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Tour manager resources

Thank you for taking on the role of voluntary tour manager for The Different Travel Company!

There are some important facts about our expectations of you as a tour manager which you should be aware of, and remind yourself of, before making a commitment to each trip. This page is intended to provide you with all the information and support materials you need to be an effective tour manager.

 

Tour Manager Volunteer Agreement

This Volunteer Agreement describes the arrangement between The Different Travel Company and you. Volunteers are an important and valued part of The Different Travel Company. We hope that you enjoy volunteering with us and feel part of our team. This agreement tells you what you can expect from us, and what we hope from you. We aim to be flexible, so please let us know if you would like to make any changes and we will do our best to accommodate them.
We wish to assure you of our appreciation of your volunteering with us and will do the best we can to make your volunteer experience with us enjoyable and rewarding.

Part 1: the organisation
Your role as a volunteer is as a tour manager, also known as a tour escort or tour leader. Your role is to liaise with the participants, charity and/or organisation representative (if applicable) and the local guides to ensure the safe, smooth and efficient running of the trip, enabling the participants to have the most enjoyable and successful time possible. Your role starts on the day of departure for your specified trip. This role is designed to provide a level of support to the participants who may not be familiar with the type of travel engaged in, to keep the entire group safe at all times and to be an advocate for The Different Travel Company.

What can you expect from The Different Travel Company?

1. Induction and training
• To provide a thorough induction on the work of The Different Travel Company, your volunteering role and the training you need to meet the responsibilities of this role. The Tour Manager Manual provides full details of these elements.

2. Supervision, support and flexibility
• To explain the standards we expect for our services and to encourage and support you to achieve and maintain them;
• To provide a named person who can meet with you to discuss your volunteering and any successes and problems;
• To do our best to help you develop your volunteering role with us.

3. Expenses
• To reimburse these expenses following the procedures outlined in the Tour Manager Manual:
– Travel to and from home to the airport: see the Tour Manager Manual for rules on methods of travel and mileage allowances
– Meal expenses (for meals not included)
– Bottled water
– Country visa(s) or entry approval fee(s)
– Specific mediation and or vaccines that are required or strongly recommended for that country, i.e. anti-malarial medication and the following vaccines: Typhoid, Diphtheria, Tetanus, Polio, Hepatitis A and Yellow Fever (where it is a requirement for entry into the country). Other vaccines are to be approved in advance.
– Airport accommodation (where flight times deem this necessary), to a conservative budget (please contact us for info).
– First aid kit supplies e.g. plasters, bandages, wound dressing, sterile gloves and other items required to offer first aid to the participants.
– Actual cost of taxi fare in-country where transport is not available but required for you to fulfil your role
– Travel expenses, reasonable meal expenses and accommodation costs for attendance at required training courses.
– Any other reasonable expense that requires you to perform your role. Please contact us with any questions over acceptable expenses claims.

You should keep all your receipts and complete an expenses form (provided) when claiming your expenses.

4. Health and safety and insurance
• To provide adequate training and support to ensure you can fulfil your role safely, for example by providing first aid training and a pre-departure briefing. The Different Travel Company will provide adequate insurance cover, both public liability insurance and individual travel insurance, for volunteers whilst carrying out their role. More details are set out in the Tour Manager Manual.

6. Equal opportunities
• To ensure that all volunteers and clients are dealt with in accordance with our equal opportunities policy, a copy of which is set out in the Tour Manager Manual.

7. Problems
• To try to resolve any problems, complaints and difficulties you may have while you volunteer with us fairly;
• In the event of an unresolved problem, to offer an opportunity to discuss the issues in accordance with the procedures set out in the Tour Manager Manual.

Part 2: the volunteer
We expect you:
• To perform your volunteering role as outlined in the Tour Manager Manual to the best of your ability;
• To complete your post-trip feedback paperwork promptly upon return and in full;
• To follow the Different Travel Company’s procedures and standards, including health and safety and equal opportunities, in relation to its staff, volunteers and clients;
• To maintain the confidential information of the organisation and of its clients;
• To meet the time commitments and standards which have been mutually agreed to and to give reasonable notice so other arrangements can be made when this is not possible;
• To provide referees as agreed who may be contacted, and to agree to a Disclosure and Barring Service (formerly CRB) check being carried out where necessary.

This agreement is binding in honour only, is not intended to be a legally binding contract between us and may be cancelled at the discretion of either party upon reasonable notice. Neither of us intend any employment relationship to be created either now or at any time in the future.

Useful tour manager resources

The tour manager manual is an in-depth guide which covers all aspects of the role of tour manager, our expectations of you, how to deal with certain situations during a trip, processing your expenses and much more.

You can download this here to save to your phone or device. As this is a lengthy document we do not recommend printing this.

Full details can be found on page 24 of the Tour Manager Manual. You will need to bring a first aid kit during the trip in case first aid needs to be administered. Please ensure all items are sealed, sterile and in date before each trip and safely dispose of expired or damaged items at your local pharmacy.

IMPORTANT: Your own personal medication must be kept completely separate from the Different Travel Company first aid kit. You are not permitted to administer medication with the exception of Aspirin in the case of a suspected heart attack.

Here are the basic contents you should ensure you stock in your first aid kit.

1 x Green First Aid bag
1 x First Aid Guidance Leaflet
1x Casualty report form
6 x Safety Pins
1x Tweezers
1 x Scissors
6 x Pairs disposable gloves
1 x Micropore Tape
5 x Sterile cleansing wipes
1 x Bandage / support bandage
1 x Triangular Bandage

6 x Skin closure strips / Steri-strips
2 x Gauze swabs (various sizes)
4 x Wound dressings (various sizes)
2 x Non-adherent (e.g. Melolin)
2 x Eye wash pods (saline)
20 x Adhesive dressings (Plasters)
5 x Blister plasters (various sizes)
1 x Hydrogel burn dressing
Aspirin 300mg tablets
Emergency foil blanket

 

This list is not exhaustive and should be adapted by you according to the type of trip you are leading. For example bring more sterile wipes and adhestive dressings for project trips, or add more saline eye pods and Compeed blister plasters for desert treks etc.).You should be able to use your first aid training knowledge to adequately adapt your first aid kit for your trip. If you are uncertain, please contact us for help.

Where can I buy first aid items?
You can purchase individual items from supermarkets (cheapest), high street pharmacies and online at www.Medisave.co.uk, www.spservices.co.uk or even Amazon. You can buy basic kits for around £12 online, all of which will have slightly varying contents which you can add to and adjust. For example:

Travel First Aid Kit – Soft Pack http://www.medisave.co.uk/travel-first-aid-kit-soft-pack.html

Outdoor First Aid Kit http://www.spservices.co.uk/item/Reliance_OutdoorPursuitsFirstAidKitinOsloBag_151_71_3240_1.html

As a tour manager you will benefit from travel insurance with Campbell Irvine Direct for your trips. Your policy will begin shortly before your first trip of the year and will expire at the end of March each year.

You can download the current policy wording here (2020 version).

Please contact us if the downloadable policy information here is out of date.

 

As a tour manager you will benefit from a number of discounts at UK retailers. This is for your use only. Please do not share this with anyone outside of Different Travel.

You can download the discount voucher booklet here.

Downloadable trip documents

You will be provided with two printed accident report forms per trip. If you deal with a first aid incident during a trip these must be completed and returned to Different Travel.

If you need additional report forms these can be downloaded here for you to print at home yourself.

What is this?
Please complete an accident form in the event of performing first aid for anyone during the trip. If you run out of forms, please make equivalent notes on a piece of paper and complete a full form upon your return.

You will be provided with an airport sign / banner specific to your trip (e.g. with the charity or organisation logo included with the Different Travel logo).

If you would like a generic Different Travel airport sign/banner this can be downloaded here for you to print at home yourself.

What is this?
Please hold up this sign at the airport so the group can find you. It can also be handy throughout the trip for photo opportunities (if the charity doesn’t have their own sign) and so on.

You will be provided with one printed passenger Health and Safety agreement sign sheet per trip. This must be completed and returned to Different Travel after the tour.

If you need additional sign sheets these can be downloaded here for you to print at home yourself.

What is this?
The passengers are asked to sign this form, agreeing again to our T&Cs, Child Protection Policy, Project Health and Safety document (if relevant) and so on as specified. Each person must sign this. Ideally you should do this after the group have all checked in for the flight, before you go through security.

You will be provided with one printed child protection document per trip.

If you need additional child protection policy forms these can be downloaded here for you to print at home yourself.


What is this?

This is attached to the Passenger Health and Safety Agreement sign sheet summarises our expectations of the participants in respect of child protection. This is important on project trips where children can walk onto the project site, on projects where schools are visited, when children are members of the trekking group and many other situations where the team may come into contact with children. Please familiarise yourself with this policy.

You will be provided with one Disclaimer Statement per year, not per trip. Please keep this safe and filed neatly for repeat use.

If you need to replace this document, it can be downloaded here for you to print at home yourself.

What is this?
As a guided tour, we require all participants to be accompanied by the local guides throughout the guided sections of the trip. In the event of a participant leaving the group, for example deciding to go off route, or stay behind at a café etc., you must read out this statement in the presence of witnesses, so they are fully aware that they are choosing to leave the group and take responsibility for themselves.
Please note: this does not apply during free days where there are no guides and participants can explore as they wish. On these days you do not have to accompany them (although it is nice if you can), and you do not need to keep them together. If the group separates, just ensure they are aware of any meeting times.

You will be provided with two printed project health and safety handouts per trip (if applicable).

If you need additional handouts these can be downloaded here for you to print at home yourself.

What is this?
This summarises basic health and safety points for use at the project. Please display this document at the project site. This should be shown to the participants at the time they sign the Passenger Health and Safety Agreement sheet.

Which documents will I receive before a trip?

General documents

  • Tour manager manual
  • First aid booklet (from your first aid course)
  • Disclaimer statement
  • Staff travel insurance details
  • Data handling policy
  • Passenger health and safety agreement sign sheet**
  • Child protection policy
  • Project health and safety hand-out (if applicable)
  • Expenses form**
  • Accident report forms (at least 2)**
  • Open challenges summary (or charity’s next trek info)
  • Envelopes for tips (please supply these yourself)

 

Trip specific documents

  • Emergency guidelines procedure
  • Tour manager notes
  • Trip dossier and kit list
  • Pre-departure information
  • Trip extension itinerary (if applicable)
  • Your flight e-ticket /boarding passes
  • Certificates
  • Passenger information**
  • Spare copy of passenger insurance info**
  • Airport sign with specific charity logo**
  • Risk assessment – please update/amend this document**

**Documents highlighted, along with expenses claims/receipts, must be returned within two weeks of your return to info@different-travel.com. Please scan, or take a clear photo using your smart phone, of any paper documents or receipts.

Tour manager manual
You should be familiar with its contents. Please re-read this before departure and download a digital copy to refer to throughout the trip. You can find this in the downloads list above.

Emergency guidelines procedure
This is an outline of how you should handle a critical emergency (e.g. serious illness or death).

First aid booklet
You should bring the booklet you were issued with by your 16-hour Outdoor First Aid Course company. If you do not have this, please contact your First Aid Course company.

Disclaimer statement
As a guided tour, we require all participants to be accompanied by the local guides throughout the guided sections of the trip. In the event of a participant leaving the group, for example deciding to go off route, or stay behind at a café etc., you must read out this statement in the presence of witnesses, so they are fully aware that they are choosing to leave the group and take responsibility for themselves.
Please note: this does not apply during free days where there are no guides and participants can explore as they wish. On these days you do not have to accompany them (although it is nice if you can), and you do not need to keep them together. If the group separates, just ensure they are aware of any meeting times.

Staff travel insurance details
You are covered under our staff travel insurance for the duration of your trip and until renewal in March the following year. You will not automatically be added to the policy upon renewal unless you are booked on a trip early in the year.

Envelopes for tips
Please bring 5-6 envelopes to help you divide the tips if required.

Open challenges summary
Often tour managers are asked which other trips Different Travel operates; this document serves as a handy reference. You will also be provided with some business cards which you can share with the group (or anyone who may be interested).

Passenger Health and Safety agreement sign sheet**
The passengers are asked to sign this form, agreeing again to our T&Cs, Child Protection Policy, Project Health and Safety document (if relevant) and so on as specified. Each person must sign this. It’s best to do this after the group have all checked in for the flight, before you go through security.

Child protection policy
This is attached to the Passenger Health and Safety Agreement sign sheet summarises our expectations of the participants in respect of child protection. This is important on project trips where children can walk onto the project site, on projects where schools are visited, when children are members of the trekking group and many other situations where the team may come into contact with children. Please familiarise yourself with this policy.

Data handling policy
This outlines your legal responsibilities for ensuring confidential passenger data is protected in accordance with the Data Protection Act 2018 and EU General Data Protection Regulations 2016.

Project health and safety hand-out (if relevant)
This summarises basic health and safety points for use at the project. Please display this document at the project site. This should be shown to the participants at the time they sign the Passenger Health and Safety Agreement sheet.

Accident report forms (at least 2)**
Please complete an accident form in the event of performing first aid for anyone during the trip. If you run out of forms, please make equivalent notes on a piece of paper then complete a full form upon your return.

Expenses form**
Please make notes on your printed version then scan (or take a photo with your smartphone) and email the image to sarah@different-travel.com once you return to the UK.

Tour manager notes
This summarises the operational points about the trip including background on Different Travel’s relationship with the charity, school, group or individuals, any extensions or flight deviations from the main group, contact details for all the staff and much more. Please read this document carefully. Please shred or securely destroy this after the trip as it contains passenger information.

Trip dossier
This document was produced 12-18 months before departure and was the first piece of information the group read. This may be slightly out of date by the time of departure, so updates or changes are noted in the next document, the Pre-Departure information.

Pre-departure information
This document is produced 8 weeks prior to departure and contains flight details, any amendments to the itinerary, tour manager contact info, more specific advice on money matters, visa applications and so on. Please shred or securely destroy this after the trip as it contains passenger information.

Final tour information
This document is produced 2 weeks before departure if there are any flight schedule changes, itinerary changes or any other last minute updates that we may need to inform the group about. If there are no changes you will not receive this.

Trip extension itinerary (if relevant)
If the group are doing a pre-planned extension organised by us, we will provide this itinerary for your reference.

Your flight e-ticket
We will print your e-ticket. The group are responsible for printing and carrying their own e-ticket which has been emailed to them. You will be emailed a copy of all the group e-tickets just in case you need them. Note: many international airports require proof of travel to enter the airport (they are not required at check in, unless needed for check-in booths) so it’s very important each person has their e-ticket. Check-in is not usually possible online on a group booking. Please shred or securely destroy this after the trip as it contains passenger information.

Certificates
On most trips you will be provided with certificates of achievement which should be awarded on the last night, ideally at some point before, during or after the final dinner. If there is a charity representative on the trip, it can be nice for one or both of you to say a few words of thanks to the group.

Passenger information**
This is the personal data about each person including dietary requirements, medical issues and insurance details. Please ensure this is never left unattended as it contains sensitive data. Please shred or securely destroy this after the trip as it contains passenger information.

Spare copy of passenger insurance info**
Having a separate copy of the insurance info means you do not have to hand over the full passenger information document in the event of our local team needing to organise rescue/medical care; instead you can just hand them this separate document. Please shred or securely destroy this after the trip as it contains passenger information.

Airport sign with specific charity logo**
Please hold up this sign at the airport so the group can find you. It can also be handy throughout the trip for photo opportunities (if the charity doesn’t have their own sign) and so on.

Risk assessment document**
You are  required to read, review and amend this document throughout the trip. You may need to make a dynamic risk assessment (i.e. you come across a situation not specified in the risk assessment we provide you, and you have to create an action plan). If you have to create a dynamic risk assessment, this must be documented.[/one_fourth_last]

  • Contact Sarah Burgess (Managing Director) by email on sarah@different-travel.com attaching scanned copies (or clear photographs) of all your completed expenses requests, report forms and updated risk assessment documentation within two weeks of arriving home.
  • General non tour-specific documents (e.g. disclaimer statement, insurance policy info etc.) will only be printed and sent to you once a year (not per trip). You are expected to keep these documents safe and filed neatly for re-use for future trips that year.
  • Any documents containing ANY passenger or staff information (e.g. pre-departure information, passenger information etc.) MUST be securely shredded (ideally cross shredded), for data protection reasons. If you don’t have a shredder, documents of this nature must be returned to DTC by recorded/signed for delivery, or handed to Sarah in person.
  • Complete the Tour Manager Feedback survey sent to you by email.
  • Send your trip photos and video footage to Ruhubia on ruhubia@different-travel.com using the free website www.WeTransfer.com.
  • Arrange a time to have a debrief phone call with Sarah or Jude.
  • If you have added anyone from the team as a friend on Facebook, please invite those people to Like our Facebook Page www.facebook.com/differenttravel.
    (Click on the link ‘Invite friends to Like this Page’ on the left hand side of the Page).

Information about Different Travel and your role

What is required of a Different Travel Company tour manager?

1) Have a passion for adventure and community travel
We want you to want to be on this tour and have a genuine passion for visiting these exciting areas of the world. Previous experience of independent travel, working or studying abroad or adventure travel trips is an essential requirement.

2) Be first aid trained
You must be prepared to act in case of emergencies during the trip so first aid training is required. The Different Travel Company provides an Outdoor First Aid training course free of charge to ensure you are suitably prepared to assist with any injuries, illness or emergencies in remote situations.

3) Have excellent leadership and communication skills and be approachable
Our group sizes usually range from 10-35 participants so having effective communication skills to support large groups in a variety of situations is very important. Being friendly, open minded and constantly supportive are important leadership skills. You need to be someone the group trusts and can turn to while being an integral part of the team. Discrimination against any clients is completely unacceptable and preferential treatment of any individuals should be avoided at all costs.

4) Have a good level of health and high energy levels
Some of our tours are physically and emotionally tough and the clients may look to you for support when things get hard. You need to be able to handle the stress of long tiring days and physical and emotional challenges. Whether it’s a 12-hour bus journey, a trek with difficult clients, or a community project with one paintbrush between 20 people; you should be the helpful approachable face of The Different Travel Company, even if you have a pounding headache and your luggage is still on the tarmac at Heathrow airport.

5) Be resourceful, calm and pro-active
‘Oh dear, there’s an enormous landslide covering our path. What should we do?’ Working with the local guide and group/charity representative (if applicable) you need to be able to take decisive action to overcome problems as they arise, or before they happen. You must have a calm demeanour so you can assess a situation and deal with it without causing panic to the group.

6) Be a fluent English language speaker
All our tours are conducted in English with English-speaking bi or multi-lingual local guides so a very good command of English is mandatory. Other language skills are a bonus and we encourage you to try out the local language and help the group do so too!

7) Have computer literacy and budgeting skills
You may need to manage finances at community projects or divide tips between a large group of trek staff so having basic budgeting skills is very important. Bring a calculator! You will also need to keep notes and records of your own expenses incurred so we can reimburse you. Computer literacy is important as you may need to complete online forms or use word processing software to complete reports etc.

8) Have awareness and commitment to responsible and sustainable tourism
Clients will look up to you as an example of an experienced and worldly traveller! This is a position of responsibility and we ask you to uphold our responsible tourism policy (page 26) and encourage the clients to do the same.

You do not have to be serious all the time, join in and have fun!
You should be part of the team too.

What do I have to do as a tour manager?
Your role is to inspire and support our clients throughout the trip to deliver them the best experience possible.

General

  • Maintain a valid passport
  • Keep vaccinations and preventative medicines up to date
  • Be mindful of opportunities for The Different Travel Company to expand, to share industry news of interest and make any suggestions you think may enhance our services to our clients
  • Be willing to conduct your own independent research of the countries you are due to visit to familiarise yourself with sights, places of interest, local customs and culture, general prices and so on.
  • To train or advise tour managers as required, passing on as much trip-specific information as you can to prepare them

During a tour

  • Act as the manager of the group, encouraging group communication, ensuring everyone is organised and accounted for.
  • Always consider the health, safety and comfort of the group (toilets, water, food, shade).
  • Share your knowledge, tips, hints and experience with the clients so they get the most out of the experience.
  • Manage yourself and your own personal safety, comfort and health so you can look after the group.
  • Ensure that the group adhere to our child protection, responsible tourism and safety at the project policies.
  • Deal directly with the clients to address any issues and concerns, to ensure their satisfaction is achieved without becoming a servant.
  • Continuously assess the trip to pre-empt any issues or problems that may occur and deal with it before it happens. Maintain the itinerary as closely as possible, making changes only when absolutely necessary.
  • Communicate constantly with the local team/guide to ensure the itinerary is followed, to keep aware of any issues or changes that may occur and to discuss the overall progress and wellbeing of the group.
  • If there is a charity or group representative, keep them in the loop on issues or changes, and liaise and discuss with them away from the group about any decisions to be made, group dynamics or other issues.
  • To ensure that participants are always fully informed (arrangements, itinerary changes, timings, meeting places etc.)
  • To deal with unexpected situations professionally and calmly (medical emergency, difficult participants, changes etc.)
  • Assist and accompany clients during optional activities and meals, where possible.
  • To be a good ambassador for The Different Travel Company. You may be the only Different Travel Company representative the participants have had any contact with.

Communication with The Different Travel Company

  • Contact us immediately by phone AND WhatsApp, text and/or email in the event of a critical emergency, as per the Emergency Guidelines Procedure.
  • Contact us as soon as possible by text or email in the case of non-critical trip anomalies (e.g. passenger misses a flight, passenger is removed from the trip, luggage loss etc.).
  • Provide SMS or WhatsApp updates every 1-3 days on the progress of the trip (where possible) so we can share this on our social media pages.

Reporting

  • Make daily expenses reports on the provided expenses form and file receipts safely.
  • Make daily notes about the day’s activities and observations so you do not forget key information required for completing your feedback reports.
  • To conduct a feedback debrief in person, by phone or email as soon as possible after the tour has finished.
  • To provide all written reports, health and safety and risk assessment updates, and other written feedback promptly, no later than 2 weeks after return.
  • Provide The Different Travel Company with photographs and video footage which can be used for future marketing. If you require credit, please inform us.

Your tour feedback will now be collected online via a Zoho survey which will be emailed to you after the trip.

During the trip you are required to make notes in the feedback section of your tour manager notes document, and you are welcome to annotate any document you feel needs amending. Please provide a list of any amends or annotations you make.

Trip photographs and video footage should be sent to Lexi via www.WeTransfer.com (free). Her email address is alexandra@different-travel.com.

The Different Travel Company was founded in early 2005, just after the Asian Boxing Day tsunami and our very first groups departed just months later, on a mission to help those affected in Sri Lanka and Thailand repair their lives. Over the following year, we built new homes and businesses, cleaned beaches, refurbished schools and brought important tourist income to destinations whose communities were struggling to make ends meet caused by the scarcity of visitors following the tragedy.

Fast forward to today and The Different Travel Company works with a wide range of charities, organisations, colleges, schools and groups to offer short-term build or project trips worldwide, classic charity challenges such as trekking the Great Wall of China or climbing Kilimanjaro, and also trips which combine a physical trek or challenge with making a practical difference at a project in the destination country.

Our ethos of helping communities at home and abroad is upheld by ensuring that everyone benefits from one of our trips – the local community, the participants and of course any UK charity which is supported by the participants. Underpinning everything we do is ensuring our trips are safe, responsible and sustainable.

We are amazed at what has been achieved so far and delighted that so many people have joined us on our adventure holidays, charity challenges and builds, to fantastic destinations all over the globe. Our participants have gone to see the sights, participate in physical challenges and work alongside the local people and have returned with open eyes, experiences of a lifetime and memories that will last forever.

To find out more about us click here.

The Different Travel Company Responsible Travel and Tourism Policy

We define Responsible Travel and Tourism as: ‘The use of tourism as a force for good which adds value to, and benefits, the economies, societies and communities we visit, whilst minimising the negative side effects of our tourism to both the destination and the global environment’.

When we travel, we become a guest in the destination and like all good guests we believe it’s right to be respectful and open-minded. Life-enhancing travel is not about seeing a place but experiencing a place, its people, its cultures, food and ways of life.

It is only right that when we, relatively wealthy tourists, enjoy the benefits of tourism we do so responsibly by ensuring that we are not contributing to the exploitation of either people or the environment; that we are participating in ‘fair trade’ practices which benefit those who work so hard to make our trips so great; that we are contributing to the sustainable economic development of the communities who host us; and that we are respectful towards and assist in the maintenance of indigenous cultures.

Read our full responsible tourism policy here.

COVID-19: Please read our latest updates here.