventure guides also enjoy being outdoors and have experience doing the kinds of activities they guide, whether that's hiking, biking, kayaking, white water rafting, or even skydiving. It is important to remain calm and be a creative thinker to complete the responsibilities associated with this role.