Backpacking Europe
Backpacking Europe
Backpacking Europe - Work
Accommodation in Chelsea, London

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Tour Guiding
If you enjoy being around people and want to travel as you work then working as a tour guide might be up your alley. Busabout and Contiki hire backpackers and operate all over Europe which will give you a great chance to really get to know a lot of different cities. There are also positions available worldwide with companies such as Imaginative Traveller, Kumuka, Encounter and Dragoman who will treat you as a British employee while contracting you out worldwide.

To help you get an idea of what the companies require and are looking for in potential employees, I've included some ads I've come across. Most companies also have recruitment pages on their websites to which I've provided links, so if you're interested, head to their websites to see what you need to do to apply. Otherwise, keep an eye out on The Gumtree where I originally saw these ads and get the details from there.

Busabout accepts applications in February and usually complete their hiring process for both drivers and guides by March for the April training tour. If your initial written guiding application is successful you'll be asked to come to a group interview where you'll have to give a three minute speech to about 25 people on any topic not relating to travel. You'll also be given a written test with questions on tourist attractions, languages, and how you would act in certain situations. If you pass this stage you'll be asked to come for a one on one interview and from there, if they still like you, you'll have a place on their training tour.

Busabout have recently introduced a pass which hops between the Greek Islands and guides are also needed for the majority of the summer. For all Busabout jobs the minimum age is 25 and British passports or visas with the bulk of the two years left on them are preferred. Pay is reasonable for survival on the road but is nothing spectacular. Guides who complete two full seasons will be refunded their 200 training trip deposit. Check out their recruitment pages

Sample Ad (Posted to The Gumtree in June 2004)


Would you like the opportunity of escorting groups of independent minded travellers to Mykonos, Paros, Santorini, Ios and Naxos?

Busabout is currently seeking applications for the position of Greek Island Guide. We must receive applications no later than 5:30pm Tuesday 15th June. If invited for a personal interview you need to be available Wednesday, Thursday, or Friday this week.

Contiki seem to do their hiring well in advance and have been known to hire people, especially drivers, from Australia before they've arrived in the UK. I don't know as much about Contiki as I've never went through the hiring process, but I have a friend who worked as a guide in the summer of 2004 who also went through the 'training trip' process before being appointed a tour guide job with them. There's more information on there recruitment pages.

Sample Ad (Posted to The Gumtree in June 2004)


Are you up for a challenge? We are currently recruiting for Contiki Tour Drivers for our 2005 season.

As a Contiki driver you're in charge of getting our clients from A to B, it's a huge responsibility, but it's a great way to meet loads of people! It's also the perfect way to work while travelling around Europe!

Our Tour Drivers are the best in the business and we ensure their success by providing thorough on the road training. We are running three training trips in March 2005, each running for 6 weeks in Europe. In order to secure a place on a Contiki training trip you need to demonstrate the following:

- Ideally aged between 23 and 35 years old
- Possess a valid European work permit or European Passport
- Have good references and a clean driving record
- Heavy vehicle experience is an advantage
- Excellent people skills and have positive attitude!

You'll also need a European coach license. If you don't have one, contact us and we'll provide you with advice and assistance in obtaining this before the start of the training trip.

Radical Travel
Radical Travel are tour operators for the UK and Ireland. Their tours have different names in each country - The Shamrocker in Ireland, Haggis Tour in Scotland and Border Raiders in England. They operate complete tours where you'll stay with the same driver and group of people the entire way, and also offer hop-on hop-off passes.They're often looking for driver/guides so if you're interested check out their recruitment pages.

Sample Ad (Posted to The Gumtree in July 2004)


The UK's leading youth travel operator requires fully qualified PSV Licence holders to drive our tours throughout the UK. Based in London, you will drive tours throughout Wales, the West Country, into Scotland and perhaps even Ireland. If you are interested please call ASAP.

Backpacker Co.
Backpacker Co. are a tour company that deals with events like 'The Running of the Bulls' and 'Oktoberfest'. They usually offer several tour options for each of the festivals and events they attend from fly and hotel packages to bus and camp packages. They guarantee a good party as you're with like minded travellers and off to prime party destinations. Guides must be outgoing and really social with a healthy liver that they want to attempt to kill. Guides are all volunteers and are given the tour they're leading and a guaranteed good time as payment. Working for Backpacker Co. won't be a money maker, but it'd be a great experience and a fun way to see Europe's major festivals. Their website is at

Sample Ad (Posted to The Gumtree in July 2004)


Backpacker Co. is established as the Number 1 festival, event, and tour operators in London. We operate the most organised, most professional, and biggest party tours to all the major European festivals such as the 'Running the Bulls' in Pamplona, 'Oktoberfest' in Munich, 'Hogmanay' in Edinburgh, and 'St. Pats Day' in Dublin.

Backpacker Co. are now looking for enthusiastic and experienced Tour Leaders to head our upcoming season of tours, starting with San Fermin in Pamplona.

Only apply if you have been to Pamplona before.

Imaginative Traveller
Imaginative Traveller operate tours worldwide but seem to tend to start new guides in either Egypt, China or Thailand. The company offers small tours of up to 18 people with an emphasis on responsible travel. The recruitment process involves handing in an application and then attending an interview at their office located outside of London in ???. If successful you'll have to shell out up to 350 for a First Aid at Work course and attend a two day induction. You'll then be shipped off soon after to your destiantion country and taken on a training trip which requires a deposit of 200 which is refundable after you work with them for three months.

A friend of mine works with them and loves it. The company uses local guides and locally owned businesses where possible and is very environmentally conscious. They've even pioneered several aid projects in many of their destination countries. Their recruitment pages offer lots of information on the company as well as an application package. Guides are hired year round. These are the guys I'll be applying for once I get back to the UK from my travels in 2006, so don't take my job!

Sample Ad (Posted to The Gumtree in July 2004)


The Imaginative Traveller need tour leaders to escort our small group adventures throughout Egypt and the Middle East. Applicants should be experienced travellers with a positive attitude, great people skills and a sense of responsibility. No previous experience or qualification in required.

Positions start in August so apply now!

Minimum age: 22
Location: Egypt and the Middle East

Dragoman & Encounter
Dragoman & Encounter are well known, established worldwide overland operators. A job with them would require not only you being a guide, but also a driver as they use their own vehicles for the entire trip. I don't know much about their application process so have a look at their websites (Dragoman, Encounter) to see what you think!

Sample Ad (Posted to The Gumtree in July 2004)


Do you want to travel the world? Are you keen on driving our custom-built expedition vehicles through developing countries, showing travellers the wonders of the world? Is adventure and eco-tourism your bag?

Why not apply for a job as overland crew with Dragoman & Encounter? We are the UK's largest independent overland tour operator. Our crew have been driving groups of 24 clients around the globe, on our camping based adventures, for the past 23 years.

Do you have travel experience? Are you not afraid of working hard and getting your hands dirty? Do you have an interest in mechanics?

We provide extensive training at our headquarters in the UK before sending you out to work on one of our vehicles in The Americas, Africa, Europe, the Middle East, Central Asia, or Asia.

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