The Life of an Adventure Travel Guide


Admit it. The thought of being and adventure travel guide sounds like fun! You get to meet new people all the time, go on hikes, mountain bike rides, or other exciting activities, all the while showing off some exotic, and often visually stunning, locale. Better yet, you get paid for to do it! Seems perfect right? Well, guess again.

The REI Blog has a good little article up on what it’s like to be an adventure travel guide, which takes a nice, behind the scenes look at all of the things guides have to do to ensure that our trips go off without a hitch. It involves a ton of planning and work long before you ever step foot on the trail, and often it is a difficult and thankless job. The article also includes a brief interview with one of REI’s guides from their REI Adventures travel service. He talks about how he got into guiding, what made him want to do it, and how he stays enthused about his job. Quite an interesting read.

While I read through the post I kept thinking about our guide on my recent Everest Base Camp trek. One night while we were sharing a conversation in a teahouse, he intimated a few things about the job that let a few of us know that it was not all fun and games. He said that while he loved the trekking and the scenery in the Khumbu Region, he had to balance a lot of things to make a trip a success. Somehow he had to find a way to keep the customers happy as well as the owners of the restaurants and teahouses that we stopped in satisfied as well. All the while working closely with the assistant guides and porters to ensure that they are content too. He shared a few horror stories about customers who were never going to be happy no matter what the circumstances, and mentioned how he had to be, at varying times, a guide, entertainer, accountant, mediator, nurse, coach, and more. It seemed like a very challenging juggling act, but despite all of that, he loved his job and was very good at it too.

I’m not sure I have the patience to play the role, but it sure is nice to dream about it. 🙂

Kraig Becker

12 thoughts on “The Life of an Adventure Travel Guide”

  1. I’ve an adventure lover and have been to many adventurous places in the world. My favorite adventurous destinations are Transylvania, Lochsa River in Idaho, and Cape Point in South Africa and Tenerife in Spain. My experiences to all these places have been wonderful, now I’m looking forward to my next trip to Venezuela and Calabria in Italy.

  2. It's a fun, but shitty job. You get to do what you love ( guiding rafting, diving, trekking, mountaineering trips…), but you get paid pennies on the dollar. It's the company that you guide for that makes the money.

  3. Firstly I want to appreciate for this outstanding post. Well, if i talking about adventure so I visited Virginia with me girlfriend for adventure vacation.
    I really enjoyed over there especially in Shenandoah National Park.
    I'd definitely recommend travelers to take a tour towards this place.

  4. As an adventure guide the reward is in the clients joy, to make sure they are safe and do everything I can to make their trip unforgettable. Yes there are some companies that pay guides peanuts but the good companies know how important good guides are and pay well. the most important thing as a guide is it doesn't matter how much I like something, the trip is my clients.

  5. I am a first timer in Adventure travels. I am looking for guides like this. This guide looks so easy to follow. Thank you for sharing this very informative post.

  6. Thanks for you insights Helen. Without guides like you, our travels would be a lot less rewarding.

  7. I have had the pleasure of taking some hiking trips into Canada. I have learned that adventure becomes and addition!

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