Backroads Trip Leaders: The Roles of a Trip Leader

Backroads Leaders don't only lead trips. In reality, leading trips is too demanding to do every week. Leaders also perform other duties and take on other roles that allow them to fill out their season and increase their earning potential. Below you will find brief descriptions of the different types of work you may be doing if you are hired as a Trip Leader. While you might not fill all of the roles listed below you can expect a combination of them on your schedule.

Trip Leader

Backroads Trip Leaders are recognized as being the best in the travel industry, consistently earning a 97% approval rating for their outstanding performance as guides, interpreters, facilitators, ambassadors and all-around sources of inspiration and goodwill. Leaders provide all the on-trip support, equipment and logistics so our guests are free to explore actively and stress-free on our Biking, Walking & Hiking and Multi-Adventure tours.

View the Leader Videos

Meet the Leaders  |  Leaders at Play

Support Leader

In addition to the two or three leaders on trip, we also staff Support Leaders on some Biking and Walking & Hiking trips. The role of the Support Leader is to provide additional van support to increase the flexibility and number of route options for our guests. With this extra van we're also able to have one leader handle picnic setup or luggage delivery while the other leaders provide support on the road or trail. Support Leaders are regular Trip Leaders who are working in a more limited role for the week, which gives them the opportunity to earn extra income without the added responsibilities of being Trip Leaders. Support leading is also an excellent way to learn about a new region. New leaders are typically scheduled equally as Trip Leaders and Support Leaders because it is an effective way to learn the job with fewer responsibilities. For more information about the amount of work new leaders can expect during their first season, please visit our Compensation and Benefits page.

Leader On-Call

Leaders in their first year should expect to work as "Leaders On-Call" for a week or two throughout their season, which could involve hourly work with equipment, facilities or support on trip.

Other Paid Activities

Backroads leaders are paid for a variety of additional types of work, which increase earning potential and help round out a leader's season. This additional work includes:

  • Backroads Leadership Training Program
  • Traveling to/from scheduled regions
  • Staff meetings
  • Loading equipment, driving vans, trailers from one of our hubs to a trip start destination on a "unit drive"
  • Regional familiarization ("fams") light research in a region where you'll be leading trips
  • Working a "prep day," one day prior to the trip start, to prepare for the trip
  • Repairing or maintaining equipment during the season
  • Repairing, cleaning and storing equipment at the end of the season

Additional Career Opportunities for Trip Leaders

Backroads rewards exceptional performance with opportunities for career advancement throughout the company. Many leaders have spent a portion of their career with Backroads leading trips and then have moved into full-time office staff or management positions. Virtually all promotions start with working in the field.

Some examples:

Trip Experts
Leaders who hold these positions oversee the design, development, and all-important quality standards of a trip year after year. Trip Experts "own" specific trip itineraries. They not only lead the trips themselves, but also conduct research for those trips, manage relationships with subcontractors in the field, and collaborate with Regional Coordinators and Managers across the company on long-term trip development.

Operations Experts
This position supports our various technology and equipment systems in the field. Operations Experts work closely with our Logistics and Transportation Department as well as the Leader Development department in making field operations smooth for all staff in centralized regions.

Regional Coordinators and Managers
Regional Coordinators and Managers are full-time roles that are excellent opportunities for qualified leaders to expand their responsibilities and leadership. Both roles help ensure the highest possible quality of trips and leader-life in the field. They work closely with Trip Experts to mentor, provide feedback, and evaluate leaders, while also working closely with all departments within Backroads to ensure trips run smoothly and to develop new trips and current trip improvements.

Hiring & Training Specialist and New Leader Mentor
This work supplements trip leading and allows select leaders the opportunity to learn how to interview, evaluate, and choose future Field Staff from our candidate pool. New Leader Mentors teach new Backroads Leaders how to proactively lead exceptional trips. More than anything, our Hiring & Training team members develop the lifelong skill of delivering kind, honest, and actionable feedback as they mentor New Leaders and Trip Prep Specialists through their first seasons.

Office Positions
Full-time or seasonal office positions provide opportunities for Field Staff to extend their employment in different ways at our Berkeley headquarters or our hubs in Salt Lake City, Canmore or Pernes-les-Fontaines. Over the years, Field Staff have contributed their valuable talents to our Leader Development department as Hiring & Training Coordinators, to our Sales department as Trip Consultants, and to our Trip Development department as Trip Development Coordinators.

Part-Time Opportunities
There are also occasionally part-time temporary opportunities between trips and during the winter to work in our office and warehouse.

We hope that the information we have provided gives you an understanding of the Trip Leader position and has allowed you to evaluate whether or not it would be the right fit for you. We look forward to addressing any additional questions that you might have during the interview process.

** In addition to hiring Trip Leaders, we are also hiring Trip Prep Specialists.