Learning Tour Directing Online!

The most affordable way to learn the group travel industry and whether a career as a tour director is right for you.

Begin a new career!

Learn about the industry and the skills that it takes to work as a professional tour director or tour guide.


This is the most affordable way to acquire the knowledge necessary to see if you’d like to pursue this career path!

Online + In-Person

Finish your training by attending our in-person intensive Boot Camp sessions for five days of non-stop workshopping of the skills you learned. You’ll be a pro from Day 1.

Why online?

Before you invest a large amount of time and money in this industry, completing this course is the best way to see if the job is right for you. If it is, the next step is to train with us in person. There’s no substitute for live instruction, but this course will take care of teaching you all of the ‘classroom’ knowledge at your own pace!

If you’re unsure of what this industry is, begin by reading our page: What is a Tour Director? And check out our long list of unsolicited testimonials from past students!

Learn the industry.

Group Travel is a unique and rewarding career, for the right people. Dive into all of the aspects of tour directing, tour guiding, and where this job fits in to the travel industry as a whole.

All the technical knowledge you need.

From deciphering an itinerary and  how to map out your tour days to figuring out your post-tour paperwork, we’ll give you the skills to understand what’s required of you, then focus on the new technology and techniques that help you master the craft!

Flashcards, Quizzes, and Personal Check-ins

We’ll check in with you throughout the course to make sure you’re understanding the material and to answer any questions you may have. The end of the course will require you to complete assignments that show us you’ve absorbed the material. Together, we’ll all be confident you’re ready to attend our in-person Boot Camp!

21st Century Techniques

Our teaching focus is on helping you understand the travel industry in 2019. The way people travel has changed significantly in the past 5 years alone! We have a strong focus on using the latest technology to enhance your tours, and for tour preparation and follow-up. We talk about internet-based advanced mapping, tour research, and file storage. We also focus on experiential travel by sharing our unique group storytelling techniques and ways to create the “wow” moments that groups today crave.

Course Authors

Ashley Levy

Ashley has group travel experience ranging from domestic educational travel to luxury group and private tours across 6 of the 7 continents, and as a newer tour director has landed a coveted full-time position with one of the leading adult tour operators in the industry. Her educational background ranges from undergraduate degrees in East Asian and Global Studies to a Master’s in Academic Advising. She has experience using and developing a range of online courses, and has participated in several of TripSchool’s intensive destination trainings.

Mitch Bach

Mitch is one of TripSchool’s founders, and a veteran tour director of 18 years now. He has been asked by leading tour operators to lead trainings on all aspects of tour directing and guiding, and has authored several books in the industry.

Course Outline

1: An Industry Overview
You’ll be introduced to the travel industry, learn about current trends in tourism, and learn about the unique market of group travel, and the role tour directors and guides play in that sector. We’ll chart trends over time and look at the current state of the industry.

2: Industry Terminology
There is a lot of unique industry words and concepts to wrap your head around! You’ll learn about the different types of tours, companies, and travel experiences, as well as the tourism-specific language that will help you work best with your colleagues, vendors and tour operators.

3: An In-Depth Look at the roles of Tour Director & Guide
Now it’s time to really understand the tour director’s role on tour. We’ll go in-depth into the differences between a TD and a guide, and look at your responsibilities on the different kinds of tours you might lead, including student, adult, over-the-road, cruise, rail, and more. Finally, we’ll examine the joys and challenges that you will undoubtedly experience so you’re better prepared to succeed on each tour.

4: How You’re Hired & Paid
It’s important to know how you get hired in this industry, and what kind of money you’ll make! It’s a job after all, but one that’s very different than your average office job. We’ll look at the different ways that companies might choose to hire you and how that might impact their decision on how you are paid for working a tour. We’ll also examine the different pay inclusions like travel stipends, full positioning, meals, per diems, allocations, benefits, etc., plus when it is appropriate to have the conversation about how you’re being hired and what you’re being paid when talking to companies. We’ll even offer anonymous examples of different pay packages at companies.

5: Best Behavior & Practices in the Industry
This industry is small, and your reputation and ability to network is everything. We’ll share the secrets and practices that make you succeed in the long run, and create the community that will help you get work your whole career.

6: Interacting with Different Kinds of Guests
One of the core skills you’ll need in the job is how to interact with a variety of different people. We’ll dive into generational and personality differences, look at the kinds of guests who choose group travel, and break down the dozens of individual types of guests you’ll experience on the road.

7: Itinerary Planning & Tour Preparation
Itinerary prep is a massive subject, and deciphering and organizing a technical itinerary is one of the most basic skills you’ll need to conquer to do this job effectively. We’ll look at flexible vs. fixed itinerary components, shifting things around to create tour flow, timing your tour days, and finding moments to express yourself on those days! We’ll tie it all together with a discussion of tour timing and mapping, along with the technologies that can help you.

8: Being On Tour
It’s time to lead the tour! We’re spilling our secrets from 40+ combined years on the road to give you the tools and knowledge to be a great tour director. We’ll look at tour logistics and safety, as well as games, videos, activities and other ways to shine as a tour director or guide.

9: Student Tour Specifics
Student tours are often your first jobs in the industry, and while they’re not what everyone imagines when they start out in the job, many come to learn what a rewarding experience it is to change the lives of young people. We’re not being cheesy; in this module we’ll convince you of how interesting student tours are, and look at the specific ways in which they’re different from adult tours, and how to handle the issues that’ll arise!

10: Adult Tour Specifics
Leading adult tours have their own benefits and challenges, which we’ll examine here. We’ll tackle unique aspects like airport greeting, bag pulls, seat rotations, evaluations and gratuities, but also give you some of our tricks and tips from our experience leading adults around the world.

11: International Tours
Being an international tour director sounds glamorous, and sometimes it is, but there’s a lot of responsibility and unique requirements to doing this kind of work. We’ll look at the tour operators that send tour directors abroad, and the different ways you may work there, including river cruises. We’ll cover flying with a group overseas, and the wide variety of issues encountered by guests traveling outside of their comfort zone.

12: Tools & Tech on Tour
We believe tour directing should use all of the available tools and resources in the 21st century; it’s 2019 after all! Let’s dive into the technology and tricks on the road that will help you stay organized and also shine in front of your groups! We’ll walk you through some of the standard pre-tour preparation work that you can do to alleviate some of your on-tour work, and share some of the tools that we use to find and create “wow” moments for our guests on tour, in any city!

13: Storytelling Secrets
Today’s tour guest requires more than just stale delivery of the facts. They want a narrative that makes a place come alive, filled with information that not just anyone can find on Wikipedia. In short, they want more, and they want a tour director to be a master storyteller.

14: Creating “Wow Moments”
Wow moments are those experiences on tour that are unexpected and memorable, and make all the difference between a good and a spectacular trip. They’re a signature item at TripSchool! We’ll teach you how to craft these experiences, what they are, and when to insert them into your tours.

15: What’s Next? How to get work!
It’s time to cover what everything’s been leading towards: getting the job! We’ll discuss your resume, hiring tips, how and when to reach out to tour operators, when companies hire, and how to grow your in-person network.

Need more convincing?

  • 15 jam-packed modules of tour director training content

  • 4 one-on-one Zoom-based Video Sessions to make sure you’re progressing and understanding the material

  • all the need-to-know information about the group travel industry

  • Complete content quizzes to reinforce your understanding

  • Affordably understand whether this is an industry and career for you!

  • Access to this information throughout your career

  • One-on-one personal check-ins to make sure you’re absorbing everything

Enroll Now!

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Our Promise to you

Once you complete this course, you’ll have all the essential knowledge you need to be successful in this industry.

We’ll help you get work.

Ask any of our graduates, we work directly with tour operators to get you work. We vouch for you, and put our reputation behind your ability to competently lead groups.

You become part of the TripSchool family.

TripSchool really is a family. We help each other succeed in this industry. You’ll be part of our private Facebook group, and also be able to reach out to Mitch and Alan any time, with any questions. We want to be a bridge between you and tour operators, and help you along in your careers!