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Get This Job: Adventure Travel Leader

Because their work week is better than your vacation.


adventure travel leader
The next best thing to going on vacation is getting paid to go on someone else’s. Photo by: Menno BoermansMenno Boermans

The next best thing to going on vacation? Getting paid to go on someone else’s. Full disclosure: With just 4 percent growth through 2022, travel guides will have slim pickings for jobs, and many of them are seasonal. But dreamers gonna dream, and those willing to pay their dues can and do turn this fantasy gig into a real paycheck.

Trip leader John Baston of Mountain Travel Sobek travels a third of the year—from hiking the Sonoran Desert during spring wildflower bloom to spotting grizzlies gorging on Alaska’s summer salmon run. When he’s not paddling with a pod of killer whales or watching wolf pups frolic on a deserted Alaskan beach, Baston scouts future locales and plans his next custom trips from his Bay Area office.

While solid outdoor chops are a must for adventure guides (Baston logged a decade as a park ranger), social skills are equally important. “You have to be able to listen to people and be sincerely interested in their stories,” he says.

Pay $35,000 Prerequisites People skills Perks See the world Problems If you’re awake, you’re working Prospects 5,900 jobs by 2022 (+3.6%)