How to be paid to travel
Becoming a tour guide in the Canadian Rockies
Get the job
There are several tour operators in Canada that recruit at the beginning of the year to fill guide positions for their summer tours. If you start with a google search, you’ll see what tours they offer and who their target market is. They usually look for language skills, management experience and personality fit.
Get the visa
The visa is a little more complicated. I opted for a work and travel visa, which you can only get if you are younger than 32. The application process is completely online and not very complicated but requires you to get a criminal background check from every country you’ve lived in for more than 6 months since the age of 18. In my case, that adds up to a few pieces of paper. The good news is, on their website, the Canadian Immigration and Citizenship authority tells you exactly what you need to do.
Get the first aid certificate
Surely, you’ve done a first aid course in the past. You’ll need another one. At least 2 days, but better still a full week Wilderness First Aid course. I didn’t know that kind of thing existed. Live and learn. Again, you have the choice between many different organizations, such as the Red Cross, St. John Ambulance, or any other a google search will return. It’s a big country, so pick your course location wisely.
Get the certifications
Depending on the in house training of your employer you’ll need more or fewer certifications from the IGA. One of them is for apprentice guides.
Document 5 full-day hikes
In order to even be able to start the course, you need to have completed and documented at least 5 full day hikes. Of those at least 2 preferably in the Canadian Rocky Mountains. They require these hikes to cover at least 300m of elevation gain/loss. So be prepared, for my future post of 5 full day hikes around Barcelona. I am thinking Costa Brava, Montserrat, La Mola etc to prepare.
Get the flights
No need to tell you how to book flights. Just because I learned this the hard way: make sure you airport of origin is the exact same as you final destination a year later, no matter where you fly in between. Otherwise, travel insurance won’t cover anything, because they don’t see it as one trip.
Get travel insurance
Besides the above mentioned airport dilemma, one more thing I’ve learned about travel insurance is that it is best to buy them in the country you live before you leave and to buy it before you start your trip.
Get a Canadian drivers licence
I’m still trying to work this out, but what I know so far is this: in Canada, each province determines what tests you need to pass to get a licence. Some countries have bilateral agreements with Canada, so that you can exchange your license for a Canadian one. Interestingly, not all the European Union countries are covered under this agreement.
Get a phone that works in the wilderness
From all I have read and heard from friends, Canada seems to be the country with some of the most expensive phone plans ever. Moving2Canada has a nice summary on this how to choose a cell phone plan in Canada. They also offer a lot of other good advice on other subjects, so I got them bookmarked 🙂
Start the new adventure
I’m hyped about my upcoming move to Canada and I hope you’ll all come back to read about my adventures there.