If you possess a commercial driver's license (CDL) and have a few years behind the wheel experience driving buses or tractor trailers, a job as a tour bus driver could be waiting for you. Driving a tour bus can be an extremely rewarding career. With so many different options of driver positions available this is a perfect career opportunity for the right person to start out. Working for a smaller company, gaining the experience needed, is an opportunity to move up to the large coach providers. Keep in mind there are specific skills and job requirements that will vary depending on duties of your tour type job.
Most touring companies will want a driver with some background driving experience. You will likely encounter age minimums for some of these tour bus driving positions. If you don't already have a commercial driver license (CDL), your first objective should be to obtain one. A truck driving school will offer courses on learning the basic skills and knowledge to safely operate a large vehicle. You might inquire with your local colleges to find out if they offer truck driver training courses too. With a CDL in hand and a few years of experience driving tractor trailers or buses will go a long way in this industry. The job may also have other license requirements such as a Class A, B or C CDL with the proper endorsements.
When it comes to interstate travel, a bit of mechanical knowledge can be very handy. When you've been on the road for two weeks and you find yourself stuck on a highway at 3:00 A.M., a good understanding of how your coach runs and operates will be important. If you can't fix it on the spot you'll need to find someone who can fix it. Being able to communicate effectively with a mechanic on the operational aspects of your coach can make a big difference in getting back on the road in a timely manner. Staying on schedule is an important aspect of the job.
Beyond the license and mechanical aspects of the job, being a tour bus driver takes a certain type of person. Driving a tour bus is different than being a city bus driver or a school bus driver. If you are driving for a local tour company and transporting people between wineries for the day, you will most likely be interacting with the passengers and sharing information and facts about the area. If you drive a tour bus for the latest big name musician they will expect you to be friendly and professional. You may be on the road for weeks or longer with your passengers and you will need to be personable and professional. Being able to handle and adjust to your passenger's different personality types will help too. Essentially, an easy going personality with the ability to calmly handle different situations make for good traits a tour bus driver can bring to the job.
On the pay scale, tour bus drivers can bring in anywhere from $30K to over $80K a year. Driving for your local tour company and doing day trips close to home will generally pay on the lower end of the scale. These local day jobs driving tourists to the local wineries or National Parks can be the experience needed to take your driving career to the next level. Driving a tour bus full of musicians for several months will be the driving jobs that pay on the higher end of that scale. There are many job openings for tour bus drivers across the country if you look in the right areas. You can locate tour bus driver positions available on job boards, contacting local touring companies or working with a job recruiting agency. Good luck on the job search!