Look at what our family of graduates are saying and doing. Here are hundreds of reasons to choose IGA and there are thousands more. In the last ten years, students from over 40 countries and 6 continents have attended certification programs with IGA.
Last updated: 6 June 2019
Connie Goodfellow, “This year (2019) my calendar includes tours through Charleston, Savannah, Nashville, Memphis, New Orleans, Hawaii, 14 National Parks including Yellowstone, Yosemite and Grand Canyon, and also Europe including a cruise to ports in Spain, Italy and Portugal, and I plan to end the year celebrating my 50th birthday during a tour in December through Paris and London!”
Courtney Yancey earned her certification in November 2018 and her first Tour Manager assignment was managing a student group to Disneyland and she is off to Alaska in May 2019 for the season. Courtney says, “Though it’s taken a lot of time and hard work to get here I gotta say the benefits are pretty great!”
Amanda Bouldin, “I am excited to be writing you with news that I have completed my first tour! I just did a student tour with Southwestern Travel in St. Louis. It went really well, and I am doing another tour with them in Nashville in May. Thank you so much for all you have done to help me accomplish this!
Louise Forgues, Canada, “I am forever grateful for your excellent teachings and enjoying a second career as a Tour Director to wonderful destinations such as Iceland, Provence, Portugal, Spain, Ireland, Canary Islands, China, Peru, Berlin, Prague, Vienna, Budapest, etc … and always something new on the horizon like Malta in the fall (2019).”
IGA Grad Bernie Wentzek leading a tour in D.C.
Janice Love, “Hello Daniel, I would like to thank you and give you an update on my career since graduating from IGA. After ﬁnishing your wonderful course I went to Alaska for the summer season and worked as a Tour Escort Manager for Holland America, Princess. Immediately following that I was hired by the Globus family of brands and have been working steadily with them in the summers. In the winters I lead performance tours and a few DC tours. Last year I started leading Marine Biology Science groups in the Florida Keys. I absolutely love my job, I have the best of both worlds, working the Yellowstone area in Summertime and Florida in the Winter. Since graduating I have become Certiﬁed as a Naturalist, a Wilderness First Responder, and a National Parks Interpreter. I am an A-rated Tour Director, a guide, motivator and National Parks Specialist. Currently I am preparing to apply to lead outstanding tours to Africa. All of this because I took your class and advice. Thanks again and see you on the road.”
Vanessa Holmes, “Hello Everyone! I am super excited to let everyone know that I have accepted a position with Holland America Princess (HAP) Alaska-Yukon. I am heading to Alaska in May. I am so excited! My dream to be a Tour Director and take people on vacation is coming true!”
Andi Jones, “I’m excited to say I will be working with American Adventures Tour Company. This season (May – October) I will be traveling with small groups of people while exploring all over the continental USA. I am grateful for the journey and can’t wait to get started!”
Courtney Yancey earned her certification in November 2018. In January, she was hired by Holland America-Princess as their Journey Host working in Alaska for the 2019 season.
Nicki Bruckman, “I attended the Academy in Denver. I had launched my own Tour Operating business, Explorer Chick (www.explorerchick.com), and felt a certification would add credibility to my company. Attending the Academy was one of the best decisions I made. It was so much more than what I expected. I learned so much about the travel industry including the jargon, inside information, logistics of tours, etc. This alone was invaluable. The curriculum was well thought out and intense. The days were long and the outside research and projects required were time consuming. At times, it was definitely stressful. However, this made me appreciate the program even more. The intensity of the course and work mimics what you’ll experience directing your own tours. Stress, long days, research, public speaking, sleeping in hotels, etc. All of the instructors were wonderful, knowledgeable, and entertaining. Our class became our own little organic community. We stay in touch now through Facebook sharing travel insights and our own adventures. Post-class, both Daniel and Frank have been helpful and encouraging to me. They are quick to respond with answers to any questions that I may have. If this is something you are thinking of doing, SIGN UP!”
Nicki in her “office”.
Rachel Moody, “I finished up my second season with HAP Alaska-Yukon, and I am traveling around the country this Fall and Winter for Holland America Line promoting their Cruises and Land + Sea Journeys as a part of their “On Stage Alaska” program.”
Caroline Side (France), “I have been tour directing with WorldStrides here in Europe for 2 years, third year coming up….it’s a lot of fun. Next year though I will also be working with Grand Circle Cruises, as Program Director (TD) for river cruises here in France – it will be different from high school students! All I learned at IGA is constantly helping .”
Heather Moore Polk, earned her certification in October 2018 and already has multiple job offers (November 2018). She states: “Frank Slater, you and Daniel Slater are amazing. I appreciate you ‘frankness’, encouragement, and mentoring. Truly the International Guide Academy, Inc. (HQ Denver, Colorado) is not just a certification program… it’s a lifelong family that provides excellent support, helpful resources and an incredible community. Can not thank you enough! I have two contracts and a fairly full training/tour schedule between now and mid-June. I’m working with WorldStrides, Washington DC tours, late April and late May, early June. I’m also working with Kaleidoscope Adventures, based our of Orlando, they focus primarily on performing arts group and customized tours. I’m going to NYC, Williamsburg, Boston, Washington DC, and Orlando with groups of different sizes in Feb, March, April and May. I’m training with both companies and consulting about homeschool community product and marketing with Kaleidoscope in February. Very exciting things are happening and I’m so thankful for all the preparation and guidance I’ve received through IGA.”
Michael Dillinger, “I responded to a job notice from IGA for tour captain position at Story Land and Sea and I have been chosen for the final interview/audition out in Denver! I would not have gotten this without the Certification that IGA confers and the high regard IGA has in the industry. IGA’s suggestions on resume preparation was a huge help too. I’m very excited by the opportunity to branch out beyond TDing student tours to adult, overseas tours.
Ayako Doi, November 2018 grad, “I have been sending resumes to various tour operators and was actually offered a Japan tour director position by a major TO in the Spring. Alas, I am already booked to be an interpreter on board the Queen Elizabeth March-May cruising from Australia, New Zealand, New Guinea, Philippines to Alaska and Vancouver with a circumnavigation of Japan along the way. I am looking forward to more opportunities later in the year.”
Trish Oliveira, “I would like to take this opportunity to thank you and all the IGA instructors for my in-depth classroom training. Less than 6 weeks after earning my International Tour Director certification, I was headed for my first tour to Cuba!
IGA prepared me to be “tour ready” and, indeed, the solid 9-day training came to be extremely valuable while I was on my first tour (which lasted 15 days). I am extremely confident, especially after getting wonderful reviews from the participants on this tour and thanks to IGA, that I will be thriving in this exciting industry and new career. I am currently leading more tours in Cuba and living the dream.” Trish is currently leading her own photography tours to Cuba: www.trishtours.com
Trish leading a group in Cuba
Nicole Kloek, “I just finished a tour yesterday, and I’m flying to Boston tomorrow to start a New England tour. Then back to Italy two weeks after that. It is amazing! I have had much more work than I can accept.”
Natalie LeBlanc has been appointed as Program Lead at Ontario Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport, Canada.
Rachel Portnoy, “A couple of weeks ago I finished out my first season as a Disney Adventure Guide. It was one of the most intense, difficult, incredible and rewarding experience of my life. ,,,This summer was one of the best of my life. Thank you to all that were part of it.”
Elaine Rodriguez, “Tauck has named me the new Assistant Recruiting and Training Specialist. I will be hiring and training new Tauck Directors (Tour Directors). I graduated from IGA in 2010 and the following 8 years have been filled with the most incredible experiences. I have seen so many amazing places – I’ve been filled with wonder and awe more times than I can count. I have met so many fun and interesting people. I have made many great friends. I am so grateful for my time as a Tour Director. Thank you to everyone who made the journey so special!”
James Carmody, “I just finished a phone interview with Disney for the Adventure Guide position. It is the first job I have applied to since graduating from IGA. I am writing to you to tell you that my education at IGA was invaluable. Three times during the interview, I could draw upon my experience at IGA during our Denver classes. I mentioned IGA to the interviewers and spoke about our learning there.
The interviewer posed various scenarios. One scenario was that the hotel had xxxxxxxxxx issue. What do you do? I remembered our work around this scenario during our training and gave my answer. The interviewer then said, “That is exactly what you have to do”. Having graduated IGA gave me insights and and that extra confidence boost I needed when interviewing with a major company like Disney. Thank you again. After this first interview I fully realize what a strong, positive impact IGA has had on my profile.”
Joel Freedman, “I am continuing to do student tours for both Education First (EF) as well as Worldstrides. In fact, I am flying to Boston tomorrow to begin two weeks of tours on the East coast. Additionally, I am doing adult tours for Collette as well as Travelsphere (for travelers from Great Britain). It has been an amazing year and I owe it all to IGA! The most exciting thing is that I am now a “finalist” to be considered for a FULL TIME position with COLLETTE!!! They are bringing me to Providence in a couple of weeks for a couple of days.”
Jane Broome, “I am in the middle of my fifth season working for Premier Alaska Tours and loving it. I now work with many custom, high end private groups and cruise lines as well as their bread and butter Royal Caribbean, Celebrity and Norwegian cruise guests as well. I love it all. I have experienced so much in Alaska from bear viewing trips, many flight seeing trips, dog sledding on a glacier, white water rafting, etc all the while meeting fabulous guests and working with a great community of fellow tour directors and drivers.
Last fall I started doing Southwest National Park tours and will again this fall. My latest good news is next spring I will be cruise hosting on a cruise from Hong Kong to Tokyo, Japan along with Cynthia Cobb. I wanted to express my gratitude for the opportunities IGA has afforded me. I truly feel I am being paid to travel. I work hard and take pride in providing my guests the best experience, but I sure do love my office!”
Julie Wilkes, “I wanted to send you an update of some of the work I’ve been doing since my last update. Companies I have been working for so far this year are: MARS-Washington DC, Jamestown, Yorktown, Williamsburg, Charlottesville
Student and Adult; Travelsphere– California Coast, National Parks, New England-Adult; Edu Trips– Washington DC-Student and Adult; and American Tour Guide Association-Washington DC, Jamestown, Yorktown, Williamsburg-Student.
I hope I will be able to add to this later in the year as I’ve recently had several interviews and hope that more tours are coming.
Sofia Efthymiou, “I wanted to drop you a line and give a quick update from another successful student 🙂 I’m about to head back to Jackson, WY to finish up my last Yellowstone trip for Adventures by Disney for the summer, and that has come after an *incredibly* fun spring with three excellent student TOs. Next month I’ll be headed to Canada (east and west coasts) to tour with some lovely Brits for about a month before finishing for the year by mid-October.
It has been a whirlwind of a year (it’s only halfway done but seems to have flown by) with lots of travel, great connections, fun meet ups with colleagues, challenging groups, challenging co-guides, and lots of growth. I feel very fortunate to be able to work with nearly all sectors of travel groups, from students, to high end family travel, and now coming up with international & retiree groups. Just about every trip I do reaffirms that this career path is exactly what I’m meant to be doing and that I’m actually *good* at what I do. Needless to say, none of this would have been possible without the training and support offered by IGA.”
Mandy Golec, “I just wanted to drop a line to thank you again for everything you taught me in our class. I just got off a student tour where everything that could conceivably go wrong, aside from death or losing a kid, went wrong. There were vendor issues, office issues, a chaperone went to the hospital on the last night, and we had some weather issues to cap it all off. But, because your class was so thorough, there was not one problem, not one moment where I didn’t know what to do and not one kid on my tour knew there was even anything wrong. I was able to keep my cool and handle each thing as it came with professionalism. Just thought you’d like to know that. Keep doing what you do, your class and training really does make a difference.”
Nicole Kloek, “I have a fun, full year of tours! I absolutely love this job! Just back from Italy, and I will lead that tour again in July for Story, Land and Sea. Destination America/Trafalgar also hired me. I’ll be leading tours for them this year as well. Still leading for Road Scholar too. I’ve had multiple offers from other companies, but had to turn down many tours because my schedule is so full! Thank you for all of the great training. I highly recommend IGA every chance I get!”
Jill Macon, started her new job as a Tour Director with Holland America Princess in Alaska.
Maureen Quinn, “I got a job with Contiki! I’ll be leading the Eastern Escapade trip this summer! I just got back from a month of training in CA and am leaving in 2 weeks to learn the tour I’ll actually be managing!”
Meredith Wright and Elizabeth Schroder have both been hired by Road Scholar
Liane Soles, “I have been with a company out of the U.K called Newmarket Holidays, and I’m having a ball. My trips start from Pearson International in Toronto and we head over to Niagara Falls for the night. First thing in the morning we drive across the border to Gettysburg for the night. Then this year we are spending a half day in Gettysburg and then overnighting in Tyson’s Corner. The next day we have a half day tour in D.C. and my passengers have the rest of the day on their own. Then it’s off to Philly for the day and then off to N.J. Our day ends when we get to the hotel in Jersey but my driver and I have put together a little something extra special. The evening in Times Square, a trip over the Manhattan bridge to see the Brooklyn Bridge with a short picture stop of the Financial district of Manhattan. Every time we go I learn something new.”
Elizabeth Abadie Williams, “Success!!! New career is off to an exciting start. Thanks to all who trained & encouraged me in this endeavor. I’m forever grateful, especially to IGA.”
Melissa Farrell, “So, after being hired by a year-round tour company yesterday , I also was offered a tour from another company that starts on Monday-Thursday and covers college campuses in NY, NJ, CT, and Boston..what a great way to start off this career with two jobs offers in one day…I had to turn down my third job opportunity just now doing a student tour in two weeks of NYC.. what is going on??? It’s raining jobs! I love it but I wish there were two of me…”
Carryn Kliesen, “I wanted to let you know that I have been offered a position with Tauck this year!! It is a family host position that will introduce me to the company and allow me to assist a TD and learn the ropes before they assign me some tours of my own. I am so excited!!”
Jill Macon, “I have an in-field interview with EF Educational Tours this coming weekend and was offered a place on Scholastic Travel Inc network of tour leaders (planning to do orientation in Feb and Fam trip in March). All in all, things are looking great!”
Angie Laatsch, “I just wanted to give you a quick update. I now have spring/early summer tours booked with Worldstrides and EF Explore America and will be going to DC for their trainings at the end of Jan. and end of Feb. I’m so excited to finally have my foot in the door as a TD and am looking forward to getting started! Thanks again for your encouragement and excellent training.”
Claudia Terrones, “I just returned from leading a trip to the Finger Lakes of New York. The last two trips went well. I have another trip later this month and a trip in November. The training really helped me prepare for the tours. Thank you very much.”
Julie Wilkes, ” I wanted to give you an update on my career, I think I’ve mentioned before that I had been working with MARS (Mid Atlantic Receptive Services) earlier in the year. Now I’m leading tours for Travelsphere, I’ve done the Glorious West and I’m getting ready to do a National Parks Tour starting this Monday. I’m so excited, Thank You again and again for all your advice and training.
Michael Dillinger (President of the Guides Association of New York City), “I wanted to update you on my progress since graduating from IGA. EF Tours has trained me as a Tour Director for their new STEM tours in New York City, Boston and San Francisco. They brought me to each city to learn this exciting new product and today I just received two tours for the coming season. One is for NYC and the other combines both NYC and Boston. I’m very excited for the opportunity and grateful for IGA’s training. It’s given me the confidence to branch out on tours that take me beyond my home town.”
Callan Braman is working as a Globus Custom Tour Operations Associate: “I work in operations for custom tours, ensuring that all services for our Custom Operations Department are ordered, accurate, and in place for the tour. This inclused setting up custom tours, hotels, and motorcoaches and involves heavy logistics planning. I create technical itineraries as well for our Tour Directors leading these custom tours, and price out potential services for clients to provide them with professional quotes.”
Patricia Weed, “I was hired by Globus family of brands in May. I was trained on Cosmos National Parks & Canyon Country tour in August. It was a 14-day tour. I led the tour in September. I was glad to have had such intense training through IGA to prepare me. The training through Cosmos made everything come to life. For the most part, the tour was fun and the passengers were a delight. As we learned in class, there were some issues with illnesses and hospitalization on the training tour and on my tour, I had a passenger die at the Grand Canyon due to heart failure. We covered it in class but I’m not sure it is something that you can really prepare for. I look forward to doing tours again in the Spring and hope to be hired again by Globus.”
Stephan Jupinko, “Since I graduated I’ve worked in Big Bend National Park at the Chisos Mountains Lodge, Useppa Island Club off the Gulf Coast of Florida, The Asticou Inn at Acadia National Park, and now I’ve just arrived at Jackson Lake Lodge in Grand Teton National Park. I continue to know these places intimately, and have a strong lead for next summer already on Mackinac Island. I have always valued really getting to know places and hope to be able to share some of that in the future. Thanks for keeping me in the loop.”
Meredith Wright, “Officially guiding for Collette. Five years ago I was sitting at a corporate job that held no interest or passion in my life, scrolling down Collette’s website looking at all the amazing places they go. Dreaming, planning, visualizing – from my grey on grey cube world. Today, I LEAD those dreams. ”
Cathy Spracklin, “Wow, I just finished my first tour with Jonview Canada! I took a group of U.K. passengers to Montreal, Quebec City, Ottawa, Toronto, Niagara on the Lake, and Niagara Falls. Great trip!”
Julianne Rose, “A month ago I applied for a Trip Leader role here in Australia. I am so thrilled, after 2 interviews, to have made it to their training / hiring week beginning August 6th. My dream to become a Tour Manager is finally coming to fruition ! Thanks to the training, education and Certification offered by IGA, I have passed the interview process with flying colours thus far.”
Audra Conklin, “I’m home after a couple of months of amazing tour directing and 9,000 miles of the West. Same 16 day tour three times. I’m booked through Oct. 22nd and then setting up my winter schedule now.”
Ryane Moates, “I just returned from 2 months in Italy!!! Had the ever lovin’ time of my life!!! I saw Liz and Mike from my own class there and IGA grads Patrick, Mary and Steve too!!! How amazing that we were all hired so quickly. We took the course and since then, we have been interviewed, hired, and are now leading tours all around Europe! Can’t believe this is real!!! I feel that my life at home is like Clark Kent and my life abroad is like Superman!!!! Love this life and career!!! Thank you Daniel and International Guide Academy for making this career turn from a dream to a reality!!!
Just the other day I kayaked to the green grotto in Sorrento off the Amalfi Coast of Italy with some guests. We paddled through a natural arch into a breathtakingly beautiful, secluded grotto filled with iridescent green water! It looked like a fairy tale!! We swam and explored and marveled at the beauty of the moment. We were having the time of our lives, then my guests began to lament that they had to go back to work on Monday. I thought to myself… “I AM at work!!” This year I get to lead tours in London, Paris, Germany, Czech Republic, and Italy. With time to explore new countries on my own between tours. Living my Wildest Fantasy!!!!!
Vanessa Perlman, “I’ve recently led student tours of DC (5th-8th graders) – as both tour director and local guide – for EF Explore America and Good News Travels. I also led a college visit tour from Philadelphia to DC for high schoolers, also for EF Explore America. They went well!”
Mary Toropov, “Just completed my first two student tours with EF Explore America as Tour Director. Taking middle schoolers and teachers and parents around the historical sites of the Boston area: Freedom Trail, Lexington and Concord, Salem, Plimoth Plantation, Fenway Park, etc.”
Nicole Kloek, “I’ve had a great spring schedule of tours I wanted to share with you. Road Scholar hired me to lead a 10 day, multi-city tour for 3 different dates, as well as another 7 day program. They have been so much fun! Also, last week I led a group for C & G Tours. I love meeting all the new people and travelling to new places. This job is a perfect match for my skill set, and the training IGA provided has opened doors and fully prepared me to lead successful tours. I’ve received amazing feedback and evaluations! Thank you so much!”
Bruce Fox, “I’ve been leading tours in Washington, D.C., New York City, and Gettysburg with EF Explore America for the past two years. In a couple weeks I will be moving to Augsburg, Germany and hope to find some tour work there. I will continue to do spring tours for EF, primarily in Washington, D.C.”
Amber Sherman, “I just finished my first tour! It was with EDU trips. It was a NYC HS student tour. It was such a fun experience! Upcoming I have two more tours with EDU trips 1 is Boston/NY/DC and the other just DC. I also have my first tour with EF coming up in June as well. That one also being Boston/NY/DC.
Susan Nevers, “Just got hired for this summer (May – Oct) for the Nantahala Outdoor Center in North Carolina working guest services for whitewater rafting tours.”
Deb Jakub, “I have worked for the past few years for Corporate Travel Service in Dearborn, Michigan. Initially I was hired as a Tour Manager for their educational trips division, and I continue to take trips to Washington, DC, Chicago, Toronto, and this year they have added to my schedule Philadelphia, Mackinac Island, and I just returned from Montreal! Aside from the youth tours, I have taken a choir group to Rome (who performed for the Pope), and I have worked on three themed music cruises in the Caribbean (Country Music Cruise, Flower Power Cruise, and Soul Train Cruise). I did spend last summer in Alaska working for Holland America escorting their Land Tours. I am hoping to go back again, it was amazing! This change in career was one of the best things I have done!”
Jen Mintzer, “Since getting my Certificate in International Tour Management I was hired by The Travel Authority just outside of Philadelphia to lead tours with groups of senior citizens – I led bus tours from Philly to Chicago, Cape Cod, Savannah/Charleston, and the Outer Banks of North Carolina. The knowledge I gained from the training you provided was instrumental in helping me get hired, and the certification was an investment that was well worth it as I quickly made back the money spent on the training after a few tours. I am working in a travel-related field as the director of the International Studies Education office at Neumann University in Aston, PA, where I help faculty coordinate study abroad trips with students and connect students to semester and summer study abroad opportunities. I myself am looking forward to next year leading a group of students to Italy. One of these days, I hope to do the CTG certification that you offer as well!”
Charlie Robbins, “I wanted to let you know that I’ve been a Tour Leader with Mint Julep Tours in Louisville, KY since May, 2016. We specialize in tours of the Kentucky Bourbon Trail, and I’ve learned more about bourbon this past year than I ever imagined there was to know!”
Kirk Speer, “Since that awesome class in Cuernavaca in 2010 I have been a seasonal tour director for Caravan Inc. leading their Yellowstone tours each Summer since 2011. The season is from Memorial Day to the beginning of October. In the other months I am primarily a lead photographer for Spartan Race Inc. The quality and instruction of the International Guide Academy has been instrumental in my success as a tour director and an independent contractor in general. For me the class has been a life-changer and has opened doors in the hospitality and tourism industry.”
IGA Graduate Kirk Speer with a group in Wyoming
Kate Engel, “I worked freelance tours; Designed and escorted a group of 11 to Europe; Specialized in private tours (wildlife, photography, out-of-the-way day trips); Step on City Guide/Estes Park Guide for German Language groups; and currently work at Anhueser-Busch as a Tour Guide…. and still do a couple of step-on German groups out of Denver…AND still traveling to great places around the globe!!! Taking your class opened a world of opportunities for me!”
Kent Taylor: “I am so fortunate to have developed my IGA certification into a year ’round full time job. My calendar includes managing Wolf Watching tours in Yellowstone in January and February, music city tours of the Southeast in March, National Parks of the Southwest in the spring and fall, Yellowstone and Grand Tetons in summer, as well as the Canadian Rockies, New England in the fall, and Polar Bear photography tours in Canada in November. This year I will also guide a BBC film crew from Jackson to Jasper and live at Chateau Lake Louise for two weeks in December hosting tour groups. Not a bad gig! I truly lead a blessed life and much of that is credited to IGA for your excellent instruction and job leads. I would definitely do it all again. Thank you, IGA.”
Cindy Cobb, “Without certification as a Tour Manager, it’s nearly impossible to work in this business. I researched carefully, talked to graduates of several schools in the industry and made the decision to attend the International Guide Academy because of the stellar recommendations I had from recent graduates. As a graduate of IGA, I found the curriculum to mirror the realities of being an active tour manager. Detailed, concise and filled with real life examples they prepare you to successfully enter the business immediately. This is not a ‘fluff’ course, but you’ll love what you learn if you are serious about being a tour manager. What’s even more valuable is the readily available feedback from the President and CEO on cover letters and resumes as I sought work in the industry. Within 60 days I had 5 assignments from 4 different Tour Operators. Without IGA’s certification and the ongoing feedback, suggestions and support of Daniel Slater, it would not be possible. If you are even thinking that you would like to work in this business, choose IGA to learn and get work as a Certified Tour Manager. Worth every moment of time and investment! Thank you IGA—I am loving my new career and headed to Cuba next week to lead more tours! ”
Craig Wanous earned his certification and had assignments with Road Scholar leading several of their tours less than two weeks after his graduation. Update: “I just completed my 2nd season of leading Road Scholar tours. Since graduating form IGA, I’ve lead 11 tours and have 7 more upcoming.”
Amit Ariel, “I had high expectations when I signed up for the IGA Ft Lauderdale class. I was not disappointed. The class exceeded my expectations with excellent instructors, informative classes, lots of homework and constructive criticism which enabled me to go further than expected. Thank you, IGA!!” UPDATE: “Just wanted to say hello and update you on my current progress: I was hired by EF to lead tours starting in June (training in May). I’m also going to be training with Road Scholar in the Fall and start working with them. In addition,Tauck Tours reached out. I should be busy in the coming months. Thank you for all your help.”
Dimitri Pylarinos, “Just wanted to update you. White Pass and Yukon Route offered me a position as a guide this season in Skagway, AK and I accepted it! Thanks for all your help!”
Paula Miller, “Road Scholar assigned me to work 9 programs to Cuba this season. From over 70 Group Leaders, they narrowed the field to 40 and I was included in that group. I attended their training in Miami in August. A few weeks ago I received a call from the Cuba team asking me to pick up 2 more programs, back to back. I was told that I was the first Group Leader they called. I accepted!”
Paula Miller with her group during her 9th tour of Cuba
Thomas Meyers, “Greetings from Alaska. Your training brought me up to date. It landed me a job with Premier Alaska Tour in may. It was at least three phone interviews and FaceTime. Commentary as well. They said I had very good answers to their questions. That came from your training. Thanks for everything.”
Sandy Brooks, “I wanted to tell you I am “officially” a tour director, with EF Explore America Tours. I have been attending trainings with the company and have my first tour in March. As you know the people in this industry are amazing, which is an added bonus to this amazing new career path. Thanks again for getting me started on my new adventures.”
Sarah Kotzman: “It’s been 11 weeks since graduation, and I have just gotten my first job with a major travel corporation as a Tour Manager! Thank you, IGA! As their website states, “Our number one goal is our commitment to you as a student to provide the best educational experience and job placement support.” 1) Educational Experience: I was surprised & *very* happy with the intensity of the course. (This is coming from someone who went to 2 colleges at once!) IGA provides a wealth of information, and a huge bang for your buck. 2) They’re not kidding when they say they provide Free Lifetime Job Placement Assistance! The one-on-one interaction went well beyond my expectations, before & after graduation. Even more important is their communication *afterwards* – their continued support, advice, insights, and encouragement is absolutely amazing. IGA is family owned & operated, and treats their students and graduates like family as well.”
Ignacio Perez, “Thanks for the referral for the New England and Canada tours you sent all of us. I got a10-day tour out of it, and now I’ve added it to my growing resume.“
Jef Anderson, “I came to the International Guide Academy with previous experience in tour managing, and with the goal of getting back into the travel industry after some years away from it. The training and resources of IGA have completely fulfilled my expectations, and in fact have exceeded them. The training itself was very detailed, comprehensive, and challenging, reflecting the high level of responsibility that tour managing involves. The people I’ve worked with at IGA are not only highly knowledgeable about the practical, hardnosed details of tour managing, but are genuinely supportive and helpful to their graduates. My first job after getting the tour management certification came through an email that was sent to graduates of the program, so IGA has not only provided excellent training, but has sent valuable opportunities my way. I recommend IGA without reservation to anyone interested in a career in tour management.”
Jennifer Powell, I’ve been busy touring since graduation. I’ve been fortunate to work for Road Scholar leading tours in Key West, South Beach & Miami. Then about 18 months ago I started with Friendly Planet in Cuba! It’s a very interesting time to be going. I was there the morning Fidel Castro died. What a historic moment! I am now going to put my marine mammal knowledge & presentation/guiding skills to work in Alaska this summer as a naturalist on a whale watching boat!! I am so excited! I’ll be based out of Juneau so if any of you get to Juneau be sure to look me up.
Callan Braman, “…an update close to my three year anniversary of earning my certification as a Tour Director. I haven’t left the travel industry and I’m currently employed at Globus. I’m not tour directing anymore as I wanted a domestic life after I got engaged but went into operations’ work at tour operators and finally landed a dream gig with Globus. The job is incredible, and I just couldn’t be happier with my life. The team I work with is great, the company is phenomenal and the opportunity for travel is vast.”
Carmen Free, “I got Alaska! Leading tours this summer May through September. Woohoo!”
Sofia Efthymiou, I wanted to say thank you again for a fantastic class and wanted to share with you that, less than one month after graduation, I accepted a job with Holland America Princess line in Alaska. I definitely believe having the certification made it that much easier for them to interview and offer me a job all within one day of submitting my application. I’m so excited to get started on my career.
Nicole Kloek, I wanted to let you know that I was hired this week for the Canterbury Pilgrimages – California Mission Trail Pilgrimage! This was one of the jobs that you sent an email lead about. The tour is October 2-9, so I leave this Sunday. I’m so excited, and even though it is very short notice for planning, I feel confident that I can lead a successful tour after all the great training you provided. I’ve also had a second interview with another company and am supposed to speak with them again after I return from this tour. Thanks for the leads!”
Laurence Robinson (France/USA) “I would like to thank you for the terrific program you put together. I enjoyed it very much. I will honor the name of your Academy as much as I can. Again, thank you for having given me the opportunity to grow. Merci.
Connie Goodfellow, “I want to thank you for your continued support through email notices of job opportunities. I have had a very busy year leading tours with various companies throughout the United States and Canada. Through the diligent and effective training I gained at IGA, I was able to score high marks from happy guests through the evaluations I received at the end of each tour. What a gratifying experience!! Thank you so much for laying the foundational rocks that are allowing me to build on an amazing new career!”
Merlên Hoekstra, “I have been hired as a Tour Director and Tour Guide for the Presidential Inauguration this month in D.C. Woohoo!!!!!”
James Carmody, “I was very impressed by the scope and depth of the things we learned during our Tour Director classes in Denver. The team of Frank and Daniel was highly professional, informative and fun! We had a great group in our class and discussing, working together and problem solving various travel related scenarios was not only enjoyable but it was a great introduction to our future jobs as Tour Directors. I thought having an actual assignment on a motor coach and delivering my information, microphone in hand to the class as we drove around Denver was one of the many highlights.The Slater team of Frank and Daniel are dependable, highly informative and they know how to teach. If you are contemplating taking the Tour Director Course, I recommend diving right in! You will not regret taking this class, which can be a doorway into a new life!”
Sandi Stirling, “I have been very busy representing two Tour Operators now. Taking your course helped me be a better Tour Director and I thank you for that.”
Gary White let IGA know that he “will be working again this Fall and Winter adding to the average of 4 1/2 months out of the year he is leading guests to Cuba.”
Mandy Golec, “Thought you might like to know that I got my first Tour Guide job. It’s for Big Bus Chicago and I give the hop-on-hop-off tours in my home town now. I’ve been at it for a little over four weeks and have reviews on Trip Advisor to show for it now. Thanks for the help with your training and all the help with writing my resume.”
Audra Conklin, “First Road Scholar trip since graduating from the International Guide Academy last week – kayaking, rafting, and circumventing fires…. can’t call this “work”.”
Fiona Simon, “On my very first assignment as an IGA Certified International Tour Manager. The north rim of the Grand Canyon was windy and cold that day, in the middle of June! Such a fun private tour and the entire journey conducted “en español.” The couple was visiting from Peru and I was hired as a private Tour Manager to guide them. We also toured Bryce and Zion National Parks, so amazing.”
Joel Freedman, I very much enjoyed the program and appreciate receiving the “Getting Hired Book”. I sent my resume to a handful of companies listed in the Book and am pleased to let you know that I have just been hired! The program is perfect . . . I will be leading a group from Philadelphia on a tour of Savannah and Charleston. These are two cities with which I am very, very familiar so it is a perfect “first time” tour for me! UPDATE: I have just returned from my first stint as a Travel Manager! Last week I led a bus tour of 35 passengers on a 6 day trip from Philadelphia to the cities of Savannah and Charleston. It was for The Travel Authority (Bensalem, Pennsylvania). The trip was a success and my reviews were great. It was a wonderful “first time” experience, and I even had to handle a passenger falling and needing to go to the emergency room! I must say a huge “Thank You” to you and everyone at IGA. The only reason I was successful on this first trip is because I received the greatest training at IGA. I knew what to do with the materials I received in advance of the trip, I was able to handle any and all issues with the passengers and suppliers, and I was met with success because I relied on my IGA training! No one had any idea that it was my “first time”. In fact, the biggest compliment I received was from a passenger who said to me “oh my, you must have done this hundreds of times”! Thank you IGA!
Deb Jakub, “News: I have taken a job this summer with Holland America in Alaska, as part of their land tour operations. Just secured an apartment in Anchorage with a few other tour directors.“
Sandra Brooks, “Attending the recent International Guide Academy’s Tour Manager training was absolutely a wonderful experience. I knew from your website, student reviews, and speaking with you beforehand that the training would be beneficial, however it exceeded my expectations. I want to commend you on the depth of the class and the personal approach. The training confirmed my decision to pursue a career as a tour manager. The amount of knowledge I received during the course is invaluable and I feel confident that I could lead a tour today after the extensive training.”
Scott Briller, “After just completing the International Guide Academy certification class I must leave a comment. I have taken and passed the two leading schools for tour certification in the country. However, there is no competition. One school is a travel class. IGA is a college equivalent level course. IGA combines intensive education coupled with real life strategies to give you a real sense of what a tour really involves. Combine this with motorcoach training and great teachers … and you have the ingredients needed to have a successful Tour Director career. I also want to let you know about some good news. After 2 interviews with EF tours, I was invited to attend a 3 day tour training in DC. I also am expecting to hear back from 3 other companies. I know the way you educated us is the reason I’m acing interviews. The companies are blown away with the knowledge I acquired from IGA. Thanks again!”
Audrey De Monte, “I am now a small group tour operator offering small unique group tours to Italy and France and also a South American tour. Clients can either purchase a pre-designed itinerary, or I can customize for their group of friends, family, company. http://www.travelswithaudrey.com/
Cathy & Gordon Illg, “We graduated as Tour Managers in October 1999. We have had our own company, Adventure Photography Photo Tours since July 2000. We run small group nature and wildlife oriented photography tours around the US. They are all-inclusive—instruction, lodging, meals, transportation, entry fees, snacks & drinks. Our website is: www.advenphoto.com.”
Rachel Moody, “I attended a recruitment day at AmericanTours International (ATI) after receiving an email from IGA, which turned into a mini training tour, which eventually led to a “sit-in” tour and being hired as a Tour Director! I have been leading mostly 14-day tours of the Southwestern United States for two seasons now and I love it! It is hard work that does not feel like work. I can’t believe I get to say that. My office is the front seat of a bus sharing the most amazing places with my favorite people–travelers! I love my passengers!!! They bring me such joy! The many wonderful tour professionals I get to work with out on the road have been a pleasure, and I have run into several IGA graduates! It always feels like meeting an old friend you didn’t know you had. I’ve also worked with YMT Vacations on their annual Rose Parade Tour for two years now, and I am gearing up for another season with both companies this year. Thanks to IGA!! I can’t wait to see what the future holds!”
DeAnna Roe: “I was hired by Globus in 2014 with a seasonal temp contract, was back in 2015 with a part-time contract from March-November, 2016 and worked for them again in 2017 and 2018″.
Elizabeth Smith earned her certifications as both a Tour Director and Tour Guide and she writes “Things are going great in Alaska, doing motorcoach tours for Premier Alaska Tours. I have done six tours and start my seventh this Friday. It’s especially nice to have such a large network of tour directors here to compare notes with. Premier has 80 tour directors, including many IGA graduates! Our group includes Sherry Moon, Debbie Willis, Jane Pritchett, Darren Hosang, Cheryl Sennett and Tracy Wimmer. One of our drivers, Tim Hardesty, is also an IGA grad. I’m really enjoying my tours, and getting great feedback from my guests. I love making their Alaska vacations memorable! Thank you, IGA. For 2019 I plan for a 7th straight summer in Alaska and fall in New England, and a sixth straight spring in DC.”
Louise Forgues, “I am working for Collette and also started with an Ottawa company sending me to awesome places like Iceland, Ireland, Spain, Portugal, Viking River cruise, Caribbean cruise, etc. Many thanks again for your excellent course which more than prepared me for all the challenges of such varied tours.”
Amanda Larson, has been hired by Story Land & Sea to lead tours through Europe.
Susan Nevers, “We have been trained well! My first experience in Dubai with a Tour Operator and Manager had me thinking of ALL the things they did WRONG or could have done way better! Thank you International Guide Academy for teaching us how to do it the right way.”
Jen Dickinson, “This year has been the busiest year so far with tours. I had steady work from February up until this week. I have a couple months off until January when I start some trainings for a couple of the companies I work for and then my tours start again in Feb. I got hired by EF – Explore America and did tours all Spring and Summer for them in NYC and DC. I also got hired by Mayflower Tours and started my first adult tours this Fall in Chicago and Michigan, way different than student tours but still a lot of fun and rewarding.”
Doug McCormick has started his own company, American History Tours, LLC www.historytoursamerica.com with historic tours about the American Revolution and American Civil War.
Pam (Blake) Keller, Owner/Operator At Your Pace – Freestyle Cycling Adventures. Regional experts in Colorado self-guided cycling and multi-sport tours. www.atyourpacebiking.com
Nicki Bruckmann, has her own tour company: Explorer Chick Adventure Co. http://explorerchick.com/
Explorer Chick is a Tour Operator specializing in Adventure Travel for Women. Explorer Chicks can expect all-inclusive, action packed itineraries delivered with exceptional service. We are always looking to add new outdoor adventures to the calendar to challenge and impact Explorer Chicks. We also curate custom travel for Teams, Groups, and Fitness Studios.
Elizabeth Waldren, “Several months after graduating I was hired by the U. S. Department of Interior as a full-time U.S. National Park Service Guide Ranger, one of my top choices! IGA graduates are equipped with the skills needed to stand above the pack and succeed. Employers recognize the value of IGA graduates and their ability to deliver superior service.”
Kim Beaupre owns and operates AdventureHERTravel.com “Women Travel Differently!”
Maureen King is co-owner of MS Touring. We offer travel advice, travel planning, small group tours, and event planning. www.mstouring.com
Carolyn Emanuel founded Back Story Tours, a Multi-sport Adventures in the Four Corners states and the Western US National Parks including Mesa Verde, Rocky Mountain National Park, The Grand Canyon North and South Rims, Saguaro East and West National Parks, Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks, Glacier National Park. Arches and Canyonlands. Zion and Bryce National Parks! www.backstorytours.com.
Micky Kandola, “Just wanted to let you know that myself and Mark Love from my class are flying to fully comped 1 week training for Grand circle travel at the end of this month for the Pacific Northwest national Parks Tour. So far they provide extensive training and them a FAM tour. The $$ inc is at the top end of what you said was normal and, also being Canadian, we benefit from a low CDN $$. The training at IGA definitely helped a lot and gave me the confidence to do well at the group interviews last month.”
Jessica Ericson, “Just wanted to send a thank you for helping me with my resume/CV and in getting this job. Going to IGA and taking this job are some of the best decisions I have ever made!”
Carole Copeland-Thomas: “I am still pinching myself in amazement that the course is over and I finished at the top of the class. Simply amazing! I received my course transcript today and cover letter detailing my grades. How remarkable and such an exhilarating feeling to know that the industry that I love will embrace me wholeheartedly. Your excellent teaching, background experience, and encouragement were true assets to our class. Plus I thoroughly enjoyed all of my classmates, and wish them all the very best in the years to come as they pursue opportunities within the industry. Thank you again for your encouragement and for your vision of pressing forward with this very important educational institution. I wish you the best with the upcoming classes and your group tours.”
Amanda Larson, “Thank you IGA for an incredible nine days of learning!! I am so grateful for the opportunity to study, learn and graduate!! I would highly recommend this course–it will push a person out of their comfort zone for sure but you’ll also leave with a toolbox full of necessary skills for the tour and travel industry!!”
Gwen Rhine has her first assignments from Globus family of brands and is looking forward to receiving her first tour papers for her Cosmos motor coach tours.
Meredith Wright, “I’ve been waiting to say it officially…but now I can!! I accepted a position with Lancaster Tours as a Tour Planner and Escort!! I’ve been working on contract with them since February developing tours. I’m so excited for this opportunity and so grateful for my training and the confidence that it gave me! Not only am I being paid to travel, but I have a full time job that I love – that doesn’t feel like work! My first tour to escort is on Saturday to Savannah and I have tours to DC, NYC, a Hawaiian cruise, Key West, Mardi Gras and St. Augustine on the horizon. Keeping busy! Thank you so much IGA Frank Slater and Daniel Slater, best job a girl could hope for!”
Melissa Paniccia is Supervisor, Travel Agent Sales & Services for Globus family of brands.
Curtis Evans, “I just returned from Scotland working the Collette Discover Scotland tour. It’s my favorite of many favorites. I’ll be traveling a lot in the coming months: South Dakota , Wyoming, Utah, New Mexico, Scotland, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida and finish the year with a San Antonio Getaway tour.”
Molly Clark, “I am now a tour guide for southwest adventure tours. I drive a 12 passenger van and take guests to national parks. It has been a wild but fun ride. I have learned a lot including how to drive around the Vegas strip… With a van plus trailer!!!!Thank you IGA for setting me up for success!!
Scott McEown, “Hey Gang! Hope everyone’s summer is going awesome! I finished a fam tour with Globus, touring Montreal, Quebec City, Ottawa and Toronto, finishing the tour on a boat ride below Niagara Falls and farewell dinner top of the CN Tower. Next, same trip three times with me leading! I’m so excited…and I just can’t hide it! … thank you, thank you, thank you IGA.”
David Happe, “An epic fall is shaping up! As of now, I am scheduled to lead a nine-day Trafalgar tour from SLC to Rapid City visiting Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks along with Mt. Rushmore, followed by joining the m/s Ryndam in early October for its farewell voyage beginning in Venice and ending in Singapore via the Suez Canal, Oman, India, Sri Lanka and Malaysia.”
Christine Johnson, “I am currently leading tours for Mayflower Tours and C and G Tours. Of course, that is thanks to the training I received at IGA.”
Ezster Valeria Vegh, “Thank you so much for the great education you provided at the International Guide Academy. During my job search I talked to many different companies and all of them had only VERY GOOD things to say about your school. They all appreciate the great education you provide. I got my first job less then 3 months after I finished school. When I asked the hiring agent about how many tours they assign to each Tour Manager, he told me that just because I have a certification from the International Guide Academy, I will be assigned to more tours than the rest of them. Of course the job search is very time consuming, but if you follow the instructions Daniel gave us, you will succeed. The suggestion to attend Toastmasters International was also a useful one. I had my 1st speech and I won the Best Speaker ribbon! I already have a leadership position in the TM club as a Secretary. I’m not only going to be a more confident and powerful speaker but I will also further expand my leadership qualities. Thank you IGA!”
Janice Love, “I am working as the Tour Director Supervisor for the land tour division of Holland America, which has afforded me a ton of travel experience and a nice paycheck too.”
Barbara Zarzosa, “When I was first considering a career as a Tour Manager, Daniel took the time to patiently answer all of my questions about the industry and about the course at IGA. He was one of my instructors and was a weatlh of knowledge. After I became certified, IGA provided invaluable job-search assistance and continues to be an accessible and valued resource to me as I continue my successful career as a Tour Manager.”
Scott McEown, “I’m very pleased to tell you that my passengers survived me on my first solo tour. Everything went smoothly as planned, and I hope all my future tours go equally as well. Already lined up for a Buffalo area tour in 2 weeks, then a 4-day tour around Ottawa area in 3 weeks! Very excited!”
Chris Ansoff, “Just finished my first tour! It is nice to finally have one under my belt. Thank you IGA for preparing me so well! I know my training helped me get the job and helped me on the tour. Persistence paid off!”
Eileen Toussaint, “I just wanted to let you know that because of my graduating from IGA, and thanks to your job posting I am now employed by Allied Tour and Travel out of Norfolk, NE. As you may remember, I got a job with Mayflower out of Downers Grove, IL, immediately after my graduation from IGA. I had such great experiences with the company and it was wonderful traveling with them and their clients. Then you posted the opening with Allied the and I applied. Well they promptly had me in for an interview and because of my past experience and especially because I had IGA training, they brought me on board. I am still so thankful I took the leap and got my training from IGA. You and your father provided me with invaluable skills to enjoy a life of adventure and “Be Paid To Travel” experiences. Thank you so much.”
Ignacio Perez: “I wanted to let you know I have been leading the People to People tours down in Cuba for International Expeditions and they have hired me once again for the upcoming Fall/Winter season. I thank you for the referral that led to my getting this position and thanks for the exceptional training, which was the reason I was hired. I have also worked for Go West Tours, Expert Travel, and Explorica.”
Micky Kandola, “I just got confirmation that I’ll be doing a familiarization tour for 2 weeks and then two paid tours in the Pacific Northwest (17 days and 14 days) this summer for Grand Circle Travel. This Includes Washington, Idaho, Montana, Alberta, and BC. I am excited …. IGA training helped a lot and gave me a lot of confidence.”
Scott McEown, “I was on a fam tour last week, and I’m very pleased and proud and excited to let you know I was offered a Tour Director position with the Great Canadian Holidays.”
Trace Elkind, “Just wrapped up a TD gig. Motor coach from Puerto Vallarta to Tequila, Guanajuato, San Miguel de Allende and Tala. Now in San Cristobal de las Casas and getting set up for my next group to arrive in a few days. If I can do it – you can too!”
Erin Egresitz, “I am leading my first tour to Cuba in April!”
Janette Tepas, “After finishing with IGA, I’ve spent five seasons leading small groups in Italy, France, Switzerland, Austria, France, Scotland, Wales, England, and the Czech Rebublic, with plans to add a few more countries this year. My great happiness is sharing all the wonders of amazing places with our guests, and connecting people to cultures, in new and meaningful ways. I’ve been working with many IGA graduates, and some of my happiest times have been spending time with these colleagues during and between tours over in Europe. These are my favorite group of people that I’ve ever worked with in my life! I have to assume it’s because we all share this same “bug”…the travel bug. It’s wonderful for us to have IGA in common, as we have an automatic commonality, thanks to you. Working with a small company has allowed me to help in creation of various aspects of tours, and allowed me to have some great personal adventures as well. When I think of all that I have learned in these years, I am agog! I have studied ancient to modern history, ( I’ve become a history geek!), to knowing so many wonderful European cities and towns almost as well as my own city, to the computer necessities of working with expense reports, etc. I do wonder if I would ever be able to going back to heading off to the same place every single day for a job. I’ve gotten spoiled by having the most beautiful “offices” in the world. Thank you, Daniel and IGA for getting me started the right way!”
Emily Bisbach, “I was thrilled to accept a full time position with Collette just months after graduating from the IGA certification course. I can’t wait to put everything I learned with IGA to use while doing my dream job!”
Kim Capron, “I’m proud and excited to have been offered a full time tour manager position with an amazing tour company, Collette Vacations.”
Jessica Tucker, “I wanted to officially let you both know (as you had requested whenever one of us landed a position) that I am now officially a part time employee with Sports Leisure Vacations. I will be working 3 days a week for now – they want me to learn the company from the ground up before starting to lead day trips (within the next month or two) and eventually longer tours. Thank you both SO much again for providing such wonderful knowledge and facilitating this connection.”
Steve Richards, “I did 11 tours last year all over Europe.. loved it. Heading to our new Winter Getaway to Cabo San Lucas next week, then the season starts up again in April. I was in Italy for Christmas with a tour.”
Mark Love, “I just returned from Punta Cana where I escorted a group of 85. Wow, did my IGA training ever come in handy as I had to deal with everything from an emergency medical situation, botched shopping tour, dangerous excursion, a million questions, a wrong departure dinner reservation and so much more. I LOVED EVERY MINUTE and THRIVED!”
Brigid Houlihan, Ireland, “I was employed by Saga Holidays as a Russian River Cruise Escort. I have taken groups on 7 tours on the Volga between St Petersburg and Moscow. I was also called upon to escort cruises on the Elbe, the Oder, the Rhine/Moselle and the Meuse. These trips took me all over Germany and parts of Poland, France, the Netherlands and Belgium. I was also taken on by Collette as an Independent European Tour Manager.”
Brigid on tour at Kizhi Island
Terri Ross states, “I am amazed at how fast job opportunities arose after earning my certification with the International Guide Academy. My first confirmed assignment received is on a cruise ship working in the Sea of Cortes and with a second company I have confirmed tours to work in two foreign countries (Cuba and Panama).. Thank you, IGA.”
Michael DeVolder, “I worked for Gate 1, Queenslander, C&G Tours, and Explorica. Explorica sent me to DC & NYC a lot in the spring (16 times with students), Gate 1, here in Florida and QueensLander in Europe. I figured I spent just short of 90 days in Italy alone from mid June to late October. This year Worldstrides hired me and I’m on the short list for one maybe two more. I love what I do and where I go and who I tour with.”
Kim Harris has completed over 25 tours with Burke Christian tours, Vacations by Rail and various school tours.
Carol Tippelt has worked for Grand Circle Travel, European Tours, Ed-Ventures Tours, CE Tours, Collette Vacations, Mind’s Eye Travel, Disneyland Tours, New Directions and Sunshine Tour Company.
Kim Capron has been creating travel memories and experiences with her passengers with Southwest Adventure Tours, America’s Cowboy Country Tours and Cody Wyoming Adventures. Her assignments have been as Tour Manager and Driver/Guide.
Janet Poss, reports that “During my four years as a Tour Manager I have been responsible for all aspects of adult tours whose duration of 18 to 31 days spanned America from New York City to San Francisco. And I have also been the Tour Manager responsible for leadership and educational commentary for student tours along the Eastern Seaboard for up to 11 days which covered Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Washington DC, Williamsburg, Gettysburg and beyond.”
Patrick Nixon, was recently hired as a Tour Guide with A Private Guide and is one of many IGA graduates hired by this company.
Tom Bruch, is currently leading group tours in Munich, Germany at the BMW Welt, BMW Museum and BMW Production plant. He also gives tours at the Dachau Memorial site plus works for EF Cultural Tours with groups of 30-70 people on ten-day tours of Europe. In earlier assignments, he has led bike tours around the city of Munich.
Lisa Shoemaker is a Course Leader at WorldStrides and a Tour Manager at Globus family of brands.
Becky Alexander, “What an adventure this year has been! After completing the IGA Tour Manager course in Dec., I was working for a small tour operator by Feb. I did a training tour to Mackinac Island, MI, led a tour to Canada (Niagara Falls and Toronto), and did some travel writing for them. Then in Aug. I was hired by Globus for the season for the Eastern US & Canada Grand Vacation, completing a 15-day training tour and leading two back-to-back 15-day tours. The hours were long, the challenges were difficult, the expectations were high, but the experiences were unforgettable. I was grateful every day for the training I received at IGA!”
Mary Jane Ulrich Petoskey, “What a wonderful season I had as a step on guide for my own name, Petoskey Area Tours. The companies I worked for this year were Bianco Tours, Group Tours To Go, Gad Abouts, Gail Andrus Tours, Ambassadair Tours, Buckeye Tours and Straits Area Step On Guide Service. I love sharing my part of Northern Michigan with anyone! I would never have had a clue how to get the jobs and perform professionally if I had not been a student of the International Guide Academy! They opened the door for me! Forever grateful!”
David Rutt, “Just wanted to check in and let you know I got my week off to a good start by completing my first face-to-face interview this morning and picking up my first Tour Company! I’ll be working several student tours between February -> May/June with Tri-State Tours in Galena, IL (they were in the hiring book). Prior to that I’ll do a shadow tour with these folks. They own their own full set of coaches and also do Adult tours so there is potential to expand out into that area as well.”
Liane Soles is now a Tour Manager with Newmarket Holidays.
Gwenn Goo-Yates is now a Tour Director for Hemisphere Educational Travel.
Haydee Shabelski, “I graduated from IGA March 23rd. By April 29th I had landed a job bringing passengers to the National Parks of Southwest area. I’m showing them the parks of Utah, along with Mesa Verde and Durango in Colorado, and the Grand Canyon, Lake Powell, and Monument Valley in Arizona. I’m having such a blast!! They’ve kept me ridiculously busy, and will be keeping me busy at least through Thanksgiving. I absolutely love this career! I liken it to being paid to go on vacation with people.”
Kim Capron, “Thanks to IGA I’m currently on tour in Northern California. What a beautiful part of our wonderful country! Flying free!”
Vicki Hedberg, ” I am working as a Tour Director in Alaska this season after completing the International Guide Academy, Inc program! The IGA program helped me build the skills required to begin working as a Tour Director, as well as providing professional, “spot on” preparation for the interview process. We were given a great overview of the travel industry and the life of a tour director as well as many tips and tricks from professionals with many years of experience to help us be great Tour Directors. Love this job! Thank you Daniel and IGA Staff for helping me with this new direction!!”
Nina Padden, is working as the Shore Excursion manager on the ship Pearl Mist on the Atlantic Coast of the USA and has also worked on the Clelia-2 and Yorktown.
Nina leading a tour at the Acropolis
Louise Forgues, IGA graduate in the Canada certification program, writes “Many thanks again for your support and encouragement as I prepared for the Hiring Fam Tour with Collette Vacations. It was an amazing opportunity to have been selected to participate and no doubt my IGA certification was an important factor. I was delighted to meet other IGA graduates during the Fam Tour and to share experiences with all those participating… Update: I am working for Collette Tours now on contract as well as for Education First (EF) … both ends of the spectrum with students and adults”
Dana Lanier, “I just HAD to let you know that I’ve been offered a position with Holiday Vacations! All the interviewing paid off! After my two day interview, I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that THIS was the company I want to work for. I go for training next week, then a Fam tour! I appreciate the support you gave after the class was over. I truly appreciated the time and energy and encouragement IGA continues to give long after the class ended.”
Kim Moriarity is now a Tour Director at Northeast Unlimited Tours, Inc.
Barb Hahn, “I just finished a very thorough training session in Vancouver and then a 10 day “fam” trip with Scenic Tours. My first tour as a tour director for them will be a 20 day tour from New York to San Francisco, including the East Coast, West Coast and places between. I will certainly rely on the skills and knowledge I obtained from the IGA classes to acquaint the tour members with the places, the people, and interesting stories of the areas we will be visiting. Thanks again for all of the information and continued communication!”
Liz, Mary, and Ryane doing a group-selfie while leading tours in Italy
Lynnette Marr, “I took my first solo trip last week. What an experience! 9 students (8 of whom were 8th graders) and 12 adults, some of whom had no children on the trip but had never been to Washington, DC and wanted to see the sights. I felt that the entire trip was guided by the hand of God, or the alignment of the planets, or whatever force you could imagine that caused so many coincidences to occur that made this trip a success. I got a crash course in the science of group movement – my schedule was almost impossibly packed, but I had the advice and guidance of a seasoned tour manager to help me coordinate my times. (By the way, he mentioned that it was unheard of for a first year tour manager in this company to get a solo trip, so I feel very blessed to have had this experience and that Nowak Tours had so much faith in me!) Many of the lessons I learned at IGA classes in Denver helped me to deal with issues that arose – reminding the passengers about being on time or missing out on scheduled sites, dealing with a phone left behind at a restaurant, making sure to communicate clearly with my motor coach driver, checking in at our hotel, commenting on sights before they passed by. I feel I have a solid background from which to grow, provided by my IGA instruction.”
Cathy Ormerod, “I’m happy to say that I have landed my first gig as a Tour Leader with Evolve Tours based out of Toronto, ON. I’ll be leading class trips and youth groups throughout Ontario, Quebec and potentially New York. I would like to thank you, as well as Frank and Connie, for all the knowledge and information that you provided during training. The course material/workbook has continued to be an asset, I consulted with it a million times from my cover letter to my first ‘in office’ meeting and I’ll continue to keep it with me during our staff training trip to Ottawa and Montreal at the end of the month. Thank you again, and I’ll keep you in touch as I grow with the company and hopefully, begin leading international adventures!
Jen Bordin, works for Explore America, “I lead tours in Florida, New York City, Philadelphia and Washington DC. My tours are for International high school students who are in the United States and Canada studying for one year.”
Janet Barr, “Just wanted to let you know that I’m out with my first coach tour group in the Washington, D.C. area on day six of a 12 day trip. The course I took has been VERY helpful. “Getting Hired” was a great help as well. The owner of the company I’m working for didn’t see my resume because he was in the hospital, but I did my follow-up call, like you instructed. He asked to me tell a little about myself. When I mentioned IGA in Denver, he asked me to fax a resume. So here I am, working on a job I love, meeting wonderful people, and seeing incredible sights. Thanks so much!”
Murielle Brousseau, “My first student tour is already finished and I am back home. The 12-14 year olds seemed to enjoy themselves. Again it felt good, I truly enjoy tour director work.”
Michelle Draper, “I wanted to let you know that, after 3 interviews, I have been hired with Holland America and will be in Alaska all summer! I’m very excited to start my career in this busLiziness! Thanks for your help!”
Becky Regan, “I am pleased to announce that I am officially a full-time tour manager for Collette! I have just completed the two-week training process in preparation for my upcoming tours. I will be traveling to France on two different training tours, then leading my own tour in France. It has been an overwhelming process, but I felt a sense of security having completed the IGA-Denver course. I was familiar with many of the terms that they were using and the procedures we learned in class were helpful to apply in the situations they presented to us in class.
I am so glad that I graduated from the IGA program in my process of making the leap to change careers. I am nervous, but excited to see what lies ahead for me. I want to thank all of you for the thorough training I received, and for your assistance even a year after I graduated.”
Cal Braman writes: “Thanks to IGA, I am now employed as a tour director at both EF: Explore America and C&G Tours conducting student tours of the Eastern Seaboard! My training at IGA helped secure me one of EF’s largest North American tours to DC, Philadelphia, New York City, and Boston! They said they normally don’t assign beginner tour directors this tour, but felt confident I could handle it, and I feel every bit of my success is thanks to the training I received with IGA! Thanks to all IGA staff for the superb and superior quality of training I received and, very soon, I’ll be living my dream as a Tour Director! I am glad I chose the right school!”
Guiding on-site in Mexico
Kristen Lawrence, has received offers from two Tour Operators. Kristen writes “Thank you all for the training and especially the fantastic details in the hiring book! The comprehensiveness of the Hiring Book certainly has prevented numerous, advice-seeking phone calls to you all. I will continue to put it to good use!”
Elaine Rodriguez: “I have had the most fantastic year as a tour manager. I’ve led tours in Italy, Spain, Portugal, the United Kingdom, Canada, and most recently Cuba. I’m working for four companies and have worked steadily every month for the past year. I have had some of the most wonderful moments hosting guests in these various locations. Working in Cuba has been particularly rewarding. The People to People license we are required to travel under has brought me face to face with Cubans of all kinds, and I now look at the world around me with slightly different eyes. Many of these wonderful people are now my friends and they have changed me forever. What a gift this is, and what a privilege it is to have this career. Going to IGA continues to be the best decision I’ve ever made. Thank you.”
Elaine with one of her groups in Italy
Kay Orias, “Another successful, consecutive assignment for NAMM (National Association for Music Merchants) in Anaheim, CA. Among the attendees were Stevie Wonder, Sheila E., and the wizard, genius Todd Rundgren who won the Les Paul Award ‘for his achievements as a visionary musician, producer, engineer, video artist and tech pioneer.’ Met wonderful folks from Bermuda, Scotland (UK), the US, and Italy who I spoke to in Italian and he adored the fact that I correctly identified his hometown, near Vicenza, Veneto. In February, I will be welcoming the National Tour Association Convention/United Motorcoach Association Expo for Travel Exchange ’14 at the Los Angeles Convention Center. So excited!”
Ron Lichtman, “I now have led 5 highly successful trips to Cuba on behalf of Globus…I have done all the trips with top results.”
Allison Bitten, “I am still plugging away and working for Mayflower Tours here in the Chicago area. This year, I did a few tours to South Carolina and out on the West Coast for them. Previously, I worked two summer seasons for Peak Adventure Travel going all over the country. I received your e-mail tip about XXXXXX hiring. I immediately sent in my resume, because the idea of full time employment as a Tour Manager appeals to me very much. And really, working for a company as big as XXXX has been the dream all along. I am excited to report that I have been invited out to for their Hiring Fam Tour in January! I am more than thrilled and cannot wait. Thanks for your help and thank you so much for being on top of who is hiring! Without IGA, I really don’t see how I would have been able to embark on this wonderful life I now lead, so thanks for that!
Steve Knapp, “Such an amazing journey… On such a short trip! My experience during the International Guide Academy’s Tour Director class aboard the NCL Dawn was nothing short of Life-Changing! Not only did your instructors teach us all the mechanics of managing any tour… But more importantly, even as you highlighted your distinct differences, each of you modeled for us exactly “who” a Tour Manager really is! Each one is different, but all are amazing!
Words can not describe the amazing growth that I both witnessed and experienced in a mere two weeks time. For me, I found MY passion! For the rest of my life I could never ask for more than the opportunity to help others experience and appreciate the joy in their life. Could there be anything better than getting paid to help someone have the best time of their life? Two weeks ago I could only imagine being an International Tour Director. Today… I can’t imagine being anything else!
With the greatest of admiration, respect and gratitude I would like to thank you all for helping guide me along this path of amazing growth and opportunity!
Debbie Willis, “Since completing the Tour Manager class I have worked seven seasons in Alaska. From 4 years I was a Denali Express Tour Director for Princess Tours. My responsibilities included itinerary planning, booking optional excursions, making dinner reservations–I was pretty much a mobile concierge. Guests disembarked the ship in Whittier and we took them directly to Denali National Park. I was responsible for either one (80 passengers) or two (160 passengers) cars of passengers per ship day. During the last 2 seasons I led tours throughout Alaska and Canada for both Princess and Holland America. This past season I lead tours for Premier Alaska Tours.”
Katrina Woollatt, wrote “There was so much more than I anticipated in your program, but I’m really glad I took the course. The material was well presented, the instructors were very approachable, and the other participants were great to spend time with. When I came home it was almost like leaving family behind… Just how you want passengers to feel after a tour, right! Thanks for a great learning experience.”
Lisa Shoemaker: Thanks to my training at IGA, I’m living and loving the world of tour directing. I have made so many new friends from all over the country. I’ve been leading student tours for EF/Explore America (formerly EF/Smithsonian) and Educational Tours, Inc., and also for a few adult tour operator’s. My philosophy is: If you’re going to work, why not have fun doing it.
Muriel Brousseau (2 weeks after graduation): “Thank you for the recent job lead! I have been hired by Caravan Tours for two tours in the Canadian Rockies this month! I could not be more enthusiastic! This is fantastic! Thank you International Guide Academy!”
Rachel Verrett: “I am starting my first tour this week through Nova Scotia and PEI. I got this last-minute but I know I can handle it because of the training you gave me. Thank you!”
Peggy Shaw: “I’m happy to let you know I’ve been hired by Globus family of brands. I’m scheduled for a Cosmos New England training tour followed by a tour as director this fall. Thanks again for your training. I appreciate the many personal suggestions you included in training.”
Jane Pritchett, “This is my second season as a Tour Director for Royal Caribbean and Celebrity cruisetours in Alaska. I have led over 30 tours ranging from 4- 6 days each with Motor coaches up to 53 passengers. It is a busy, busy summer but I get to enjoy Alaska as much as the guests do and it is SO exciting to share this magnificent state with guests from all over the world. Whitewater rafting, zip lining, flight-seeing around Denali, landing on a glacier,and hiking are just a few of the excursions that I have experienced. And my “office” is either a luxury motorcoach or a glass-domed train car. What a life!”
Gary White, “A big THANK YOU to IGA for giving me a solid footing in a new and exciting career! I was certified through and began working as a tour director leading people to people tours of Cuba. I have led tours in the Southeast United States and the Mid-Atlantic. I am fortunate to have full-time, year-round work as a tour director and this career would not have been possible without International Guide Academy. IGA provided me with the resources to effectively locate and apply for jobs in the travel industry and the knowledge to organize, manage and lead both domestic and international trips.
The top tour operators seek the highest of standards from their tour directors and an IGA certification is a strong statement indicating your commitment to the profession. Thanks IGA!”
Joe Liss, was certified as a Tour Director and attended the Destination Awareness New England course. He led his first tour as Tour Captain in Italy for Queenslander Tours in July. “I did well because they’ve scheduled me for additional tours in September and October! I’ve always dreamed of going to Italy and now I’ve led tours there multiple times. And making sure others are having fun while they are there. This is a dream come true… Fellow IGA graduates helped me every step of the way. Tour Captains stick together!”
Daniel Guertin, “I have worked as a Tour Manager this year for Voyages Tour Etudiants (8 different groups) coming to Ottawa (6), 1 to Toronto and 1 to Kinsgton and it was AMAZING! I have been told that next year there will be lots of new tours for me including New York, Boston, Washington, etc… There’s even a company that told me they are doing new business with European and Chinese vacationers to have 14 day trips from Quebec City to Niagara Falls with me as their tour director! I had the best time of my life. Still living the dream!”
Jann Ross: “I just wanted to share with you that I completed 3 tours for Shenandoah Tours in April and May. I took one group to Lancaster, PA to experience the Amish countryside, and another to beautiful Brandywine Valley before being hired to lead a Mystery Tour to Kentucky. My IGA training has certainly given me added confidence and industry knowledge that is enabling me to excel at this work, and this has now translated into my being assigned two additional tours in July… one to Lake Erie’s shores and islands, and another to Montreal and Quebec City. Thank you!”
Duncan Murphy, “Thank you so much for all your help and the fantastic training that was provided to me at IGA. I met some awesome people during my training, learned a lot about the industry, what it takes to run a successful tour, and I greatly improved my public speaking skills. All of this is what helped me to recently be hired by VBT Bicycling and Walking Vacations to lead bicycle tours on Cape Cod and Martha’s Vineyard this fall! The Cape is my favorite place in the world and I’m really looking forward to putting my skills to work and providing an excellent experience to all the VBT guests with whom I have the pleasure of travelling. Thank you all so much!”
Kim Harris, “Wanted to share w/ you my 1st tour! It was fabulous,so fabulous Christian Tours have now assigned my 2nd and 3rd tours!!! It will be a “Music City” tour of Nashville and other tour will be Atlanta baseball,Six Flags over Atlanta and Atlanta zoo! Life is an adventure,LET’S LIVE IT!!!”
Kim Harris with one of her tour groups
Audrey De Monte and Janet Kucks have been hired by QueensLander Tours and are leading many tours this season. “This week we both have groups in Italy’s Great Cities, plus an extension to the Amalfi Coast. Here we are on break above Positano while our guests are buying fresh cherries! Loving life in Italy. A dream come true! Grazie!”
Bridget Gallagher, “I have been so busy I haven’t had time to think. After spending 4 1/2 months living in Key West working for Road Scholar from Boston I had four days to get ready to work for the State of Maine doing their FAM a week later a cruise to the Carribean with 75 passengers and leave again in three days for an Alaska cruise with 50 passengers. I have a steady diet of tours all this season going to wonderful places such as Virginia, all the New England States plus New Orleans and back again to Key West. I have met so many wonderful people along these journeys and seen many places I would of never known if not following through with my dream of travel. Thanks for the memories Daniel and Frank and a job of a lifetime.”
Cheryl Sennett, “I am just beginning my 6th season in Alaska and my 2nd season with Premier Alaska Tours. Thanks to you, I landed a fall tour on the East Coast with Collette Vacations last year. I hope to do the same next year. I previously worked with Tourco leading a New England Tour. Being an IGA grad continues to pay off for me. I love being paid to travel!”
Liz Oliver was hired by Joshua Expeditions and is designing tours throughout Europe.
Cindy Spohr, “So here is some exciting news! I was invited to an “extended” training/interview for ATI, Los Angeles! I had actually sent them my resume back in February and visited ATI offices in March. Turned out that the visit was a 1st “interview.” Well, they called me last Monday and I will be on their “over the road” training.
Theresa Schulte, “Since taking your classes, I have been an escort with groups going to New England, a Panama Canal Cruise, Ireland, a Danube River Cruise, a tour of SE USA starting next week, and will be leading a tour to Italy in the fall. Thank you! It has been fun and interesting experiencing the different guides along the way – from the Tour Managers to the city step-on guides. I am learning something every trip!”
Caroline Nielsen, “After your program in August, I led my first solo tour to India, Nepal, and Tibet. It went very well and I felt more assured and confident because of the IGA program. I did have a few “moments” that tested my abilities, but you taught us to remain calm under pressure and everything was successful. I led 3 more expeditions in (Bali, Indonesia; Peru and the Inca Trail; and South Africa) and I am looking forward to more adventures. I am confident in expressing that my Certification from IGA has set me apart from other group leaders and is why I am receiving these wonderful opportunities.”
Erin Egresitz, “I just wanted to let you know that I got my first tour. It is a tour of the Hudson Valley. I am super excited to start all of this and grateful for your help!
Mark McGuire and Kyle Rose, founders of Deaf Travel International and IGA graduates: “We are thrilled to inform you that our first group tour to Costa Rica was a success, largely due to your certification course. We certainly look forward to more tours in the future. We also plan to bring some of our associates to your course in the future to acquire the Tour Director Certification so we can expand our company.”
Mary Jane Ulrich, “My training at IGA in Denver was a positive change in my life. I am a step-on Tour Guide in my resort area on Little Traverse Bay of Lake Michigan. I have been working tours for 4 years, sharing my passino for living in the unique northern area of four seasons inthe Great Lakes state. I love the groups that I have shared this area with, many are tours that are on their way to visit Mackinac Island. Working the tours adds a dimension to my life that is just fantastic. I love getting on the motor coaches and showing the guests my area of the beautiful and great State of Michigan! I would never have done this without the encouragement and training from the International Guide Academy!”
Gwenn Goo-Yates, “Thanks to IGA’s reputation of outstanding training and education, I am looking forward to continued success as a Tour Manager, and am well ocaron my way to enjoying a schedule that keeps me “on the road” throughout the year! Since graduation, I’m now on the roster of multiple operators! I work for some educational/student group companies, such as EF Explore America, Explorica, and Bob Rogers Travel. At the same time, I have also managed to balance out my calendar with operators who run adult tours, such as a regional operator and (THANK YOU, IGA!) now, Grand Circle Travel! Like some of your other graduates, I recently went through their interviewing process and was offered training in March and tours later in the Summer.
So, along with leading tours to the Presidential Inauguration this year, I’ll be in traveling throughout the Eastern Seaboard, Chicago, and regionally here in the Midwest (MN, WI, IA, IL, IN, KY, MS)! And this year, I get to add Maine, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia to my list. Life is good! The job is hard, the hours are long, and the rewards are great with wonderful experiences and fabulous friendships. Again, thank you, IGA!”
Mike Lince: “After graduating from IGA, I went through Grand Circle Travel’s rigorous screening process, and I am pleased to say I was offered a tour director position on their Northwest National Parks/Canadian Rockies tour. They asked me to join their 17 day motorcoach training tour utilizing the identical route and the identical hotels they use on the summer tours. The training starts April 15, and I was asked to lead three tours this coming season, which I agreed to do. The position with Grand Circle is the only position I applied for. I know Frank and Daniel would say it was all about me. However, I credit the quality training I received through IGA and their credibility and reputation in the tourism industry for my success in the application process.”
Kate Engel: “I started applying for Tour Manager jobs right away using the IGA Hiring List provided only to their graduates. It took a long time to research each company to see if it was right for me. I got a response from Grand Circle Travel for a specific tour: America;s Majestic National Parks…right up my alley here in the West USA! First, I had to complete a long questionaire (some difficult questions-some right from the IGA class). Then I was accepted for a 15-20 min phone interview, where the suggestions from Connie Dineen (IGA Instructor) helped immensely. Thanks IGA for all the training and the great advice and support after graduation!!”
Melani Roewe: “I am a 2009 graduate of the International Guide Academy, Inc. Since graduating from IGA, I have successfully escorted and directed tours to Israel, Jordan, Italy, Greece, Turkey, Croatia, Bosnia, Mexico, Branson, MO and Eureka Springs, AR. I escorted and conducted a Catholic choir on a performance tour of Italy.”
Jacqui Rothman, “Ten years after graduation, I am still actively hopping on and off motor coaches, working for muurltiple student travel companies. I am delighted to be doing both outward bound trips from the greater Chicago area and inbound ones which allow me to show off my home base city. Depending on the organizing company, I also get to work with groups of varied ages, basically from 4th graders through traveling adults. I really live up to your motto of “being paid to travel”.
Sydney Avery: “I want you to know that I applied for the Grand Circle Travel position you told us about in October. They have a rigorous selection process. Touring will begin in May thru September for the North American Region. It takes in Boston MA, Portland Maine and Nova Scotia. Even though I had not traveled the east coast on tours, I simply told the truth and gave information about the IGA New England Destination Awareness training I received from you. This is my thanks to you and the other instructors for putting me on this road. I am truly grateful.”
Anna Boulanger: “I decided I was not going to argue with success and so I did exactly what you suggested we do to obtain employment. After having my resume and cover letter reviewed by you I sent out 5 covers and resumes/week for 6 weeks and did the follow-up phone calls as you advised. It was exhausting since each touring company had to be studied and each resume and cover had to be “individual”. But….. it worked Daniel! I leave for Mesa, AR this Friday to work for a touring company there for the months of Nov, Dec.Jan. and Feb. Then, I am moving down to Georgia to work for a company there for the months of March, April,May and possibly June. All of the companies I will be working for are on your list that you gave us. By the way, the two companies I will be working for are very excited about my CITM certification from IGA and I am sure it played a big part in my getting work with them.”
Barbara Zarzosa: “I want to thank everyone at IGA for how you have changed my life. After graduating the Tour Director course in Cuernavaca, Mexico this past winter I was offered not one but two jobs! Here I am in Peggy’s Cove, Nova Scotia leading a group of 42 passengers throughout the Canadian Maritimes. Every day of every tour I remember and use what you taught me in the course. On my very first tour I had sick passengers, missing luggage, late arrivals and all sorts of snafus. Although I know that there are people who become successful tour directors without IGA training, I can’t imagine handling these issues with such aplomb if I hadn’t taken the tour director course. You have trained me well and I thank you for it!”
Michael Johnson: “Last week, among the five different job bulletins you sent all of the graduates, one had a notice about The Colorado Sightseer Company having an opening for a tour guide. I got the job! Thanks! The owner hired me on the spot because I am an IGA graduate.”
Denise Healey: Since she graduated from the International Guide Academy, Denise has worked as a professional Tour Manager leading groups for Holland America, Let’s Go Travel, and, for the past 7 years, Collette Vacations. She is also a published author and her latest book Boomers Away has just been published.
Kileen Prather, “This fall I will start my 15th year at Mayflower Tours (can’t believe the years have flown by that fast) and in the summer also work for Vacations by Rail. I have been writing little travel blogs on a couple of senior sites. I have 3 travel/ romance novels on kindle for the boomer generation. I also have “Journey Beckons” in book form and “Journey To Port” coming out in book form at the end of this month.”
Melvin Robinson, “I was just contacted by Collette Vacations and am heading to the UK to lead a group. It is all thanks to you and IGA. Although I have over 25 years’ experience as a Tour Manager, they were only interested in knowing I had taken the IGA course. Keep up the good work. I am telling the world, you cannot get better training, even if you are already a Tour Manager.”
Janet Poss, “Now that I have had a taste of touring, I am always eager to get back on the road after a tour ends. I am working this season with EF Explore America with student groups in Washington DC and New York City. I want to thank you for the excellent training that prepared me for the difficult moments: sick student during Capitol tour, bus not picking up after Broadway Show, and hotel fire evacuation at 2am! I am having a blast!!
Linda Parris, “I just finished a 4-day tour with 3 consolidated groups. There were issues on the tour and your training turned them into easily resolved situations. This is something I love to do. Thank you for all the things you taught us, it makes thinking on my feet so much easier. The education and encouragement you all give is my cornerstone.”
Becki Lewis: “I just returned home after my first tour group of the season with Caravan Tours, based in Chicago. The itinerary started in Phoenix, 2 nights at Grand Canyon, 2 nights at Lake Powell, 1 night in Kanab and the final night in Zion National Park, ending at McCarran Airport in Las Vegas. I had 45 people on board. Thanks for everything!”
Marjorie DePuy, “The International Guide Academy is a tremendous resource for anyone considering a career in tour management and operations. As a student in the international tour management program in 1999, I instantly recognized IGA’s vast knowledge of the industry and appreciated their ability to bring personal experience into the classroom. Their program was extremely well-organized and well-resourced with top-notch guest faculty and materials. I am absolutely certain that I was interviewed (and hired) as a travel director because of my certification from the International Guide Academy, and I credit them for my success in the course.
Notably, I called on Frank Slater, CEO, several years later as I completed my capstone MBA project. He agreed to serve as an advisor for our business plan to start a travel company, and his counsel once again helped me succeed in the program. I graduated with honors. Thank you, Frank and IGA!”
Sandi Wheaton, Canada: “Life as a Tour Manager (or ‘Tour Director’ as Caravan calls us) is awesome. I’m on my second season leading tours of 40+ passengers on 10-day motorcoach tours throughout Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick for Caravan Tours. I also recerntly co-led a small group through Holland with fellow IGA grad, Mettina van den Veen from Go Atlanta and Beyond. I knew this would be a good fit for me job-wise, but I had no idea just how good a fit. I love it, and I can’t imagine a better way to make a living. This new career move allows me free time when not touring to focus on my many photography projects, and private tours I plan to offer. I am so thrilled that the course I did with IGA led to this career path. I can’t thank you enough for the invaluable training and networking opportunities through IGA.
American Cruise Lines has hired IGA Graduates Pamela Horkans (from the IGA Canada program) and Liz Smith (from the IGA Mexico program and the New England Destination Awareness Program). They are all working for ACL as cruise directors.
Susan Bray: “I have been hired by Globus for two June Western Wonders tours ( and additional tours in Sept and Oct). I am so excited, so nervous and so very grateful to you and everyone at IGA! My experience participating in the International Tour Director course in Las Vegas was fun, educational, and exceeded my expectations. I am really looking forward to my new career thanks to IGA!
Barb Hahn: “I want to thank IGA for offering the Tour Guide/Destination Awareness class in New England. I absolutely-100%- enjoyed it, learned a lot of new information, re-learned things I once knew and had not remembered, learned new ways of presenting information. and met people I hope to see again “on the road.” Your style of teaching works so well, making me want to continue to keep learning and do some tours in that area again.”
Kim Moriarty: “Just a quick update since I graduated from class in July. I learned so much from your class and I want to thank you all again for helping me confirm that this is truly the career choice for me. I was hired by a New England company in September to lead 3 tours for them. The first was a fall foliage in New England Tour, and then two tours involving tracing the routes of the American Revolution through out the eastern US. Those were with the Elder Hostel now known as Road Scholar. I had 8 tours for summer and am now living the dream thanks to your training.”
Tom Jensen: “Last year I was a Program Director for Grand Circle Travel’s 18-day tour of western national parks and monuments including Mt. Rushmore, Badlands, Devils Tower, Yellowstone, Zion, Bryce, Grand Canyon, Glen Canyon, and Mesa Verde. Locally, I am a Driver/Guide for tours of Denver, the Front Range, the Pikes Peak Region, Rocky Mountain National Park, and the Colorado Rocky Mountains. I love sharing my city and state with visitors, many of whom are from outside the U.S. I have also been doing some free-lance work leading tours that circled Colorado. One of the most interesting was a tour that featured the railroads of Colorado – Royal Gorge, Pikes Peak Cog Railway, Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad, and the Durango Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad.
As Daniel told us in class, this work is never boring. I credit IGA for my success leading tours. There were so many times I heard Daniel’s voice reminding me to “do a head count”, or “what to include in my welcome greeting”, or “don’t forget to reconfirm the down line arrangements”. I am looking forward to the upcoming season to again “hit the road” and share places, sights, sounds, food, and adventures.”
Albina Luther: “I have really enjoyed all of your newsletters (industry information and job leads), so wanted to update you on my world of being paid to travel. I am beginning my 6th year as a Tour Director and love every moment of it; especially meeting all of the people. I have been with Travel Tours for almost 4 years, and have been all over the U.S., Canada, and Ireland. Presently, I am working on a trip to Florida the end of February. I have thought about your class many times and how much it has helped me. Thank you again. I led tours through many of the parks and canyons in the Canyonland’s area of the U.S. on a trip called “Mountain Majesty”. It is an awesome area of the world.”
Paul Sullivan, Ireland, says “Since graduating in February 2008, I have been leading tours for Travelsphere, Just You, EF Educational, Newmarket Travel and others. Thanks to the attention to detail and constant reminder to “confirm, confirm and then re-confirm”, I have been successful leading groups around the USA, Ireland, France, Germany, England, Luxemburg, Belgium, Holland, Switzerland, South Africa, Swaziland, Namibia, Botswana, Zambia, Malaysia and the Caribbean. The course structure was a huge help, especially regarding logistics. Thank you for a well-planned curriculum which has laid a solid foundation for me and helped me avoid potential pitfalls.
I have worked as Tour Manager for SAGA on their Oberammergau experience, based in the Austrian Tyrol and Bavaria; worked on their River Cruises on the Rhine and Mosel covering The Netherlands, Germany, France and Switzerland. I just finished a Christmas tour of Switzerland and France with Page and Moy Travel Group and am getting ready to go to Cape Town for a few weeks, then Singapore after that. I have tours lined up with EF Educational ans was also just hired by Tailored Travel for a tour in May to Belgium and the Floriad in Velno and Velkenburg in the Netherlands.”
Julia Vonder Reith, “I. LOVE. MY. JOB. It’s the hardest, scariest job I’ve ever had, but by FAR the most rewarding, challenging, and fun! I am finally getting paid to HAVE FUN! And the best thing is, when I am having fun, my passengers are having fun! I could not have done it without IGA. There is so much that goes into being a good Tour Director that, without IGA, if I had tried to do it on my own I would have run away from my first tour scared out of my wits. But IGA fully prepared me for all that could happen–both good and bad (and I’ve already had my share of challenges!) Thank you Daniel, Frank, Connie, etc. for all you taught me! I will probably be a Tour Director throughout the rest of my life! I love it so much!”
Robin Giles, UK “I embarked on my first tour of the year in April which was a 2 week trip to Norway, followed by trips to Austria, Switzerland, (2 trips) Germany, Italy, Canada and Alaska. I have also done a few “short break” tours here in the UK as well. I have worked for mainly two companies this year, Titan Tours and Great Rail Journeys. I have just started contacting companies with a view to employment next year, and am looking to do more UK based tours with companies like Trafalgar Tours, Grand Circle Travel and Grand European Tours.”
Bonda Ehlers: ” I attended your course in Denver. At that time I was working for Kincaid Coach Lines, Inc. in Lincoln, NE. I was given the title of tour manager along with the opportunity to create custom tours, market them and administer them. I received really good evaluations from passengers at the end of the trips we took. I had over 500 passengers. Due to the good evaluations I had received from passengers, the home office in Edwardsville invited me to continue to lead tours for them as long as I was willing to travel to Edwardsville to get on the motor coach. Since then I have taken groups to the Rose Bowl Parade, The Azalea Festival, on a Mississippi River Tour, to the Brumley Gospel Sing Festival and many Branson tours. I will be leaving the week after next to lead another Branson tour and led a group to Yellowstone Park. In March I led a 14-day Hawaiian Cruse tour. I have a passion for leading group travel. It’s the best ‘job’ ever!
Pamela Horkans, earned her certification in the Ottawa Canada program and reported that she has received her first assignment as Cruise Director with American Cruise Lines. “I am very excited and am confident that the training I received has prepared me for this position. Thank you, International Guide Academy.”
Melanie Stickland, writes “Now it’s all systems go as I am going to be a river cruise Tour Manager for Shearings over the summer. I led on my own for 5 weeks doing the Rhine and Moselle. I worked river cruising on the Danube and went back to the Rhine late August through September! Needless to say this was all very exciting really and I could not have done it without the IGA program and the IGA team! The head of cruising operations at Shearings was very impressed that I had done the International Guide Academy course! It’s very hard work as I am full-on every day, commentary, excursions, activities… but it’s great! Thank you.”
Terri McConnell writes: “I am with Collette on a full-time basis and am on the road about 200 days a year. My breaks are not very long in-between tours and during that time I am always working on new tours, research, correspondence, etc. You know how that goes! I have worked for the following companies since I graduated: Collette Vacations, Vantage Deluxe World Travel, Elderhostel, Tourco, Jetsave Touring, Flemming Tours, Sunshine Travel, Hanns Ebensten Travel, Alyson Adventures, (my own company)Terri’s Travel Corner, and the University of Northern Iowa. Recent tours include: Russian River Cruise, Grand Circle National Park Tour, Ecuador & Galapagos Islands Wildlife Adventure, Jordan Explorer, Treasures of Turkey and Greece, America’s Magnificent National Parks, Grand Canyon Rafting Adventure, Southern Music & Dixieland Tour, Chicago Baseball Tour, Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta. I continue to tell people what a wonderful academy you have. I hope many of them will take my advice and attend IGA.”
Sandy Gregory: “I have been a Tour Captain with QueensLander Tours since graduating from IGA. It’s my dream job! From March through November I led small-group tours through Italy, specializing in Italy’s Great Cities as well as the Lakes District itineraries. I am also working in-country creating new itineraries and researching opportunities for future tours. This winter I will also start leading tours in Australia and New Zealand. My certification from IGA made me well-prepared for this opportunity and I love my job! Thank you IGA!” Sandy also runs her own Private, Custom Itineraries in Italy & other exciting worldwide destinations: www.chebellatours.com
Jose Goncalves, “I graduated from IGA and began to form and lead my own “groups of special interest” of 12-16 people to different parts of the world. I found out how valuable my training from IGA was in leading the groups and especialy handling unexpected cases such as emergency health problems, transportation, hotels, sudden changes in itineraries and handling difficult clients. I have taken groups to Europe, Africa, China, Southeast Asia, India and Central and South America (31 different countries altogether). With the excellent training I received, traveling in other countries was smooth.
Being a Tour Director is hard work but very rewarding and a lot of fun. My tours have ranged from Archeology, Cultural, Vacation, Photographic and Hunting Safaris in Africa, Wine tasting and others. There has never been a dull moment. Thanks again for the great training that gave me full confidence to lead groups of people and solve the unexpected situation on location, somewhere in the wonderful hidden corners of the world.”
Bernie Wentzek, “I’ve been busy leading students tours for Worldstrides and an occasional adult tour (most recently a group of Doctors from the Philipines). I head back to Portland this week and go straight to an interview/driving test for The Pink Trolley, a new local tour company (well, the trolley part is new). For Worldstrides, I have been training new guides, will be visiting schools around the country (in the later part of the Fall) and will represent Course Leaders (guides) at a couple of teacher conferences in Seattle and Mexico.”
Robbin Robinson: “Being a Tour Manager has been a dream of mine for many years and thanks to my great training at IGA I was able to walk in to my new career completely prepared. I feel that I have definitely found my niche! I have been leading tours with Road Scholar Tours (previously Elderhostel) for 8 seasons now. I started my career with Road Scholar as an Assistant and was hired as a Tour Leader in my first season. I know that one of the reasons I was hired was because I was so well trained by the IGA instructors. My tours include: Hiking Georgia O’Keefe country, Exploring The Anasazi Ruins and The Four Corners, Chaco Canyon Snapshot Tours, Taos Ayuervedic Lifestyle Tours, Four Corners Archeology and Anthropology, Roadside Geology in The Four Corners, New Mexican Puebloan Christmas Dances and Winter Solstice Celebration. I am responsible for Coach Tours of 17-35 passengers that range from 3 to 10 days in duration. I work closely with my bus driver to ensure that our trip runs as smoothly as possible. My main objective on tours is to create the best possible experience for each participant. As a result, I continue to receive positive evaluations, and have many returning participants. I was also a Tour Guide on The U.S.S. KIDD in Baton Rouge for 5 years. There I facilitated Tours and Overnight Excursions aboard the ship for large groups of passengers.”
Robbin Robinson with one of her groups
Linda Parris, “I am off next week to work on the train in Alaska for ESS/Alaska railroad cars. When I return from AK in September, I will have a job with Gray Line Tours Arizona based in Tucson. I will be driving and talking. I am so excited to be able to be a Tour Director and be in Arizona for a while. I got an interview right away and got the job. It helped that I came with a cover letter, resume, and a copy of your letter. Always be prepared and “being early is on time”. I am so excited about how things are going. Thank you for the training.”
Darren Hosang writes: “After completing one summer season in guest services in Denali, Alaska with Holland America Line, I returned to Ft. Lauderdale to continue working at Port Everglades assisting with disembarkation procedures and check-in for outgoing guests as well as pre-cruise and ship day meet and greets at the airports and at locally contracted hotels. I also worked with six star rated Crystal Cruises at the port of Miami and then with tour operators in Miami and in Ft. Lauderdale doing motorcoach tours of the city of Ft. Lauderdale, the riverfront, the Florida Everglades National Park, the city of Miami, Miami Beach and the Art Deco District on South Beach. I returned to Alaska and worked with Royal Celebrity Tours as one of their TDs for the season. I was in Alaska for my second summer with RCT. Last winter I worked in the limousine business and also led day tours around Ft. Lauderdale, Miami Beach and surrounding area. I’m glad to be receiving tour opportunities from your IGA clients. Thank you again for your excellent training program.”
Bob Humphries, “After graduating from the first IGA Course held at sea, I have been leading mostly student tours with Academic Travel. There have been so many excellent moments … like the picture shown (on the right hand side of this webpage) of my Ponca City, Oklahoma HS Choir singing the national anthem … a cappella … in harmony … mid-field at the Dallas Cowboy Stadium. Talk about putting a lump in your throat! Times like this are why we do what we do.”
Marina Lyakhova (Russia/New York) wrote: “Thank you very much for the incredible education experience that you have provided in the course. The knowledge that you gave was not only very informative, lively, full of humor and great details, but also very practical for the tourism profession and for life in general. As teachers, you were the best that I ever had, and as people you were caring, funny, friendly, and full of energy–people who I want to meet again in the future. Your enthusiasm about the subject and energetic spirit created a unique atmosphere for the students and the learning process, uniting all of us, and making us friends in life and profession for a long time to come. Thank you again for providing the experience of a lifetime, full of memories and experiences that I will keep in my portfolio forever.”
Curtis Evans wrote: “I wanted to let you know that I have been offered and I have accepted a full time position with Omni Air International as a international flight attendant. I had included my certification for tour director along with details of my studies at IGA and I am confident that including this information on my resume greatly enhanced my chance of getting hired. I will be based out of DFW flying to European, middle east and Asian cities. I can not begin to tell you how excited I am!”
Karl Thiry, France writes: “I have been doing very well in the Tour department. Since I graduated in February 2008 I have led tours all over the USA West Coast, East Coast , Canada and Hawaii. Some of the companies that have hired me are: Terres Indiennes, BonjourUSA, Adventure Travel West, Allibert& Nomade Aventures. I had a contract with Nordic Fascination for summer where I led tours in Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Finland and the Baltic States. I am loving every moment of it, and I am serious …hard work but great results and lots of fun. Thank you again for your program, it was the best thing I did for my future as a Tour Director.”
Sherri Moon: “This summer I will be working for Premier Alaska Tours based in Anchorage, AK. I will be leading tours in Alaska and the Yukon Territory. As the largest Alaskan owned land based receptive tour operator, we pride ourselves in offering the best values in Alaska travel.”
Tourism Cares for International Guide Academy Certificate Recipient Professional Development Scholarship Advances Future Leaders in Travel and Tourism Canton, Caron Guillo of Amarillo, TX has been awarded one of the ASTA George Reinke Scholarships by Tourism Cares, a non-profit organization dedicated to preserving the travel experience for future generations. Each year, Tourism Cares awards Professional Development Scholarships to graduates of travel-and-tourism or hospitality certificate programs in the United States.”
Roberto Garza states: “This past summer I worked as a park ranger doing interpretation at Rocky Mountain National Park. I really enjoyed the experience. The things I learned in my IGA classes were very helpful. The training I’ve had and the experience of working as a park ranger will help me with my future work in tourism.”
René Ostberg, earned her certification from IGA and is now the founder and owner of Wayfaring Women Tours. She states “I don’t think I would have been able to pull all this together without the course at IGA. What I learned in the course really made a difference in terms of knowing who to talk to and what to ask when contacting suppliers and organizing my research and materials for each tour. I’m excited and looking forward to leading the tours I’ve planned and seeing how it all pans out–and hopefully planning more tours down the road. I have a lot more confidence in my ability to do what needs to get done than if I hadn’t have taken the tour manager course.” We wish René the best with her new company and invite all to visit her site. www.wayfaringwomentours.com
Ria Mignano: “An amazing experience with you all. It was one of the highlights of my life. I am so excited about my future now and I haven’t felt that way in such a long time.”
Allison Bitten, “I have excellent news! I was hired by Mayflower Tours and I have already led my first tour. It was an 11 day motorcoach tour of New England and Cape Cod. I have so much to thank the International Guide Academy for, as your program was so integral in my success with preparation for this career and your specific instructions and book on getting hired. The hiring manager was pleased I had this training and certification from IGA. Your program is so thorough that, with all my training at Mayflower, there were no surprises as we had covered everything in class at IGA. I never dreamed that my first company would be a large and recognized company like Mayflower and I really could not be more thrilled! Thank you for everything!!”
Gayle Wingo, “One of the great highlights for me was taking your course in Ottawa and I sincerely THANK YOU for such a rewarding experience. Not only did I learn a great deal about my future profession from you I also met some truly amazing individuals. I so appreciate the emails you have sent since the class ended and I do look forward to receiving your input and guidance once I prepare my cover letters and resumes. I have given your website address to several folks, hopefully you will hear from them.”
Richard Lewis, Facebook posting the day after graduating: “Thanks. Best decision I made was to finally enroll at IGA. I had been toying with the idea for several years. Much more than I expected. I am truly looking forward to translating this training into a solid Tour Manager experience.”
Brandi Milligan, “The past two weeks have held some of the best experiences I’ve had. Thank you for the opportunity that IGA created for me to meet some incredible people and form what I hope will be long lasting friendships. This course and its instructors have helped me realize that I can live my passion, and I can’t wait to begin that journey. I wish you all the best. Thank you for everything.”
Kimberly Wawrzyniak, “I wanted to give you an update on how great things are going! A few months before coming to IGA I had applied for a position with a division of Travel Leaders agency. I had received the “thanks but no thanks” letter. Fine, I was leaving for IGA. Last week they emailed to see if I had actually taken the course and if I was still looking for employment. I went in for an interview the next day and they hired me on the spot! I know that having graduated from IGA’s Tour Manager course was why I got the job!
Additionally, I already had 2 interviews set up for this week with Tour Operators in IL and in MN, so I wasn’t about to not go to those despite this new job. Tuesday I interviewed with Tri-State Travel in IL (went very well) and Wednesday I interviewed with Sunshine Travel in MN. They thought I was a perfect fit with their company, and contracted me for spring/summer! They were impressed that I’d taken the IGA Tour Manager course & had all sorts of questions for me about the class and the regional manager wants to take the class now! But the best part was that, despite the horror stories they threw at me, I felt entirely prepared and confident enough to handle any of those scenarios because of the IGA Tour Manager course. You gave us all the knowledge to handle tour disasters with reassurance and calm! I was able to interview with confidence because of IGA. Thank you!”
Janette Tepas, “I wanted to log in and let you know how much help my training was from the International Guide Academy on my first international tour. I took a small group of 8 wonderful people around Venice, Florence, San Gimignano, Cortona, Assisi, and Rome! I felt like I had a little handle on things from so many of the issues we discussed in class. Upon my arrival in Rome, the very type of situation we had to come up with answers for happened to me: My hotel knocked me out of the room, due to some kind of water issue or other. They set me up in a lovely luxury hotel further away from the center of town. Rather than fretting about it, since we had dealt with such an issue in class, I thought of our group, and you, and had a good chuckle….fortunately, it was just me, and not guests. A lovely “upgrade” and there are NO PROBLEMS. The importance of my driver was huge, as he spoke English, and was very helpful. I’m glad we covered the topic. My technical itinerary was always with me, and I would not have been able to function without it, and I was always EARLY! My group of guests was wonderful, and they believe themselves to be the “best group ever”, and of course, so far, I must agree. As you may recall, I was fairly nervous about starting this career, but I have a sense that, with your help, I will love it for a long time to come. Back to Italy in two weeks for a four month stint!”
Winston Walker, IGA graduate, is founder of Winmarc Vacation Adventures, an adventure travel company that personalizes and arranges outdoor leisure and adventure experiences for individuals and groups.Their goal is to provide memorable travel experiences with an unwavering commitment to quality.
Sarah Kuiken is working for EF Educational Tours as a Tour Consultant. “Before I took your class I was in a dead-end job that I hated, and now, I’m working at a job I love in the travel industry, and I have you and IGA to thank. I would gladly sing your praises to anyone who cares to hear. One of these days I’ll take the tour guide course too. I feel so supported by you, even though I graduated months ago, and it’s so apparent that you love what you do and you care about the students you work with, and that I think is the best part.”