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What is an Adventure Travel Guide?

By K. Testa
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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An adventure travel guide is a professional who leads adventure tourism excursions. Generally, these travel guides are distinguished from the traditional tour guides who walk tourists through museums or arrange bus tours. For instance, he or she frequently leads, and often participates in, outdoor adventure tours and other types of physical activity. Examples can vary, from golf tours and other somewhat stress-free pursuits to daring adventures for thrill seekers. The riskier activities usually require the guide to be specially trained to handle medical emergencies and other potential complications; these training programs can vary depending on his or her particular interests.

Eco-tours and other outdoor adventure tours are common examples of activities that might be led by an adventure travel guide. Some of the more popular eco-tourist destinations include jungles and rainforests. An African safari is another common example of a popular adventure tourism activity.

Someone seeking an active vacation, whether by land, sea, or air, is also likely to hire an adventure travel guide. On land, one can pursue countless leisure activities. Some people enjoy activities such as mountain hiking, trail walking, biking, or horseback riding. Touring ruins or exploring caves also appeals to many adventure travelers, along with fishing, hunting, and rock climbing. In mountainous areas, the guide might lead skiing and snowboarding outings.

Adventure travel guides also coordinate trips for water sports enthusiasts. Travelers seeking a more relaxed vacation may opt for sailing or whale-watching trips, while rafting and kayaking on lakes and rivers are popular activities requiring participation that is more physical. Some common ocean activities include surfing, scuba diving, and snorkeling.

There are several types of air activities that might be arranged by an adventure travel guide. Skydiving and hang gliding are two common pursuits for thrill seekers. Others might enjoy taking helicopter rides and tours or exploring an area from a hot air balloon.

The general duties of an adventure travel guide typically include possessing knowledge of general health and safety concerns, along with first aid treatments and the proper handling of medical emergencies. Some activities require specific training and qualification. In several countries, for example, mountain guides must be certified prior to leading certain types of trips.

An individual hoping to become an adventure travel guide can often gain experience either through independent travel or by completing a formal outdoor skills program such as Outward Bound. Many jobs are summer or seasonal positions, and someone hoping to succeed must usually be willing to travel a great deal, or at least relocate to an area that has numerous outdoor opportunities. The jobs are generally suitable for students or others looking for temporary or seasonal positions while not in school or working elsewhere.

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Discussion Comments

By pleonasm — On Jul 06, 2014

@bythewell - There are international regulations that companies will ascribe to if you're worried about their credentials. There's an argument to be made for both local expertise and international experience but really I think it just comes down to common sense on the part of the traveler.

Look up reviews about the service you want to use and the particular guide and try to take recommendations from friends you trust and you should be fine.

By bythewell — On Jul 06, 2014

@Ana1234 - People should find the best qualified travel guide when they are taking adventure travel vacations. I'm all for using local expertise if that's the best option, but when you're in an unfamiliar country, you might want to go with a company that you're familiar with, because you'll know for sure that they are going to be safe.

If they are a local company, they might be safe or they might not. Since they aren't regulated by a parent company there's no way for a causal tourist to know. And that's not something I want to have to worry about when I'm scuba diving or climbing a mountain.

By Ana1234 — On Jul 05, 2014

If you're looking for an adventure travel guide, try to find someone who is local to the area and understands the way the weather and other conditions work.

This is particularly a good idea in a country without extensive infrastructure, or where the customs or laws might be different from what you're used to.

By hiring locals, you will be contributing to the local economy, as well as taking advantage of knowledge that isn't as likely to be found with people who didn't grow up in the area.

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