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Workers on Wheels: Could Work Camping Work for You?

Workers on Wheels: Could Work Camping Work for You?
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BY MYRA FAYE TURNER

Do you have the traveling bug? Would you like to travel all across the United States, visiting picturesque towns? Would you like to make a little bit of cash while you travel? If you answered ‘yes’ to any of these questions, you may want to consider work camping. What the heck is work camping, you ask? Simply put, it’s the best of both worlds —combining travel with seasonal and part-time work opportunities.

Work camping offers many perks including being able to travel while earning money, meeting new people and learning new skills. Most open positions are geared mainly for people who own RVs but many facilities provide free accommodations for those without a rig. And while most positions seek couples, many are open to singles, so if you don’t mind traveling alone, this could work for you as well.

You won’t get rich doing this type of work but it is a way to travel inexpensively since your accommodations are taken care of. For those with RVs, this includes free hookups and other amenities. For positions that don’t require an RV, as stated above, accommodations will be provided.

Typical paid compensation generally falls within the $8-12 range, with some positions paying more depending on the skills required. This may work for those who are retired and seeking to supplement their incomes while still being able to travel and enjoy life. And although most positions are part-time and seasonal, some people do opt to work full-time, traveling from state to state and opportunity to opportunity with no fixed home address, essentially living full-time in their RVS. In some cases, people run businesses from their home on wheels, in addition to taking seasonal positions. With today’s technology, it’s certainly possible to do so.

You can find jobs at national and state parks and camp sites, private lodges and resorts, ranches, theme parks and attractions and many more facilities. What types of jobs are available? You could lead a tour at a national park or monument, serve as a host for a camp ground or work in an office. Many of the jobs include housekeeping or minor handy man duties. A facility may want the wife to work in the office and the husband to handle routine maintenance, for instance.

The positions generally last from 3 to 6 months but there are also very short-term positions that may pop up. For example, if a work camper has an emergency and must leave before the season ends, the facility may need someone to fill in for a few days or weeks. An attraction may need workers for a big event taking place over the span of a few days. A short-term position might become available when workers can’t start at the facility’s desired start date or you might be asked to fill in short-term when workers are ill or otherwise may need to miss a few days. This is an ideal way to try work camping out without making a long-term commitment.

As you can see, work camping may be an ideal fit, based on your availability. For instance, let’s say you (or you and your significant other) are still in the workforce but you have positions where you’re off during the summer—teachers, for instance. You could find a work camp position during the summer months and be able to travel to a city that you’ve always wanted to visit but maybe didn’t have the money to stay for a long length of time. You get the chance to visit interesting locations but your travel costs are lower and you may earn money in the process.

In addition to monetary compensation and/or free hookups, perks might include free Wi-Fi, free cable, discounted propane and free or reduced cost for your laundry. Some places offer bonuses at the end of your commitment.

If you’re working as a couple, you will share the hours which is great because you have even more free time (and a bit of “me” time). You’ll generally work around 20 hours but you may work more, depending on the facility. But again, you’re sharing the hours so you’ll still have more than enough time to enjoy your surroundings.

As I stated, some positions don’t pay but they generally compensate you if you have to work outside the agreed upon number of hours. For example, I ran across an ad seeking a couple to work 18 hours a week. There was no pay for the first 18 hours, however, they paid $ 7.25 an hour for any hours worked in excess of 18 hours.

Other positions included:

  • An ad seeking a couple to help manage a bed and breakfast, five days a week. Compensation was free hookup and amenities— mainly checking in guests and light housekeeping. Any additional duties would be paid at the rate of $10.00 an hour.
  • A Jellystone camp resort in Houston paying seasonal workers $8.00 plus the usual free hookups, plus an end of season bonus.
  • A KOA campground in AZ, close to the Grand Canyon and Havasu Falls, looking for workers for just two days a week —leaving five days a week to explore.
  • A year-round park manager, paying $1500 month, including housing.

Some full-time positions, like property management, come with salary and benefits. I noticed several positions that offered four day on, four day off schedules, which is a great deal even if there’s no monetary compensation. You get lots of concentrated time to explore and the hours ranged from 20-24 hours each week. Remember, that’s per couple, so you’re only looking at 10-12 hours each.

But it’s not only camp grounds and parks that hire work campers. Amazon’s CamperForce program employs seasonal workers beginning early fall through December. Campers work in Amazon’s fulfillment center in either Campbellsville, KY; Murfreesboro, TN; or Haslet, TX. The program offers a paid campsite, wages (currently $10.75 an hour), in addition to completion and referral bonuses.

Before you sell your house and drive off into the sunset in your new RV, there are some things to consider. While the perks are good, work camping may not be for everyone. Since many of the positions involve dealing with the public, you’ll definitely need good customer service skills and a pleasant  personality. You will need to be able to learn new skills quickly, be flexible and open-minded. Since some of the positions require manual work, you’ll need to be physically fit. And since many jobs are out in the wild, you’ll definitely need to enjoy being active —of course, you’ll need to enjoy being outdoors.

If I’ve peaked your interest, check out these resources for additional information/job leads.

Resources

Workers on Wheels

Workamper News

Work Camping Jobs

Workingcouples.com

 

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