Commercial adventure travel agencies, naturally, are employers of adventure travel specialists. In addition, a number of not-for-profit organizations, such as universities and environmental groups, are also offering nature and adventure programs.
Make a list of adventure groups and do some research. How long have they been in business? Do they specialize in soft or hard adventure travel? You can narrow your search to companies that specialize in the activity or activities with which you have experience. Use the Internet to help you do this; many companies have Web sites that advertise their specialties and list job openings. Other organizations, such as The International Ecotourism Society, also provide information on jobs and internships at their Web sites. Remember that for your best chance of finding a job in adventure travel, you may have to relocate, so your search should be geographically broad.
There are a number of magazines that may be helpful in compiling a list of companies involved in adventure travel. Some good publications to look into are Outside (https://www.outsideonline.com), Backpacker (https://www.backpacker.com), and Bicycling (https://www.bicycling.com). Adventure travel organizations and associations may provide a list of their members.
To find not-for-profit organizations that hire adventure travel specialists, consider the National Audubon Society and the Sierra Club. Check with your local library for a complete listing of environmental groups. You might also contact universities to see if they have a wilderness/adventure travel division in their schools of physical education or recreation.
Also use any contacts you have—from clubs, organizations, previous travel experiences, or college classes—to find out about possible employment opportunities. If you belong to a diving or bicycling club, for example, ask other members or instructors if they are familiar with any outfitters you could contact. If you have dealt with outfitters in some of your adventure trips, contact them for potential job leads. New hires may start out as office assistants or assistant guides until they gain enough experience to lead expeditions or, if they work in the office, take on more demanding tasks.
There is no clearly defined career path for adventure travel specialists. For those who work in an office environment, advancement will likely take the form of increased responsibility and higher pay. Assuming a managerial role or moving on to a larger company are other advancement possibilities.
For those who work in the field, advancement might mean taking more trips per year. Adventure travel in many locations is seasonal, and therefore, tour guides may not be able to do this sort of work year-round. It is not uncommon for an individual to guide tours only part time, and have another job to fill in the slow times. For those who become experienced in two or more particular areas of travel and develop a reputation of expertise, however, there may be the opportunity to spend more, or even all, of the year doing adventure touring.
Another option for either the office worker or the guide would be to learn about the other side of the business. With experience in all aspects of developing, selling, and leading tours, ambitious travel specialists may be able to own their company.
Read publications such as Adventure Travel News (https://www.adventuretravelnews.com) to learn more about trends in the industry and potential employers.
Use social media such as Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter to stay up to date on industry developments and learn about job openings.
Visit the following Web sites for job listings:
Attend the Adventure Travel World Summit (https://www.adventuretravel.biz/events) to network and learn more about the industry.
Join the Adventure Travel Trade Association, The International Ecotourism Society, and other professional associations to access training and networking resources, industry publications, and employment opportunities.