Tour pricing can make or break your outdoor guiding business. Price your services too high and you won’t get enough customers to cover your costs or make a profit. Price your services too low and your costs will overtake your profits. Maybe you want to start an outdoor guiding business because that’s your passion, your hobby, and your lifestyle. Sure, it could be cool to make money on the side guiding, but if you really want to start a full-fledged tour operation, you need to make a profit, not just break even, but to make money so your business stays,...

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Registering your tour company and getting the right licenses and permits to legitimately operate is actually a really big pain. Justin Wingerter of The Denver Post wrote an article in 2021 detailing just how messy the permitting process is.Wingerter said, “Due to understaffing at the U.S. Forest Service and a cumbersome process, it can take several years and hundreds of work hours before Colorado guides receive a permit to take small groups fishing, hiking or do other recreational activities on federal lands.”We all know how dangerous it can be climbing up a mountain. And it’s especially dangerous when an amateur...

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Adventures in Arkansas are easy to find because there are loads of them. With 52 State Parks seven national parks (home of the first national park), nine Arkansas Game and Fish Nature and Education centers, mountains, caves, rivers, and hot springs, you’ll be hard-pressed to find yourself bored when you visit this state. They seriously have it all—two mountain ranges, limestone caves, craters full of diamonds, and roughly three million acres of protected forest. After adventuring with all these operators and you’re ready to soak your bones, visit both the smallest and oldest national park in the United States, Hot...

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Alaska has an unlimited number of things you can do, places to discover, and limits to reach. It was hard to narrow our list down to eight guiding companies in Alaska that hit all our interests. Below, you’ll find mountain guiding companies, anglers, ATV’ers, snowmobilers, rafters, and everything in between. Credit: Alaska Backcountry Adventure Tours Alaska Backcountry Adventure Tours About them:  The owners of Alaska Backcountry Adventure Tours, Matti and Dan, have a common passion for sharing the beauty and wonder of Alaska’s wild frontier with others. A born-and-raised Alaskan, Matti has snowmobiled for the better part of her life...

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Rock climbing in Arizona means you have more exposed rocks than any other state in the US. While it isn’t all climbable, Arizona has the best year-round climbing with crags at nearly every elevation. From The Pit and Paradise Forks in the north, to the crags of the Watson Lake Dells in Prescott and Queen Creek Canyon just outside of Phoenix in the center, and then Mount Lemmon and Cochise Stronghold to the south near Tucson. Arizona has a ton of climbing to choose from without the crowds. We found eight rock climbing guiding companies you should check out the...

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Finding guiding companies in Alabama is pretty easy when you know what to look for. In fact, we found nine guiding companies who will introduce you to an Alabama you’ve never known before. We found everything from kayaking under a full moon to climbing deep below the Earth’s surface. What You’ll Find In Alabama Alabama is a great place for outdoor enthusiasts and adventurers alike. Considering that it’s actually 70% covered in forest, time to rethink this isn’t an outdoor lover’s paradise.  And while mistletoe might not be the first thing you think of when you consider what grows in...

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The SOAR Act will make your life as a guide easier. At least, that's the hope. As we know, federal land management agencies require guiding businesses and outfitters to get special recreation permits so they can operate on public lands and waters. Even though this is a legal requirement for professional guides, they aren’t easily obtainable. Not only is the process totally convoluted, a lot of businesses ask agencies about available permits to only be told there aren’t any available. Because of this, guiding companies can’t take their clients out on public lands and their businesses suffer. I. What’s the...

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We scoured the internet for online booking stats that our clients will care about. While researching, we saw the shift to online booking has seen significant changes from pre-pandemic levels. While many guiding companies are making the move to online booking, there are still too many putting it off and gripping too tightly to the pen and paper. Those who don’t jump on board now will be left behind and lose out to their competitors. Here are 25 online booking statistics showing the shift to online booking, travelers’ habits and interests, and how important it is to adopt reservation technology...

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“I realized guiding was another path in the industry and a blend of passion, sense of purpose, and being in nature,” said Jeff when we asked him why he wanted to become a guide. Smile Mountain Guides was founded on trust, caring, and respect for climbing. It’s a small but mighty team and we got the chance to hear from Meg, Michael, and Jeff about their experiences as guides.  Why did you want to become a guide? Michael: I think at first it was seeing a lot of the people I looked up to in the climbing community working as...

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Becoming a fishing guide is more than some certifications and a day on the water doing what you love. Being a fishing guide means you’re not the one fishing. Instead, you’re helping your clients catch fish. We asked Stephen Balough, of Riffletrip Outfitters, to share his experience and what you can expect from life as a fishing guide. Why Did You Want To Become A Fishing Guide?  I became a fishing guide in college. I always had a passion for fishing since I was a little guy. Now, after nearly 14 years of guiding, I have realized that I am...

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Becoming a ski guide through the AMGA certification program is no walk in the park, but it’s the best way to become a certified Mountain Guide—and a legit one at that. We had the opportunity to chat with Jake Gaventa, ski guide and AMGA’s Partnership Manager, to learn more about what it really takes to become a guide, and what it’s like once you’re certified and employed. What kind of outdoor guide are you? There's a very strict term on the international scale. So, I'm not a capitalized “Mountain Guide.” It would be best if I was referred to as...

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Becoming a Climbing Guide sounds like the perfect job, right? Having the chance to climb routes all over the country, or heck, even all over the world? Waking up on the side of a mountain and peering out your portaledge to see the sunrise. Getting paid to do what you love. It sounds amazing. And it is. But there’s a vast amount of work that goes into earning your certifications, making enough money to survive, finding enough work throughout the year, mitigating risks for yourself and for your clients, and creating a solid reputation as an expert Climbing Guide.  We...

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The guiding season is non-stop. There’s always an adventure to go on with an expert guide, but some guiding companies only operate during a specific season or two. For those preparing for their upcoming season, here are eight tech aspects to have dialed before you take clients on their next adventure. Review Or Update Your Liability Waivers Have liability waivers for your guided trips? It’s a good idea to review your liability waiver text and make sure they’re up-to-date. If you have a new trip that requires an additional waiver, it’s important to upload that before the season. Origin users...

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If you’re looking for adventure grants and scholarships for guides, then you came to the right spot. Below, you’ll find a list of all types of adventures (in alphabetical order). We’ll continue to add to the list as we find more opportunities for guides. If you know of one, send Jessica a message: jessica [at] exploreorigin [dot] com Adventure Guide Scholarships American Alpine Club An organization committed to providing climbers with the opportunity to engage with each other in respectful discussion and debate on our platforms. Catalyst: A Grant For Change Its Purpose: To provide BIPOC, LGBTQ+ individuals, and people...

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Online resources for outdoor guides are few and far between. Either it doesn’t exist or it’s so dispersed that it’s easy to give up to find all the information you may need to know what’s happening in the outdoor industry, and more specifically, what’s impacting guides presently. This isn’t a final version of the best online resources for outdoor guides and tour operators, but it’s a start. We’ll keep adding to this list as we find more online resources. Outdoor Organizations & Associations Organizations and associations that cover all sectors of the outdoor industry.   America Outdoors Association (AOA) The American...

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