When planning a trip, most travelers first gather information about the current availability and cost of transportation and lodging at their planned destination, as well as food and entertainment offerings. Some locations are interesting for their historical or cultural relevance, while others provide pleasant natural surroundings, and still others provide physical adventure. Travel specialists or travel agents may provide guidance, information, and services to the traveler.
Travelers seeking an even simpler plan have another option: the packaged tour. Packaged tours, which can range from several days to several weeks, are available for those who wish to have many aspects of a trip planned in advance. They may cover a number of countries or they may include just one city. Tourists have a wide variety of tours to choose from to meet their specific needs and interests; for example, tours may focus on food and cooking in certain regions, sports-focused activities, or sustainability and environmental issues. Travel agencies, private groups, museums, universities, and other institutions are just some of the organizations that provide packaged tours.
Restaurants are an important part of the travel business. Inns with food service and dining halls can be traced back to the Roman Empire. Taverns also functioned to provide travelers with food and drink. Today, restaurants typically employ two types of workers: those working in the front of the restaurant and those in the back of the restaurant. The front staff include wait staff, host staff, maitre d’s, and bartenders. The back staff is the kitchen staff responsible for producing quality food and drinks so that customers will return. Throughout the food service field, there is a close working relationship between the preparers and the servers, and those who work with customers must have strong interpersonal skills to handle a variety of customer temperaments.
Recreation or leisure activities are an important draw for the travel industry, including amusement and theme parks, sports, cruise lines, and gambling facilities.
Theme parks and amusement parks are popular recreational destinations. Such places employ thousands of workers to manage the park and attractions for positions ranging from retail clerks and service attendants to facility managers and lifeguards. Resorts and ranches, offering activities such as skiing, snowboarding, horseback riding, and swimming, along with comfortable hotel accommodations, are found throughout the United States.
Fitness and health clubs are popular forms of sports recreation. The largest sports category is commercial sports organizations and facilities that promote professional athletic events such as basketball or hockey. Employment opportunities in sports include athletes, administrative workers, coaches, trainers, managers, instructors, marketing and sales workers, promoters, groundskeepers and grounds managers, security workers, stadium and ticket office attendants, and food concession attendants.
Cruise ships provide so much entertainment that some passengers regard them as floating vacation spas. Cruise ships, sailing to just about every port in the world, have become popular as an all-inclusive source of amusement. Activities and entertainment are offered at a nonstop pace, no matter the length of the cruise. Activity personnel, entertainers, cooks, dining attendants, and housekeepers are some of the recreation workers needed to staff a cruise ship.
Gambling venues such as casinos and riverboats are major players in the recreation industry, providing countless jobs ranging from dealers to change attendants. Large casinos, especially those located in Las Vegas and Atlantic City, are affiliated with hotels or resorts. The recreation industry is characterized by a large number of seasonal and part-time positions. Many businesses in the industry increase hiring in the summer, during peak travel season.