The TripSchool Experience

TripSchool was founded by Mitch Bach and Alan Armijo, after nearly 40 combined years in the travel industry. We’ve both been tour directors for as long as we can remember. After so many years in the profession, we’ve learned the techniques for mastering new destinations, and wowing groups with our knowledge of not only what’s expected, but also the special spots that make you look like a superstar, from your first tour. We started TripSchool to impart our knowledge and methods to a new crop of tour directors looking to ace their job.
TripSchool isn’t a “school” in the traditional sense. Our name refers to the incredibly rich learning experience you receive while traveling over the road with us. It’s like nothing else in the industry.

Who are we?

Mitch has been a tour director ever since his first year as a university student at the University of Paris-Sorbonne. He’s taken students and adults around the world for 17 years. Now he speaks at travel conferences like ITMI’s Symposium and IATDG, and runs trainings and seminars for student and adult tour companies like WorldStrides, Globus, Travelsphere and EF Tours, among others. He’s also the author of four popular commentary handbooks for east coast cities, published by TripSchool Press.
Alan is an industry veteran, having worked as a tour director around the world for over 20 years. While he’s toured everywhere with students and adults, he specializes in the U.S. and Canada. He’s also worked in corporate travel, event planning, tour contracting and itinerary building. He’s trained tour directors for years and has also spoken at conferences and events, most recently at the 2019 IATDG conference, where he led sessions on using technology creatively on tour, and the evolution of tour directing.

What can I expect on a TripSchool training?

We go beyond the FAM tour. Our trainings are experiential and immersive.

We call what we’re doing Intensive Destination Trainings. Simply put, we’re trying to change what it means to be “trained” in a city. We cover all the basics, of course, but also go above and beyond to show you the stories, wow moments and special tricks and hidden spots that make a city feel more local, authentic and fun to your guests. Our teaching model is all about giving you the most interesting, local experiences we can find, so you can then share them with your guests.

We have fun.

Yes, these are long, busy courses, but they’re also fantastic trips to great destinations! We’ve learned about war battles while snowshoeing under the stars with hot chocolate, and discovered Chinatown by eating some of the most exotic foods we’ve ever tried. Plus the friends and fun you have is also the networking that may help you land your next tour directing job!

We work you hard.

TripSchool is fun, but also hard work. We’re not interested in wasting your time or money. We push you all day and into the night, covering as much as we can while still giving you quality experiences everywhere. Think of it as tour guiding bootcamp, without all the yelling or push-ups!

We include a lot.

Our trips aren’t barebones. We hire expert local guides, pay for cruises, take you to the tops of buildings, behind the scenes tours, get private access to special buildings. We pack the trips with lots of experiences we pay for and include on the trip, because we think it’s the best possible way to learn.

We go behind the scenes, and share insider knowledge.

We’ve had everything from private tours of Fenway Park and Madison Square Garden to insider looks at art galleries and talks from tomb guards at Arlington National Cemetery. And all along the way, we share our hidden gems and insider tips, and connect you with vendors and local contacts who you can then use to create your own wow moments!

We focus on wow moments.

The “wow” is that moment when your group stops and thinks: what a great collective experience we’re sharing! It could be a special food, view, video, story or hidden stop that makes the day. Whatever it is, we are constantly pointing them out and sharing what’s worked for us, so you look like a pro from day one.

We host food & drink evenings with industry experts.

You might meet a Broadway theater director or a tour operator ready to spill their secrets about what they’re looking for. We’ve even had them hire our students right after meeting them at an event. Our mixer evenings are designed to pull back the curtain on the industry and the places we train you in.

We make you a better tour director and guide.

You’ll become a better storyteller.

Only if you’re up for it, we will assign you a topic and let you deliver your commentary to the group. And we’ll constructively critique you, helping you understand the tricks and craft that make your delivery more engaging.

We’re obsessed with technology.

Our grads mention how great it is to hear about special phone apps, software, and our secret ways we include technology to give groups the best possible experience. The stuff we’ll share will change the way you approach your job, both in front of the group and behind the scenes.

The friends you meet will be the ones you lean on in the industry.

Much of the value of the tour is the relationships you’ll create with other guides. They’re the ones you’ll be meeting out on the road, and will be there to support you with their knowledge and friendship. They’re also people who will recommend you for work with tour operators.

After the trip

You become part of the TripSchool family.

The in-person training is only the beginning. We are a continued resource, in person and online to support you as you grow in your tour directing career. Ask us questions. Lean on our graduates for support, encouragement, advice and networking to jumpstart your career.

You’ll get access to the portal.

The TripSchool Portal is where you’ll find all the information about what we talked about. Phone numbers of industry vendor contacts, logistical information for each sight, lists of the apps and images and videos we use to make a trip come alive, and all the special little notes to help you succeed in this career from day 1.

You’ll become part of our graduate directory for tour operators.

The grad directory is where tour operators can find you easily, rest assured you’re trained well, and hire you for jobs!