The TripSchool Story

For several decades, TripSchool co-founders Mitch Bach and Alan Armijo have been highly sought-after mentors, consultants and trainers in the tour guiding world. They have both always believed that we’re stronger as an industry if we’re all better. In that spirit, they’ve always shared tips, secrets, and techniques with other tour guides, and helped tour operators improve their products and guest experience. With a genuine passion for coaching others and a passion for creativity, they set out to change the way tour guides and tour directors were introduced to the industry, and the potential for powerful, transformative tour experiences.

In 2017 they joined forces and took their private consulting public, launching TripSchool. Today, TripSchool is a training company and business incubator for tour guides, tour directors and operators.

In addition to Alan and Mitch, TripSchool is a whole community of creative trainers, entrepreneurs, guides, and industry leaders who have come together to help individuals and businesses succeed in this industry.

What we do depends on who you are.

For Tour Directors & Guides

We help new arrivals enter the industry by offering best-in-class guiding and tour directing certification courses, and a friendly community of colleagues who will help you through your career. We then offer continuing education courses for skill improvement and destination knowledge.

For Tour Businesses & Entrepreneurs

We offer a whole suite of training options to help you start a tour business or grow and scale the one you’re running. We create online and in-person training solutions for your guide teams, from custom training portals to storytelling workshops.

For anyone who needs a tour guide, we also work as matchmakers to help you find talent, and guides to find work.

Meet The Co-Founders

Mitch Bach has been a tour guide ever since his first year as a university student at the University of Paris-Sorbonne. He has led group tours around the world for 18 years. Before TripSchool he became a sought-after consultant and trainer, running company trainings and seminars for tour companies like Disney, Globus, G Adventures/Travelsphere, Worldstrides and EF Tours, among dozens of others. He’s spoken at conferences internationally like IATDG and Arival. He’s also the author of four popular guidebooks. He lives in DUMBO, Brooklyn, with his husband Chris and dog Kitsu.

Alan Armijo is an industry veteran, having worked in every imaginable facet of the travel industry, from corporate travel, event planning, tour contracting to itinerary building and as an agent. He’s been an international tour guide and tour director for over 20 years, leading groups everywhere from the National Parks to Nova Scotia. In his work as a trainer before TripSchool, he’s led trainings for companies such as EF Tours and speaks regularly at conferences like IATDG and Arival. He lives in Montreal.

Lifelong learning for the travel industry.

Working as a tour director, guide or business owner in the travel industry isn’t like any other career. Every day we learn new skills: from improving storytelling, destination or technology skills to the knowledge needed to build and grow a thriving tour business, TripSchool believes in and offers continuing education programs for your entire career.

Our Values

You can’t understand TripSchool without understanding our values.

We came into this industry to change and improve it. We saw tour guides who were still stuck in the “deliver the facts, stay professional, that’s it.” We saw tour businesses who delivered just the highlights tours of famous landmarks. That’s not the way we like to travel, and the past years have watched a total transformation from “tour” to “experience.” We’re experience people. We’re obsessed with finding new ways of thinking creatively about the tours we lead, and businesses we run. TripSchool is about creativity, innovation, and extending and expanding what you though you could do.

We practice what we preach.

We’re not “gurus” trying to sell you on a get-rich-quick scheme or get-paid-to-travel. Tour guests change, business practices are always changing, which is why we are a team of real practitioners. We still operate tours and lead groups every year, to make sure what we say is real advice, not tired, old ideas from back when we used to do the job. We put ourselves out there, get reviewed, and still have to meet new guests and wow them.

A belief in lifelong learning.

When TripSchool started, it was to change the way training worked in the industry. Before we came along, there was an obsession with “certification”: you get your slip of paper after 8-12 days of a course, and then you go off and work. While we think this is a great way to begin, we don’t think that’s how you should think of your education in this industry. Actually, you’re never fully “trained” — instead, we offer skill and destination knowledge improvement classes for all along your career or business journey. Like nursing or teaching, we think the best guides and companies are those that believe in continuing education. Always learning, always improving, even if you’ve been doing this job forever.

We believe the best companies empower tour guides.

We think the best tour companies focus on empowering their tour directors and guides, giving them the ability to create experiences that are unique to the guide’s personality and skills. We fight for guides to be more respected, better paid, and are constantly trying to continue to professionalize the job.
We want the days to be gone where “tour guide” is a dirty word. Instead, we want people to see the magic, power and connection that can be made by having a real human being unlock the magic of a place.

We pride ourselves on our innovation and novelty.

You might call it disruption, but we’ve come into the industry with new ideas for how things should be done. Better ways of telling stories on tour. Integrating new technologies on tour and before and after the travel experience. In short, we’re here to up the game of everyone. Because if any other industry is a guide, the future leans towards artifical and augmented reality, virtual guides and smartphone apps. We want to raise the bar of why someone should choose a human being.

We’re obsessed with wow moments. Travel should feel special.

We’re not into cookie cutter travel experiences, or “by the book” highlights tours. We are obsessed with wow moments.

Everything is about storytelling.

The old paradigm was “get your facts straight, and deliver them perfectly scripted and memorized to your guests.” It’s time that changes. Today we call our approach “narrative travel” — the way we look not for a photo of the eiffel tower, but the story behind the places we see. Story involves emotion, the senses, drama, and includes us in the experience. It gets under our skin in a way chronological facts don’t. For us, everything that happens in travel is about creating the kinds of experiences that deepen our understand and connection to a place.

Community should be more than a buzzword.

While we provide a wide varieties of ways to learn and grow, they’re all centered around our core belief that it’s easier to do in community.

We’ve built this business not quickly, but thoughtfully, by staying focused on our students, both entrepreneurs and tour directors and guides.
We don’t have an enormous Facebook community of zillions of followers. We have small groups of people we know, and we can tend to.
Our growth strategy has always been word of mouth, and exceeding expectations what you think you can get for your money.

Learning can be intense and fun.

No matter what we do, we strive for an environment where people feel comfortable.

A Belief in Diversity & Responsibility

We believe in improving this industry, for the better.

From overtourism and the ills of mass, cookie-cutter tourism, to the lack of diversity in the tour guide and operator communities: we believe in teaching tourism professionals to travel better. Improve their tour experiences, connect with local communities and as a guide tell diverse stories. From our Diversity Project initiative to publishing commentary books that tell broader, more inclusive stories about destinations, we’re trying to make this industry full of those committed not just to the thrill and excitement of exploring the world, but doing it in a meaningful, responsible way.

Visit the Diversity Project

Let’s get to know each other!

We’re always looking to connect with new tour operators, guides, and industry partners. Let’s chat!

Send us a note!