One thing that extended or full-time RV travelers are concerned about is making their money last. That is where workamping comes into play. It provides a way to reduce expenses or even earn extra money by working at the campground or a local business.
What is workamping?
The term “workamper” was trademarked by Workamper News in 1987. They define it as “individuals, couples and families who combine ANY kind of part-time or full-time work with RV camping.” Now at this point you may be asking, “why would I want to work while I’m camping?” The simple answer is that it allows you to stay out on the road longer. As a workamper, you can supplement retirement income, earn a full income, or even trade your services in exchange for a campsite.
Even better, you can do it in the location of your choosing. If you’ve always wanted to visit a particular area, you might be able to find a position that will provide a free or discounted site, as well as free or discounted activities.
What kind of jobs are available?
If you can imagine it, there is most likely a job for you. Our friends, Levi & Natalie have tried many of them too. In fact, they have been workamping year round for almost six years now. They wrote a book about their experiences, Seasonal Workamping for a Living.
We recently interviewed them about the book and some of their jobs:
Here are some of the more common opportunities:
This is a common one for RVers to earn money over the holidays. It includes long days in a warehouse doing repetitive work, but can be a good way to pile up some cash over just a couple of months.
Sugar Beet Harvest
This is another example of a way to earn money in a short period of time. In fact, it typically only lasts a couple of weeks. While you’ll work 12-hour shifts, you can earn up to $8,000 in that time period.
Another short term seasonal workamping job is managing a holiday lot selling pumpkins in the fall, Christmas trees in the winter, or even fireworks in the summer. These positions typically require the RVer to park on the lot. Compensation can be in the form of a specific wage or commission. Levi and Natalie did a great video series on their experience running a Christmas tree lot.
Serving as a camp host is a very common workamping position. Both public and private campgrounds employ RVers to perform tasks such as taking reservations, checking in campers, cleaning the campground facilities, and various maintenance tasks.
Many of the public campgrounds like state and national parks provide a site in exchange for the work, rather than pay an hourly wage. However, they typically require substantially less hours – often 15 to 20 hours per week. Private RV resorts and campgrounds may provide a site or discount one while also providing an hourly wage (averaging $10 per hour), but expect full-time employees.
If this is something you think you might be interested in, we recommend watching the video below where our friends Phil & Stacy share their experiences camp hosting.
Visitor Information & Interpretation
We’re still working full-time (read more about that here), but when we retire this is the position that appeals to me the most: providing visitor information and interpretation at a National Park. As previously mentioned, these positions are typically considered “volunteer” and compensation includes a free full hook-up site and a good feeling in your heart for supporting the National Parks. Duties typically include staffing the visitor center, answering questions, and giving informal interpretive talks a few days a week.
How to get a workamping position
- Review job listings on Workamper News and choose a few that best meet your travel schedule and work preferences.
- Apply early. You won’t be the only one that wants to work at the bucket list destinations like Yosemite or the Grand Canyon.
- Create a resume that highlights your experience. Once again, I highly recommend Workamper News resources for helping you create a resume that translates your previous work history to suit the needs of common workamping jobs.
Questions to ask during the interview
You should not take a position without an interview. These will typically occur via telephone or video call. In addition to answering the prospective employer’s questions, you’ll have the opportunity to ask questions of your own. Here are a few things you may want to know.
- How many hours per week are required per person/couple?
- Will couples be on the same schedule?
- How many days per week are required?
- Will a full hookup site be provided? If so, will the value be deducted from any pay.
- What is the pay structure (if any)?
- Will you have access to Wifi and a cell signal?
- What other amenities are available – laundry, bath house, etc.?
- Are pets allowed?
Learn more about Workamping from the experts
Join us at the 10thannual Workamper Rendezvous in Heber Springs, Arkansas October 17 – 23, 2020. The eventfeatures a variety of seminars, group activities, workshops, and social gatherings all geared towards delivering the information and resources you need to take off on your RVing adventures. They even have a job fair on the last day!
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