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I entertain tourists for a living.

I entertain tourists for a living as a tour leader.

Lot’s of people seem to think that tour leaders are on a constant holiday. Few things could be further from the truth.

You are so lucky. You are on holiday all the time. I get these things every week on Facebook and when I talk to people. I work as a freelance tour leader in various countries around the world. That is why they say this.

Don’t get me wrong. I am quite happy with my job as a freelance tour leader around the world. But it will never even come close to being a holiday.

You are not just showing people sights when you are a tour leader.

The main thing that people don’t understand about the job is that you are not just showing people the world. You are also responsible for getting a new bus when it breaks down. Get anything that might be broken in the hotel fixed. Take the tourists to the doctor if they get sick. Take them to the police station if they lose their belongings. And you have to do these things while you are still showing the rest of the group around. Sounds pretty impossible right? It’s not. You just need to work 14 to 20 hours a day without any breaks 🙂

And believe it or not. This is what I do on most tours. This is also the reason why I work a maximum of 150 days a year as a tour leader. I will simply end up getting a stroke if I work +200 days a year in this trade.

It's not all all about cruising the world with pretty girls.

It’s not all all about cruising the world with pretty girls.

I sometimes works 40 hours non stop without sleep.

It has happened several times to me that one of my clients has fallen ill late in the evening. In that case I will take the client to the hospital and stay with them all night if I have to. But next day is another 16 hour day. And since you barely ever have a replacement as a tour leader, I go straight from hospital to work. So skipping a nights sleep because of work is not uncommon to me.

As a tour leader, you know the local hospitals very well.

As a tour leader, you know the local hospitals very well.

I also work when I am sick.

If I am on a tour where the group is moving around and changing hotels almost every night, then I almost never have any colleges who can stand in for me. This means that I will go to work even when I am sick. It has to be at the point where I am hospitalised before i don’t work. I can’t just call in sick to the company cause I do not feel well. That is because there is a group of people here on holiday. And the holiday is generally the highlight of the year for most people. So I can’t just destroy that cause I have a bad stomach or a headache. I remember once, taking a tour group around Petra in Jordan. It was 38 degrees celsius. And I had caught a virus that had given me high fever. But I worked anyway. But it was not a good day at work. Not anything close to being on holiday. That is for sure.

I'm in Singapore, so it must be Friday.

I’m in Singapore, so it must be Friday.

Ok ok guys. Enough hardship for now. I am not complaining in any way about my job. I love that I have worked in +35 countries. and I love working together with people from different cultures. Living and working with people from around the world is the single best thing about my job. At least it is for me.

Dinner in Dubai with a local friend.

Dinner in Dubai with a local friend.

And I get to holiday +200 days a year, when I am not working. I am sitting in a beach bar in Sri Lanka writing these lines for instance 🙂

But just remember that we tour leaders are not on holiday when we work. That is why I totally deserve the cold beer that I just asked the waitress for now. Work starts in two weeks time, and then there will be no more time for cold beers.

You know you are a tour leader when this looks like home.

You know you are a tour leader when this looks like home.

Cheers to the world 🙂

I'm a global citizen and I love it.

I’m a global citizen and I love it.

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4 Comments

  1. Crikey, back when I used to go on escorted tours with my family, even at that young age, I remember commenting about what a BLOODY hard job a tour leader was, very very long days with no days off during what were often 2-3 week tours, and so many different issues to deal with. EXHAUSTING. Anyone who thinks it’s a holiday needs slapping around the head with a very large wet fish.

  2. At last! This has been pointed out that tour leaders are not having its “wines and cheese” and holiday feels while working. Absolutely agree that there is a lot of work working as such every day, it’s fulfilling yet its also physically and mentally draining. But I salute to all the tour leaders! Kudos to you Claus!

  3. And you forgot to mention that also you are expected to be bright and cheerful all the time, however you feel – no tourist wants a miserable leader bringing down the spirit of the holiday 😉

  4. Going without sleep would be the hardest part for me.

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