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Employment Opportunities

Drive adventure bus tours!

Thanks for your interest in working for the Green Tortoise. The following positions that may currently be available:

Green Tortoise Driver Application Information

The following will outline the application process and help to introduce most aspects of the driver's job. Please read this carefully before filling out the Driver Application available on the next page.


The application should be read over thoroughly and filled out completely. Much of the information we are required to have on file throughout your employment. Some questions that may not seem pertinent to driving actually assist us in understanding you better and evaluating non-driving skills that are essential to the job. If you are not 100% drug free and able to stay that way please do not apply.

Your application must be accompanied by a current (less than three month old) copy of your driving record, a clear photocopy of your driver's license and your medical card (if you already have one). You must be 23 years or older to be considered and have a virtually spotless driving record. Interviews, hiring, and training are done from Oakland, CA. This process often includes a creative and fun trip including some night driving, cooking, and trip orientation.

Green Tortoise History

The Green Tortoise began in 1974 with an old school bus and the unique idea of turning a cross-country trip into a sightseeing and camping adventure. Throughout the years, the company has outlived the competition while maintaining an outstanding safety record and continually upgrading the equipment. While the essence of the adventure camping trips hasn't changed, nine 1995 to 2007 MCI "D" model highway coaches (all have automatic transmissions) now comprise the fleet. These coaches have custom convertible sleeper interiors that allow passengers to travel comfortably at night, saving both time and money. Trip length varies from as little as two days to Yosemite to 30 days to Central America or Alaska, and family-style gourmet cook-outs are featured on all trips.

Driver Training

The ideal applicant already has two years of commercial bus driving experience or has a certificate of training from qualified school or previous company. Applicants who require additional training will be scheduled on a training run. We do training runs as often as we need drivers, usually on about three month's notice. We always have a training run in mid-spring in preparation for the summer season. You might share the experience with four to eight people, and see all kinds of driving conditions, as well as helping with the preparation of Green Tortoise cookouts, another big part of the job. You may still need to attend a commercial driving school, but we offer tuition aid and tuition reimbursement programs. Please feel free to call us for details.

Very few applicants are plugged immediately into the driver's seat after the interview and road test. Even experienced drivers will be expected to "cushion", observing a Green Tortoise trip without driving or getting paid.

Green Tortoise feeds you during the training run, but will not pay any stipend, per diems, or other expenses. Being invited on a training run is not the same as being hired. If hired, your first driving runs will likely be as a "Second" driver on the shorter trips.

Work Availability

Chances of long-term employment are good. Although much of our business is seasonal (we do about three quarters of our trips from May through October), opportunities for year round employment after working even one summer season are pretty reasonable. Everyone generally has to work in the summer. Some of our drivers only work summers. In the winter we continue to do special charters and winter adventure trips that go to Baja, mainland Mexico and Central America, as well as Death Valley.

Driver Scheduling

The Green Tortoise is very flexible about scheduling drivers. This has its pros and cons. You can usually specify when you want to work, and if you keep your commitments and things go well we can work people on and off trips smoothly.

It works out okay for some people to live in the Northwest and drive the Green Tortoise, even though most of our trips originate in San Francisco. You may need to commute to the Bay Area but when asked to, we make it worth your time and expense.

Driver Pay & Duties

Potential earnings vary dramatically based on your skill and experience. With a few exceptions (Alaska, Central America, mainland Mexico and Costa Rica), Green Tortoise drivers are classed in one of four ways: Second (co-driver), New Lead, Lead, and Ultra-Lead.

In addition to driving the coach you will have numerous other duties, including pre-trip inspection at the terminal, handling of luggage, instructing passengers on Green Tortoise style of travel, provisioning, and helping with the cookouts.

For example, a three-day Yosemite run, with Eastern Sierra campouts and time to hike and swim pays $377 plus tips for a Second Driver. In the high season we also run two-day Yosemite trips.

On longer trips, which are described on our website, Second Driver pay is about $110 per day. After experience is gained and you become a Lead Driver the pay is $120 to $190 per day. Tips are also a factor and they can vary greatly based on the trip, the customers, and your performance. It is not at all uncommon for driver to earn an extra $30 to $60 each per day.

Driver Qualifications

Being a Green Tortoise driver requires a surprising amount of skill and ingenuity. With few exceptions, everyone starts out as a Second Driver until they have acquired enough experience to lead a trip. To receive Lead Driver pay, a driver must have or borrow a tool inventory that would cost about $1000 at Sears. Lead Drivers usually do the accounting, check logbooks of co-drivers, and are responsible for the overall continuity of the trip.

Sometimes non-mechanic drivers achieve Lead positions simply because they are familiar with a run, have good leadership qualities, and carry the required tools for the job. Most mechanical duties are now quite limited with the upgraded fleet providing a more reliable driving experience.

Other Considerations

Before contemplating a job with the Green Tortoise, you should ponder some of the impact it may have on life-as-you-know-it. Depending on the trips you drive, you will be away from home between three and thirty days.

The never-ending challenge of the job and the demands of leadership, and constant social interactions should certainly be considered before applying.

Although generally fewer than one in 10 of our drivers are women, they are welcomed, and several legendary Tortoise drivers have been women.

A certain social awareness is central to being a Green Tortoise driver. You have to care about people and know how to please them. Someone whose idea of a good time is an evening in front of the TV with a six-pack, a man who thinks every woman is available, a woman who hates men, or a person who does not have an open heart and mind will have a difficult time relating to a majority of the passengers. On the other hand if you have lots of energy, and a clear spirit you might surprise yourself with how well you do at the job!

Thank you again for your interest.

Lyle Kent

P.S. – Please email or send in a recent driving record from your DMV as well as legible photocopy of your drivers license and medical card. In order to be considered for training and employment you must have either a valid Class A or B Commercial Drivers License.

Still interesting in applying? Right this way...

  • Driver Application (PDF) that you can print, then complete and mail to us along with the required documents.
  • Driver Application Online you can fill out and send to us over the web (approximate time to complete: one to two hours). You must follow it up by mailing the required documents to us!


Seasonal Office Work

Fun, Flexible Seasonal Office Work!

We have been leading camping trips since the 1970's to places like Yosemite, the Grand Canyon, mainland Mexico, and Baja. This would be a great summer job for a student or someone who is passing through San Francisco for a short period of time. This would not be the best job if you have to commute long distances. But, if you love hiking/camping and the great outdoors, and meeting people from all over the world, then check out our website to get a feel for what we do. You can also fill out an online application:

Responsibilities include:

  • Familiarizing yourself with the details of our itineraries in such a way that you are able to talk about, sell, and answer questions about our adventure trips.
  • Answering calls, emails, and printed correspondence from potential passengers and travel agents.
  • Data entry (experience with Macintosh and Filemaker is a plus).
  • Processing cash and credit card transactions.
  • General office upkeep (filing, mailing, etc.)

The ideal candidate will be an excellent communicator with a phone presence that is cheerful, clear, and engaging. Since you would be communicating with a number of non-English speakers, patience is important, too. Experience in sales would be beneficial, but an enthusiasm for helping people plan their travels is most important (as you will pick up on the sales aspect of the job when you become well versed in the specifics of our various trips). Self-direction and eye for detail are also preferred.

Though not required, it would be great if you have already taken a Green Tortoise trip and have a feeling for what our adventures are all about! Applicants with a driver's license and clean DMV record will carry some weight. Lastly, you should be easy to talk with, personable and able to laugh at yourself. This is not your standard, straight-laced office job! Ours is a fun, funky office, and while we expect you to do your job well, we are planning vacations here, not trading stocks.

The seasonal term of employment is Spring through Fall. Please fill out an online application to apply for this job. No calls, please.


Campus Ambassador Recruitment 2011

free youth travel opportunities

Hi, I'm Jimmy and I've been tasked with selecting a team of students to represent the Green Tortoise on your University Campus. I'm looking for people who love to travel, socialize and see new places!

As a Green Tortoise ambassador:

  • You'll earn free travel! Every ten trips that other students book from your recommendation gets you a free fare.
  • You'll also make new friends from all over the world since our trips attract cool people from many different nations. Just think of all the contacts you'll make!
  • PLUS you'll have an extra experience to put on your resume. When looking for a job, experience matters -- having an edge over your competition is critical!

As a Campus Ambassador you'll inspire other students to travel on our unique budget adventures. You can use the internet and social media like Facebook and twitter, online discussion forums, and Youtube. Personal appearances at campus job fairs, travel events and even placing posters on campus are all a possibility as well -- your creativity and social personality are all you need to earn free trips. We'll supply the materials!

Ready to hop on a trip for free? Now is the time to act. Spring break is right around the corner and the beaches of Mexico are calling you and your friends for an adventure of a lifetime!

Don't delay! Take advantage of this special opportunity and email me TODAY with all the reasons you are right for this position. Remember to include the name of your campus and how to reach you in your email. If you are not ready to join us, but know someone who might be, feel free to simply forward this message. And don't forget to visit us online for upcoming trips, specials and opportunities!

Thanks in advance,