Before You Go - Seasonal and Long Distance Travel Jobs
Traveling overseas or long distance for work is exciting, but is also a time for stress and intense preparation. Sometimes you will not only be organizing your own documents, visas, work permits and the like, but you will also be doing the same for your tour group if you are a tour manager.
Some of the main aspects of travel jobs involve the pre tour organization. Everything has to be in place and ready before the tour can begin, and when it comes to international tours this is even more evident. As a tour guide you must make sure that all your papers and other aspects of the trip are in order before you go. Here are some of the most important things to plan:
Your tour guide contract is something that you must not forget about or leave until the last minute. May to September are the most common seasonal employment months, but contracts can also be extended on a per tour basis if required, which must be stipulated in your contract. The contract should state how long the job is for, where you will be required to work, your job description, your working hours, and how much you will earn. If possible have a lawyer look over your contract to make sure that there are no loopholes and that everything is in order. This is probably not necessary for the most part, but you never know, and the last thing you will want is to find out that there was a problem on your contract and you are stuck miles from home. Iron out all the details with the tour company before you go.
Another aspect to consider before leaving on a tour guide job is your accommodation. While some companies offer accommodation as mentioned in previous sections, some companies only provide accommodation for the duration of the tours, and in between you are expected to find your own housing. In Alaska, near the national parks, you will find that it is very hard to find housing during the summer months, so this is something that you must organize well in advance. Some tour companies do offer bunk style or dorm accommodation for their tour guides, which might be offered for a small fee. When you apply for jobs and go for interviews, make sure you ask each company about their accommodation policy so that you can make the correct decision in working for them.
Transportation and Relocation Costs
Transportation costs will not usually be included, and you will have to cover your own airfare, bus ticket or train ticket to get to the location where you will be working as a tour guide. Most of the time companies hire people already in the area, so if you have to relocate, you must be prepared to do this right away. This means that before you apply for the positions you should have all your affairs in order. Organize someone to look after your pets if you have any, sublet our house or apartment, store household goods and clothes if needed and have all your documents ready. A tip is to buy a roundtrip ticket if you are only working in an area for the season, otherwise you might forget to save up enough money for the trip home.
Work Permits, Visas, and Other Documents
Working in any foreign country will require you to have a work permit or visa and these can be obtained through the embassies or consulates of the country that you are travelling to. You must be sure to find out how long the work permits are valid for before you apply for a job in any foreign country. Some are three months and some can be six months, so don't commit to a job until you have done some research and find out what visa you qualify for.
Another document you must have for any travel, whether it is domestic or international, is a passport. If you don't have one you need to apply. Motorcoach companies sometimes require their tour guides to travel overseas. If you already have one, double check that it has not expired.
Some companies might require you to provide a CPR certificate or first aid training certificate, but most of the time, the company you work for will help you to obtain this once they hire you. Lifeguard qualifications are also required by many companies, and you can find out more about how to get this and a CPR training from your local YMCA, Lion's Club, or community college.
Medical Check-Up and Examination
Although not generally required by your tour company, it is a good idea to have a quick medical check-up before you leave for overseas or on a long journey. It will be very difficult to see a doctor while away and if you are traveling to a foreign country, it might not also be the most ideal place to fall ill. Rather get checked out by your regular doctor to make sure that you are in excellent health before you go. All your vaccination cards should also be checked, and medication should be prescribed, especially if you are traveling to countries where yellow fever and malaria are prevalent. Eye-sight should be checked regularly if you are a tour bus driver.
These are the main items that you should tick off your list before you go to make sure that everything is in order and that your job runs smoothly. Remember, that once you start your tour, you will have no time to get your own affairs in order, because you will be busy organizing your tour group.